Welcome to next edition of the AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT & BOOK ALERT series. Today, we’re sharing:
Barbara Roman. Barbara and I met about two years ago through the publisher Creativia, who is now known as Next Chapter Pub. I always enjoy chatting with her and am excited to share more about her with you today. I’ve read one of her children’s books, Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13, and will be picking a new one listed below to read in the next few weeks. Why not join me? Let’s get to know this wonderful author…
About the Author
Since childhood, I’ve been torn between two worlds: writing and singing. It’s difficult to serve two masters, as they say, but I was compelled to do so. When I was not singing, I was writing and vice versa. I’ve learned, for me, that one creative expression nurtures the other. At 76, I’m still a rock ‘n roller! Love that music. But I sing jazz standards professionally, and often write my books to either classical or New Age music. I’m from the East Coast originally but moved west many years ago to escape the winters – hate snow – love sunshine, ocean, and warm days. I’m tenacious and determined (and probably a bit daft), which matters to me as a writer. I’m also loyal and empathetic, which I hope matters to others.
Amazon Author Page
BookBub Author Page
Next Chapter Author Page
Overview of Book (s)
Although Barbara has written a lot more books, we’re focusing on two today that will be available for a discounted price in August. Check that out! I love when authors are generous like this… I can’t wait to get them and read one this month.
Whatever Became of Sin?
.99 Kindle edition from Aug 17 – 21
On a flight to Washington D.C., the past twelve years of Michael Warren’s life begin to unravel. An environmental lobbyist, Michael is on his way to testify before a Senate Committee, and destroy the plans for a housing development built on land tainted with the same toxic waste that killed his six-year-old daughter, Dominique. A cassette handed to Michael by a stranger on the plane changes everything. Michael is sidetracked to New Orleans, where he learns a disturbing truth and faces the most difficult decision of his life: shall he expose those responsible, or compromise to save another child’s life?
Before the Boy (prequel to The Moon Singer Series)
.99 Kindle edition from Aug 18 – 22
Billie Nickerson must accept her own mortality as the only way she can assure her son will receive the intuitive gifts he was born to inherit, to save her family – and perhaps the world – from a disastrous fate. But learning that she has died too soon creates a Karmic crisis as Billie tries to escape the afterlife and return to her loved ones. In this chilling prequel to The Moon Singer Trilogy (The Crystal Clipper, The War Chamber, The Wind Rose) we learn the uncanny circumstances that informed Billie Nickerson’s decision to raise her son, David, to become a seeker of spiritual truth. As his teacher and mentor she gave him the courage to overcome his unexpected deafness, to excel at music – and to hear the voice within that speaks from his soul.
Though Billie’s life is fraught with danger and dark spirits, and the power that David acquires places him in grave jeopardy, the story is an illustration of a mother’s love and devotion that transcends the boundaries of the here and the hereafter.
Interview: Questions & Answers
1. I see that you write under two different pen names. Please tell us more.
As B. Roman I penned the 4-book YA Fantasy series The Moon Singer and the suspense thriller Whatever Became of Sin? As Barbara Roman I authored the children’s books Hubert in Heaven – a hi-tech angel gets his wings and Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13. It just sort of happened that way. I have to have two author pages on Amazon because they don’t merge your works if they are under different names. The other sites show all my works under B. Roman.
2. What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
My suspense fiction, Whatever Became of Sin?, is for adults who love a fast-paced and complex mystery, who like to see ruthless, greedy people get what they deserve! It’s for people who enjoy a satisfying “revenge” novel.
