Thomas: Today I’m here with Barbara Roman, who writes under the pen name of “B. Roman.” Welcome to my blog Barbara.
Barbara: Thank you for inviting me Thomas. It’s a pleasure to be here.
TJB: Barbara, let’s jump right in to the interview. Please tell my readers something about yourself and your books.
Barbara: I have been in the creative arts since my teen years, began singing professionally as a jazz vocalist in Philadelphia, PA and perform with swing bands and pop music combos to this day. I am also a composer/lyricist. My music has always informed my writing subject matter and all my books have music blended into the plot in one way or another.
My first published book many years ago (aptly titled, “Music Power”) was all about the power of music to influence our lives physically, emotionally and spiritually. A while back, I self-published a children’s book, “Hubert in Heaven,” which also had original music. And I published a self-help book titled, “Lyrics of Life,” from which I developed a class for aspiring writers of poetry and lyrics. I have several children’s books pending publication, once I find exceptional illustrators. Currently, I have four books in the marketplace.
TJB: You have an amazing background Barb. I’ll come back and ask for you to go into detail about how you are combining your passion for music with writing. What is the name of your new book?
Barbara: My newest books are a trilogy of YA/Kids fantasy adventures titled, “The Moon Singer.” Book One: The Crystal Clipper and Book Two: The War Chamber, are now available in paperback and kindle versions on Amazon; Book Three: The Wind Rose is in design stage and will be released soon. Also currently available is a suspense fiction, “Whatever Became of Sin?”
TJB: What is the book about?
Barbara: The hero of The Moon Singer Trilogy is a young deaf boy – David Nickerson – who develops extraordinary powers of “hearing” through his affinity for crystal power and music, and a yearning to resolve his anguish over the death of his mother.
A novice at spiritual quests, he experiments with his collection of crystals, most notably a powerful Singer crystal, and inadvertently conjures the supernatural clipper ship Moon Singer that transcends this world and transports him to other dimensions of time and space.
There, he encounters people whose lives intertwine with his through many lifetimes. Though his otherworldly experiences are his way of coping with his real-world crises, David’s disability (his deafness) becomes his greatest gift and allows him to explore the contrast between good and evil, and to save a life that means more to him than his own.
TJB: Barb, tell the readers something about your other book, “Whatever Became of Sin?”
Barbara: “Whatever Became of Sin?” is a suspense fiction for adults and takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana. It involves racial hatred, sexual obsession and a heinous baby switching scheme. There are murder, political conspiracies and tragedy to round things out!
TJB: Sounds like a fascinating book Barb. Never a dull moment between the covers of that book! And the cover artwork is gorgeous on all of your books, very attractive. What about your writing process. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Barbara: No unusual habits. I write wherever I can: in the coffee shop, at the dining table, in bed with papers strewn everywhere. I still work a full time job so I have to squeeze my writing in during “spare time,” when there is any.
My inspirations come in “flashes,” in visions mostly and I take notes based on what I see in my mind. The difficult task is to get onto paper the “grand” things that dance in my head. I’m also very aware of my surroundings and leave myself open to receiving intuitive messages that serve as ideas for my stories, for research I need to do, and for envisioning the end goal for that particular book.
Although I enjoy writing conflict into my characters’ lives, you won’t find any blatant sex or violence; there are enough books out there with those elements and I’m no good at writing these scenes anyway. My books are also short as novels go; I try to write tight, colorfully, and as though I’m writing a movie – moving the story along swiftly but with substance.
TJB: Barb, I’m taking notes. Like you, I write whenever I can, and when ideas come to me, I try to write them done so I can return to them later. Tell me about the authors, or books that have influenced you as a writer.
Barbara: Gosh, there are so many factors there. I started reading at a very young age, loving Grimm’s Fairy Tales, anything magical and mystical. In time, I fell in love with the Great American Plays and read them all. I loved how the stories moved on the page/stage with little narrative, all character, dialog and emotion.
In books, I read everything from family sagas (“The Godfather,” “The Thornbirds” et al), metaphysical teachings and inspirational works like “Conversations With God,” “The Power of Myth,” “Life of Pi”, to John Grisham legal thrillers and Anne Perry mysteries.
TJB: Reading widely has been very important for your development as a writer. There is one school of thought that says narrow reading, deep and intensive, is just as valuable as reading widely. Barb, I’d like to know what other books are you working on now?
Barbara: I am working on a prequel to “The Moon Singer” trilogy, told from the point of view of David’s mother. She was his mentor, his inspiration, and gave him courage when he became deaf. She taught him music, sign language and lip reading, and David was devastated when she died.
It wasn’t until a few years after I finished the trilogy that I realized there is a full book there, in telling the story of David’s mother, and how she came to believe her son would have a great gift to give the world.
