Interview with Barbara Freethy, Author of Lightning Lingers

11 Feb 2016
Tell us a little bit about your new release, Lightning Lingers.

Lightning Lingers is the second book in my Lightning Strikes Trilogy. The trilogy features three Monroe siblings. Their father was killed during a lightning strike ten years before the trilogy opens, but the mystery surrounding his death still haunts his now adult children. Lightning plays a key role in the unraveling of the mystery. This trilogy is pure fun. It’s romance, mystery, adventure. If you like Indiana Jones or Romancing the Stone, you’ll love Lightning Lingers which takes two former sweethearts and sends them on an exciting and terrifying trip through Mexico and elsewhere. It’s been fun to play with the mystical aspects of lightning, plus mix in a love story with a suspenseful plot line. I hope readers will love it!

What made you decide to be a writer? When did you realize that you could make being an author your full time career?

I was a huge reader growing up. My mom filled my childhood home with books. Going to the library was one of my favorite things to do. I think it was a natural leap to go from being an avid reader to a writer. While I always wrote and made up stories in my head, I didn’t actually try to sell them until after college. I was in my early twenties and working a job I didn’t like all that much, so on my lunch hour and before and after work, I would write. That first book took about two years to complete and I ended up selling it to Harlequin. Another twenty plus books followed over the next ten years. I worked for four of the major publishers and then in 2011 decided to independently publish my books, and I’ve never looked back!

What did it feel like to hit #1 on the NY Times Bestseller list in 2012?

It was amazing, even more surprising and wonderful because I hit the list with the first book I self published, so all the efforts toward sales were mine, and it a great payoff.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your writing career?

There have been many, many challenges. The life of a writer is wonderful. The life of trying to publish well and frequently is more difficult. I ran into publishers who would only put out one book a year. I ran into “glitches” where books didn’t show up at any B&N for the first three weeks of release. I had publishers and agents drop me when they decided I wasn’t writing to trend. But I kept bouncing back. And the readers, luckily, kept following my books!

What does your average day look like?

I write at least five to six hours during the week and often a few hours on the weekend. Because I’m my own publisher, I also have many business responsibilities which takes up another few hours a day. I feel like I’ve never worked harder than I have the past five years.

Where do you get the inspiration for your books?

Inspiration is everywhere, a quote in a movie, the person standing in line at the supermarket check-in counter, a stranger across the aisle on a plane, a news article, and mostly my imagination. It can be both a blessing and a curse to have an active imagination. Fortunately, in my job it’s very helpful.

You have been named Amazon KDP’s Bestselling Author of All time. What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to achieve your level of success?

Never give up. Publishing is not for the faint of heart. Whether you’re traditionally publishing, looking for agents and editors, or self publishing and having to figure out everything for yourself, it’s a tough business. Rejection and criticism is everywhere. Even very successful authors get horrible reviews. When you’re creating art, you’re putting yourself out on the line, and sometimes there can be cruel responses. You have to believe in yourself, and keep remembering the positive. As long as you’re enjoying the process of writing, you can have a great career.Just don’t try to define your success by the people around you. Everyone’s path is different. Some people shoot to the stars on their first book. Others labor for twenty years for what appears to be overnight success.

Which other authors do you admire?

I really enjoy the work of Nora Roberts, Dean Koontz, Blake Crouch, Luanne Rice, Kristin Hannah, Christie Ridgway, Bella Andre, Barbara O’Neal, and many more. I’m still the avid reader I once was.

What do you think has been the biggest change in book publishing and how we read in the last few years?

Digital definitely. The ability to buy and read within a second is amazing. While I still enjoy print, I read almost everything in digital. I love the readers and the convenience and the ability to get a new book at midnight. Digital has also provided us with unlimited shelf space, so now I have many more options of what to read. Trends never die out, and I can explore to my heart’s content. I love that!

How do you approach finding a balance between writing new books and marketing your published titles?

I always keep the new work front and center in my mind. I’m currently writing three ongoing series, so there is always something new to write and the readers are waiting, so I try not to keep them waiting too long.

Adult coloring books. Why do we love them so much?

They’re relaxing and creative and allow you to use a part of your brain that might remind you of the ease of childhood. It’s fun to create colors and images. I really find it very stress relieving. And as you know, I have a line of six coloring books for adults in the Be Coloring Series. If you haven’t rediscovered your inner child who loved to color, now is the time.

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Barbara Freethy is the author of the new book Lightning Lingers.

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