Today I'm Bloggin' with Barbara Longley:
Updated: May 17, 2018
In my debut Blog we are excited to have with us award winning author Barbara Longley. Barbara has a new Celtic Romance novel, TANGLED IN TIME that was released in October.
While growing up, award winning, Amazon bestselling author Barbara Longley moved frequently, learning early on how to entertain herself with stories. Adulthood didn’t tame her peripatetic ways. She has lived on an Appalachian commune, taught on an Indian reservation, and traveled the country from coast to coast. After having children of her own, she decided to try staying put. Now she splits her time between Minnesota, and the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Barbara holds a master’s degree in special education and taught for many years. She enjoys exploring all things mythical, paranormal and everything newsworthy, channeling what she learns into her writing. Ms. Longley is a longstanding member of Romance Writers of America, (RWA).
Welcome to my Blog Barbara and Thank you for joining us! I loved your book it was a smart, fun read, great especially for these cold months ahead! Please tell us about your newest romance:
Right now I’m focusing on tying up a few loose ends. I just completed a prequel to my four book Love from the Heartland, Perfect, Indiana series. (Contemporary, small town romance with military elements.) CLOSE TO PERFECT tells the tale of the post Civil War founders of Perfect, Indiana, the fictional town where all the stories take place. Tobias Lovejoy and Mary Stewart, who have both suffered traumas due to the war, head west to escape their nightmares, and find their HEA on the way.
I’m currently working on the third book in my Haney’s series. Josey is the middle child in the Haney trio, and she’s a journeyman plumber working for the family business. Her story, WHAT MATTERS MOST, has a “Pride and Prejudice” theme to it, and the love interest is a high powered lawyer who is having second thoughts about his chosen profession.
I know you have written a couple other series both Celtic and Contemporary Romance. Is TANGLED IN TIME going to be part of a series? If so what is the vision for the series?
Yep. Once I’m done with the above, I’ll write two more books in the McCarthy Sisters’ trilogy. The first, TANGLED IN TIME, is out now. The second will be Grayce’s love story, called FORGOTTEN IN TIME, and the third of course will be Meredith’s, but I haven’t come up with a title yet. For now, the working title is TIME ENOUGH. All three are Celtic fantasy romances, including the Tuatha Dé Danann (fae), magic and time travel. Two include ghostly encounters as well. All three McCarthy sisters have special abilities, but Grayce’s don’t involve seeing or communing with the dead. She has visions of things to come.
While your book had a heart warming love story and some steamy sex scenes, it also had some heavy topics, especially about the space-time continuum. We would love to hear how you get ideas for your material?
I’m a nerd. I read a ton, and I watch a lot of science documentaries. I find the differing theories regarding time and the universe/universes fascinating.
Tangled in time is a Celtic Romance, you also have another Celtic Romance series. How did you do research for the setting of these books?
I should share a picture of my book shelf! I have at least twenty books about Celtic legend and mythology, along with Irish and Scottish histories, clan histories, and I visited Ireland and Scotland twice. The second time I visited Ireland, I went to many sites specific to TANGLED IN TIME. I also took Gaeilge language classes at our local community education center. Since TANGLED IN TIME came out, I’ve had readers in Ireland reach out to me through my website to correct a few grammatical errors, while soothing the sting of embarrassment by telling me I also got a lot right. The Irish language is difficult to learn.
Regan McCarthy, the main character in your novel, is a yoga instructor, does that stem from active interest or an inert fascination?
I did yoga regularly years ago, but with working full time and raising two children on my own, I let that practice go. When I transitioned out of teaching and into writing full time, I got back into the practice. I absolutely love yoga! I do hatha and restorative yoga these days. It keeps me limber and less injury prone, and it also helps with balance. The meditation aspect also really helps release creativity too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve solved plot issues while I’m supposed to be still in mind and body.
My Blog is for writers as well as readers, we would like to know more about your process. Let us know…panster or plotter?
I’m a flexible plotter. By that I mean I must have a roadmap already in place before I start writing, but if something better comes to me during the process, I’m flexible enough to change my plans. I have a synopsis and character sketches all worked out before I start. Once the book is finished, I’ll go back and change what needs to be changed before sending it in to my agent.
