Jen: Today we welcome Barbara Elsborg to Romancing the Book. Barbara, will you share a short bio with us?
Barbara: Barbara Elsborg lives in West Yorkshire in the north of England. She always wanted to be a spy, but having confessed to everyone without them even resorting to torture, she decided it was not for her. Vulcanology scorched her feet. A morbid fear of sharks put paid to marine biology. So instead, she spent several years successfully selling cyanide.
After dragging up two rotten, ungrateful children and frustrating her sexy, devoted, wonderful husband (who can now stop twisting her arm) she finally has time to conduct an affair with an electrifying plugged-in male, her laptop.
Her books feature quirky heroines and bad boys, and she hopes they are as much fun to read as they are to write.
Barbara can be found all over the place!
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Barbara: Kiss Interrupted, out on the 16th February, is a paranormal story with a difference! This is the blurb:
Not his type.
It should have been simple. A temporary move from London to Leeds to manage the office while a boss is sick, but as Fyn watches the workforce enjoy a summer party, he feels more than guilt over the looming downsizing.
He’s tasked with making many happy people redundant, and that includes Libby Pasternak, who has her face painted as a tiger, wears boots on a summer’s day, has an ear full of piercings and is so distracting, she almost bowls him out at cricket. Unthinkable.
Most conflicting of all, why is he even thinking about seizing the moment, instead of his rule concerning getting involved with employees—especially with one so not in his league?
Not her type.
Libby likes blond surfer dudes with big dreams and even bigger smiles, not a guy like stick-in-the-mud Mr. Sensible, otherwise known as Fyn Marlowe. Then he gives her a lift home from the office party, and she finally has to admit to herself the depth of her Grand Canyon-sized crush. One that chokes itself to death two days later, when he erroneously accuses her of screwing up a major account. She may be a bit different, but her work is always the best.
Their blazing row resolves with her getting sacked, ending any chance of exploring where things could have led. His type, her type—none of the preconceived ideas of a perfect partner matters when the world—literally—comes crashing down.
You wouldn’t think from reading the blurb that this is a paranormal story but something very spooky happens and I didn’t want to give that away. The world crashing down is the biggest clue I wanted to give.
The idea for it came from a ‘what if’ scenario – the sort of thought that randomly goes through my head all the time. What if the world you knew suddenly changed in some significant way? What would you do? How would you figure out what was wrong? Could you figure it out? It’s those sort of questions that drive my writing! Also not a lot of books are set in Leeds, my closest city and this story needed to be a smaller place than London – for reasons that become obvious!
Here’s a short excerpt:
“Her perfect guy wouldn’t be over-muscular. More lean and mean than buffed and
honed. She definitely didn’t want a guy with bigger boobs than her. Did the men who spent hours at the gym have any idea how depressing flat-chested women found their well-developed pecs? Not that she was completely flat but she looked it when she compared herself to Cassandra, who always seemed to be on the verge of popping out of her dress.
Libby’s ideal man’s come-to-bed eyes would be a deep ocean blue and he’d have long thick lashes and a cheeky smile. She needed a happy guy, one who smiled more than scowled. One who was good at sex. In fact, come to think of it, almost the spitting image of the guy she’d watched in a porno clip the other night when she was feeling hor…sorry for herself. Except that guy had been gay. All the ones she fancied were gay.
Fyn Marlowe wasn’t gay and she didn’t fancy him. Not much. Hardly at all. He was posh. Libby was not. He didn’t look happy and Libby liked happy guys. He is not my type. Repeat after me. He is not my type.
Oh crap. That might be true, but he was the reason she’d walked into work with a smile on her face for the last three weeks. Of course, he was also the reason she walked out exhausted at the end of the day from the effort of trying to stay cheerful and upbeat when the guy never ever smiled. Maybe she needed to update her ‘ideal man’ file to tall, dark and brooding—unsmiling vampire accepted.
Not hard to imagine Fyn striding into the woods, finding her here and climbing into the hammock beside her—without tipping it over. He’d slide his hand up her leg under her dress so slowly that by the time he reached her panties, she’d be wet. Mmmm.”
Jen: What’s been the highlight of your career to this point?
Barbara: A year or so ago I was approached by the BBC who were making a documentary about DH Lawrence and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I was asked to be on the program – because I happen to come from the area where he grew up and because we both write about sex (wrote in his case of course). I think that might be the only thing we have in common. But I ended up on local radio three times and featured in several articles in the local press. I was invited to talk at a few gatherings as well. That was my moment of fame.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Barbara: I was unhappy at school, teased because I was very tall and I didn’t have any friends. Pause for sympathy. I walked to school on my own and used to drag TV or movie stars along with me and chat to them in my head. A short step then to making up a world with me and them in it and from there to writing it down. I filled lots of notebooks with fanfiction – still have them. They all feature a tall, blonde, gawky girl and a handsome actor.
The idea of actually wanting to be published didn’t stick its claws in me until I was in my early twenties. I subbed my first novel when I was twenty-seven. A thriller called Unnatural Selection. I did get a personalized rejection from one publisher – who called it very dark and asked for something lighter. It’s still in the bottom of the closet. Funnily enough it features a tall, blonde, gawky girl.
I wrote a few more books and then joined Critique Circle, learned a huge amount about the craft and finally submitted a book to an epublisher and it was accepted. Now I have almost 40 books out there, ebooks and paperbacks. I write everything from MF, MMF, MM – contemporary, sci-fi, paranormal and romantic suspense.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Barbara: I find writing the sex scenes hard and writing the start which takes ages, oh and the middle and – wait for it – the end difficult too. I’m a slow writer. I don’t plot, I just write. I might have 3 books out a year on average but I write full time including weekends. Compared to many, I am very slow. The easiest part for me is the dialogue. I love writing that. I struggle with the descriptive bits. Most rewarding is when I make myself laugh or cry to the point where my chest hurts, that feeling that I’ve done something right. Just as rewarding is when a reader emails to tell me I touched them too. Oh I thought of another challenging aspect – coping with criticism. I’m a puddle sometimes. And another – marketing – I’m terrible at that.
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Barbara: They usually come when I’m in bed so I have a pen that lights up and a pad of paper to scribble on. Of course, in the morning, the ideas don’t always seem so good, assuming I can decipher my writing, but I add them to the notes for my Work In Progress or add them to an Ideas file that is full of random ponderings to be worked on at some point in the future. I carry a notebook with me everywhere in case inspiration strikes but really, it’s mostly in bed in those moments before I sleep or when I’m trying to sleep that the best ideas come.
Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Barbara: Whenever I come across a name I like, I make a note of it. I have two lists right in front of me now. Names I choose are all important. They have to sound right to me and more often than not, they have a significance for the story. That’s not true with Kiss Interrupted – I just liked the names Fyn and Libby. They fit the characters.
I love names that end in the ‘ee’ sound for girls and short snappy names for boys. I can’t use Greg – name of son. Can’t use Natalie – name of daughter. Plus I have two grandsons – Jackson and Brady – so those names are out too! For most of my books, the meaning of the names is important. I’m probably the only one who knows that! I can’t think many readers would look the names up.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Barbara: I’m writing a story about two damaged guys—one is a veterinarian, the other a bit of waste of oxygen, but yet again, something significant happens to one of them and that drives the story. It’s tentatively called Dirty Angel. Hmm – think I might have given away something there. LOL