Saturday, February 16, 2013

Interview with Missouri Author Barbara Watkins

Give us a quick introduction on yourself and your book.
I am the author of several paranormal thrillers and this is the intro to my novel, Hollowing Screams.
It is bizarre to say in our civilized culture some human beings still act out in a violent primitive manner causing bodily harm and death. For this reason alone incarcerating facilities will always exist. The terror of being thrust into a world in which time cannot be calculated, distance cannot be measured, and our own true existence is in question is incomprehensible. In 1971, a mysterious stranger warned a small community of their impending doom. She prophesied that if they ignored her warnings they would experience a chain of devastating events. The outcome of their fate would remain in whether they chose to believe in something that could not be scientifically validated. Is it safe to say that unexplained phenomenon does exist? If you asked the people of Patton, they would say, "Of course it does and its name is Lola."

1. What inspired you to write your first book?
In 2005, my three-year old grandson began to experience paranormal activity - frightening circumstances in which we could not explain away with logic. This activity was the basis for my first novella, Behind the Red Door.

2. Do you have a specific writing style?
When writing, I try to omit complicated sentences and weak adjectives, verbs, etc. Moreover, I write to entertain my reader - to capture their undivided attention.

3. How did you come up with the title?
I always let my characters choose the title, although they often squabble amongst each other. However, in the end, they never disappoint me!
4. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I have several messages throughout, 'Hollowing Screams' that I hope will make my readers pause for thought. Does paranormal phenomenon truly exist, or is it conjured up by an over active imagination?

5. How much of the book is realistic?
I guess that would depend on if you believe in paranormal phenomenon, guardian angels, and the possibility of communicating with spirits from beyond!

6. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The central character in Hollowing Screams is loosely based on a medium by the name of Lola - a psychic that I was introduced to from my youth. The bulk of the story comes from my own nightmares, and personal experiences with the paranormal.

7. What books have most influenced your life most?
I enjoy reading a variety of books - horror, comedy, romance, and suspense. I would have to say every book that I have read and enjoyed has influenced my life in one way or another. Great question but difficult to answer! If the book captures my imagination or gives me reason for thought in the first few pages - it's a keeper!

8. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
No question about it, Betty Dravis! She is a phenomenal writer with such books under her belt as, 'Star Struck' (Interviews with Dirty Harry and other Hollywood Icons) '1106 Grand Boulevard' 'Dream Reachers' 'The Toonies Invade Silicon Valley' and our most recent collaboration together, 'Six-Pack of Blood and Six-Pack of Fear'.

9. What book are you reading now?
I am working on a new book project so I am not reading anything at this time. However, I just finished 'Cypress Hill' - a paranormal thriller by author, Mackenzie Knight. It was deliciously frightening!

10. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes, quite a few new authors have captured my interest - Mackenzie Knight, Joanna Lee Doster, L. Leander, Ashley Fontainne, Elizabeth Black, Yvonne Mason, Janet Beasley, Michel Prince, and the list goes on!

11. What are your current projects?
I signed off with Zodiac Entertainment, a New Zealand Production Company, and Director Dimi Nakov to adapt 'Hollowing Screams' to film. We worked together on a script for a short film entitled, 'BlindSide' where I contributed the voice over monologue for the main character. I am proud to say that it is having phenomenal success in several prestigious film festivals such as, Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival 2013, Cannes Short Film Corner 2012, Denver Underground Film Festival 2012, 7th Cyprus International Film Festival 2012, 8th Annual Action On Film International Film Festival 2012, Deep Fried Film Festival 2012, Illinois International Film Festival 2012.

12. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I was introduced to the great American Director/Producer, Armand Mastroianni, by way of my dear friend and colleague, Betty Dravis. He wrote the foreword for our short story collection, Six-Pack of Blood. He has continued to be a loyal supporter of my works and is 'one' that I know I can trust to give me an honest and fair opinion of my work.
13. Do you see writing as a career?
Writing is my career. It is my stress release, my enjoyment, my creative outlet!

14. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I am pleased with the final product and cannot think of a thing that I would want to change!

15. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
After reading, 'Carrie' by the great Stephen King, I decided that if I could write something that would entertain, scare, and thrill someone the way he did with his words - well, I was certainly going to give it a shot.

16. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
An important scene from chapter 11 of 'Hollowing Screams'
Across town, Maggie stood and gazed at the same sunset, but found it difficult to find any beauty in it.
Placing her hair in a ponytail, she slid into her pajamas and tried to relax. Pouring a glass of wine, she flipped through the channels, but nothing caught her attention. Her mind began to wander.
A dark, repressed secret now resurfaced. Closing her eyes, she slumped back into the recliner. Her pulse began to race as panic overtook her. The dead silence surrounded the anguish of what lie ahead. In the dim light, she saw his shadow as he crept toward her. She would not make a sound. She could not. She felt the calluses on his hand as he clasped her mouth. The touch of the cold floor on her back did not lessen the painful burning inside. With each thrust, she could feel her soul being ripped away. Clutching her teddy bear, she prayed this time would be the last.
17. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find the flash back scenes are a challenge. It is easy to confuse your reader if not carefully orchestrated.

18. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love the way Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Anne rice can capture your undivided attention within writing just one sentence.

19. Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not near enough! I would love to travel internationally one day!

20. Who designed the covers?
I have had several different book designers, but I especially love the book cover Rebecca Buckley created for Hollowing Screams.

21. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I find leaving my characters behind sometimes is difficult. I know this may sound strange but when you spend hours everyday, sometimes months or years on end, breathing life into the characters; you become attached…okay, now I'm just scaring myself! LOL)

22. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned not to be so impatient with myself. As a writer, it is easy to get annoyed with 'ones' self when the story is not moving along as fast as we think it should.

23. Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice to other writers would be to always set aside the time to write on a daily basis, to have someone other than family or friends critique your work, and grow a thick skin when it come to criticism.

24. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want to personally thank my readers for their loyal following, and hope that my writing continues to entertain them for years to come.

25. What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
Finding an editor that you can connect with, one who knows your voice and will not try to change your style of writing, is sometimes a challenge. My biggest challenge when writing is the time it takes away from being with my family and friends. However, my family and friends are my number one fans. They celebrate my accomplishments, my honors, and are always there giving me the encouragement I need to continue doing what I love.

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