Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Barbara White Daille Kicks Off Book Release of FAMILY MATTERS

Greetings, Five Scribe Readers: Today we are pleased to have Harlequin American Romance Author Barbara White Daille, with us. Her book hits the stands THIS week! Not only is Barbara my friend, she's a goal-setting guru. Plus...Barbara sent me an Advance Reader Copy of FAMILY MATTERS. So, I'm going to be asking Barbara questions about the story, about Harlequin American, and about her writing process in general, all while doing my best not to give the entire story away. Please welcome Barbara White Daille to the Five Scribes.

NOTE FROM BARBARA: Hi, I'm Barbara White Daille, and I'm happy to welcome you to the Book Release Party for my October Harlequin American Romance, FAMILY MATTERS! I'll be celebrating all day today both here at Five Scribes and at my own blog

Since I'll be off working a day job, Donnell will pop in from time to time to keep the conversation going. I hope you'll stay and party, read Donnell's interview below, and leave comments and questions for me. I'll be back later today to join in the fun and respond to everyone! And now, I'll let Donnell take it away....

D.B.: Oh, good! I was wondering when I'd get a word in edgewise ;) Welcome, Barbara. Ever since I saw that you won The Gayle Wilson Award for Excellence for your previous book, COURT ME, COWBOY, I've been curious about your writing. I knew you were obviously talented, but I had no idea how much. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read FAMILY MATTERS.

BWD: Thank you, Donnell. I'm honored--and blushing!

D.B.: I loved FAMILY MATTERS. Your heroine Kerry MacBride is a family-first kind of woman, and I'm BIG on families :). You open this story with Kerry witnessing a brouhaha between her entrepreneur uncle, her fearless environmentally-conscious grandmother and the hero, the overprotective attorney Matt Lawrence. The story starts out, in all places, in a retirement community. Kerry's Uncle Bren has gotten the residents excited enough to invest money in the restoration of an amusement park. When Matt Lawrence learns his mother, a resident of the community, has invested in the hair-brained scheme, let's just say Matt sees Kerry's Uncle Bren as a swindler of the worst order.

I absolutely fell in love with this ingenious set up. You establish conflict from page one, and immediately draw the reader in. Tell us how FAMILY MATTERS started to bloom and what inspired you to take it to completion.

BWD: I'm glad you liked the idea! It initially started with the hero and heroine, then the secondary characters, and suddenly I knew I had to have a conflict that would involve them all. The idea came to me of a "land development" story--which many people say has been overdone, especially in romance. Because of this, I felt the book's setting needed to be out of the ordinary. And, with luck (because I love using humor in my books), I hoped it would provide opportunities for lots of fun.

In FAMILY MATTERS, as you mentioned, the development debate is over an amusement park. For me, that's the fun part! ;) To up the ante, instead of the hero and heroine being at odds, they're actually both against the situation--for very different reasons. But, of course, they're also in conflict with each other over everything else! Once I realized all that, I couldn't let the idea go.

D.B.: I must confess I haven't read many Harlequin Americans (which I plan to remedy, thanks to you). I am, however, thrilled that I started with yours. It is unlike any category romance I've read. No offense to any category writers out there (I adore a great category romance), but this story felt like the editors gave you more leeway in which to tell it. Is it because you aren't a first-time author with them, and they trust you to tell a story more, or is this typical with Harlequin American?

BWD: What a wonderful compliment. Thank you!

I've been fortunate to find a line that fits my voice and style and to be working with an editor who helps me hone them. Also, I've been lucky in that Harlequin American Romance allows for a broad range of story elements, from the main characters to the zany secondary characters and humor I love to write, all the way to the variety in the level of sensuality.

D.B.: FAMILY MATTERS had more characters, it had a subplot and the romance was there, but the story included a growth element. By the time the story ends, Kerry, an art teacher, realizes something about herself, and Matt has changed dramatically, too. Did you see this evolution in your proposal, or is it something that occurred as the story unfolded? I'm very interested in your process.

BWD: As I said recently in a blog post, I'm all about characters. They drive the plot. (With help from me, of course.)

