Sunday, December 1, 2013

Welcome Author Barbara Winkes!


Barbara Winkes

Author bio:
Barbara Winkes, a psychologist/trauma counselor, left her native Germany to live with her wife in Qu├ębec City. Her debut novel Autumn Leaves and the follow-up, Winter Storm, published by Eternal Press, tell the love story between two women in a small town, where neighbors take an interest in the life of others. Part three of the romance series, Spring Fever, is coming early 2014.
New in the fall of 2013 is the standalone thriller Secrets.
Brief synopsis of your book:
Disillusioned with the direction her life is going, Marsha Taylor wants to get away, to find out what’s left of her dreams. Picking up a hitchhiker along the way wasn’t her intention, but Jessie, a woman with troubles of her own, is hard to resist.

A mishap on the road forces them to make a stop in a small town called Diamond Lake. Residents are on edge since a brutal murder happened in the area not long ago. Everyone has their secrets…some of them are deadly.

Book title: Secrets

Sophie couldn’t sleep. Part of that was her own fault, a coffee late in the evening, reading articles about the murder online, checking her usual sources. She stayed in the chat room for a while, but there was no answer from her partner in crime-solving.
When she’d driven into Wilson, the air was already heavier and more humid, the sky darkening. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Clad in only a shirt and panties, she got up, walking into her daughter’s room. Laura was fast asleep. She’d slept through a thunderstorm before, unlike her mother who jerked awake at the slightest sound. Sophie went back to her own bedroom, flinching when the lightning bolt cut through the black night sky. There was no breeze to cool down the stuffy air inside these walls. The storm was still far away, and she wished for her colleagues of the night shift that they wouldn’t have to go out. Normally, even annoying teenagers would like to stay in during weather like this. They weren’t the only ones out there though.
There was someone who had slashed the women’s tires today. In Wilson, it was another hectic night for the locals and the federal agents in search of a brutal killer. Sophie felt exhausted, and useless. She thought of Mark who was so determined to rise through the ranks. If she hadn’t been so eager to get out of Wilson, she might be working with the Feds now. Alice had gone to the same high school, a few years before Sophie, so she hadn’t known her. Still, this was another thing they had in common, she and the victim. Her thoughts kept circling around her.
Alice had been eager to get out of Wilson as well. She had left for college and never looked back--until the killer found her.
The water Sophie had gotten herself earlier had gone stale in the plastic bottle. She took a sip, frowning. She needed to get up in a little over five hours, no point in torturing herself with thoughts of Hamel’s last moments. She wasn’t going to make a contribution by falling asleep at her desk tomorrow.

