Featured Romance Author
By Robert L. Hall
Since 1990, Barbara Christopher has been writing romances, finishing seven manuscripts for projected books, before she ďGot the callĒ from ImaJinn Books. They wanted to publish her latest work, Keeper of the Key. In November of 2001, the novel began to show up on bookshelves. Barbara, who had published newsletter articles and some poems, was now a novelist. Her family and friends had told her prior to this that happiness is doing what you love, not receiving rewards. Nevertheless, after over ten years of writing in the field, she was elated.
And why not?
She had done her groundwork well, attending writerís conferences: North to Chicago, IL, South to New Orleans, LA, East to Washington, D.C., West to Los Angeles, CA and many places in between. Back in 1990, about the time she started writing, the River City chapter of the Romance Writerís of America was forming. They had their organizational meeting in April, but Barbara didnít find out about them until September of that year. Sheís been a member ever since, holding the offices of Secretary, Treasurer, President and member at large.
Support, support, support.
ďRiver City is a support group. Without their help and guidance, I would never have been published. The programs they have monthly offer advice and encouragement. This is the only organization I know of that trains its members to take the jobs they themselves are fighting to keep,Ē she told me recently.
Barbara, what got you interested in writing in the first place?
I wrote poems for years, then one day I picked up a legal pad-I mean the l-o-n-g one, and started putting down a story that had been bugging me. Nine legal pads later it was finished. (I didnít own a computer at the time). That novel never made it into print nor did the next one, although it was done on a computer. I write romances because they let you deal with emotions that other genres try to hide and no matter what the situation, there is always a happy ending. A true romance (Bridges of Madison County is not a true romance) never varies from this. Itís what is expected. Weaving the tale and making it look as if there is no chance for a happy ending, and making it happen anyway is what makes writing a romance so rewarding.
I like flawed characters that can laugh at their mistakes. I hope my characters are intelligent, determined and lovable despite their faults.
Tell us about the historical society you belong to.
I belong to the Bartlett Historical Society, a small group of people who want our history to live. They compile the history of the past and keep records of the history we are making now. This offers great research opportunities. If this isnít done, those that come after us will have little to go on to understand what life was like for us. We are the current history. A hundred years from now people will wonder how we lived.
What is Keeper of the Key about?
Keeper of the Key starts in 1836. The hero is about to enter into a marriage of convenience to fulfill a promise he made to his godsonís father. Before he is married, however, he is transported to the future where he falls in love with the heroine. Only, he canít stay with her, as his godson is still in the past and the hero must return to his own time to save the godson. He loves him as if he were his own child.
Can you give us a few lines from it?
Surely. From page 130 is this:
Cautiously, Caleb flattened his hand on the roof and traced a line over the contour of the cold slick surface. One step at a time, he moved around to the back. A row of silver letters spelled out M-u-s-t-a-n-g.
A smile tugged at his lips. This was definitely a horse of a different kind. Black and cold as ice, but just as slick as a well-groomed stallion. Caleb rubbed each letter and continued to examine the outside. Becci had looked good sitting on the seat, but the area seemed too crowded for two people.
I get it. Heís seeing a car for the first time, as opposed to the mode of transportation in his day, which would be a horse, right?
Correct! This paragraph shows that Caleb isnít afraid to explore strange new things
-- an attitude that is truly needed if he is to survive in a time so different from his own. It also gives a hint that he didnít like the fact that Becci, the heroine, was in such tight confines with another man.
What else are you working on now? Bet itís a romance--right?
I am currently working on a paranormal time-travel where the hero starts out as a ghost and the heroine must go to the past to save him. The heroine renovates homes and resells them. Her twin sister is accused of murder and the evidence to clear her name is hidden in the house the heroine has just renovated, but before they can find it the heroine is pulled into the past. Now she must save the hero and return to the future in time to save her sister from being found guilty of murder.
So, whatís your routine like when you write, Barbara?
I love to write. When I sit down at my computer, I become absorbed in the story that unfolds before me. I might be creating it, but it never fails to amaze me that the words just seem to flow onto the pages. I can literally become so absorbed in my work that hours pass without me knowing and suddenly my husband is home and the coffee we share every afternoon isnít readyÖthatís when I know the book is going great.
I have three books going at the moment. Iím revising a western historical which I will be submitting to Dorchester, Iím working on Passages of Salhaven, my next paranormal time travel, and I have outlined a third time-travel that I will work on once Iíve finished the other two projects.
Ten years to get one book into print. Many writers feel that with all the rejections and setbacks they receive, why should they continue to write? What do you think?
Itís true you have to be thick-skinned to be a writer, but writing is not something I can stop doing. I write because the stories need to be told. I donít know where the stories come from but I do know that I was born to write because when Iím writing thatís when I can truly let go. When that happens, Iíve at least accomplished something that not many people can do. I started with one line and continued until I finished a complete story.
© 2002 Robert L. Hall, All Rights Reserved