Saturday, April 9, 2011

Come Read About the Romance and the Terror of Lee Barwood's New Book "A Lingering Passion"

Scribal Love Welcomes Lee Barwood!

Lee Barwood is an author of paranormal fantasy, horror, and mystery. Her newest work A Lingering Passion is available from Blood Moon Publishing.

What is the name of your latest book? And how did you come up with the title?

My latest is A Lingering Passion. It had a very mundane working title that I finally was able to replace once the book was done, which for me is very unusual. Usually the name inspires me to complete the book, but not in this case. When it was finished I looked at the overall presences in the book and realized that passion, in one form and another, was what it was all about – and it had lingered beyond the grave.

What is this book about? And what genre is this book in?

The book is about the reawakening of generations-old hauntings in a Victorian theater that originally was built by a wealthy man for his actress wife. After her death, as their daughter grew up, she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and work in the theater – and, although this was very unusual for the Victorian era, her father encouraged her, publishing her plays when she wrote them and then bringing in a cast of professional actors to form a company in residence to perform them. However, tragedy struck, and the echoes of that tragedy continue on to the present day, when a new theater company brought in to revive the theater and its plays finds itself haunted by old ghosts and old passions that have never faded.

Its genre is paranormal romance/horror. That may sound like a peculiar blending of genres, but considering the strength of each of those elements, it seems the right description.

Who is/are the main character(s)? And why did you choose them?

Stan Richards sets everything in motion. He’s a theater magnate who is as much driven as haunted by a family tragedy and scandal that was never spoken about. It has shaped his family and his whole life, as his grandfather sought to hide from it and his father forbade him to have anything to do with show business. Of course Stan didn’t listen, and it’s his actions that set the stage, so to speak, for what follows.

Declan Garrett is the quintessential leading man, absolutely the best at what he does, and haunted by a secret tragedy that drives him to let his professional life take over his personal life so that he doesn’t have to face what haunts him. Phyllida Hancock, his leading lady, has been in love with Declan for years. She’s the only person to whom he’s entrusted his secret, but by doing so he’s made it impossible for her to pursue him as a lover: she can only be his friend. Until they come to this theater in an Ozarks spa town, when she realizes that he is in danger and she may be running out of time.

And Amanda, the young woman who mysteriously walks out onto the stage one night when Declan is rehearsing alone, might be considered an ingénue, but for the depth of her acting and the compulsion her presence exerts on Declan. She awakens love in him for the first time since his personal tragedy, and he’s not quite sure what to do with it – because he’s finally, after years of knowing Phyllida, begun to realize that maybe what he feels for Phyl is more than friendship.

Something else is awakened, too, but to be more specific about that would be a spoiler.
As to why I chose them, some of them chose themselves. For instance, I set out with one image of Phyllida, but as the book took shape, she insisted on emerging as an entirely different sort of person.

Declan is really the focus of the story, because something within him draws out the haunting and attracts it like a lightning rod. But without Stan, nothing would have happened; his own driving force behind the circumstances that bring all the characters together is what fires everything that follows.

What is the coolest or best part about your book? (Any Favorite scenes, the world-building etc..I think Declan’s resolve to return to the theater to find Amanda, regardless of the consequences, is my favorite. He’s just been through a life-threatening illness; he’s nearly died, and everyone is so worried about him, but after being sent away from the theater and the region to recover his strength, he realizes that the single most important thing to him is finding Amanda again.

I really enjoyed the whole theatrical setting, too, because I always wanted to be on stage. So in a vicarious way I get to direct all the actors, not just determine a single role.

Do you have a favorite character in the book? If so, why?Oh, Declan, definitely. He’s all the romantic leading men I’ve ever had a crush on, rolled into one.

Is this book part of a series? If so? What can we expect in future books? The book is part of my Haunted Ozarks series, but at present the series shares a setting rather than characters. Each book stands alone, although the folklore of the region runs through all of them, and there are common locations in my mythical Blackburn and Fulbright counties. I lived in the Ozarks for a number of years, and decided that the easiest way to accommodate the needs of my books was to create two “haunted” counties next to one another, one more prosperous than the other, where all the books’ events could take place.