I’m hoping Before the Boy will bridge the generations from teens to adults. The main character in The Moon Singer series is a deaf teen, David Nickerson – who is a gifted musician, skilled with computers and is also fascinated by crystal energies and the occult. I had envisioned it being of interest to teens with a disability who would be looking for a super hero, or who might want to read “higher minded” stories as opposed to those with vampire sex, teen killing machines and such darker fare. But I find that it’s adults who read and review the books – that I know of. It’s possible teens are reading samples and Kindle Unlimited free pages; I don’t know. The Prequel to the series, Before the Boy, focuses more on the adults in David’s life, but the book can still be considered Young Adult fare. There’s a nice love story in it as well, between the free-spirited Billie and the disciplined Navy Officer, Isaac Nickerson. Opposites really do attract!
Adults are also attracted to my children’s books, which doesn’t surprise me as they are somewhat sophisticated in their vocabulary and underlying messages, but just about all the reviews recommend the books as important to children.
3. What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
Try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, try and succeed, try and fail, try and succeed, etc.! Mostly learning through trial and error – and much rejection. It was only after negligible exposure of my self-published books that I just happened upon a Facebook post from one author to another regarding Creativia Publishing (now Next Chapter Publishing). I researched Creativia, sent an email query and miraculously they took on my Moon Singer trilogy and all my subsequent books. It’s still a challenge to be noticed in the river of millions of books on the market, thanks to self publishing and Indie publishers that make it easier for authors to have a book published very quickly. The competition is fierce and you must be diligent. There is no guarantee for success.
4. What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
My original professional experience is as a vocalist with jazz groups and big bands. I began singing as a teenager and 60 years later I still give one concert a year. Consequently, music plays a major part in my writing. My first book was a non-fiction self-help book about the power of music to improve our lives, and once I began to write fiction, music played an integral part of the plot (particularly The Moon Singer series). I love dancing – especially tap dancing, but my knees don’t. I think it’s time to wear copper stockings! And seeing films; I love movies and find I am inspired to resolve plot points in my own stories when I see a good film, even if it’s in a different genre than what I’m writing about.
5. What gave you the idea for your book?
Ideas and inspiration come from a variety of sources, and usually when you least expect it.
The Moon Singer trilogy grew out of an inspiration after I found a magical “singer” crystal at a crystal party years ago. It is (I still have it, of course) shaped like a miniature sailboat. This crystal chose me, as they are programmed to do. In pondering its energy, a story began to take shape and guided me through writing all of the adventures. Young David Nickerson comes by his own Singer because it was meant for him; he is the one true owner of the Singer crystal which manifests into the Moon Singer ship which takes David on all of his adventures. Because the sacred gem holds all of the secrets and knowledge of the universe, it is David’s vehicle to learn about life, courage, selflessness and unconditional love.
After I wrote the trilogy (The Crystal Clipper, The War Chamber, and The Wind Rose), I realized the one story that had not been told is that of David’s mother, Billie Nickerson. She is such an integral part of the MS trilogy because throughout the series her death hangs heavy in David’s heart. She is the driving force behind David’s experiences and he is constantly trying to understand why she died so soon and how their karmic destinies intertwine. Though it took years to write the trilogy, the prequel, Before the Boy, was written fairly quickly because I knew so much about Billie and her devotion to her son, a devotion that was preordained.
6. From the mystical realm in these books and your children’s books, what led you to go in in the opposite direction to write a suspense fiction, focusing on ruthlessness, avarice and corruption?
Whatever Became of Sin? is a story I never imagined I would write, considering my penchant for more metaphysical subjects. But it was a “grounding” experience to keep me creatively engaged when my ideas for my Trilogy went dry. It’s a character driven story of racial hatred and sexual obsession that leads to a heinous baby switching scheme to cover up murder and political conspiracies. I love good books and films about the human psyche (not Psycho; that scares the Bedevil out of me), but how the choices we make lead us down the path of goodness or to the path of wickedness. My books only contain implied violence (I’m very squeamish) and absolutely no blatant sex (I’m terrible at writing it – and I take heart in knowing that John Grisham says the same about his attempts at writing sex scenes!) But conflict and chaos being very appealing to readers, this book has those ingredients galore.
7. Some authors like to make an argument or address an issue when they write. Is there an issue that you’re addressing with your book? If so, what is it?
