Thursday, June 6, 2013

Author Interview: Sara Barnard

Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)

Before I married up with my handsome Texan, I spent my semesters going to University and my summers working all around the country with the Park and Forest Services. I am very passionate about conservation of all kinds and was accepted into a Master’s program for Fish and Wildlife Conservation, but changed my focus area to Medieval European History and just began my studies! I lived in New Mexico and counted bats, banded cave swallows, tracked mountain lions, and caught and relocated troublesome rattlesnakes. I also worked in Alaska and tried my hand at gaining my private pilot’s certification. Unfortunately, the desire outlasted the means, but I had some great adventures in doing so! When my husband and I married, we moved to his Army base in Italy – that was an adventure in itself. Four children later, we have lived in two countries (together) and several states!

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go? 

Publishers take heed! Scotland. Hands down. I am working on a historical adventure/romance now inspired by true events that brought my family to America in the 18th century from Scotland.

What is your favorite genre to write?

Historical adventure/romance. People often ask why the slash, why not just adventure or romance? Because, the two go hand in hand. Especially in my world J  Children’s is fun to write, too !My nonfiction book, The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants, has hit #1 in nature books for kids twice this year and has been on the Amazon bestseller’s list since 2012. My debut picture book, Chunky Sugars, was published earlier this year and is a lot of fun! I have a couple more children’s books coming from 5 Prince Kids.

What is one silly fact about you?

If there is a good song on the radio, I will drive around until it’s over. If another good song comes on after that, then I will keep driving. The kids love it and it gives me an excuse to drive my Jeep Wrangler a little longer... especially if the top is down.

Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance?  Do you write steamy romance as well?

I have a young daughter who is a reading machine and top in her class in Accelerated Reader points!! She is often peeking over my shoulder when I am writing or is otherwise interested. She wants to be a writer, too! So I write stuff that she is safe for her to read and not be scarred for life. Also, I try to inspire and uplift with my books by weaving Christian undertones throughout.  I try to stay away from the ultra-steamy and focus on the sheer romance aspect.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

Hearing from the readers and how my words have either brightened or otherwise influences their lives or outlook on life.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

All of it. Most everything that my characters endure in my books I have endured as well. Like Charlotte getting her throat slit by the renegade Yankees in A Heart on Hold ... I added that part when I had to have a total thyroidectomy. Her having a husband that came back from war wounded on the inside as well as the outside ... yup. I am still living that. The menagerie of animals that make an appearance – that is my family to a T. We are avid animal advocates and rescuers, so all that is truth.

How many books have you written, and how many of those have been published?

I have my four book historical romance/adventure series from 5 Prince Publishing. So far of those four, three have been released: A Heart on Hold released in August 2012 and has hit two bestseller lists and is a finalist for the 2012 RONE award.  A Heart Broken released in January 2013 and is receiving a consistent rating of 5 Stars, and A Heart at Home which is my newest release. There are already a few 5 Star reviews out for this one, as well. Book 4, A Heart Forever Wild, is in the works. I have two children’s books on the market now, The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants – an elementary aged regional nonfiction bestseller, and Chunky Sugars, a mommy-baby read. I have several more children’s books forthcoming from 5 Prince Kids, most of which are historical. I have a completed Amish romance my awesome editor is considering, and my Scottish adventure/romance. Several of my short stories have appeared in anthologies, too.

Please share about your book.

A Heart on Hold is book 1 in An Everlasting Heart series. I began this book when my husband was deployed to Afghanistan again. I took what he was experiencing, researched what the Civil War soldiers had experienced, added those things together with my experiences and tossed them back into the 19 degree came in handy! I based my hero on both my husband and the real Confederate soldier Captain E. A. Adams.

If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be?

I have two main characters, so I will do them both.

Charlotte: Feisty. God-fearing. Loyal. Adventuresome. Idealistic.

Sanderson: Duty-driven. Loyal. Adventuresome. Realistic. Iron-willed.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

A Heart on Hold is, as are all the books in An Everlasting Heart series, based in historical fact with elements of adventure, romance, fear, heartbreak, and happiness interwoven to make a real-life portrait in the written word for readers to lose themselves – and be transported back in time. As I told a young lady at my last book signing as she purchased A Heart on Hold; this book is filled with real people who make real mistakes and make real discoveries ... in order to look forward, you must first learn to look back.

Sara Barnard
Bestselling Historical Romance and Children's book author

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