Author Interviews

“Take the Feedback, No Matter How Painful”: Q&A with Author Barbara Garren.

I’m happy to have Barbara Garren on the website again.  I helped get the word out about her novel when it was released a few months ago.  Now she’s back on this site to give us some writing tips.  I really like Barbara’s bravery in giving this tip and taking it herself.  When I first started sending my novels out to agents, I heard a similar tip — that authors should be like roasted marshmallows.  Soft on the inside to be able to write from the heart but crispy and hard on the outside to be able to take criticism, no matter how painful.

So here we have 10 interview questions/answers from Barbara, giving us her most sincere and honest thoughts on writing.

1.  What do you write?  A:  Oh, that’s hard. I’m a Genre Hopper – but primarily Paranormal, and always with Romance.  With that said, I have to admit I’m working on a thriller and some sci-fi steam punky things as well. I guess you could just say “speculative romance,” but that seems so dry!

2.  What prompted you to start writing novels?  A:  I’ve always been a story teller and a writer, but I hadn’t attempted anything on the scale of a novel until about 2 years ago.  I had what I think are unique stories to tell, and my husband had been bugging me for 10 years (at least!) to write a book. He wanted me to do a memoir or autobiography, but I knew no one would ever believe it, so I took bits and pieces and wove them into my fictional stories.

3.  What is the one writing tip you’d like to pass on to other writers?  A:  Hmmm – I think to be open to constructive criticism. This is a brutal business – one that has you pour all of your emotions into words, then stomps on it. You have to learn to take the feedback, no matter how painful, and incorporate it if you want to grow and succeed. With that said, you really need to dispassionately assess the feedback you receive. Know the provider and use the parts that address the CRAFT, not the subject. This is hard stuff to learn. Don’t let someone’s bias against your premise lead you to revise an entire manuscript that just needed more showing instead of telling!

4.  What was your writing journey? A:  I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but here goes: I queried my first novel (as of yet unsold) and received a number of requests for submittal, but it deals with a couple of really difficult subjects and to be honest, needs tons of work. At the same time I was sending that story out, I was working on Phasms. I saw a twitter pitch competition and threw something out there for the second book, never expecting to get a reply. Not only did I get a reply, it was followed by a request for full submittal, and then a 3 book contract from Julie Wingfield at Entranced. From first word of first book (which is undergoing major revisions) to 2nd book and a contract was only 6 months.

Unfortunately, Entranced closed it’s doors (rather suddenly). I’ve since decided to publish the Phasms series independently, and book 1 will be re-released on April 22nd (check my website at for more information and links to the book when available). The decision was a hard one to make, but the right choice for me at this time. Book 1 will have a new cover and a preview of book 2, which will be available later this summer.

5.  Give us a little sneak preview/sample of your book and tell us how we can get it!

For Kelsi Thomas, losing her husband at twenty-three seems like the worst thing that could happen—but living her dreams is even worse.

Kelsi always Knows when bad things are coming, but even she never thought she’d lose her husband at only twenty-three. Since he died, she’s been living her worst nightmare.

Her nights are filled with dreams of a Dark-Haired Man, but her days are full of guilt, because the Man fills her with longing and confusion, promising to give her all she needs, all she wants, all she feared she’d never have again.

If only the dreams would stay in her head where they belong.

Kelsi starts seeing the Dark-Haired Man in her waking life, shadowing her wherever she goes. And when her mysterious new neighbor, Aiden Hardt, knows about the Man in her dreams, Kelsi worries she can’t trust her own mind.

He’s not what he seems.

But even Aiden’s cryptic words don’t frighten her as much as the way she feels around him. Kelsi must sort through her emotions and figure out what’s real before she can ever hope to have a normal life again.

You can find Barbara at the following sites/locations:
Twitter: @bak229


Fast Five Lightning Round:

1.  Favorite vacation spot: Any beach, as long as there’s a Cabana Boy to bring me a drink
2.  Fav ice cream flavor: Salted Caramel
3.  Fav color: PURPLE, cuz I’m the QUEEN of all the THINGS!
4.  Fav animal: Dogs – definitely dogs
5.  Fav movie: man, that’s hard. Right now – probably Avatar.

2 Comments on “Take the Feedback, No Matter How Painful”: Q&A with Author Barbara Garren.

  • Barbara says:
    April 4, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Thanks so much for having me, Rori! I had fun with this and look forward to sharing more exiting developments on your blog. <3


  • Valerie Heller says:
    April 4, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Barbara Garren’s response to #3 adds a key caveat to the advice to “take the feedback no matter how painful.’ And it puts into words the lesson I learned from my latest critique. Because of the source, I almost took the criticism as gospel truth. I had already begun to re-imagine the story (which would have meant major changes to setting, characters, and plot events – a complete overhaul) when the lesson came. What I needed was not to rewrite the whole story, but to recommit to the story and do a better job of telling (showing) it! Thanks!


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