Today it is my honor to have Mimi Barbour with me and she’s willing to give away an ebook copy of her book to one person who comments. Here’s a little bit about Mimi: MIMI BARBOUR – Author of THE VICARAGE BENCH SERIES lives in Qualicum Beach and writes her paranormal romances with tongue in cheek and a mad glint in her eye. If I can steal a booklover’s attention away from their every-day grind, absorb them into a fantasy love story, and make them care about the ending, then I’ve done my job.”
The 4th in the series “Together Again” was released May
What prompted you to write that first book? Did you always want to be an author?
I decided to write the first book after having purchased a romance that was poorly written, uninteresting and big waste of money. Childishly, I threw it across the room and sat fuming with thoughts like – I could write better trash than this! So I did.
I never knew I wanted to be an author until after I started writing that first book. I soon realized that I walked around with a smile on my face most days, plots rumbling around in my now active little head and a need to rush out of bed in the morning. It was a lovely feeling – one I still have to this day.
How do you decide which book?
The decision was made for me when I joined a contest with The Wild Rose Press where their guidelines required a paranormal romance about a girl passing through a garden gate and going back in time to a different era. Once I’d sent in my entry, I was informed that since I hadn’t followed their rules, I couldn’t be a part of the contest – but – they had liked my work and wanted to publish me as a stand-alone author. I can’t repeat what I said after reading the e-mail as its bleep stuff but believe me, every word shouted was a result of pure happiness.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, Together for Christmas?
Awww….my favourite book to date! I’ve never enjoyed writing a book so much or had it flow so smoothly. The words seemed to fill my mind in such a way that I had trouble typing fast enough. It was a lovely experience.
This story is pure Christmas, sentimental and sweet, and the characters so much fun that hopefully they will make you smile and in places, laugh out loud.
Abbie, my heroine works for the village vicar and is an angel to the people in town, always there, always willing to give.
Marcus, on the other hand, is a grumpy businessman who begrudges time spent away from his office.
Right at the beginning when Abbie invades his body and their spirits are forced to live together, fireworks fly and love seeps in.
Add to the story the little children from the orphanage, Marcus’s amusing mother and the antics of the townspeople and you have a fun, lighted-hearted, sweet romance.
Many of your books contain paranormal elements. Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
I wish! Imagine time-travelling to another era? With my luck I’d end up as a poor person, starving and ugly – or if I had the unfortunate experience of invading someone else’s body, they’d probably be a psycho killer? Thankfully, as the creator, I can choose the best scenarios for my characters. But – this has given me an idea. If I ever decide to change from sweet stories to horror, I could whip up all kinds of conflicts, couldn’t I? Hummm??? Oh but then I’d never sleep at night so best to stick with what I know and like.
Do you plot your stories out or do you just start writing?
Funny you should ask. At the last RWA meeting I attended, someone else asked me the same question and I had to think of how to answer. Seems I do plot out my story inasmuch as I’ve thought it all out in my head and pretty well know how the story line will move along. I have a good idea of who my characters are by then also. Therefore, all I do is write a quick bio for each of them and work very hard on that first page and the first chapter. It’s probably the area in my books that I rewrite the most, because to me, it seems the most important.
What was the funniest thing you learned about your hero/heroine from writing their story?
Abbie had more grit in her that she ever imagined and could stand up for her rights when it came to the crunch.
Marcus had never realized that his gruffness was pure sham and his insides were pure marshmallow, but once his love for Abbie had consumed him, well – what could a fellow do?
Which of your characters is most like you and which is least like you?
I’m a softy – an easy-going person who likes to laugh. Most days I wake up with a smile on my face. And, I like people. My husband thinks I’m nuts because I like everyone until they do something that makes me think differently. He says I’m backwards.
I guess I have to confess that I had a lot of fun writing Abbie because I understood her so well. Gotta admit though, I am a bit like Marcus also. Since I’ve become a writer, I do appreciate his need to work all the time.
But I must mention Mrs. Dorn who is my all-time favourite character. I think she’s a hoot, and I work very hard to keep her visible in every one of the Vicarage Bench books.
Can you describe your office or where you normally write?