By the time I'm ready to submit an idea to my editor, I have a complete synopsis of the story. That's not to say that things don't change during the writing of the manuscript. Most of my characters don't let me know all there is to know until I've worked my way through to The End. (Kerry's realization was one of those surprises.) And then I have to go back and change the manuscript to match what I've learned!

Kerry and Matt went through the same process that happens with all my heroes and heroines. While I don't always see their evolution down to the last detail, I know each of them will face some type of change. At the beginning of the book, the hero and heroine are in conflict. By the end, they've reached their happy ending. Somewhere along the line, the characters have to come to an agreement or compromise. And that requires change--at least from one of them.

Spoiler alert!!!!

I have to say, though, I don't usually like change to be one-sided. ;)

D.B.: Yes, I can see that. So, let's talk about characterization. Kerry's family is Irish and there is, of course, references to getting one's IRISH up, but the characters are so well defined. You know them so well, and each is so different. Do you do character worksheets, or do you get to know them on the page?

BWD: I try to do character sheets. I really try! But I often forget to go back and update them. Once my people get moving on the page, all the elements of the story are so intertwined that I know the characters without having to refer back to the sheets.

What I will do from time to time is let one of the characters journal about the story. Usually, this happens because he or she has gotten into a corner it's impossible to get out of. And that happens most often because one of them has refused to do what I wanted them to do. LOL.

D.B.: You give them the lead. That's the sign of a great story IMO. Then there's Barbara White Daille's writing, of course, which I have to say is flawless. Since this was an ARC, I looked for typos. (Readers, I have to tell you, I couldn't find any.) Barbara White Daille put her years of English grammar classes to good use.) Your tags and beats tell us exactly what the characters are doing/thinking in such a non-cliched way. Is this something you struggle with? I picture you at your keyboard seamlessly telling this story.

BWD: Donnell, I can't tell you how happy your vision makes me feel! Many thanks to you for the vote of confidence and to my eighth-grade English teacher for the grammar drills.

The truth is, everything is a struggle for me. I'm a perfectionist who is learning to get over it...I think.

I want to tell a story that readers will enjoy, which means I have to be happy with it, too. And I'm sometimes...oh, all right! I'm always my own worst critic.

D.B.: LOL. I'm not sure that's a bad thing in writing. Okay. Okay. Let's move on to romance. The attraction is obvious from chapter one between Kerry and Matt. It is, after all, a category romance. But it's not so in your face in interviewer's opinion. Matt is obviously frustrated that Kerry's uncle is taking advantage of Matt's mom. But at one point, when Matt lets his guard down, he smiles. Kerry, ever the artist, visualizes capturing that fleeting expression with her paintbrush. That was a stunning scene, loaded with sexual tension, but so subtle. I formed the opinion you liked writing Kerry and Matt's story. Was it difficult?

BWD: Again, thank you so much. Yes, I liked writing Kerry and Matt's story. And, yes, it was difficult. That's part of the challenge, I guess. Or the struggles you mentioned earlier.

Without giving away the entire story, let me just say this. What intrigued me most about Kerry and Matt is that they're so alike in one very important way. Yet they're too stubborn to acknowledge the truth. Too driven to admit it. And...maybe...too close to their history to overcome it.

D.B. Ah, well said. I talked about a subplot earlier. I saw the introduction of J.J. as one. He really upped the stakes between Kerry and Matt, forced them to take stock of their situations and who they were. For the reader's benefit, J.J. is one of Kerry's students. He has enormous talent, but he comes from a broken home. In my opinion, his presence was the catalyst that made Kerry and Matt appraise their goals.

BWD: I feel that way, too, Donnell. J.J. became very special to Kerry and Matt and, I hope to the story.

Again, going into detail would probably give away too much, but I will share another aspect of J.J. Not only is he a catalyst, but, in my humble opinion, when it comes to Kerry and Matt, this troubled teen embodies the best of one of them and the worst of the other.

That's my intention, anyhow!

D.B.: Ah, one for the book club to study.;) Thanks for pointing that out. I promised not to spoil the plot, and I hope I kept my promise. Let's talk about Harlequin American Romance. It's my understanding that some books have love scenes and some don't.

