Interview with Barbara Brink

Jen: Please help us welcome Barbara Ellen Brink to Romancing the Book. Barbara, will you please share a short bio with us?

Barbara: Thanks for having me at Romancing the Book. I’m glad to be here and share my love of writing.

I grew up on the west coast, but have called Minnesota home for the past twenty-five years. I’m married, have two grown children who no longer live at home, and two mutts that do live with us and fill our lives with misery and joy, depending on the hour.

I’ve always loved to write, but actually started pursuing my dream to be a published author about twelve years ago. I wrote short stories and articles and was published in small publications and magazines. At the same time I was also writing novels, trying to find my writer’s voice, my nitch, my place in a very full stream of fish. I wrote contemporary romance, western romance, women’s fiction, Christian suspense, and even time travel. I have a few unfinished novels in my portfolio as well, but while they were good practice, they will probably never see the light of day outside the folder on my computer. After much writing and struggle I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy writing mystery/suspense the most and it’s what I do best.

The Fredrickson Winery series is mystery/suspense with a side of romance. The first book in the series, Entangled, was published last fall and the second book, Crushed, is now available.

Jen: Tell us about Crushed and where it can be purchased.

Barbara: Crushed is second in the Fredrickson Winery series, but you don’t have to read the first to follow the story. The story takes place once again around a winery and vineyard in the Napa Valley.

Creating the perfect wine can sometimes be murder…

When Adam Fredrickson shows up at his sister’s California winery, footloose and carefree, looking for a temporary job and a chance to play his music, he doesn’t expect to find the winery struggling financially, or that the girl next door might just be the girl of his dreams.

Margaret Parker, a single mom, newly hired as chief winemaker at Fredrickson’s, finds her simple world put to the test when her father is unexpectedly released from prison, and the man who got her pregnant at fifteen, shows up from Italy wanting to daddy nine years too late.

It’s crush time at Fredrickson Winery and everyone is working feverously to get the grapes in and ensure a great vintage. No one expects murder to be part of the joyous harvest season.

Crushed is available in paperback or ebook format. You can purchase it from Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Sony, Apple, or any online ebook store.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing? When were you first published? Tell us your call story.

Barbara: I discovered writing about the same time I discovered my love of reading. I was in grade school when I started making up stories and writing some of them down. Too bad I didn’t save any of them. I’m sure they’d be best sellers by now.

My call was actually an acceptance letter. My first short story was published in THEMA Literary Magazine the year of Hurricane Katrina. Makes it easy to remember, right? It was set to publish earlier, but with the storm flooding their offices and printing presses, it was finally out about six months later than scheduled, in 2005. The story is called, “Bookstore Cowboy.”

Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?

Barbara: There are not any writers that I know of. We do have an artistic streak running rampant though. My daughter is a graphic design artist, my mother is a painter and quilt maker, and my niece is an artist/photographer. I guess my artistic bent just went toward the written word.

Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?

Barbara: I don’t know if they are “must haves” but I do seem to write better when I have access to brain food. My desk drawer just happens to be stocked with the best selection of brain food: black licorice, almonds, and chocolate.

Jen: Do you struggle with deadlines? How do you deal with the pressure?

Barbara: I think every writer struggles with deadlines, but if we didn’t have them nothing would get done. I feel a little stressed with a deadline hanging over my head but I work much more efficiently and tend to keep at my desk for longer periods without breaks, don’t waste near as much time online, and stay much more focused. Dealing with pressure is what the “brain food desk drawer” is for.

Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?

Barbara: I had to do quite a bit of research on wine varietals grown in or near Napa. I found the research interesting and the whole winemaking process quite intriguing. I visited wineries and vineyards, read books on wine and winemaking, and checked out a lot of interesting winery websites.

Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?

Barbara: I have not had any hauntings by the characters from Fredrickson’s so far. I have definitely dreamed scenes for books in the past, but not in this series. I guess I was certain about where the story was going. If I’m floundering with a plotline or ending, that’s usually when I can’t get it off my mind and I dream about it.

Jen: If Crushed was made into a movie, which actors would you cast as the main characters?

Barbara: Adam is 23, fresh out of college with an accountant degree but really wants to be a musician, he has auburn hair, and is over six feet tall. Margaret is 25, a blonde, blue-eyed beauty with a nine-year-old son and a serious need for a little fun in her life. I’m drawing a complete blank on young actors that would fit the parts Maybe your readers could come up with some suggestions… ?

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?

Barbara: I really enjoy Diana Gabaldon’s Highlander series and I can’t say enough good about Sibella Giorello’s Raleigh Harmon series. I usually read a lot of suspense authors: Iris Johansen, Catherine Coulter, Linda Fairstein, Tami Hoag, etc. Since I purchased an ereader last year, I have read a lot of authors I probably would never have picked up before, just because the price is so nice. The last three books I recently finished were A Nail Through the Heart by Timothy Hallinan, Havah by Tosca Lee, and The Pawn by Stevens James. All excellent books. I would highly recommend all three even though they are totally different genres.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Barbara: I’m working on a couple of things right now. I’m editing and rewriting a Christian suspense that I wrote a few years ago, and I’m working on something entirely new that I’m keeping under wraps for now. I also have plans for one more Fredrickson Winery novel in the not too distant future.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Barbara: You can connect with me on Twitter, check out my author page and be the first to know of any book updates on Facebook, or read the random things I write about on my blog.

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Barbara: Yes, I would be interested to know how many of you have ever toured winery/vineyards or visited a wine tasting room? Was it an enjoyable experience, and would that make you more or less probable of buying a novel placed in that setting?

Jen: Do you have a contest for our readers?
Barbara: I am giving away a signed copy of Crushed. All you have to do is leave a comment and write a three-page paper on why you love wineries. Just kidding! Only a comment–No paper necessary.

I can only ship within the United States or Canada, but if you live outside that area and would still like to be in the running, instead of the paperback I will give away coupon codes for free ebook downloads of both Fredrickson winery novels at Smashwords.

Good luck & happy reading!

Thanks again for hosting me, Jen. I enjoyed visiting and look forward to any comments or questions your readers may have.

Jen:  Readers, to enter the contest, you need to leave a comment for Barbara and then you must either leave your email address in your comment or send an email to  The winner will be chosen on Sunday, May 22.
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