I caught Barbara Elsborg in a few of her spare moments and asked her to answer some questions about her work, herself, one of the men in her life and some things you may not know from her bio.
Hi, Barbara. Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview. To start off, let me ask this: What's something your readers may not know about you?
I hate shopping for anything – food, clothes etc. I don’t like jewelry. I don’t even wear a wedding ring. I am the most difficult person to buy for in the world which is why my husband once gave me grocery story vouchers for Christmas. Twice actually. Well, that was better than the chain saw or the electric screwdriver of the previous two years. But I am married to a guy who LOVES shopping especially if he can find a bargain.
You've written so many books with wonderful characters. Which are your favorite female and male characters from your books and why?
My favorite is a guy called Charlie – in ‘Strangers’ – which came out with Ellora’s Cave in December. Charlie is a rock star turned actor whose life is out of control. He’s on a downward spiral of drugs, drink and sex. I like him because he’s so damaged but loveable with it. The story is a journey of self-discovery for Charlie and for the heroine. It makes me cry when I read it. It’s the best thing I’ve written.
My favorite heroine is Jo, my werewolf in ‘Falling for you’. I think because she makes me laugh. She was the first alpha female I’d written. I tend to go for the slightly quirky, clumsy women and while Jo is that too, she’s also very courageous.
Now let's turn to the dark side. Who's your favorite villain and why?
I’ve noticed that with each book I write – paranormals in particular – the villains seem to get a bigger and bigger role. I know that not all readers like that. But the one thing about my stories that is important to me is that they aren’t just a series of strung together sex scenes. I want a plot, I want strong character development, I want humor, I want realistic dialogue. That’s what I like to read and what I like to write. Bad guys of course are far more interesting.
I think my favorite very bad guy is Jack- in a story not yet published – a suspense. He kidnaps Kate and takes her on a nightmare cross-country journey, even going so far as to snatch a child and pretend he’s the son Kate thought had died. Jack is evil. He’s the most comprehensive portrait of a villain I’ve attempted but it does make this a rather dark book. It’s called ‘Chosen’ – but it awaits discovery.
Your readers may not be aware that many of your books have connections to others. Can you tell us which books are series or companion books, and how they are related?
‘Perfect Timing’ was my first published book, about Jake who has a pain-in-the-neck brother called Adrian. I felt Adrian needed some closure so I wrote ‘Something About Polly’ which is his story. The two books are stand-alones but it would make sense to read them in order.
I introduced a character called Jax toward the end of ‘Something About Polly’ and he is one of the heroes in ‘Anna in the Middle’. Similarly I have a character called Edward at the end of ‘Anna in the Middle’ who I intended to give his own story – but haven’t yet got around to it! But the connections in these are more for fun than anything else. I did have an email from a reader asking who’d bought Polly the flowers in ‘Something About Polly’ and the answer is in ‘Anna in the Middle.’
But it’s the paranormals for Loose-Id that are connected. I don’t think of them as a series because they all stand alone. There is no requirement to read one to understand another. I prefer to read books that don’t rely on having read others so that’s what I write too.
‘The Consolation Prize’ is the first book that introduces a member of the Trueblood vampire family. Luka is the hero. His brother Alek features in ‘Falling for you’ and their sister Erin is the heroine in ‘Lightning in a Bottle.’ I hinted at the end of that there were other family members and the first is shown in ‘The Misfits’ – Dominic is one of the heroes in this story. I’m currently working on Rhyl’s tale, Dominic’s twin brother, in what I’ve tentatively called ‘Remember Me’. I don’t know if there will be any more. My editor suggested I should wrap up this group of stories with a big reunion
We've talked about your books, now let's talk about you. I guess the standard first question is usually: When did you start writing?
My first real memories of writing were in my teens – when I filled notebooks with fan fiction. I was a TV addict and a movie expert. Now I rarely watch either. I still have the 200 or so stories I wrote. My first serious writing started when I’d left university. I wrote about a girl who was abused by her step-father and ran away to New York only to be snagged by a mafia boss and then seduced by his son. It’s a rip-roaring tale of sex, drugs and violence and lies at the bottom of the closet for when I need a good laugh.
Sometime back, you shared "20 Things About Me" with your co-bloggers on Take it to the Stars. I found it very amusing. (Understatement!) Would you mind if I share the link with your readers?
Yep that’s fine.
Thank you. Click to read 20 Things About Me.
I understand there's a new man in your life named Winston? Please tell us about your latest love. And do you have a photo you can share?
I told the kids they couldn’t have a dog so the moment my son left home, he bought one and now we get to look after it.
Oh, he's completely adorable, Barbara. (And by the way, I think I recognize that t-shirt in the photo as one that Will was wear in DOING THE RIGHT THING, yes?)
Oooh, well spotted. Yes, that IS the T-shirt out of DTRT!
Some of your peers know you by your nickname, Flick. Where did you acquire that nick?
I called my heroine in ‘Digging Deeper’ by the nickname Flick. Short for Felicity. Digging Deeper, out in January with Cerridwen Press [see earlier announcement], is actually the first romance I ever wrote. Flick is the most trouble-prone character I’ve created. Not like me at all of course. Hmmm. But the tanning booth incident did happen to me though I didn’t laugh at the time.
I joined Critique Circle and needed a nickname and thought I might as well use Flick from the story I needed critiquing and it’s stuck. Partly because I’m too stupid to work out how to change it on my Google account. Still, I like it!
Thanks, Barbara, for answering a few questions. I'm sure we'll be back with more soon.
If you'd like to ask Barbara Elsborg a question, scroll down to the post titled ASK THE AUTHOR and post your question as a comment. She may answer you directly or her response might turn up in a future interview.
Thanks for tuning in. Watch for the next interview where Barbara discusses some of the fun details behind THE RIGHT novels--DOING THE RIGHT THING (re-release) and FINDING THE RIGHT ONE, both coming in January 2010.
Be sure to stop back tomorrow for the cover unveiling of FINDING THE RIGHT ONE!