I have a lovely office, not too large but with a nice big window. My desk is usually full of notes and papers and how-to books that fight for space with the thesaurus and dictionary. My one problem is my office chair. I’ve recently found that pain gathers behind my right knee and I complained to my guy who checked it out, and – in his typical droll voice – mentioned that the padding had been worn down and that maybe the extra weight I’ve carried since Christmas might be the problem.
I hit him!!!
Then I begged for him to re-pad the seat, which he’s doing right now.
Which came first the plot or the characters?
Always the plot or at least the idea of a plot! Once I’ve come up with clues as to what I want the story to be about, I decide what kind of people will best work in those guidelines. I guess my hardest decision is naming these people. I once mentioned to my mom that I had difficulty with this chore and for months she sent me envelopes in the mail filled with lists of names. Ya just gotta love a mom like that!
Have you ever gotten stuck while writing a scene or chapter? How did you overcome it?
I very seldom get stuck because I’ve always imagined each conflict before I write it. But, having said this, I must admit that many times while I write these scenes things begin to change and I find myself with a whole new plot twist that usually works into the story really well. It’s exciting when that happens, and after so many books, I’ve come to rely on it and even look forward to it.
What is the wackiest thing that’s ever happened to you since you started writing?
Promotion! It makes me wacky. I mean, all I want to do is write. Like most authors, I’m happiest buried in the book with my characters. But nowadays, to be successful, we need to be both a writer and be able to promote that work in order for someone to know the book even exists. Because I’m a bit compulsive and can’t do anything half-assed, I joined up on every site I could find. Between Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, All Romance, and on and on, I had spread myself so thin, I spent the bulk of my time running around the internet like a crazy person. And other than spreading my name around so people will hopefully recognize my books, I don’t think it really did much good. I just jostled around with all the others doing the same thing and got lost. This last six months, I’ve made a concerted effort to slow down and get choosy where I fritter my time. In September, I started my own blog called Believe and I love spending time there and with my twitter friends.
Did you do any research for your book and, if so, did you find any
interesting information that you had to include in the story?
With each of the books I’ve had to do a certain amount of research, but what I’ve come to accept is that the villageof Buryin my head is nothing like the actual Bury near Manchester. And that’s just fine because there is such a thing as taking literary licence; authors do it all the time. Thank goodness!
Where can readers find out more about you?
Come visit me on my blog at – http://mimibarbour.blogspot.com
Or my website – http://www.mimibarbour.com
Follow me on twitter – @MimiBarbour
Or on any of the many sites I mentioned above. I’m always happy to meet new friends.
Here’s the blurb for her book:
Abbie Taylor has a thousand things to do before the big day, help the vicar with his needy families, organize the Christmas nativity, and spare time for a distraught baby at the orphanage who only settles when she’s near. Falling into a coma while her spirit resides inside a prickly, big shot businessman doesn’t work for her at all …until she falls in love.
How could Marcus Chapman be so unlucky? First he’s saddled with his newly widowed mum, and the next thing he knows, he has an annoying spirit invader who’s instantly aware that he isn’t nearly as tough as he makes out. Between these two manipulating women, and the orphans Abbie forces him to visit, the poor man doesn’t stand a chance. The season is Christmas, and love is all around
And here’s a sneak peak:
Maybe it was the eagerness in her voice, or maybe just her words, but whatever she said made him smile. Up till then, he’d seemed like a stranger looking back at her. Then his smile changed everything. Unfortunately, it didn’t last too long. But she’d seen enough and decided right away that he had a dear face. Not what one would call handsome, more like interesting. She’d bet that his full head of messy hair cut short and worn close to his head normally didn’t look so scruffy. That wouldn’t be his style at all.
His piercing green eyes didn’t have the same sparkle as his mother’s. They were ruthless and compelling, slightly haughty and intense, and the shrewdest stare she’d ever come across. She felt as if he were trying to find her inside of him by staring into his own eyes.
“Can you see me?” She teased.
“I do believe I can. I went slightly crossed-eyed for a moment, and I have no doubt that was you sneaking a peek.” When he grinned, dimples appeared on both sides of his mouth and created a whole different impression. This man devastated with his attractiveness, his charisma.
Unequivocally, Abbie knew at that moment, not only had her spirit joined with his, but also her heart now faced a challenge. She’d never believed in love at first sight, more fool her. She shut down her corridor to him and curled up into a small ball lodged inside his body. This needed a great deal of thought. She had to talk herself out of this nonsense, and quickly.