Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Interview with #1NYT bestselling author and personal favorite Barbara Delinsky––"Since life is always changing, the muse changes as well, and fresh new stories result. What I write next year depends on what happens in my life and the world this year. It’s pretty exciting, when you think of it."

On Quinnipeague, hearts open under the summer stars and secrets float in the Sweet Salt Air...
Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole's coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. 

Early praise For Sweet Salt Air
RT Book Reviews Names Sweet Salt Air a Mainstream Fiction “Top Pick”
RT Book Reviews gives Sweet Salt Air their highest Gold “Phenomenal” rating.  “Delinsky captures the magic of coastal Maine in this beautifully written book about friendship and redemption.  The characters are engaging and their various plights believable.  The drama of betrayal, the tension of risk and the triumph of friendship play out in a setting that is a character in itself.  A fantastic summer read!”
Praise for Ms. Delinsky’s work;
“Delinsky combines her understanding of human nature with absorbing, unpredictable storytelling—a winning combination.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Secrets Between Us
"Delinsky has a knack for exploring the battlefields of contemporary life.” —Kirkus Reviews on Not My Daughter
“Delinsky does a wonderful and realistic job portraying family dynamics.” —Library Journal on While My Sister Sleeps
“A writer who continues to earn her bestseller status." —Bookreporter.com on Escape
“Delinsky never fails to entertain.” —RT Book Reviews on The Summer I Dared

Barbara Welcome to my blog to one of my all time favorite storytellers.
What kind words!  Thanks for inviting me here, Deb.  I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to chat.

Tell us a bit about Sweet Salt Air.
Sweet Salt Air is as sensual a book as I’ve written in years – sensual in the broadest sense of the word.  Think of the five senses.  Our first view of Quinnipeague, the fictitious island where Sweet Salt Air takes place, is from the sea, and it’s a gorgeous sight.  Throughout the story, we hear the roll of the surf and the screeeee of gulls, we taste the fresh island food that is the basis for the cookbook Charlotte and Nicole are compiling.  We smell that food, along with herbs, flowers, and – of course – salt air.   And we feel skin.  Yes, this book is sexual a well.  There’s a love story here – two actually – that readers will adore.

Barbara you’ve released over 30 fictional novels and one non-fiction book. I’ve enjoyed most of the fiction and am amazed at how fresh each one seems when I read it.   How do you keep the muse going?
My eyes and ears are always open to new things that are happening in the world.  For instance, when each of my grandkids was born, my sons and daughters-in-law had the babies’ umbilical cord blood frozen.  Seeing that little box in the hospital room waiting to be transfered to a blood bank got my mind working about the possibilities for its use.  Sweet Salt Air is the result.
Since life is always changing, the muse changes as well, and fresh new stories result.  What I write next year depends on what happens in my life and the world this year.  It’s pretty exciting, when you think of it.

You don’t usually pull punches with your characters; it’s what makes them so real to your fans and me.  Why not give everyone a happy ending?
That would be unrealistic, and if there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s writing a realistic book.  Life doesn’t always have happy endings.  I learned this at the age of eight, when my mother died of breast cancer.  That said, her death made me the person I am today, which is hard-working and optimistic.  Okay.  Some things aren’t meant to be.  But I do believe that HEA can be achieved more often than we think.  Not all the time.  But pretty close.

Of all of your novels that I’ve read (which is most of them) I think my favorite is Family Tree and that’s not to say that the rest weren’t fabulous, it’s just that this one particular one really stuck with me.  Do you have a favorite?
How to answer that?  My books are my babies, and I can’t pick between my sons!  I love each of my books for something special in them – the mother-daughter relationship in For My Daughters, the emotional tug of Flirting With Pete, my identifying with the heroine in Escape, and, of course, the vividness of the senses in Sweet Salt Air. 

Speaking of your prolificacy–does release day still affect you the way the first one did?
Actually, no.  The first few times I waited eagerly and rushed to every store in the area to see my books on the shelves.  Now I don’t.  I don’t dare.  Experience has taught me that my books may not be displayed front and center, that there may be fewer copies than I want, or, worse, none!  And online?  Oh, the book is always for sale there, but we live in an age where readers have a forum to vent every little gripe – and come release day, those little gripes appear in the form of reviews.  One bad review out of twenty good ones will devastate me.  So I don’t read reviews at all, which means avoiding the web as well.
I do feel a certain relief on release day.  I spend the weeks preceding it writing blogs, posting on Facebook and Twitter to build excitement, and responding to Q&As like this one.  Once release day comes, that’s done and I can focus on the next book, which I’ve already begun.  It’s always about the next book.

Authors face special publishing challenges today like never before.  If you were contacted by an aspiring author what one piece of advice to survive “publishing your book” would you give them?
I’m no expert on options that are available today, but there is one piece of advice that is timeless:  Just do it!  Try every outlet you can find.  Do not let that book sit in a desk drawer where no one at all can read it.  Some of the most successful books in recent years were rejected multiple times before they hit it big.
For what it’s worth, I was kicked out of Honor English in high school because I “couldn’t keep up.”  Had I let that get me down, I wouldn’t be writing this note to you now!

Speaking of challenges today for authors. How important do you think social media is for “selling your brand” or is it mostly for entertainment?
Some people, some businesses swear by social media. Me, I’m too busy writing and reading and being with family and friends to use social media for personal connections, but I have an active website and a huge Facebook following, and I do love connecting with readers through these. 

You know first hand the dangers of being closely related to a breast cancer victim, your one non-fiction book is about it (which all the proceeds go to your charitable foundation), you mentioned that you wish you had a book like Uplift when you were diagnosed.  What was your light at the end of the tunnel during your treatment?
The full name of that book is UPLIFT: Secrets From the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors, and the proceeds have to date funded eight years of a breast surgery fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.  How awesome is that???
As for the light at the end of my tunnel, it was actually my diagnosis itself.  I had been waiting for breast cancer to strike and, when it finally did, it was totally treatable.  I have early detection to thank for that.  Mammography is a wonder.  Any woman who puts it off because she doesn’t want five seconds of discomfort should consider the alternative.  I saw it when I was eight and, trust me, five seconds of physical discomfort is nothing compared to the pain of that loss.  

You’ve written exclusively in the contemporary genre.  Can you see yourself ever dipping your creative toes in another?

So it’s time to pick up the laptop/tablet/pen? Where is your “writing cave”?
Right here where I am now, the room above our garage.  It’s a big room with windows front and back and skylights overhead.  I have a large U-shaped desk with tons of surface space for notes and research volumes.  And behind me?  A corked wall with pix of family and friends.  They have my back.  Literally.

Barbara, thank you so much for taking the time to let us into your world.  Will there be any events or signings for this release?
No formal tour.  That’ll be done online.  Since I do breast cancer events throughout the year, I won’t do any big events now, especially with Sweet Salt Air coming out in June.  This is vacation time for me – but also for my readers.  Sweet Salt Air being emotional, engrossing, and entertaining, is the perfect beach book.  So I’m hoping that my readers will be reading.  Period.

Thanks for these thought-provoking questions, Deb.  Be well.

Visit Barbara's website here

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  1. Lovely interview and such great questions! Thanks ladies, Sweet Salt Air sounds like the perfect beach read.

    1. Thanks Kim, it's never hard to come up with questions that I think readers would ask because I'm first and foremost a reader too.