…but my author friend, Gina Barlean, will never hurt you. Today’s an exciting day because it’s my first author interview. Gina Barlean is my blogging friend over at Moments of Clarity who has written a great book, Casting Stones. It is dark, it is tragic, and it is amazing. Gina has graciously endured an interview, and I wanted to share.
Tell us a little about yourself, Gina.
I’m a Christian. I like music; specifically blues, bluegrass, southern rock, and old rock. I love to cook and bake, even to the degree that I attended culinary school for a while. I was a professional photographer for 9 years and owned my own studio. I have managed a small town opera house and developed and ran its annual schedule. I have been the director of my hometown’s chamber of commerce. I have been married for 28 years and have two grown children. I have a Schnauzer named Schatzy and a white cat named Lena. I am a farm wife. I like to, but am not necessarily good at, sewing, crocheting, jewelry making, painting, and decorating. I write what I consider to be, dark, dramatic fiction. My stories do not always end with happy endings, and I like to leave the reader with some questions they have to ponder.
Wow! You’ve done it all. But you forgot to mention the part about saving your family from a scary snake while wearing nothing but a towel as your super-suit! Sorry to make you blush; but you’re a hero. Speaking of which, tell us about one of your heroes.
I don’t believe I’ve ever thought about having a hero. I see heroism as being a blessing from God, done through a person. I think credit for beautiful, amazing things needs to be credited to our Lord. We are blessed when he chooses us to do good things. All glory and praise to God first. I think if we remembered that, we’d be putting the praise in the right place. Having said that…I admire those who choose to tell the truth in difficult situations. I admire courage and hard work and ethics. And I admire anyone who is truly kind.
Amen, sister! You said it perfectly. What are some of your favorite things?
The smell of a horse’s neck. Rain storms. A cat purring. Watching couples who have been together for a very long time, dance in perfect synch. Oysters on the half shell. Making soup and bread. Traveling. Reading a well written passage of any kind.
Name some of your favorite books that have well written passages?
A Prayer For Owen Meany, by John Irving. The Pearl, by John Steinbeck. Under the Dome, by Stephen King. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. A Time To Kill, John Grisham. Cider House Rules, John Irving.
Well, you’re an amazing person, Gina. Do you have any silly quirks we can blackmail you with later?
I slurp my coffee. It drives my daughter mad, and although I make a concentrated effort to squelch this habit in public, I often forget.
Hmmm! I can’t fault you for that. Give me a milkshake from Sonic, and I will slurp all the way to China to get the last drop of that baby. I don’t care who hears me. Besides slurping coffee, how do you unwind and get your creative juices flowing?
I like to prop myself up in my bed, turn on my white noise machine, and put my earplugs in. Then I only hear the thoughts in my head. Any distractions mess up my writing rhythm. It also helps to read a very well written book or to read about writing techniques.
What started you on your writing journey?
I found a friend on FaceBook. She was someone I knew already, but didn’t know I liked to write. I admitted I was interested in trying my hand at writing. She and I wrote chapters on our books and sent them back and forth to each other one whole summer. I wrote my first book in three months from this process of trading chapters.
That is the kind of friend every writer needs! How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
In some small way, I think all of my writing reflects my personality and experiences. Specifically when I consider every book I’ve read or movie I’ve watched or every person I’ve known as part of my life experiences. I try to write about things I have some knowledge about or understanding of. I will probably never write a book about the city, as I’ve always lived in the country. In the same token, if I write about a rape, that doesn’t mean that has happened to me.
You keep checking your watch. Do you have to go? Is there someone in distress that needs saving from bathtub lurking snakes that bite? Well, by all means, go do your thing. Check back in later when you’ve taught that snake a lesson. Give him an extra twirl in the bag for me before you throw him! We can continue the interview then to learn more about your books. I can’t wait! Hurry, Gina. And here! Don’t forget your towel (i.e. super-suit).
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