Friday, February 4, 2011

Interview with Barbara Freethy

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Barbara Freethy. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called AT HIDDEN FALLS. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I'd love to! AT HIDDEN FALLS is set in the fictional town of Angel's Bay which is on the California coast. The town is rich in legends and was founded by a group of gold rush shipwreck survivors in the 1850's. Community quilting is also big in town and a memorial quilt honoring the survivors plays into some of the story lines. This is the 4th book in the series but each one stands on it's own with a new central love story. So if you haven't read any of the books, feel free to jump in, you won't be lost, I promise!

This book features costume designer Isabella Silveira who comes to Angel's Bay after a relentless series of haunting dreams about the town and a shadowy man whose face she can't quite see -- until she runs her car off the side of the cliff and her rescuer looks a lot like her dream man. Sexy, guitar-playing architect Nick Hartley is not looking for love; he has his hands full trying to reconnect with his rebellious teenage daughter who has only recently re-entered his life. But Isabella is gorgeous with her turquoise-blue eyes that see way too much. And Nick is just the man Isabella has been dreaming about. Their pasts and present intertwine and the story eventually reveals why they were destined to meet.

AT HIDDEN FALLS is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Hidden Falls is an actual location in Angel's Bay, a beautiful waterfall tucked away in the hillside, and the popular trysting place holds quite a few secrets. So the title came from that.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I've been writing contemporary romance for more than a decade now. I love to write about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary adventures. My books are usually emotional with other family and friend relationships often influencing the love story. I love twists and turns. My goal is always to surprise the reader with something they hadn't quite expected.

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of this book?

I wish I could plot in advance! I know the basics, some of the key turning points, but the rest of it I create as I go along. I like telling myself the story while I'm writing it. I find too much pre-writing takes the joy out of it a little bit. Because I'm creating as I go, I do lots of drafts, and rewrite often. But I always feel some of my best ideas come out of the writing.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

I have researched the area where I've set Angel's Bay and in this book I also did a little reading on community theater as a family theater run by the hero's family is a big part of the story as well.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

My ideas always develop randomly. I knew that I wanted to bring one of the chief of police's sisters to town in this book. The chief is a continuing character who will have his own story in book 5, but that's where I came up with Isabella. I wanted her to be quirky and beautiful and interesting, and the fact that she has these unique eyes that are linked back to an ancient Mayan priestess just made her all that more fun to write.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

As I said above, I really enjoyed writing Isabella, but Nick also came alive and his eccentric theatrical family was a lot of fun.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I've done character sheets, but generally I just jot down notes about them as I begin and as I go along. How they speak, how they react in scenes changes as they get developed. I often feel like I don't really know them until I've written a couple of chapters.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I've been a big reader my entire life, so too many authors to count. In the contemporary world, I've always been a big fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristin Hannah, Nora Roberts.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I have no idea what promotion works. I tweet and facebook and blog but I don't really know what works. Maybe you all can tell me! (Hmmm. When I figure it out I'll be sure to let you know! KW)

What do we have to look forward next?

My next book is tentatively titled GARDEN OF SECRETS and it will be out in Oct. of 2011 and it will feature Charlotte, Joe, and Andrew, a little love triangle that's been growing throughout the series. That will probably be the end of Angel's Bay for a while, although I may come back, but I'm going to take one of my characters to a new location for his story.

I'm also busy putting some of my out of print backlist up on Kindle and the Nook. If you have an e-reader, you might check them out as some of them have great prices!

Thanks, Barbara!

To celebrate her book release, Barbara is offering a free trio of her first three Angel's Bay books, SUDDENLY ONE SUMMER, ON SHADOW BEACH and IN SHELTER COVE to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at where you can read an excerpt of AT HIDDEN FALLS

Buy from Amazon at


Kim Watters said...

Good morning Barbara. Thanks for joining us today. Your chocolate is a little frozen but it will be ready shortly. At Hidden Falls sounds very intriguing. I love contemporary stories with roots in the past. I also like knowing I'm not the only one who does multiple drafts and lets the characters develop as they go along. Enjoy your day.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Barbara. I enjoyed your interview. I love your books.

Barbara freethy said...

Hi Kim thanks for having me! And I love chocolate frozen or otherwise.

Hi Cryatal - So happy you've been enjoying my books!

Carolyn Hughey said...

Hi Barbara,

Good to have you here.

I started out writing as a panster, but quickly realized when I started writing mysteries, it just doesn't work that way--at least for me.

When you select characters, what ideas do you have ahead of time? Are they characters based on real people or are they bits and pieces of real people?

Will you be signing at the literacy signing in NY?

catslady said...

You had me at haunting dreams lol. I enjoyed hearing about the town and that it's real and your book sounds intriguing - a little bit of history mixed in with current day!

Barbara freethy said...

Hi Carolyn - it is harder to wing it with a mystery. I usually do more plotting with that part of the story. I will be signing in ny. Will you be there?

Cats lady Glad I got you at haunting dreams!

Estella said...

I love the Angel Bay series!

Carol Webb said...

What a great series. I can't wait to read your latest!

Shelley Mosley said...

The first book I read by you was Daniel's Gift. And I just kept reading--and loving--whatever you wrote. You rock, Barbara!

Barbara Freethy said...

Thanks for the interview Kim!

Shelley - So nice to see your name pop up. By the way, Daniel's Gift was just re-released in digital format. It's one of my favorite books, too!

Night all - thanks for stopping by. Hope you'll all check out AT HIDDEN FALLS and the other Angel's Bay books!