BWD: Yes, it's true. There is no love scene in FAMILY MATTERS, and I did reveal that fact myself on a blog just last week. In fact, I talked about the need for--or the lack of--the love scenes in my books and the reasons for each. Just as I feel the characters drive the story, I also feel they control some of the romantic relationship. (After all, there has to be something left for me to do!)

To clarify, some of my books do have love scenes, though, Donnell would probably put them in the tame category ;). I'm all about the characters, and for me that makes an intimate setting all about the emotion.

D.B.: Well, a book with no sex scene that earned Barbara White Daille a 4-1/2 star Top Pick review from Romantic Times? I'm more than okay with letting an author do what's right for her story. The story's focus is foremost on Kerry and Matt's growth, which brings them together as a family unit in their own right. Readers, I hope I've whet your appetite enough to pick up this book. And, Barbara, thank you for giving me the opportunity to read it. Further, to learn so much about Harlequin American.

BWD: My pleasure, Donnell. Thank you again for interviewing me and for hosting this fabulous release party.

Which reminds me, I hope everyone is having a great time. I'd like to offer some fun prizes both at Five Scribes and at my own blog. At each location, I'll be holding drawings for one $10 gift card from Barnes & Noble and one copy of each of my backlist books, THE SHERIFF'S SON and COURT ME, COWBOY.

To enter both drawings, please leave a comment here at Five Scribes and send an e-mail through the Contact Barbara form at my website before the end of the day (October 6th).

Meanwhile, party on, and I'll be back after work to catch up with the latest.

See you soon,

All my best,


The winners of prizes from both Fives Scribes and my web site are:

THE SHERIFF'S SON - Annabelle and B.A.
COURT ME, COWBOY - Gillian and Anna
Barnes & Noble gift cards - Robin and Carol
Please send me an e-mail via my web site with your mailing address.
Congrats to all of you!
And a very, very big thanks to Donnell!


Barbara *new website/blog*
FAMILY MATTERS ~~ Available now! (Oct 2010 )~~ RT Book Reviews 4-1/2 Top Pick


Anna Louise Lucia said...

Congratulations on your release, Barbara - it sounds fab!

Barbara White Daille said...

Good morning, everyone! I'm very happy to be here at Five Scribes today.

I'll be around for the next hour or so before I leave for the day job.

Hope you enjoy Donnell's interview.

Donnell, thanks again for your kind comments about FAMILY MATTERS and your insightful questions regarding the book.

Looking forward to chatting with you all later!


Barbara White Daille said...

Anna - thanks so much!

And I appreciate your being the early bird who arrived here first. ;-)


Donnell said...

Barbara, so sorry you have to leave for your day job, which I'm sure you love. I'm curious how you find time to write in between course work, grading papers, etc.

Angi Morgan said...

Can't wait to pick up my copy of Family Matters. Congratulations, Barbara.


Barbara White Daille said...

Donnell - actually, I don't. Do course work or grade papers, that is. Though I work for a school district, I'm not a teacher.

As for finding time...I plan for it. Of course, the plans don't always work. LOL

When that happens, I resort to stealing as much time as I can from my To-Do list to write.


Wendy Marcus said...

Hi Barbara!
Congrats on your release. I've never read any books from the Harlequin American Romance line. Looks like I'll have to start! Your book sounds great!

Barbara White Daille said...

Angi - thanks so much! I hope you enjoy the book.


Edie Ramer said...

Happy release day! I love quirky characters and I'm looking forward to reading this.

Liz Lipperman said...

Take it from someone who was a beta reader for this book, it's fabulous and deserves every one of those 4 1/2 stars. Like Donnell, this was the first Harlequin American story I read. (I read mysteries, mostly.) and I, too, have a new stack of books for my TBR pile.

Great interview, Barbara and Donnell. Have fun all day with the debut party, Barbara.

Annabelle Ambrosio said...

Congratulations on the book. Interesting that it takes place in a retirement center. I worked in nursing homes for years and have used one in a short story and another in a longer story I wrote.

Therese Walsh said...

Fantastic interview, you two. Congratulations on your release, Barbara!

Donnell said...

Hello all: I think the retirement home setting was the most surprising thing about this book. Barbara presented these older people with care. They were vibrant, experienced and respected. I was charmed from page one.

