Monday, March 14, 2011

An Interview with Author Barbara Donlon Bradley

      It's another fine Monday. What do you mean, fine, you ask? Because, I say, we have author interview #11 right here! It's Barbara Donlon Bradley, author of the anthology, Love Is..., from Melange Books.

Welcome to Unwritten, Barbara! First of all, brighten our Monday by telling us a little about yourself. What's Barbara like when she's not writing?

Pick up "Love Is...?" at Melange!
Thanks for having me. What can I tell you about myself … hmmm … Been married to the same man for 26 years and although he has made me want to cause bodily harm from time to time I kept my cool and love him very much …Um, I live in South East Virginia in the heart of military country and am so proud of it. I’m a manufacturer’s rep by day in the local exchanges and writer by night. Have a wonderful 17 year old son, junior year in high school – whoopee! Forgot all the stuff you have to go through with soon to be graduates – class rings, senior pictures, dances, learning to drive – yikes! Have two cats – my son has shown his concern about me becoming the crazy cat lady in a few years – but one is my mother-in-law.s who we now live with so I do have an excuse… I think

In your anthology, the introduction reads:
Love is many things, humorous, romantic, magical. In this variety of tales, Barbara Bradley will take you on a journey from the whimsical to the fantastic and pleasurable side of love.
 Did you start out writing these tales with the thought of putting them together in an anthology? Or did they evolve as separate entities?

They were all separate stories. Each with a purpose behind them. When I wrote Wizard for Hire I did it to see if I could write a shorter story. My manuscripts had been 100,000 word honkers up to that point and I wanted to see if I could write something shorter. And I’m proud of what I did – I was a newbie at writing so that was a big accomplishment. A Fish Out of Water was written for an anthology that my local RWA Chapter the Chesapeake Romance Writer thought up. You see we live by the ocean and someone said wouldn’t be cool if we could put an anthology together that came from the writers of our chapter that dealt with mermaids (chapter logo) someone from the chapter approached one of their publishers and the owner loved the idea. We actually had two books out with mermaid tales in them, all written by CRW members. Crystals and Disappearing Cats and Picture perfect were to see if I could write humor on purpose.

Your bio states that you have a hard time writing anything without humor. Do the tales in Love Is... include some laughs? Do you ever make yourself laugh when you're writing funny scenes?

Like I mentioned a few moment ago I wrote the stories while trying to be funny - you see I have humor in my life and it spills over into my writing. I remember I had one of my big 100,000 word door stoppers being critiqued by another writer and she was sitting there laughing as she read a scene. I didn’t write anything funny and had to ask what made her laugh. It was something simple that I had weaved into my story without realizing it. As time has gone on I have learned writing humor is hard, not everyone can do it but I seem to have a knack for it. I can’t write dark stories. You want a feel good, maybe laugh at the antics of my characters, then make you sigh at the end of the story I’m your writer, but you won’t find the dark brooding heros. Not my style.

Who and/or what have been your biggest influences as a writer?

I loved Kathreen Woodiwiss. Loved her stories. She was probably the first romance author I ever read. And Joanna Lindsey – loved her characters – and she has the humor in her work I think I have in mine

Are you working on anything at the moment and could you tell us s little about it?

I am. It is a series of books called the Vespian Way. This is something near and dear to my heart because these characters have been in my life for more than 30 years. The characters in this story line are people we (me and a friend) created based off of Star Trek then when we were teenagers and they blossomed into a whole new world we ended up creating. I finally got permission to tell their story by my counterpart a few years ago and the characters let me know what story they wanted about 6 months ago. And when they let me know I haven’t been able to stop writing. It’s been crazy, since October I’ve written two books and am working on book three as we speak. Each book is about 80,000 words – for me that is a lot of writing!

Get ready for the random question of the day: If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be?

You know I had to ask my husband and son what they thought because I normally compare myself to produce. They both felt some sort of cat, like a leopard or white tiger – meow!

Finally, Ms. Bradley, could you share a short excerpt of a published work or work in progress?

Here is an excerpt from A Fish Out of Water:

      Sarah didn’t know why she was walking back toward the stranger. She didn’t care how buff he looked, it was too dangerous, yet she couldn’t seem to stop herself. “If I end up on the eleven o’clock news tonight, I’m going to kill myself.” Of course, if she ended up on the news she’d most likely already be dead.
      As she drew closer, she noticed his mouth. Was he trying to smile?
      His bared teeth looked more like he was getting ready to brush. Then it disappeared just as fast.
      Her heart beat faster as she neared. Maybe she could give him the clothes and then leave. That would work. Be a Good Samaritan and then scram.
      “Are those for me?” His pale blue eyes flashed in the sunlight.
      All she could do was nod. He kept taking her breath away. How could a man be so good looking? Da Vinci could have used him as a model. In fact, every time she looked at him she kept thinking of David, the famous sculpture.
      The clothes slipped through her fingers as he gently grasped them. They never broke eye contact as he slipped one arm and then another in the sleeves. A giggle escaped her when she realized he had the darn thing on backward. “If you keep wearing it that way you’ll have problems breathing.”
      “Oh?” He took the garment off and looked at it like he didn’t know what to do with it so she mimicked the procedure on how to put the jacket on. He gave her another strange smile as he slipped it on the right way.
      Good thing it was an oversized sweat jacket. If it had been one of her suit jackets, the sleeves would have hit him about mid forearm, if he could get his arms in the sleeves. His smooth rippling chest would overpower the rest of the jacket. He’d look like a monkey. A handsome hairless one, but he would have looked ridiculous. That was for sure.
      “Wrap this around your waist.” She handed him a towel before pretending to wrap something around her.
       He planted his hands on his hips. “What am I to do?”
       Great, now she saw him as a pirate. “Wrap the towel around your waist to cover your—your—you know.”
       He looked down. A quick shrug and he wound the towel around his midsection.
       “Come on.” She turned her back on him and started to her car once more, hoping he wouldn’t follow her.
       A thud stopped her in her tracks. When she turned around, she didn’t spot him. Not right away. It was his flailing feet in her peripheral vision that caught her eye. “What the—? What happened?”
       “I’m not sure.”
       She helped him to his feet. “There’s nothing to trip over.”
       “I’m sorry.” He clung to her arm like a child. She couldn’t help but notice he wasn’t too sure on his feet. Was he drunk? That would explain so much! “Look, how about I drop you off at one of the missions. I’m sure they can help you dry out.”
       He stopped short at her words.

Thanks for coming over today, Barbara! Much success to you!


  1. Great interview. I love Barbara's writing. I've read her story "Picture Perfect" and it's too cute. I will have to make a note to read her latest one. T.D. Jones

  2. Now that is TOO intriguing to be left there!! Thank you for another great interview. I think humour is natural, somehow, as it's there in everyday living. Lots of food for thought.

  3. Characters who've lived in your mind for 30 years must be true friends by now!

    Great interview, the Vespian Way concept sounds really alluring.


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