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Monday, June 20, 2011

GUEST AUTHOR: Barbara Elsborg

Barbara always wanted to be a spy, but having confessed that to everyone without them even resorting to torture, she decided it was not for her. Vulcanology scorched her feet. A morbid fear of sharks put paid to marine biology. So instead, she spent several years successfully selling cyanide.

After dragging up two rotten, ungrateful children and frustrating her sexy, devoted, wonderful husband (who can now stop twisting her arm) she finally has time to conduct an affair with an electrifying plugged-in male, her laptop.

Her books feature quirky heroines and bad boys, and she hopes they are much fun to read as they were to write.

Barbara is also a member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade.

Let's put her in the hot seat and see what we can get her to share with us!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in West Yorkshire in the UK with my husband, son, son’s partner and their dog – oh and all their furniture because they’ve moved out of their place and into ours temporarily with all their possessions.

I’ve had to forget that I’m a neat freak! Even my writing room is full – three guitars, two amps and a dismantled coffee table. My view of the garden is obscured by boxes. Actually, that’s a plus! Stops me staring out of the window.

When did you start to write and how long did it take you to be published?
I’ve always written – started with fan fiction as a teen and progressed in my twenties to thrillers. I only started to write romance when I grew tired of the thrillers being rejected and thought I should try something new. I wrote several romantic comedies and then tried my hand at erotic romance.

The first of those I wrote, PERFECT TIMING, was accepted by Ellora’s Cave. I wanted to call it Driving Ms Daisy, but they wouldn’t let me.

So from writing to acceptance in this genre was very fast, but I’ve collected my fair share of rejections over the years!

What sparks your creativity?
Dreams – those you have before you sleep and after you wake.

Music by guys like Robbie Williams and James Morrison.

My family and life in general.

Are you a pantster, scener, or plotter? Is it your characters or plot that influence you most? What’s your writing process from start to finish when writing a book?
Pantster – I plan and plot nothing. I sort out my characters’ names and then sit down and write.

It’s characters that drive my plots, though I do start with a rough idea of what the book will be about and how it will end. As I write it, I make notes on plot and scenes and characters and then I go back and add detail.

I have some great critique partners who read as I write and I really couldn’t do it without them.

Can you tell us about your latest release?
ROCKED – which is out with Loose-Id – is a gargoyle story. I always wanted to write one of those. It’s a paranormal ménage with a lot of funny bits.

The Rock
Desired by men and women, Eli’s good looks make sexual conquest easy until he attends a party at the Supernatural Museum, where they land him in deep trouble. He says no to the wrong women, and his punishment is to learn the ultimate meaning of loneliness.
The Stone Maiden
Much to her family’s disappointment, not only is Pepper single but she works a hard and dirty job as an apprentice stonemason. Pepper loves bringing stone to life with her chisel but struggles with the isolation that comes with being different. Then there’s her attraction to her boss, Alessandro, who appears to prefer men. When Eli materializes out of nowhere, Pepper can hardly believe her eyes. Now she’s caught between a rock and a hard place.
The Hard Place
His hands hardened by years training to become a master stonemason, Alessandro is an expert at his craft, but not in matters of the heart. A daily frustration when he’s in hopelessly in love with Pepper and the man of his dreams has disappeared. As Alessandro’s team begins to restore the Supernatural Museum, he, Pepper and Eli are drawn into the building’s secrets and risk losing everything they hold dear.

What is it about your characters that made you want to tell their stories?
As with all my books, my heroes are beta not alpha males. I like flawed guys not the butch aggressive types. I like to delve deep into characters’ hearts to let them learn something about themselves by the end of the story.

I like flawed heroines too. I admit many are tall and blonde – so am I – and slightly clumsy – yep, hand is up – can’t tell left from right – me too. So I guess there is a part of me in every woman I write about. The guys are all gorgeous hunks of course! Bad boys but still appealing.

Can you share a few fun facts about the geographic locations where your novel takes place?
ROCKED is set in London, but in a made up place called the National Supernatural Museum. I had fun imagining what the outside of such a place would look like, and developed it from the Natural History Museum in London that has a fabulous façade with all sorts of terracotta animals.