Thanks for the compliment, Liz, and Ann, I think more stories like this need to be told ;)

Melanie Atkins said...

Congrats on your new release, Barbara! Sounds like a fabulous book. Hope you have many, many sales.

Sandy said...

Congratulations on your release, Barbara. Family Matters sounds like a great story.

Great interview questions, Donnell.

Donnell said...

Just a heads up. On Barbara's blog which I've linked twice in this interview, Barbara has an excerpt. I worried that I gave too much of the plot away, but that excerpt was the start of something great. If you have a moment, it really is worth the read.

Robin Covington said...

Barbara: Congratulations.Can't wait to read this one, I've really enjoyed your other books.

What do you feel is the best thing about writing category romance? The most difficult?


Maryanne said...

Congrats on your book release party, Barbara!


B. A. Binns said...

Congrats, Barbara. I love your work and I'm looking forward to this one. I love watching characters change and grow together.

Mary Marvella said...

Barbara, I'm so glad you agreed to visit the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers soon. I can't wait! Now where are the chips and dip? I assume there will be cake soon? I thought we were gonna party!

Donnell said...

Oh, Mary, I'm afraid I quashed the high caloric content on the blog today ;) I read about food, I gain weight. So we'll give that honor to the Pink Fuzzies. At Five Scribes we're the kill-joy partiers ;)

Carol said...

Congratulations on Family Matters release! I'll stop by a book store on my way home from the mountain top. So looking forward to reading your newest. Much luck on a tremendous follow -through.

Leslie Ann said...

No squashing of food...I just opened the chamapagne and canapes are out, so here's a toast to Barbara on her release of "Family Matters"--best of luck always and may the wind be at your back.
(just finished watching POTC again.)


Donnell said...

Okay, LA, but if this goes to my waistline... I love champagne and canopes. Also, I'll bite... what is POTC.

Seriously, all, thanks for stopping by to support Barbara. I recommend Family Matters for a genuine enjoyable read.

Jean said...

Hi Barbara!! Congrats on your new release. I"m looking forward to reading it. Best of luck with it.


Leslie Ann said...

Your waist and mine.

POTC Pirates of the Caribbean.

Again Barbara, congrats and best wishes for continued success.


Donnell said...

Oh, Thanks Pirates of the Carribean. Barbara, poor Leslie Ann, fellow Scribe, had toe surgery and she's laid up ;)

Leslie Ann said...

Laid up and loopy! So if my spelling is off, forgive.


Gillian Layne said...

I just love American Romances so much--they are my favorite category romance. I really enjoy Lee McKenzie's work, and anything with cowboys or babies. Good for you for writing a story that gets across all the wonderful romantic and sexual tension while keeping the bedroom door closed. My mom counts on those romances. Family Matters sounds like a wonderful read, and I can't wait to settle in with it. :)

Donnell said...

Gillian, I'm so glad you stopped by. Your mom would love FAMILY MATTERS and so would you. Barbara has a few cowboys plots in the making as well ;)

cynthia said...

Congratulations on your latest release. Your story sounds very interesting. Thanks for the interview. It was very interesting.

Barbara White Daille said...

I'm back and ready to read comments!

Starting off with Wendy...

Wendy - thanks!

I'll be honored if you decide to read any of my books. ;-) Whatever you pick up from the line, I hope you enjoy it.


Barbara White Daille said...

Edie - thanks a bunch!


Barbara White Daille said...

Liz - thanks so much for your kind words about FAMILY MATTERS.

I appreciated your eye on the manuscript and am so glad you enjoyed the story.


Barbara White Daille said...

Annabelle - it's nice to be able to draw from experience, isn't it?

Thanks for sharing.


Barbara White Daille said...

Therese - thank you twice! ;-)


Barbara White Daille said...

Donnell - thanks so much. I'm happy you enjoyed the characters.

They were a lot of fun for me to write. I really did like being able to draw from so many different types of story people.


Barbara White Daille said...

Melanie - from your keyboard to my editor's ears! LOL



Barbara White Daille said...

Sandy - many thanks.

And Donnell did a fabulous job with her questions!


Barbara White Daille said...

Donnell - I appreciate that you mentioned the excerpt.

