Barbra Novac agreed to leave the summer days of her small town near Sydney, Australia and brave the cold winter of northern Maine to hang out for a couple of days. So here’s what I dared ask her and what she agreed to answer …
Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing.
Like most writers, I’ve always been a writer. Even as a child I wrote stories in and out of class and excelled in that subject at school. However, I sort of got stuck on journal writing for a long time, while I built my ‘day job’. Then I decided to ‘get real’ about the writing and went along to a local writers group. The first day there, I met my future husband, and our love for each other is intrinsically entwined with our own desires as writers. So, passion got me in, when I was young and a different kind of passion keeps me there and keeps me true to the dreams.
Please tell us about your books.
Double Crossed is a novel set in the Sydney red light district Kings Cross. My protagonist, Marianne, has lived a frightening life, as the lover of a crime boss in the red light district. She’d never really known any other existence, and decided she wanted a life of her own. Her ex-lover promises to let her go if she will help him with one last task. That is to be found innocent in court proceedings that will get the police off his back for good. Marianne agrees in exchange for her freedom, but finds that she starts to fall for her ex-lover’s lawyer as she is helping. Things get complicated when the pair start up a BDSM relationship. Then Marianne finds out how dangerous her ex really can be, and worse, that he has a mastermind behind him and that person could possibly be her new lover. It’s a juicy one this one, full of BDSM and alternate lifestyles. I had a LOT of fun writing it. *wink* It’s available now from Loose-Id.
Honest Masks is due for release early February. This novel is about an American woman hiding from her past in Sydney Australia. Chloe is an artist, but art has brought a lot of pain to the women of her family, so she buries her talents in her apartment, never letting them see the light of day. Chloe also likes to dress up in costumes and go on line, having cyber sex with many different partners there. In one of these games, she meets a man who wants to call forth her artist and encourage her to flourish. As Chloe is wondering if she should finally let her artistic soul soar, she meets another man, by accident in the streets of Sydney. Chloe falls for him as well, in a different way to the man on line. But what Chloe doesn’t know is that the two men are lovers, and want Chloe to join them. They’ve devised an elaborate plan to bring her into their love nest. However, what all three don’t realize is that their past is already inexplicably entwined and that Chloe has accidently come home, and has been all along.
Take it as it comes and Full Figured Chic are also due for release early next year, but are only just in edits, so I can’t give away too much there! Check out my website for updates and details on all these novels.
Describe your writing space. Do you move around or always write in the same place?
I work at a little desk that my husband pulled out of a trash can (junk pile on the side of the road) that I don’t have the heart to part with now that we have the cash to buy me a better one. I don’t like to clean while I am writing, and I have written a lot lately, so the floor around my desk is piled with research papers, scrawled notes, books to read and books just read. The BEST thing about my office is that it is joined by a door to my husband’s office, and we can each write alone but together in our little rooms.
I don’t always write here, but I love it you know? I live in a mountain range, and we look out over it, so the view is enormous and vibrant and it makes me forget I need to dust! (Ummm, don’t look under my desk, the dust monsters–they morphed well beyond the bunny stage a loong time ago–have totally taken over!)
If you had super powers what would they be and what would you call yourself?
Oh what a cool question. Ok, so this may be pretty daggy, but I’d like genius, the ability to learn at light speed and excellence in all martial arts. Think Beatrix from the Kill Bill series with a brain. That kind of self control has always been amazing to me. I’d call myself Simone Parker-Meyer after my favorite writers!
Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have comfort drinks or snack foods. Any favorite music you play while writing?
I’m a plotter. But I do deviate from my plots at times if my characters come up with better ideas than I did. I like to formulate a project then make it happen. I also just found out that I have high cholesterol (!) so snacking is out now. However, I started the Atkins diet and decaf coffee with thick cream is allowed, so I have just 1 mug a day. I USED to love wine while I wrote (not too much – just enough to lower the inhibitions) and jellies or chocolate. Deep sigh – those days are behind me now. Boo hoo.
Music changes with the books. I prefer to write in silence but I need certain types of music for inspirational pauses. Usually I can find a PJ Harvey song that sums up what’s going on, otherwise great jazz gets me in the mood for sex – and in the mood for writing it.
If we asked your friends to name 3 personality traits about you, what do you think they would say?
Intense, funny and a tad obsessive.
What happened to the first novel you ever wrote?
It was rejected so many times I stopped trying and buried it in the back of my shelves. (Trust me, that’s a good place for it)
I’m looking at picking up some new glasses … these with rhinestones or these with the pretty gold chain?
Definitely the rhinestones! (Yeah, I thought so too … they match my tiarra!)
Do you have a writing routine? Could you share it with us?
Sure! I brainstorm with hubby till a decent enough idea forms, then I plot it out. In the plotting stage I like to be pretty loose with the ideas. So I may write several synopsis till I come up with a ‘feeling’ in my gut that tells me that I’ve hit on the idea.
Then I will flesh out the synopsis into chapters and work on the chapters, making sure they have climaxes, tension rolls along that sort of stuff. Check out characters etc. By the time I sit to write, I have a very clear picture of the novel, and I am free to focus on language, tone, that sort of thing. That’s it in a nutshell.
Shopping at the mall or a quiet walk on the beach?
Quiet walk on the beach. Always!
If you were sick in bed which movie would be your comfort movie and why?
Mmmm… a few… comfort movies for me at the moment are ‘Sex and the City’, ‘The devil wears Prada’, ‘The Jane Austen book club’ and my all time very favorite film (you’ll NEVER guess why) ‘Down with love.’
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Write, write and keep writing. Read as much as you can, and you must must keep writing. The world simply can’t have enough writers. We need every single one of you and your voice must be heard! Don’t give up and don’t think we don’t need to hear what you have to say!
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Keep reading – mine and other books. A novel is not finished till it has a reader and each reader changes the novel with their reading. Writing and reading are a partnership. I, the writer make a call to you, and you the reader hear it and come with a call of your own. There is nothing as magical as enhancing the writers words with your own creative beauty, bringing life and passion to the letters in their strange bundles. Writing and reading are acts of freedom – no one makes us do either – and in that way we make an appeal to the freedom in each other.
Thanks Nina for having me and for being such a great friend and role model. (*blushes* Just model is fine. The cabana boys keep me in shape! And you’re welcome. Anyone mention your accent. I loooove it!)