A while back I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a wonderful book called Guest House. I enjoyed the characters in this book and was able to catch up with author Barbara Richardson, to chat a bit about the book.
I hope you will welcome to Book Journey, Barbara Richardson.
Barb, I am thrilled to have a chance to talk with you! First off, do you prefer Barbara or Barb?
Barbara: Either is fine. Barb usually comes in once I know a person awhile.
Ok. Second important question. How do you take your coffee?
Barbara: I don’t! I am naturally caffeinated, so drinking coffee is a little scary. How to wind down, that is the question. Right now, gin and tonics say “summer” and “slower” and “ahhh.”
No coffee? Wow. I may need a moment her to compose myself… Guest House is your debut book. Can you share with me a little about how the idea for this book came to be?
Barbara: Five years ago, two characters entered my head, with seemingly nothing in common. At least in their outer lives. Melba Burns, a successful real estate agent, and Matt Garry, a shy ten-year-old whose blue collar parents do not want him. Divorce stalks his childhood like a hound from the start. I had no idea how these two strangers would intersect and connect. I did know that no matter how dark Matt’s journey became there would be beauty in the darkness. Melba is the caretaker of that beauty.
Melba Burns is quite the character, first driven, then hidden; does Melba represent anyone in your life?
Barbara: Two fantastic women combined to make Melba. The first is my cousin Christy, a librarian whose solo life shines. She’s a consummate professional woman with a brilliant mind and a wide open heart. The second woman, Audrey Egli, adopted me when I first moved to Portland. A real estate agent, Audrey gave me my first six months of clients for my new business; she helped me purchase a home and then launched my career in landscape design. Both women garden with a vengeance and love books. I am so grateful for their sanity and strength. I’m thrilled to be loaning them to the reading public!
I have heard you have an interesting story about the gorgeous cover that adorns Guest House. Please share that story.
Barbara: I’m glad you like the cover. It’s a love letter from the universe. Last October, I was struggling mightily to find a cover image for my novel. Floundering better describes it. I had a deadline and mounting desperation that kept me searching online professional photo sites for hours each night. Little did I know the universe had been poking my college boyfriend to find me, and close a gap of thirty years. Jeff said hello on Facebook and asked what I was doing. I said hello right back, I’m searching for a cover for my novel Guest House, waddayathink of this one? I sent him an image I’d set my heart on, a scrawny haunted out-of-focus apple tree in an empty green field. He said, I’m a graphic designer, how about this? Never having read the novel, Jeff produced the heart-red cover of a farmhouse and ancient lichen-covered apple tree branches which caused me to cry for three days, and then say, Yes. We’ve sent 2,665 emails. And we are going steady. It’s great when life dwarfs the things you think are so profound and important!
Oh wow! That is an amazing and so sweet story! You sound like things are really working out well. What is coming up next for you?
Barbara: Well, I just finished a 1,750 mile road trip touring truck stops and reading to truckers. I drove my mother’s Buick Century! Guest House involves a trucker, Matt’s father, and the novel has a half-dozen road trips in it, so I took the novel to the people who populate it. Quite wonderful, and I’m beat. Promotion has been a full-time job since Thanksgiving. We just made a great little video called Truck Stop Tour 2010, which I hope your readers will enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDZmYtpXh3E&feature=channel. Next up, Guest House will sell its first print run so I can start writing again.
I love the reading to truckers idea! It is tradition that I ask every author I chat with to share a little known fact about themselves.
Barbara: Horrible nickname: Screechy Spice. I won’t even tell you that story!
Oh! LOL, that is going to bug me! Barbara, I really appreciate the time you took to join me at Book Journey! I am hopeful that all your book dreams come true.
Readers, please check out more information on Barbara and on the Truck Stop Tour, on her website.
14 thoughts on “Author Chat with Barbara Richardson (author of Guest House)”
I have this book on my “next up” stack this week. Can’t wait to dive in and find out more about these characters.
Great interview, Sheila and Barbara.
Oh good Laurel! I seen it this morning in the line up to be read. 😀
I enjoyed the interview ladies. I loved the idea of a truck stop tour. Hey, with book stores having financial problems these days that may become more popular.
Wasn’t that a fun idea Jill?
I enjoyed reading about how Barbara created Melba — she was such a wonderful character. 🙂 Thanks, ladies!
I really liked that too!
Whoa, I’ve never heard of a truck stop tour before, interesting!
I hadn’t either Hannah! 😀
Seems really unique.
Reading to truckers at truck stops is just such a great, way out there idea. I am sure it is not something that happens often.
How wonderful that you reconnected with your college boyfriend after 30 years. Going steady, don’t hear that phrase much any more.
Will be looking for this one. GUEST HOUSE sounds worth the read.
Thanks Pat 😀
Very fun interview. Once I have my baby I can’t wait to have a big cup of strong coffee!
stacybuckeye – I did not know you were pregnant! Congratulations!