It's always fun (read: a challenge) to set the scene while trying to keep the story moving along.


Barbara White Daille said...

Robin - I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed my two previous books. Thanks for sharing that!

Great questions, too.

For me, the best thing about writing category romance: being able to tell stories that are on the sweeter side with guaranteed happy endings.

The most challenging: needing to give all those stories a fresh spin. Though I have to say that helps me stretch as a writer, so it's actually enjoyable.


Barbara White Daille said...

Maryanne - thanks for stopping in! I hope you're having a good time at the party. ;-)


Barbara White Daille said...

B.A. - thanks much, and congrats on your upcoming first book, too!

I definitely agree about liking characters to change and grow.


Cathy Shouse said...

This was an interesting interview. I liked learning how you made the book work and it gave me hope that it didn't come easy to you....
Would love to win a prize

cathy underscore shouse at yahoo

Barbara White Daille said...

Mary - I'm definitely looking forward to the Pink Fuzzy Slippers blog on Monday and to sharing a sneak peek of FAMILY MATTERS with your readers!

Uh-oh--no goodies out yet? Let me go investigate!


Barbara White Daille said...

Well, Mary, I guess Donnell answered the question about the goodies.

But I see Leslie Ann has other news. ;-)


Barbara White Daille said...

Carol - thank you for taking time out of your trip to stop by. Safe travels.

And I hope you enjoy the book!


Barbara White Daille said...

LA - thanks for the toast; much appreciated.

And the canapes are all zero-calorie, right?

If so, Donnell, you can indulge and not gain an ounce!


Barbara White Daille said...

Jean - thanks so much!!

Amd it's great to see you! Hope you're doing well.


Barbara White Daille said...

Donnell and LA - the calories would go to my waist, too.

But knowing how well y'all treat your guests around here, I'm ***sure*** those canapes are no-cal.

LA - so sorry to hear about the surgery! I hope you're back to 100% very soon.


Barbara White Daille said...

Gillian - thanks so much--and thank your mom, too.

If you like cowboys, you might enjoy one of my previous books--COURT ME, COWBOY.

Spoiler alert!!!!

((((SPOILER: Just want to add that there is a love scene, but it's much more involved with the married couple's emotions than anything else.)))

And a true story: the mother of a friend of mine (whom I've never met) sent a message to me after she'd read the first two books. She told my friend to "tell Barbara I appreciate how she handled the loves scenes."

I thought that was so sweet, considering her mom is in her 90s and I wasn't sure she would even take a chance on reading the books. ;-))


Barbara White Daille said...

Donnell - thank you kindly for commenting to Gillian (and her mom).

Also, for mentioning the cowboy books in the works.

Now I just need everyone here to cross their fingers that--once I send the proposals in--my editor likes the ideas.


Barbara White Daille said...

Cynthia - double thanks!

Donnell's interview questions really made me think. LOL


Barbara White Daille said...

Cathy - I would like to say everything comes easy to me. LOL

What I can say is that no matter how much I struggle, writing is something I love to do.

And I always will.


Barbara White Daille said...

Okay, gang, I believe I've responded to all the comments.

Will call it quits for tonight but will be back in the morning for a wrap-up.

Thank you all for your kind words today!


Donnell said...

Barbara, it's been our honor to have you here at Five Scribes. All I can say, folks, is FAMILY MATTERS is a great read. Barbara will be drawing the winner(s) later on here and at her blog. So stay tuned. Happy writing & reading!

Barbara White Daille said...

Good morning, again!

Donnell, it's been my pleasure to be here. Thank you again for hosting the party and interviewing me!

And thanks again to everyone who stopped by yesterday.

Will be popping in with the drawing results tonight!


Gillian Layne said...

Thank you, thank you! :)

Barbara White Daille said...

Gillian - you're very welcome!



Barbara White Daille said...

Just a final thanks from me to everyone who stopped by the blog and partied with us.

Today is the official release day of FAMILY MATTERS. Woo hoo!!

Your attendance at the Book Release Party definitely made this occasion even more special!

All my best,


Donnell said...

Gosh, I just received a $25 book gift certificate; guess what I'm going to buy. Barbara, thanks again. I hope you have stellar numbers. ~ Donnell