TJB: Sounds like a really wonderful book Barb, emotional, the kind that makes people shed tears long before they turn the final page. Let’s turn now to marketing and promotion. What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Barbara: Currently I am working with Creativia Publishing who is redesigning my books (which were previously self published) and handling the promotion to their global Amazon customers. Of course, I do my share of Facebook posts, Twitter, and email notices. It’s tough being an Indie author, but I think I’ve found the right vehicle. I found you as a Facebook friend, and here we are blogging to the world! I am grateful.
“Make the Impossible Possible; Make the Unbelievable Real!” Follow deaf teen David Nickerson’s adventures aboard… https://t.co/Z3ZoBhy88M
— B Roman (@BMoonSinger1) May 2, 2016
TJB: It’s all about connecting, isn’t it Barb? The more genuine connections you make with other authors, the more mutually enriching it is for everyone. Barb, I’d like you to “look directly into the camera now,” and talk to those new authors who are thinking about writing and promoting their own books. What would you say to them?
Barbara: Yes, of course. Where’s my camera? (smiling)
TJB: The one to your right Barb. About 3 o’clock. (smiling back at my guest)
Barbara: My advice is to just do it. Write. Then write some more. Write, write, write. You must write a lot of really bad stuff to get to the good. I started out writing essays in school, penned some poetry then moved on to satirical articles for the college newspaper and local publications.
From there I wrote TV and radio commercials and programs, human interest feature articles, screenplays (just for the exercise) and then novels. For me, being eclectic was a matter of necessity; I had to go where the work was.
After a while I no longer wanted to write for others, just for myself. I’d also definitely tell aspiring writers to never give up. It could take years to break through and find your unique voice. I’m 73, a grandmother, and still finding new ways to express my creativity.
TJB: Barb, excuse me for a moment. Did I hear you correctly? Did you just say that you are a 73 year old grandmother?
Barbara: Yes, Thomas, you heard me correctly.
TJB: Barb, you can call me Tom. Can I say this?Am I able to compliment my guests on their looks during an interview? I’ll risk it. Barb, you look amaaazing to be 73 years old. And please refresh my memory. I did hear you say that you are still singing, dancing, and writing books? Is that true or did I just invent that?
Barb: Tom, you heard me correctly. I’m still singing and writing books. But I’m afraid you invented the dancing part. Singing is what I do. As I said before, I began singing professionally as a jazz vocalist in Philadelphia, PA. And yes, as I mentioned earlier, I still perform with swing bands and pop music combos to this day.
I am also a composer/lyricist. This all flows into my writing. I get inspiration for my writing from my music. All of my books have this unique blend of literature, the lyrical, and the musical.
TJB: Barb, I hope I’m still writing when I’m 73. I’ve never been able to sing, so writing would be enough to make me happy.
Barb: Hahaha. Just keep writing Tom. If you make it a habit, like I did, you will still be writing at 73.
TJB: Thanks for your kind words Barb. Could you tell my readers what is the best advice you have ever heard for authors?
Barbara: I guess that would have to be, write what you love, not just what you know (we don’t know everything but that doesn’t mean we can’t write about it).
Your writing has to be credible – even if it’s the wildest fantasy ever written, it must ring true for your readers. So you must prepare, know your material, do your research, and then create.
TJB: I’m taking notes Barb. I totally agree with you about credibility. The Greeks called it, “Ethos.” Be credible. Barb, what are you reading now?
Barbara: I’m reading some books by other authors to practice my reviewing skills and to help promote their work. A few of the books are, “The Mirror and the Sword” by E.J. Norris, “Just the Way You Are” by Allison Lewis, “Short Circuit” by Kenna McKinnon and “Keeper of the Unicorns” by Sahara Foley.
TJB: Barb, what’s next for you as a writer? I know you’re going to be creative and growing as an artist for a long time to come. How do you see yourself developing your talents and unique skills further?
Barbara: To someday soon be able to retire from work and just dream, write and be fulfilled! And hopefully sell more books!!!
TJB: Barb, our profession is eternal. Long after we are gone, people will still read your books. Writing and singing is as close to immortality as we humans can get. Barb, I’d like you to close your eyes for a moment. I want you to visualise yourself stranded on a desert island. You just found an old sea chest and there are some books inside. Reach inside and pull them out, one by one. Magically, those books will transform into the books that your heart desires. Tell me what books you just found please.
Barbara: This is amaaazing Tom. (smiling) Wow! The first book I pull out of the chest is, “Winter’s Tale” by Mark Helprin. It’s more than 700 pages and so dense in prose that it takes me days to get through a chapter.
So being on a deserted island I would have all the time in the world to read it and revel in its brilliant imagery.
The second book I pull out of the chest is, “Dreams From My Father” by (President) Barack Obama, which is masterfully written and very meaningful.
Oh my goodness! I can’t stop pulling books out of the chest Tom. And they are all political books! Now, these books have made me get my blood boiling! I am so inspired to survive the island experience, go back home, and become an activist again. (smiling)
TJB: (standing and applauding) Thank you for being on my blog today Barbara. It has been an honor and a pleasure to chat with you.
Barbara: Thank you Tom. The pleasure is all mine. (takes a bow, smiling)
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