The main focus of the fantasy books is selfless love and being of service to others. For deaf teen David Nickerson, his quest is always to save a life that means more to him than his own, and in doing so he delves into questions about his life purpose and soul mission, while also dealing with very real day-to-day problems, such as the death of his mother in the car crash that crippled his sister. But in all my books, including suspense or children’s stories, I touch on issues of integrity, ethics, compassion, helping others become the best they can be.
8. What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
What I like most is getting lost in the story and getting carried away by the plot. A big challenge is the fact that I’m a very slow writer at times, because I still work a demanding day job. By the end of the day I’m brain tired. But I try to get some editing or a line or two of plot down, or do some research; I do a LOT of research for my books to make them credible and interesting. The only large blocks of time I have are during my two days off, and even those are filled with the distractions of life. Also, my novels are very complex – I go from past to present, sometimes the future – tell back stories about the characters, create a spider web of intrigue and then go crazy tying up all of the threads together at the end into something surprising and satisfying. But the true bane of a writer’s existence is the marketing, the promotion, the social media, the “begging” for reviews. It’s all (can I say this?) such a “time suck”! Hours that I prefer be spent writing.
9. What do you like about writing in your genre?
The MS series and my children’s books are all about that inspiration from on high, as though they were written for me on some other plane and I am just the channel. Those stories are all about reaching beyond the personal ego to find some grand purpose for my characters. In this genre I always worry “did I say it precisely as it was given to me by the Muse, did I put on the page what I see in my mind – my third eye – and do it justice?”
On the opposite side of the spectrum is writing a suspense thriller, more rooted in the here and now and with very human components. This genre grounds me, and it’s really fun even though it’s also quite difficult to pull off because of the plot twists and turns I must incorporate to keep the reader turning the page. I can see myself writing this type of story from here on.
10. Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?
Initially, there is always sheer inspiration. A title, a scene, a concept grabs hold of me and won’t let go. I start throwing notes into the computer, little by little the notes gel into a scene or ideas for research – lots of research. Then I just let it take me along. After I have a lot of notes and scenes and plot lines written I begin to create a chapter outline for continuity and to tie everything together. But it’s often a slog as opposed to a smooth ride.
11. Do you have an upcoming promotion you want to tell us about?
Whatever Became of Sin? will be offered for 99c for the Kindle edition from August 17 to August 21. The prequel to The Moon Singer series, Before the Boy, will be priced at 99c from August 18 to August 22. I’d love your readers to take advantage of the special price and review the books. This is so important to authors. Reviews help us rise in the Amazon rankings, encourage sales and hopefully more reviews.
12. What do your plans for future projects include?
My work in progress is another suspense fiction, a family saga that takes place in the wild world of the wine industry as well as in the courtroom. The characters are deliciously malevolent, and innocent people get caught up in their ruthlessness, psychoses and murderous villainy. Again it’s a slow go because of my job but at some point it’s going to catch momentum and I’ll be a writing machine until it’s done!
13. Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
PLEASE NOTE: I have NOT yet written my best book. With each one I am trying to be better at story telling, at the craft of writing, of touching people emotionally, or just entertaining them. In the coming years I hope that I sharpen my skills and write a truly breakthrough novel. My books have gotten nice response and very favorable reviews, but I know I can do better and I strive for that.
14. What is the one thing you would like your readers to know about you? Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
I would really like to get more reviews from international readers – whether English speaking or otherwise. Two of my books (The Crystal Clipper and Whatever Became of Sin?) have been translated into several languages and are ready and waiting for some reviews.
15. If you could co-write a book with a famous author who would it be?
Boy, would I love to co-write with John Grisham or David Baldacci and come up with a rip-roaring success of a legal thriller.
That concludes today’s author alert and spotlight. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Barbara… I love meeting and befriending new authors, and this was the perfect chance to share someone special with all of you!
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.