I also write only one draft. I get each chapter as polished as I can before handing it off to my critique partners. After I get their feedback, I’ll tweak, and then move on. By the time I’m finished writing the book the first time, it’s ready to go. My edits with my publisher have always been fairly light because of that. You see, I’m lazy. I couldn’t bear going through the same manuscript over and over and over. Once it’s finished, it’s finished.
Do you construct inspiration boards for your characters?
Not really. I do character sketches, which include goal/motivation and conflict. I know a lot of writers will choose pictures of models or actors for inspiration, but I never have. I like to create my characters from scratch. I add quirks, personality traits, descriptions and other pertinent information to my book bible. I have to know my characters well before I can immerse myself in their persona and write them. Some writers get to know their characters as they write the story. But that requires going back several times to add what you didn’t know when you began. Again. Lazy.
How long does it take you to write a book? What is your writing work schedule like?
When I first began writing, I also worked full time, and I was a single mom. Plus, not being published meant I wasn’t writing on a deadline. TRUE TO THE HIGHLANDER, another Celtic fantasy/time travel romance, took me eighteen months to write. That book also required a lot of historical research. Now I can write a full length novel in four months if I push, and six months if I don’t push.
I get up around five or five-thirty every morning, fix coffee and let the dog out. Once we’re settled, I’ll read through what I wrote the day before. I’ll tweak, layer and correct typos. Reading through what I wrote the day before puts me back in the mindset of the story, and then I can write new material.
How many books have you written? Could you tell us about the your other book series?
HEART OF THE DRUID LAIRD, the four book Love from the Heartland, Perfect, Indiana series (plus the new prequel), The four book Novels of Loch Moigh series, the two book (soon to be three) Haneys series, and the one book, (three planned) McCarthy series.
Thirteen so far, not including the perma-free ONCE UPON A NIGHT AT SEA, a short story written for Princes Cruises. It’s promotional, but a fun romance nonetheless.
How many unpublished or works in progress do you have?
Two at present. The prequel to the Perfect, Indiana story, which is being edited now, and my current WIP. I don’t have a drawer full of finished manuscripts. The first book I ever wrote was more a learning experience than anything worth publishing. After many workshops and craft classes where that book went through multiple permutations, I finally deleted it from my hard drive. The story was fatally flawed.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? What was the best marketing tool you have used?
When I figure that out, I’ll let you know. It would be far easier to make a long list of what hasn’t worked. Most of what I’ve spent on promotion has been a waste of money. The only exceptions are what I’ve spent on postcards, bookmarks and a decent website developer.
What advise do you have for unpublished writers still in the waiting room?
Don’t be impatient. Too many new writers today are unwilling to wait until they’ve honed their craft and gone through “the process” of receiving professional feedback. Their work isn’t ready to be published, but they hear rumors of the money to be made self-publishing, and they jump into it without any preparation. Self-publishing works best when you are already established and have a backlist and a following. Yes, there are exceptions, and those are people who basically work around the clock to reach readers, and who happen to be very savvy in marketing. I personally know too many writers who went the self-publishing route too soon, and are sorely disappointed with the results.
Developmental edits, copy and line edits, cover design, ISBN, copyright . . . it’s all very expensive. Too many writers skip the expense and put out poor quality products. And for those who do invest in their work, if you don’t already have a readership, or like me, you aren’t a marketing genius, you’re not likely to see a return on your investment. The problem with most fresh, new marketing tools is that they work well for the first few who use it, but then everyone jumps on the bandwagon, and the strategy loses it’s punch.
I know everyone’s motives for going the self-pubbed path are different. I have a friend who just wanted her book out there for friends and family. So, it’s on Amazon. Other than friends and family, she hasn’t sold but a handful of copies. That’s fine with her. Personally, I think being a hybrid author is the most sound path in today’s difficult market. Learn the business and develop a readership first, and then strike out on your own. I know there are a ton of self-pubbed authors who disagree with me, and I respect them for the path they chose. We all do what we do for different reasons. At least today writers have a multitude of choices available to them.
Barbara thank you so much for joining us.
Thanks so much for having me.
Please be sure to visit Barbara’s Amazon author page and her website. Check out her books on Amazon, and consider following her on social media: