NAW Interview with Barbara Ellen Brink

Barbara Ellen Brink

Barbara Ellen Brink is the author of nine published novels. She grew up on a small farm in Washington State but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota with her husband and their mutts, Rugby and Willow. Visit her here.

NAW- Tell us about your book, Savor. How did you get the idea for the book series? How difficult (or easy) is it penning down a book series?

Savor is the third book in The Fredrickson Winery Novels. The first book, Entangled, was an idea I came up with a few years ago when I was visiting relatives in Washington State. Many new wineries and vineyards had popped up across the countryside since last I’d been there and I was reading dozens of articles at that time on the popularity of wine tasting rooms across the country. That set me wondering what it would be like to own and operate a place like that. Of course, Napa Valley is one of the most popular tourist destinations for wine lovers, so I set my fictional Fredrickson Winery right in the middle of California wine country.

I also wanted to deal with repressed memories. I spent much of my childhood in Washington and when I returned as an adult I found my memories often jogged through things like the smell of apricots ripening on a tree, tumbleweeds blowing in the wind, or the sound of frogs croaking in unison down by the creek. It set my mind spinning Billie Fredrickson’s story.

Book two, Crushed, came about when I decided to bring in Billie’s and Handel’s siblings who played very minor roles in Entangled, and tell their story. It was a natural progression from there to write Savor and bring everyone’s story full circle, tying up all the loose ends and having a little more fun with the family dynamic.

I wouldn’t say it’s easy to write a series, but once you get to know your characters a little bit, it gets easier in some ways because you usually know how they are going to react in different situations. The Fredrickson Winery series always involves a mystery to be solved, a little romance, family and a bit of humor. Truthfully, the scenes that I struggle the hardest to get right are usually the scenes that I’m most proud of. Humor and sarcasm comes easily to me, but reaching inside and pulling out emotions that I don’t normally let other people see, that’s when this writer really connects with readers.

NAW- How long did you take to finish the book? How do you decide the titles?

Each book was different. Entangled took the longest because it was the first in the series. Probably about nine months before I was happy with it. Crushed was done in three months and Savor was done in about four months.

NAW- What can a novice reader expect from Savor? Are the books standalone or should be read in order?

All three books stand on their own as individual stories but I think readers would enjoy Savor much more if they read the others first. Savor does refer back to things that happened previously in Crushed, and the characters have grown and changed much from the beginning.

NAW- Tell us about your other works.

Split Sense is a speculative thriller that won the 2011 Grace Awards. It’s the story of twins raised in separate homes, who discover they each have a supernatural gift. One can heal with music and the other can feel the emotions and hear the thoughts of people around him.

Running Home and Alias Raven Black are a two book Inspirational suspense set called Second Chances.

In Running Home, Ivy is intent on escaping the publicity of her husband’s crimes. She moves back to her hometown, but finds that home is no longer a safe haven. Danger lurks behind every smiling face. Will her husband’s secrets push her over the edge or into the arms of the Special Agent watching over her?

In Alias Raven Black, a young female con artist, undercover for the FBI, poses as a nanny to the children of a mobster. Will the secrets she discovers bring absolution from the past she’s tried so hard to leave behind or simply tear her heart in two?

I also wrote a young adult series filled with adventure, romance, humor, and lots of vampire slaying. The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy: Chosen, Shunned & Reckoning

Tired of sparkly vampires and cute girls in love with the undead? Meet Jael – a slayer with genuine Amish made stakes in hand and a strong urge to stake a bloodsucker’s heart tonight…

Jael is the descendant of the first vampire slayer, who also happened to be an old testament Bible character. She learns her parents are actually runaways from an Amish community in Minnesota and that she is destined to return to their neck of the woods. Which is lucky for the Amish people of Loon Lake, because they’re having a little vampire infestation going on.

savor book cover

NAW- Tell us about your publishing journey. How did you find your publisher?

I went through years of writer’s conferences, sending in query letters and publishing short stories and articles in small publications. Finally, I decided to just forge my own path, write what I wanted to write, and publish myself.

I am self-published. My books can be found at all major online retailers, digitally as well as in paperbacks.

NAW- Take us through your writing process. How do you write, in fits and starts or in one go?

I write some pretty much every day. When I’m really into a story, I write four or five solid hours a day, seven days a week, until I get the first rough draft done. Then it goes through numerous edits and rewrites before it goes to my editor.

NAW- Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?

Of course I love to read, so I have a large collection of hardbacks as well as two different ereaders. I read everywhere I go. If I don’t have my kindle or nook with me, I read on my phone. I also love going to the movies and as a writer often imagine one of my stories up on the big screen some day.

My husband and I love to take weekend rides or short road trips on our motorcycles. We plan to visit the Black Hills in South Dakota on the bikes this fall. Hopefully, we won’t run into any wandering Bison on the twisting mountain highways.

NAW- Please name your favourite writers. Are there any who you’d like to name as an inspiration?

I have so many favorites it’s really hard to just name a few, but I’ll give it a try.

Diana Gabaldon, Sibella Giorella, Steven James, Patricia Cornwell, Sally John, Iris Johansen, Mary Higgens Clark, Rosalind Laker…

Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Dorothy Eden and others like them were my inspiration as a young teenager reading late into the night. My love for the mystery and romance of words was formed early on and these writers inspired me to take it further still, by putting pen to paper and writing the stories in my heart.

NAW-What are you currently reading?

I’ve been reading a lot of Indie writers lately. Right now I’m in the middle of three different books. A humorous romance called Molly Hacker Is Too Picky by Lisette Brody, a steam punk story called A Matter of Temperance by Ichabod Temperance, and a thriller by Steven James called The Queen.

NAW- What will you be working on next?

I’m working on the first book in a new mystery series called, Double Barrel Mysteries. An ex-cop from Minneapolis and his young wife, move to a tiny town in the Upper Peninsula along Lake Superior and buy a dilapidated Bed & Breakfast. While trying to make a go of their new business, murder happens and they are pulled into solving the case.

There will be quirky characters, humor, romance, and of course mystery in every story. Set in the fictional town of Port Scuttlebutt, Blake and Shelby Gunner are starting off the series with a bang.

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