I’d like to introduce you to the forty-first interviewee in my ‘Meet the Author’ series. She is Barbara Silkstone.
Hi, Barbara! Welcome to Susan Finlay Writes blog site. Can you tell us a bit about your background as a writer?
Thank you for inviting me, today. It’s lovely to be here.
I’m a single mother, living on the edge in Florida. My writing history is diverse. I started an underground newspaper in grade school and was threatened with excommunication by the nuns. I was fortunate enough to take part in writing workshops with Stephen King, Robert B. Parker, and James Michener. I enjoy doing playful things with language, blending two distinct words to create a new word. If I’m laughing out loud when I’m writing, then I know I’ve hit the mark.
When you’re a freelance writer with a quirky sense of humor, being in the right place at the right time helps a lot. If I just stand still for five minutes… wham! Something funny and worth writing about will happen to me. I’ve accidentally sky dived, been elected president of the Japan American Society (I’m not Japanese), been stalked by crazies, and ran off with a real life White Rabbit.
For six years I traveled the United States listening to men reveal their darkest secrets for my book, The Adventures of a Love Investigator, 527 Naked Men & One Woman. When I was finished with my adventure, I realized the only man I should have interviewed was Lewis Carroll, unfortunately he was long gone. So I set out to pay homage to his brilliance by re-telling Alice in Wonderland in a contemporary setting. The result is The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters ~ a comedy mystery that takes place between Miami and London.
Your latest novella, Cold Case Morphs, A Comedy Mystery’, was published in January, 2013. Can you tell us about the book?
Cold Case Morphs is my first novella. I love noir and enjoy a funny paranormal now and then. I’m a big fan of Beetle Juice and Ghost Busters. Cold Case is an homage to those two funny flicks. I should explain: Morphs actually exist. I discovered them when I was trying to find a title for Zo White and the Seven Morphs. I wanted to find a word that rhymed with “dwarfs.” For two days I walked around the house rhyming. Suddenly the word “Morphs” popped into my head. I Googled it and was surprised to find they were real. You can find Morphs on FaceBook by searching for “Morphsuits.” They are an international craze. Go figure.
Your novels/novellas are described as ‘criminally funny fables’ and you even have a boxed set with that title. Can you tell us about your books? Who or what were your inspirations? How many have you written? Are they related to each other?
I have three criminally funny fables: The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Wendy and the Lost Boys, and Zo White and the Seven Morphs. Each novel is a quirky take on a classic. They do not follow the original story lines. The books are about contemporary women who find themselves doing battle with thugs, swindlers, and email lotharios. Each heroine prevails in her own stumbling way. She grows through her tale and brings down the bad guys. The books are loaded with references to the original fairy tales.
As I wrote the criminally funny fables, Wendy Darlin seemed to develop a continuing separate storyline. She’s a real estate broker for billionaires in Miami. The market for mansions is slow. To supplement her income, Wendy finds herself assisting a Johnny Depp-type archaeologist as he returns stolen antiquities to tombs and museums. Wendy becomes a Tomb Hunter and starts her own series.
In her first adventure, Wendy and the Lost Boys, she is kidnapped and held on a super yacht while in search of stolen Egyptian icons. Her second adventure, London Broil, finds our gal in London hunting the last missing icon. The clock ticks as she slugs her way through an assortment of wacky villains. I like to think of her as a combination of Indiana Jones and Lucille Ball.
Are you working on a new book? How long does it usually take you to write a book?
I’m working on Wendy’s third adventure… Cairo Caper. She’s off exploring pyramids with Dr. Roger Jolley, her handsome but fuddling archaeologist. It usually takes me six months to one year to write a book. Comedy is tough to script. It relies on timing, on one liners, and hidden clues. Readers love finding my little chestnuts tucked away throughout my stories.
One of your books, ‘Wendy and the Lost Boys’, is now available on Amazon as an audio book. How did you make it into an audio book? Can you tell us more? Are you the narrator?
I now have the following books on Audible.com
Wendy and the Lost Boys
Zo White and the Seven Morphs
The Adventures of a Love Investigator
More on Audible.com
Coming in June: The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters
Coming in August: Cold Case Morphs
I choose professional narrators who sound as close as possible to my heroines. It’s delightful working with this group of super talented ladies. If you listen to the samples which are available on the Audible site you will see exactly what I mean.
For example, I received six auditions for Zo White. When I heard Emily Gittleman I knew she was Zo White. She possesses a quirky cartoony voice. Just for the fun of it, please visit the Audible.com site and enter Zo White and the Seven Morphs. In small green letters below the book cover you will see the word “sample.” Click on that and you’ll hear what I mean.
What is your favorite or least favorite part of writing?
My favorite part is once the characters take over. I think sometimes that I’ve stored every episode of I Love Lucy and Looney Tunes in the back of my brain. They come gushing out in amazing ways. The least favorite is editing. That’s why I have at least two or three editors comb through my manuscripts once they are done.
If you could meet any book character, who would it be, and what would you do with them?
There is a little known book called Ghost by Marsha Parker. I believe she only wrote the one book back in 1982. Toward the end of the book, the American heroine is living near a small country inn in France. During the night she meets with her lover from a previous life time. He walks her into a field, lays down a sheep skin, and makes love to her. Then he disappears. I would love to change places with her and experience that love scene. It is sooo beautiful.
What books or authors have most influenced you in your own writing?
I like the early Janet Evanovich, Carl Haaisen, Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, Robert B. Parker. I like cryptic, snarky dialogue.
Do you have a writing routine, a special place where you go to do your writing, or a certain time of day? Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind of music?
I think we all have our high-creative times. I’m great at five in the morning and late afternoon. I shirivel up at night. And I must have complete silence when I write. I wish I could write to music, but I’m easily distracted.
How do you get past writers’ block or distractions like the internet?
I’ve never had writer’s block…but that darn internet (said through clenched teeth) is one heck of a distraction. It’s like having a toddler tugging at your knee begging for attention. I’m still trying to break my addiction.
Please list any websites or social media links for yourself or your book. Thanks!
I’d like to offer an audio copy of London Broil for free. It is a “Reviewer’s Copy” and would require a review. If any of your readers are interested they can post a note here.
I’ve attached my current info contact info.
Thank you so very much for inviting me.
About the Author:
Barbara Silkstone is the best-selling author of Criminally Funny Fables series that currently includes: The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters; Wendy and the Lost Boys; Zo White and the Seven Morphs; Cold Case Morphs; and London Broil.
For further giggles and a touch of true fiction try: The Adventures of a Love Investigator, 527 Naked Men and One Woman.
Silkstone’s writing has been described as “perfectly paced and pitched – shades of Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiaasen – without seeming remotely derivative. Fast moving action that shoots from the hip with bullet-proof characterization.”
Barbara Silkstone loves to hear from her readers.
You can write to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog: Barbara Silkstone http://bit.ly/M2Cs7Q
Barbara Silkstone’s Amazon Author’s page
Audible: Listen to the free sample of Wendy and the Lost Boys