…writes the kind of stories that she loves to read: contemporary romantic comedies fraught with amusing complications and taut sexual tension between a likeable heroine worth rooting for and an alluring hero worth the trouble of falling for.
A lifelong storyteller in one form or another, Barbara is an accomplished, award-winning writer. She also enthusiastically admits to being a pop culture junkie, with a weakness for reality TV, timeless rom coms, and any smartly-written show, book, movie or Tweet that makes her laugh out loud.
Barbara thanks her lucky stars that she has the kind of blissful existence that her characters can only dream about reaching before the last page.
How would you describe your writing?
I write contemporary romantic comedy about relatable people in relatable situations. It’s what I know best, what I do best and what I enjoy reading the most.
Your first book was The Company She Keeps in 2011, which you’ve recently re-published. Why do you have a soft spot for it?
The Company She Keeps was a personal challenge sparked by NaNoWriMo to write a 50,000+ word book inside of 30 days. It took a year of refining to get it fit for submission, but I was very fortunate to find a publishing house that fell in love with the story and took a chance on me.
In a nutshell, Harper is the glue that holds her dysfunctional workplace together. But her super-strength adhesion is tested when she’s pulled between the endless demands of a boss who needs her and the charms of an irresistible client who wants her. The office romance is a twist on the forbidden relationship trope inside a dysfunctional “love” triangle.
What do you love most about Morning Man?
I love the electricity between Tack and Dayna, and writing from each of their POVs as I turned the screw on them was great fun. It was also fulfilling to watch these characters grow. Honestly, everything just fell into place so easily and naturally as they each told their stories and that made the book a joy to write.
What inspired Morning Man?
I worked in radio for six years; the first year was spent at a country radio station. And when I say it was country, it was Country – not only did we play the likes of Reba and Garth, the station was located on the outskirts of town in a wheat field! I kid you not. Working with big voices and even bigger on-air personas with names like “Too Loud McLeod” was a great foundation for the rest of my career. That unforgettable time in radio planted a seed that would germinate into a book years later.
What can you tell us about your latest book, Déjà You?
I am intrigued by the notion of destiny, so I wanted to write a story about lovers who get a second chance at love – you know, all that juicy rediscovering, reconnecting and rekindling. But I wanted my heroine and hero to connect on a deeper level – as if their years apart only made their attraction mature and intensify into something that has the potential to go the distance. I wanted them to appreciate being given a second chance and realize that maybe destiny had a hand in it.
Read any good books lately? Which authors do you admire?
Once I discover an author I like, I tend to dive into the deep end of their body of work, so recently I’ve picked up several titles by Jasmine Guillory , Taylor Jenkins Reid and Helen Hoang. I also loved The Editor by Steven Rowley, a clever story about a young writer whose first-published book is being edited by a fictionalized version of Jackie Onassis. It is divinely crafted and dialogue-driven, which really floats my boat. Above all, I adore the works of Nora Ephron. She is the G.O.A.T. of contemporary romantic comedy and I have devoured all of her essays, just trying to soak up some of her genius.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?
I have this quote from Richard Bach taped to my computer screen: “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”