You’ll find, for instance, that my heroine in Some Cost a Passing Bell drives to Sassafras Springs to do her shopping; in A Dream of Drowned Hollow, the villain stays at The Earthly Paradise, the grand old restored hotel in the center of town where the actors are staying in A Lingering Passion. There are references in my next book, The Trail through the Mist, to the theater and the restored carousel – which will figure in a book yet to come. And there are also ties to real locations in the Ozarks, such as Mammoth Spring and Blanchard Springs Caverns.

If not? Will you considering expanding it?I’m considering the possibility of a sequel to A Dream of Drowned Hollow and to Some Cost a Passing Bell, with characters from each book going on to something else. And there will probably be another theatrical book set at the Colette Darby Theater, although I don’t know how many of the characters from the original book will be present. But I have a number of other books planned for the Haunted Ozarks, including a paranormal murder mystery series that is in work.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?No, I don’t think so. I’d written the original version as a short story years ago, and then expanded it into a novel because the characters demanded more time on stage (no pun intended). And when I went through the latest revision just before publication, I had the opportunity to change anything I felt no longer served the story. There’s a lot to be said for taking a long time to write a book. J

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?I learned that each person has many reasons for acting the way he or she does, and even though we may think we have someone’s best interests at heart, what we think is best for them is not necessarily what they would choose for themselves. And sometimes, as hard as it is, we have to let go and let them make their own choices. That goes for real life as well as the characters in a book, and sometimes it’s very hard to do.

Do you have a publisher? And if so, why did you choose them?
 My books have been published by both Double Dragon Publishing and Blood Moon Publishing; Blood Moon is the horror imprint of Double Dragon, and I’m very happy there. I had been looking for a conventional publisher for my first novel, a paranormal environmental thriller, literally, for years without success – I’m showing my age here when I say that this was before e-books – but the environment wasn’t “hot” and no one was interested. And this despite the fact that the book won the late Andre Norton’s Gryphon Award; she was a very strong supporter of my work and I owe her so much.

And then, on one of the writers’ lists I’d joined on the Internet, a friend suggested I try Double Dragon. After years of submitting to conventional publishing houses, usually waiting months and sometimes even years for an answer, only to be told no over and over again, within three weeks I had an acceptance and a contract. And I’ve never looked back.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Andre Norton. She was an amazing woman and an amazing writer, and broke ground for so many of us in so many ways. And Gene Wolfe, too; I was fortunate enough to have him as an instructor in a week-long writing workshop on one of my early books, and he also was very encouraging and helpful.

What books are you reading now? I read a lot of mysteries and paranormals. I just finished one of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books, the latest Vampire Academy book, the latest House of Night book (can you tell I like vampires?), The Tales of Beedle the Bard (I’m a Harry Potter fan, too), and a Jayne Ann Krentz Arcane Society novel. My TBR stack includes Charlaine Harris, Ellis Peters (I love Brother Cadfael, and have read most of them over the years), Anne Perry, and a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (I also love biographies and history). I also read a lot of research books on folklore and superstitions. Great inspiration.

What are the current writing projects that you are working on?The final draft of a two-volume heroic fantasy; the first draft of a paranormal murder mystery; and the first draft of another Haunted Ozarks book. I can never work on only one book at a time.

Do you write full time? If not, do you hope to do so one day?No, I don’t write full time at present, although I have occasionally over the last several years. I intend to again one of these days.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?I always wanted to write, and used to write stories in grammar school. I started writing for publication (again, I’m showing my age here) when I’d read one too many bad Gothic novels, back when Gothics were popular and the market became flooded with them; I decided that surely I could do at least as well. Of course I learned that it’s a lot harder than it looks, but I was hooked.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?I need to get the details right, so I spend a lot of time researching and cross-checking what I’ve done. And sometimes I write myself into a corner and can’t figure out how to get my characters out of their predicament. At times like that I have to go work on something else for a while, and let my subconscious work on the problem.

Do you have any advice for other writers seeking to get published for the first time?Make your story absolutely the best it can be. Make sure it excites you. If it doesn’t excite you, it won’t excite anyone else. Love your characters or your readers won’t either; even the bad guys have reasons for what they do, and sometimes they can be very sympathetic antiheroes. Tie up all the loose ends, unless you’re planning a sequel (and then make sure you let the reader know), and make sure you cover the basics like grammar, punctuation, and spelling. They’re more important than you might think; don’t give the reader any excuse to stop reading your story.
Thanks Lee for Dropping By!

You can find her on the web at: 

and her website is

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