Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spotlight in Six - Barbara McMahon

This month's spotlight is with Barbara McMahon, whose latest release, The Pregnancy Promise, features a unique twist on the twin relationship!

Thanks for joining us, Barbara!

Where do you find new and fresh ideas?

Hard to answer--everywhere. I had the inspiration for DADDY AND DAUGHTERS from seeing a really cute young man with a toddler. No wife in evidence. Another--ONE STUBBORN COWBOY is about a crippled rodeo rider. I got that idea when I came out of the supermarket one day and say a rugged cowboy sitting in a truck in a handicap space--wheelchair in the back. Sometimes a song, a picture, or just by watching people.

Writers often use photos of celebrities as “casting”. Do you do this, and who has inspired some of your characters?

No, I usually picture them in my mind. Once finished a book, sometimes I’ll look for a photo that matches what I’ve envisioned to send to the art department. They rarely use them, however, and most of the time I don’t recognize the people on the cover as the same as the way I imagined the hero and heroine to look.

What are your favourite and least favourite parts of writing a novel? Is there a particular section that you struggle with?

I love starting and ending a novel. It’s so exciting to begin the story and get to know the character and start the conflict and motivation part. But the middle always slows me down. I know where I want to go, but getting there sometimes is a chore. I write linearly so don’t jump around. That’s part of what drives me, I want to get to scenes I’ve seen in my head and have to transition to get there. Friends who write scenes as they come and then put them together later are a marvel to me. I’d have all the fun with the scenes I really liked and then skip the transitions, which, for me, would mean no book.

When you are not writing, what do you do? How do you pamper yourself?

I’m very involved in our county’s (rural county) genealogy group and in the Daughters of the American Revolution. I love researching family history, whether it’s mine or someone else’s. A friend of mine and I are also transcribing all the old tombstones in our historic cemeteries. (We live in Gold Rush country in California.) There are no records for those old cemeteries and the stones are wearing out fast. We are capturing what we can, mapping them, so future genealogists can find ancestors buried in our county.

My idea of a pampered day is to sleep late, like 8 o’clock which is late for me. Have a nice breakfast on the deck, and then sit in a comfy chair and read. I don’t read much while writing, so between projects, I read constantly.

Imagine you’re stranded - where are you and who are you with?

I’d love to be stranded on a deserted island in the middle of a tropical sea, with plenty of food and water. I’d have my family there with me, especially my adorable grandchildren, and maybe a couple of good friends. I’d also want pad and pencil as I can’t be away from writing for too long without needing to jot down ideas and notes.

Finally, Barbara, please tell us what’s up and coming for you in the months ahead!

This month’s book, (June) THE PREGNANCY PROMISE, is the first of two linked books. In July, PARENTS IN TRAINING will be published. The heroines of the books are twins. I love twin stories and am fascinated with how two people can look alike and be different.

I’m currently working on another book that will be out early next year but the title and pub dates haven’t been set. That one I’m calling Baby Lost, Baby Found. After that I’m writing about a fabulously wealthy Greek playboy and a woman who returns to Greece to find her family. And then I’m doing a book about a hot air balloon race across Spain. I have plenty to keep me busy over the next months.

If you want a chance to win Barbara's June book, THE PREGNANCY PROMISE, just send an e-mail to hrablog@hotmail.com with the subject line of Barbara and we'll do the draw at the end of the month!

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