Meet the author: Barbara Luker
Hey y’all! It’s time for another author interview! Meet Barbara Luker, a native Minnesotan, nature lover, and writer of stories about human connection. You check out her books at her web site, and connect with her online on Facebook or Instagram.
What is your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process? –
Let’s start with the least favorite and get that out of the way. Editing! It’s quite important of course, but when you’ve read and re-read a manuscript enough times that you know it by heart, the mind plays tricks and you stop seeing the mistakes that are as plain as day to anyone else. The trick I have learned is to read the manuscript out loud. It forces you to slow down and also to actually hear it in the way I believe readers will experience it. Granted, that doesn’t catch all mistakes, but it catches enough to let my editor’s know I am trying.
That brings me to my favorite part which for me is discovering where the story will go. I always know how I want a book to start and how I want it to end, but it’s that wonderful mystery of everything in between that is so much fun to discover. For me at least, it is an organic process with each sentence leading to the next until somehow it all connects and the story makes sense sometimes in a way I never expected when the idea first took hold.
Did you always want to be a writer?
No and in fact, I went to college with the intention of being a coroner; an inclination influenced in part by an old TV show called “Quincy”. Medicine, biology, and science have always fascinated me and figuring out how the human body works was and is intriguing. In the end it was nothing more than an early life fancy and before I knew it I ended with a business major and a long-term career working for the City I live in.
Writing was something that came to me later in life after discovering the grandmother who died when I was only ten had taken writing classes. We discovered her class notes and sample stories typed on old-fashioned onion skinned paper those of us of a certain age will remember. No one in the family knew about her classes and as it turned out, she was quite good. The moment I sat down and began to write my first manuscript I knew it was due to her influence. I try to honor her in all my manuscripts by including her name somewhere in the pages.
Who is someone who has inspired you creatively?
Other than my grandmother, it would have to be my mother. She exposed us from a very young age to music, theater, reading, and using our imagination that allowed us to express our creativity in many different ways. As children we played outside regularly using our imaginations to put on skits, make leaf houses or inventing our own games or any number of other activities. My mom encouraged my interests in high school theater and school and church choirs and sat through hundreds of hours of piano practice and recitals. Without her encouragement, I would never have submitted my first book for publication. Even now she is my biggest cheerleader and my self-proclaimed marketing department!
What’s your typical writing routine?
Because I also have a full-time job I don’t really have a routine. You’ll find me in front of my computer nights and weekends when I am writing, but it’s not a set routine. Life would be much simpler, however, if those moments of brilliance happened on a regular schedule and not in the middle of a conversation or during a City Council meeting! I’ve gotten quite adept at slipping out my phone as unobtrusively as possible to text myself with a great idea or a turn of a phrase that I want to use in the future. I also keep a pad of paper and a pen next to my bed so when I wake up with an idea, I can jot it down before forgetting. My family is pretty understanding when I do these things and for that I am grateful.
What kind of books do you gravitate toward in your own reading life?
My family are all readers and over the years we have had every genre of book in the house, but I have two favorite authors and they are quite divergent. Minnesota author Vince Flynn wrote a hugely successful series of action thrillers about the world of espionage and a CIA agent named Mitch Rapp. He started as a self-published author who rose to worldwide fame. Unfortunately he died young, but his books live on. My other favorite is Kristin Hannah. Her books “Winter Garden” and “The Four Winds” are my favorites. Both are historical fiction centering on family relationships. They are a bit like my newest book “I Carry Your Heart”.
What’s your superpower?
Now this is a tough question! If you would have asked what super power I would like to have, I could have given you a couple of answers. The superpower I already have is much tougher, but kind of strange. I can type and carry on a conversation at the same time which to me is really weird since I can’t play the piano and sing at the same time. It comes in handy on busy days with lots of interruptions.
What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve ever gotten?
Have courage and be kind. Fans of Disney movies will recognize this line from the movie Cinderella. It may be a bit hokey, but it’s kind of a good motto to live by don’t you think?
Thanks, Barbara! Have a great week, everyone.