Current book or project you’re working on:
At the moment, I’m writing my NaNoWriMo project (a political novel, about 52 K in). Secrets is my latest release.
What moment or event sparked the inspiration for your novel?
I was in the mood to write something fast-paced, different from the slowly developing romance/attraction theme I had written before, and those characters just came to me.
Please share three interesting facts about the characters in your book.
1) The main character and love interest are women, but we get to see the POV of others as well. There’s also a straight romance subplot.
2) The main characters have both been trying to escape challenges and confrontations, but will be faced with a life-or-death situation where they have to use every skill and strength available to them.
3) As the title says, everyone has secrets…
Who is the most complex character from your current novel?
I tried to make everyone as complex and mysterious as possible. Who’s with the good guys, who’s bad, what are their motives?
Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?
Marsha came out later in life which at some point was true for me, though I was about ten years younger (mid-twenties, which still felt somewhat “later” to me). If you take aside the subject of the serial killer in the story, it’s about having to grow with challenges that come your way, so I think we all have had a similar experience at one time.
If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
James Patterson, Tess Gerritsen, J.M. Redmann, because they have created some of my all-time favorite characters in the thriller/mystery genre. Of course, that would be pretty scary too.
What genre and age group does your book fall into?
It’s definitely not a children’s book. I started reading this kind of books at the age of 13-14, but I think anything above would be fine.
What is the first book you remember reading, that affected how you thought or felt about something?
One of the first books I remember reading was about a young witch-in-training who constantly did good and had to learn that it wasn’t what her clan had intended her to be. Moral of the story--take a critical look at the rules…That was a very early experience. Later on I loved a YA mystery series with a character named Jill Graham, which was clearly a step in defining some of my tastes as an adult reader. I had quite a crush!
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) In the thriller/mystery genre: The ones named above, because they have defined the genre for me.
2) Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the most chilling dystopian books ever.
3) Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft have not only adapted Women’s Murder Club for TV, they have also written YA novels about the lives of four female friends after high school. I think the portrayal of female friendship is extremely important to do away with some stereotypes.
Have you ever read a book you couldn’t finish reading?
Yes. I try not to do that, but if I don’t connect with the characters (which isn’t necessarily the author’s fault--we can’t like everyone and everything), I find it hard to get into the story.
Do you read a book, while you are writing a book?
Several. I’m a bit mortified to admit that, because I used to be better at reading one after the other. One of the books at the moment is “Right Wing Women” by Andrea Dworkin. I like to read about all the facets of feminism, and it goes well with my current writing project.
The process:
How many books have you written?
At the moment, 3 are published, another one coming early 2014 (Spring Fever, part 3 of my lesbian romance series), and there are more in various stages from “first draft done” to “almost ready to submit”.
Which book is your favourite and why?
Obviously, one loves all their kids…but Autumn Leaves, my debut novel, literally made a dream come true on which everything else is building, so this one is special to me.
Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write?
I have my morning rituals, and I choose music for my stories (I mostly listen when I’m not writing though)--but mostly I just sit down and write. I try to get most of my daily count done before noon.
What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Finishing it.
2) Staying away from other ideas that inevitably pop up when you want to concentrate on one project. I’ve learned that they will still be there when you get back to them.
3) Summer heat.
What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer?
Write, write, write. Even before I was published, I tried to come up with a regular word count, develop a discipline. Read submission guidelines carefully and make sure to follow each of them before hitting send. Even after your books are out there, it’s important to keep going. The whole process is exciting, launch day, rankings etc., but there’s always another story to be written.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to ‘overcome’?
I do. When it happens, I have to look carefully at what caused it--sometimes, after writing a lot, I have to read a few books to get the flow back. Sometimes, writing through it does the trick, or simply stepping away from the computer for a bit.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?
Learn and listen a lot, take away what works for you. And write a lot.
What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
Plunging into a new story. Emotional scenes.
What part of the process becomes the most critical for you?
Wrapping up all the loose ends. That’s usually the point where temptation comes in and I could start 3 or 4 other stories.
How long does it usually take for you to complete a book?
That depends, but 2-3 months can work for a first rough draft.
Do you have any ideas for your book and Hollywood? Actors, directors, music.
As for the director, Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise, Nashville) would be my first choice, because she has done great stories with complex female characters. For the music, Kelly Clarkson. I think Kelli Giddish would be great as Marsha.
Which book to movie conversion is your favourite?
The Hunger Games for movies, but I love the TV show Women’s Murder Club based on the James Patterson novels.
Do you watch a lot of science fiction or fantasy movies?
Actually no. I’m more a fan of a contemporary setting, but I like some dystopian (like The Hunger Games, or Dollhouse and Dark Angel for TV shows).
Do you study science, the planets, history, or anything special to help you with your writing?
I have a Master’s in psychology and taken classes in trauma therapy. I also read about Women’s Studies and politics a lot. Beyond that, I research other subjects in whatever depth I need them in my stories.
What, who, and when first inspired you to write?
Family. My parents read to me a lot when I was little, and my sister wrote some, so I couldn’t wait to be able to read and make up my own stories!
Personal info:
Drink – Hot water. Sex on the Beach.
Food – Italian
Vacation – Paris, Rome
TV show – Women's Murder Club
Movie – Murder By Numbers
Animal – Dachshund, Siamese Cat
Sport – Really?
Book – Too many to name.
Comedy – The Golden Girls
Struggle - Accepting limitations…

How can people connect with you?
Twitter: @demeter94

Where can readers find your book?
Secrets on Amazon:
Amazon author page:

Eternal Press author page:

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