What’s the most unusual place you have visited?
An ice cave in Austria. I based my story – Snow Play – on a trip under a glacier. I was petrified. They said it would be safe in ski boots, but I had to go up and down several almost vertical metal ladders and I was scared I’d slip or even worse, get stranded down there.

I hadn’t realized how claustrophobic it would be. Wall, floor, ceiling of ice only a couple of feet wide and maybe six feet high. I was on my own in the group and I didn’t speak German. Not an experience I’d repeat.

Do you have a pet that keeps you company when you write?
My son’s dog – a long haired, blond, miniature dachshund called Winston Kennedy. Winnie sits at my feet when I write and follows me everywhere. Even to the bathroom. Every now and again he reminds me I need to get up and walk round. He likes me to chase him!

If you weren’t doing what you do today, what other job would you have?
I’d test out male models to see if they were up to scratch! Oh yes, please!!!!!

Are there any particular settings or sorts of characters you’d like to use in a future book?
You’re going to laugh but I want to use Walmart as the setting for a story except I’ll probably have to give it a different name. I had a dream – oops someone else said that before me – but my dream involved Walmart and it was so intense, I really want to write it. I can’t say too much or it will give away the plot!

What’s next for you? What are you working on?
Not Walmart. My next story will be a paranormal involving faeries. I’ve written about the fae before but this story will be exclusively about them.

Do you have any advice/handy tips/craft skills you’d like to share with unpublished authors?
Read your work out loud. You’ll hear mistakes and repeats you easily miss when reading in your head.

Barbara, it's been great having you visit, thanks for dropping in.
Thanks so much for having me to chat!!!!

Some of Barbara's other books:

If you'd like to see what other work Barbara has or follow her goings on, check out her website and blog.


  1. Hi Barbara,
    so nice to read a little more about you! And I really must check out your gargoyle book, it sounds fascinating! (love the gargoyles too)

  2. I love your bio. :-D

    That ice cave experience sounds amazing (horrible, but amazing).

  3. Hi Mel & Janni, you guys are certainly the early birds! :-)

    I love Barbara's bio - and I like her alternate job choice if she wasn't a writer. It would be a hard job but someone would have to do it! LOL

  4. Lol, thanks for the laughs this morning, ladies! Lovely blog and I think you've been blessed by the cover fairy as well, Barbara!

    Love the sound of Rocked - a sexy stonemason sounds gorgeous :-)

    And ditto to reading your stories aloud. It might be time consuming but I know I pick up repetition, clunky rhythms and lousy dialogue that way!

    Look forward to that Walmart story!!

  5. Great interview Barbara & Kylie.

    Your next book about faeries sounds great. And the Rock certainly has my attention :)

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  6. HI Barbara and Kylie

    So interesting to hear about your writing style. I am truly in awe of someone who can write a book start to finish and get it published with almost no forward planning!! Congratulations!! (You might have guessed, I'm more of a plotter than a pantser!!)

  7. Thanks for having me Kylie!
    Mel - I didn't realise how much I liked gargoyles until I wrote that story. Eli turned out to be quite a character. I'm not sure I'd have kept my sense of humour if that happened to me.

    Janni - Yep, that ice cave still lives with me. When I emerged hoping for a hug from Husband - he was in agony - thought he'd got appendicitis at the top of the glacier. He was whipped off to hospital when we got down. Turned out to be kidney stones - poor guy.

    Helene - I have been lucky with most the covers it's true - but just like reviews I tend to grumble over the ones I don't like! There's no pleasing some people! But Strangers and Falling for you are two of my favourites!

    Thanks, Helen. The book about the Fae is about half done now - 50,000 words in and it's developed a life of its own!

    Chris, I am in just as much aw of someone who can plot and plan - seriously!! I wish I could in many way. I do like the spontaneity of just winging it but it can cause hiccups down the line.

    Thanks again to Kylie for hosting me!! I really appreciate the comments!!

  8. What a lovely interview. I'm Barbara's greatest fan, and I can honestly say I have never read a more imaginative author. Between fantastic plots and unique situations for each story, the character cast is not only unforgetable but you'll want to read their stories again.

  9. Thanks, Arlene. I appreciate every word you've made about my stories!!!!

  10. Wow, Arlene, an ardent fan indeed. What a great recommendation. Nothing like the power of word of mouth. Barbara, she's a keeper! :-)