Twilight Times Feature
with Barb Starmer
Interviewer: Lida Quillen
1. Does your creativity express itself in ways other than writing?
Well, to be honest I'm a graphic artist as well. My idea of a good rainy afternoon is to sit down at the computer and design covers for books. I started learning graphic arts about two years ago and really enjoyed it, so I began creating desktops for myself and others. I have friends who are into Forever Knight, Andromeda, the X-Files and Romance Novel so I started making desktops for them and dropping them to a webpage. I got several emails from people who watch my webpage asking for special pics and started doing those in my spare time as well. I just find it fun and it's very handy for doing your own covers. My novel's design for Undercover is mine as well as my short story graphic "Mirrors of the Heart."
2. Do you feel you were creative, even as a child?
I wouldn't go as far as to say creative, but imaginative. I use to pretend when I was a child that I was the main character in my favorite tv show and change the plotline to fit what I thought should have happened. I didn't start putting them to paper until I was about twelve. I guess I was a late bloomer in the writing area.
3. Could you share with the story behind the story? In other words, how did your writing lead you to your first novel?
That's a bit of a long story. As I grew older and started rewriting the scripts to the tv shows I liked and found that I started changing the characters. When I was in my late teens and early twenties I started writing short stories using the same characters of the tv shows but in a different format. Of course they never left my notebook unless I submitted them for a class in high school or college. They always did well and I got notes from the professors telling me just how much they enjoyed the story and I should continue writing.
Unfortunately, the real life of job, husband, and children caught up with me. I didn't get back to writing for fun and entertainment until I got much older and life settled down a bit. Then one afternoon, I decided it was time to take the story I had been writing in my head as I drove around the countryside working ( I travel a great deal for work), and put it to paper. It took me the summer to put it to paper and then another month to do the rewrite where I thought it was acceptable. Then I let it sit for a long time. About a year later I got on the internet and found a wonderful group of people who just loved to read fiction and I started writing new stuff for the loop. Several close friends looked at the book and prounounce it good and said I should try and sell it. So that's the story of Undercover.
4. How did you prepare for the creation of your first novel? How much research was necessary?
The novel is about the drug industry in the U.S., so I made some phone calls to the local police department and got some information about how they were handled in our local area. I've travelled to Chicago and LA, but was a little hesitant to use real life names of restaurants for legal reasons, so I just gave the restaurants new names to protect the innocent so to speak. The martial arts came from a friend of mine, but nothing in it was too in-depth so it didn't require much in that department.
5. What kind of reaction do people have to your writing?
Most people either love it or hate it. If you aren't into romance where the character are individuals in their own right and don't really need each other, you probably won't like my style of writing. I like the characters to have a chemistry between them that leads to passion and intrigue in the story, but not make either of them out to be needy or dependent on the other.
I have a tendency to write at least two plotlines in my stories now and I'm working on three in the next one. I'm not into just romantic scenes with no real story behind it and it has to have a twist in it somewhere. Even my short story, "Mirrors of the Heart," managed to have a twist to it in the end. I found that piece more challenging since it had to be under twenty-five pages. Undercover has an historical character plotline as well as a contemporary one that builds each character over time. I really want to write a sequel to it next year, so some history was needed.
6. Do you find anything difficult in the writing process, and if so what?
Copy editing is the worse for me. It is so hard to find your own errors. If I get lucky I have a couple of friends copy edit for me before I send it off to be looked at or read by a publishing house. I'm the world's worst for writing 'your for you're' and 'her for here'. Wish I could set my computer to catch all those, but since both are perfectly good English words the computer doesn't help me out. I am getting better over time and I know my weaknesses, so the mistakes are getting fewer and fewer.
7. Do you currently have any writing projects?
Currently I'm writing a new e-serial off my webpage. It's called Voices of the Night and it's about a guy who hears voices in his head that give him clues in murder cases. I started it a month ago and it's just great fun. Most who have read it have written and told me it ought to be a T.V. series.
I'm also working on my new novel which I'm in hopes will be out later this year. It's about mysterious woman who keeps showing up all over the country working for the police departments either in vice or homicide. She is being followed by a FBI agent who has a secret agenda about discovering his past. Now I won't go any further into it because I don't want to give away any clues as to how they are connected. It will be a fantasy/romance story with a big mystery to solve. Hopefully, I'll do it right.
I also write fan-fiction on a regular basis for those Forever Knight lovers out there, just because I like it and I have a large group of people who follow the storylines I started some five years ago. So I keep busy and never lack for something to write about.
8. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I just want to add my personal thanks to Twilight Times for taking the time to interview new authors and give us a chance to promote our books and short stories in a media that came be overwhelming to the ordinary person out there. I also hope everyone will take the time to read something new every week by a new author. There is so much talent out there left undiscovered by the mass market book publishers.
Now I understand why they have a tendency not to take new authors. There is such a massive outlay of cash on their part and the publicity that is required to bring a new face to the forefront is just hard to fathom, so going with an already proven name increases their profit line from the start.
I read constantly and I've promised myself to try someone new every other book I purchase, whether it be online or at the bookstore. I hope others will follow suit and I think they will find a whole new world of intrigue, romance and fantasy out there they didn't know existed.
B.W. Starmer, aka: StormyNite on the web, is a long time mystery buff with a flare for romance she just couldn't shake. A native Midwesterner living in a small Illinois suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, Starmer is a full time Sales Manager with a passion for marketing. Known for her fan-fiction and short stories under the name of StormyNite, Barbara has branched out to do something more involved and passionate filled with mystery and intrigue.
Starmer graduated with a M.S. in Environmental Studies in 1995 and was published for her water quality studies shortly thereafter. She has been writing fiction in short story format for over 6 years on the web. She has been a full-time sales manager in the medical industry for over twenty years and found all those lonely hours in hotel rooms were good for writing as well as reading. She lives with her husband of twenty-two years, her daughter and a ninety-pound Samoyed dog by the name of Kikituk. They live on the Illinois side of the magnificent arch in St. Louis, Missouri. Inspired by friends and family, Starmer put her passions to paper in Undercover and is happily at work writing more. You may follow her work on the web at her author page.
Check out Barb's free stuff
More info on Barb's books:
What happens when your normal night flight takes a bit of a side tour? Author and long time St. Louis resident, B.W. Starmer, draws readers deep into the drug underworld in the debut of her new romance novel, Undercover. Starmer's protagonists in Undercover, the wealthy, reclusive Britt Black and the unpredictable and skeptical Cassandra Steele are drawn into a labyrinth of deceit in the late Eighties where drugs bring money and power. By accident, Britt discovers Casey's secret identity and decides to help her in her quest. During the process, Casey finds the elusive Britt Black is a great deal more than a newspaper publisher with a pretty face. A year-long adventure into the undercover world of drugs teaches our young avengers that life is too short and nothing lasts forever.
Undercover is available from Virtual Bookworm
A new life, a second chance at what should have been. Winter Lockhaven, a middle-aged computer programmer decides to take a chance and live life once more. Is love real or just some sort of magic dreamed up by hopeless romantics searching for their soulmates? After moving to New Mexico, Winter unpacks an antique mirror she was compelled to take with her from her great granddmother's estate. From the very first night, she discovers there is more to the mirror than meets the eye. Is the man in the mirror fantasy or reality? How much faith and hope can one person have? Will it be enough? You be the judge.
"Mirrors of the Heart" is available from Atlantic Bridge.net