Barbara Phinney’s interview

» Posted on May 28, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Barbara Phinney’s interview

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Barbara Phinney’s interview:

What made you start writing?

I had just retired from the military and with two small children, I found the things they did, and the things around me were so funny, I had to write them down. I started writing a slice of life column, then decided that I wanted more of a challenge. To me, writing romance represented a huge challenge because in the military, I saw very little of women’s emotions and romance. To me, writing it was far more difficult than anything I could imagine. So I took up the challenge.

How long have you been writing?

Let’s see. I retired when my son was about a year and a half old, which was about 1993. Somehow it feels longer.

When did you sell your first book?

I sold my first book in 2001, to Hard Shell Word Factory, an electronic publisher. Looking back, I can see it had inspirational elements in it, though it wasn’t one at all. The next book I sold was to Silhouette Intimate Moments. Some people consider that to be my first book.

How do you handle rejections?

Rejections are hard, so I like to do something completely different for a day or two. First up, I pray about it. Often, though, handling the rejection involves my two children. We’d go out for supper, because my husband was often overseas on a UN mission. My kids would help me put things in perspective. They are far more important to me than a career. Nowadays, we go shopping or something or my support group boos and hisses the rejection, which is always fun and we send cyber hugs and laugh and it shows me how important they are to me.

Why do you write?

I love being creative and joyful, and since I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, and have this secret desire to control my surroundings, I write. I love writing with the weather, giving the prose a strong mood. When I was younger, if I didn’t like the way a book I was reading was going I’d make up a new ending or chapter in my head. Now I like to play with words, and am actually starting to enjoy the editing part of writing.

What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

I’d do jigsaw puzzles, or paint wall murals in my house. My husband says I take too long to do them, so that must mean that I’m deep in my writing.

What are you working on right now?

I have a book that is due to be out in December, for which I’ll soon be getting edits, but I’ve started what I hope to be a three book tropical series, set in an island off the coast of Florida. But Love Inspired hasn’t bought it yet. I want the first book to be about a woman who wonders if she’s going crazy or that something even sinister is happening, juxtaposed with a warm, lush calming setting. After the long winter Canada has seen, I’m quite happy to be immersed in something tropical.

Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

Absolutely. Or it may be more accurate to say that parts of me, and my own reactions go into my characters, especially the women. But believe me, I’m not as sweet and heroic as my characters. I do, however, grow in my own life, along with my characters.

Tell us about the book you have out right now.

This June, I’ll have Keeping Her Safe out on the shelves. This book just seemed to write itself. It started as one with very little inspirational elements in it, and sat in my computer for a year or more, until I sat down and the inspirational elements just fell into it.
It’s a real forgiveness and prejudice story, with an ex-con, having gone to prison for his mentor’s crimes, returns to the only home he’s ever known, to save his mentor’s daughter. But she certainly isn’t welcoming him with open arms. And though both are Christians, they both need to forgive and move on, but they also need to set aside prejudices they don’’ realize they have. My characters are put-upon, perfect people. They make mistakes and must learn from them. And they show us though we screw up, we can find forgiveness and love. I like to think that readers can identify with my characters.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write what you like to read. And don’t be restricted to rules or be afraid what you’re writing is bad. All first drafts are bad. Writing is rewriting. Boy, I learned that the hard way!

How important is faith in our books?

Very important. My characters are often struggling Christians, even the ones who have been saved for years. My characters make mistakes, big and small, and sometimes, they know it and do it anyway. Sometimes, my stories aren’t just feel-good suspense stories that have no sex. My stories show characters growing in faith and humanity, and finding answers in the Bible, and in trust in God. And that can’t always involve cozy stories of put upon heroines and heroes that don’t do anything wrong. We all know men and women screw up equally.

What themes do you like to write about?

Redemption. I think we often can’t let go of our mistakes and our past and we don’t fully realize that we don’t have to redeem ourselves with guilt and such. We just have to let it go. I guess because I’ve made so many mistakes in my own life that I find it hard to forget as well.

What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

That’s a tough question? I don’t know if I have one, or not. Perhaps Keeping Her Safe, due out in June. I like the setting, and vulnerability in the heroine. She dealt with issues similar to my own, and I could pour out a lot of my own emotions into parts of her life. Besides, the weather figures strongly in it, as it does in all my books, because our weather is always changing, and can affect our moods so easily. Here in Canada, the weather and the forces of nature sometimes limit us.

What is our writing schedule like?

It’s been erratic lately, but I like to write in the morning after the kids leave for school. I write Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and do volunteer work on Wednesdays and Fridays. I rarely write in the evenings, as I’m a morning person, and I try not to write on Sundays. Saturday mornings I try to write, but it’s the only time my husband and I can just sit over a leisurely breakfast and talk. I wouldn’t miss that for the world.