Barbara Ellen Brink is the author of nine novels, supported financially by a loving husband who just happens to have a better paying job. Her earlier career involved raising two kids, making sure the dog got let out, the dinner was cooked, her husband was happy, and life ran smoothly in the Brink household. She also worked off and on at her husband’s CPA office as a bookkeeper/receptionist/gopher until she succumbed to her muse and stayed home to write.
She grew up on a small farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota with her husband and their dogs, Rugby & Willow. With her kids now pushed out of the nest and encouraged to fly, Barbara spends much time writing, motorcycling with her husband in the summer, and hiking through the snow with the dogs in the winter.
What inspires you to write?
Inspiration can come with a segment on the morning news or a conversation overheard at a restaurant. I started writing my Fredrickson Winery Novels after a visit to my childhood neighborhood in Washington State and seeing how the land had gone from desert and small fruit farms to vineyards and wineries at every turn. Inspiration is fleeting. Perseverance and hard work is what turns an idea into a great story.
Tell us about your writing process.
I try to write in the mornings and afternoons when the house is quiet and there are no interruptions. I get my email, blogging, and other things out of the way first and then settle in to work on my current book. I usually have a very sketchy story plan or idea in my head and just start writing. I’m a fly by the seat of your pants type of writer, and not much of an outline person, but I do use a whiteboard to keep track of names, timelines, etc.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I think a good fiction writer has to actually become his characters in his head. When I’m writing in a certain character’s point of view, I am that character. I imagine what it feels like to be them. What they like, how they react in any situation, what motivates them. Sort of like an actor on stage… pretending is what fiction writing is all about.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write, write, and write some more. Experts say that to learn a skill you need to have at least 10,000 hours of practice. With writing, the practice never ends. You are always striving to be better.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I chose to self-publish my first Fredrickson Winery Novel in 2010, because I was tired of hearing that I was a good writer but… no agents were taking on new writers without publishing credentials. It was the age old conundrum, “I can’t get credentials without being published and I can’t get published without credentials.”
I’m glad I decided to strike out on my own, but it’s not for everyone. There are a lot of skills besides writing that you will need to learn to survive.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it is moving irrevocably toward digital only. But I think publishing will still be strong as long as people continue to enjoy great stories.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
mystery, Christian suspense, young adult, thriller
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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