Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Interview with author, Sara Barnard

Hello everyone,
Time for another author interview: It’s a good thing there’s no such thing as a nepotism rule in writing.  For those of you who don’t already know, let me introduce you to my wonderful daughter, Sara  Barnard.

Good morning, Missimoo (you don't mind if I call you that in public, do you? heh heh), 
obviously, I know a little about your everyday life.  How about telling our readers about it?

My everyday life really varies day-to-day depending on if anyone has doctor/dental/eye/vet appointments, if my husband is off work or in cycle (he is a Drill Sergeant), or if it is a weekend or weekday.  But there are a few common threads that run through each and every day.  I have four children: ages 7,5, almost 3, and newly 1 and of course they need to be fed, bathed, and loved on every day.  We have three dogs, two cats (one we adopted and one who adopted us), eleven Easter-egger chickens, and one horse.  Then there is the cooking (I usually suggest eating out), the cleaning (which is never all the way finished), and the laundry.  The laundry itself is epic at my house.  Then I have my job as a courthouse reporter for Courthouse News Service that takes me over the Red River into Texas a couple of times a week.  Oh yeah, and I write, too.

Speaking of the writing, tell us about your nonfiction book.  I understand the first graders loved hearing you read from it the other day . . .

Yes, they seemed to enjoy it!  The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants features an interesting Oklahoma plant for each letter of the alphabet.  It’s available in both digital and print on my website: and at Amazon:  Each chapter features a full color professional photograph of the plant, the plant’s history, what makes it interesting, hunting tips, and insightful backcountry wisdom that can always come in handy in the bush.  There are three appendices, an index of where each plant is found, a map of Oklahoma counties, and a bibliography.  The majority of the pictures were graciously donated by Joe Marcus from Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Texas, too, so they are high-quality images.

What made you want to write a book like this?

The outdoors are an integral part of who I am.  Before I had kids, I spent my time working toward my history degree during the off-season and during the summers, I would volunteer with the Student Conservation Association (  This took me out and about from Alaska to New Mexico and turned out to be some of the most influential experiences of my life.  Now that I have four little Sooners of my own, the importance of instilling a love of nature in them has become very significant.  So I wrote this book to encourage all children to get out in nature, find some funny-looking and weird-sounding plants, and find themselves in the process!

Why did you self-publish it?  I happen to know that you have an agent and a publisher for both your historical romance (5 Prince Publishing) and for your shorter fiction (Cool Well Press) . . .

The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants was being considered by a publisher who promised to publish it in hardcover and full color.  Well by the time we got around to signing the contract, terms had changed to my book being published in black and white with four pictures grouped together per page.  Then, I would have had to buy 100 copies of my own book myself in addition to doing my own marketing.  I figured that I could publish it myself in full color with it formatted how I wanted – one picture per chapter as opposed to a cluster of pictures at the end of the book.  And since I would be doing all of my own marketing anyway, this just seemed more feasible.  One of the most important reasons I chose to self publish, though, is to have The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants ready for distribution in time for summer.  Which it is!    

With all of your other responsibilities, how do you ever find time to write anything?

Writing keeps me from going crazy.  Sometimes after a particularly stressful day, disappearing into another time and place via my computer screen and MS WORD as the portal, I can get lost in circa-Civil War times somewhere along the Mississippi River with Charlotte Adamsland (the heroine of my book A Heart on Hold), outwit Yankee defectors in the company of Harriet Tubman, and fall in love with my one and only all over again.  I love being able to experience cultures I might never otherwise have the pleasure of exploring, like the persecuted Hungarian Gypsy tribe that another of my A Heart on Hold characters, Minerva Dika, hails from.  The best part is, I can do all this from the comfort of my computer chair after the kids are asleep!   

When is A Heart on Hold, (historical romance) going to be published?  Also, tell us where the idea for it originated.  Did you dream of sparkling soldiers on the field of battle?

I didn’t dream of sparkling soldiers, but sparkling vampires sort of did have a hand in the birth of A Heart on Hold.  Well, Stephenie Meyer did.  My husband was deployed and I was back in my hometown with three little kids when my dear friend, Rochelle, dragged my depressed self off the couch and to the theatre.  We saw Eclipse.  I hadn’t jumped on the Twilight bandwagon with the rest of the world, but I was a regular Twihard by the time the movie was over.  On the way home, Rochelle mentioned that Stephenie Meyer was a housewife with four kids and she still managed to write the Twilight Saga.  Inspired, I started on A Heart on Hold that very night.

Will there be a sequel?

Yes, book two is A Heart Broken and book three is A Heart at Home.  I think readers will enjoy the adventures of Sanderson and Charlotte as they face adventure and adversity in the reconstructive years of our country.  I wish I could tell you what happens … so I will tell you this.  Murphy’s Law is alive and well in The Everlasting Heart series and if it was faced by families in the 19th century, most likely Sanderson and Charlotte will battle it head on.

Tell us about your upcoming story in Campfire Tales.  Isn’t it based on a real event?

Desperado is an Old West ghost story set in modern times.  While on a family camping trip, Shelby responds to her mother’s “true” ghost story with skepticism and through her own folly, unwittingly revives the old legend … only now the ancient curse is centered on her!  Desperado is based on a wooden mallet my great-grandma purchased at a garage sale in Lamesa, TX twenty years ago.  On the way home to Odessa, TX, we were examining the mallet and she somehow managed to gash her finger on it.  The funny part was that the Eagles song, Desperado, was playing on every station … except the country station, which was playing Clint Black’s cover of Desperado.  Gives me chills to remember it.  When my great-grandma bonked herself somehow and got a bloody nose, we decided to put the mallet back in the box.  My aunt has it today and swears that weird stuff happens whenever she brings it out.     

Who is your favorite author? And why?

I have a few.  Larry McMurtry will always be a cut above the rest in my eyes, I have been reading him since I was eleven and Lonesome Dove is more than just a book and movie … it is more of a Utopian society in which I wish I lived.  Lucia St. Clair Robson’s Ride the Wind was, and is, like a breath of fresh air.  Her work really inspires me and makes me wonder if that old Marty Robbins song, El Paso City, is true.  But my all time favorite author would have to be Ann Swann, my mommy. 

Awww.  That’s so sweet (but I don’t believe it, I’ve seen your dog-eared copy of Lonesome Dove—you read that thing until it literally fell apart!). 

To finish up … what one tip would you give to an aspiring writer?

Embrace the synopsis and query letter!  Seize and throttle them!  The one thing I learned on my own is that after writing many, many drafts of a query letter and synopsis for A Heart on Hold, I not only knew my book and plot better, but I felt that I had turned a page in my writing career.  Mastering these essential pieces really gave me the confidence I’d been lacking.

Thank you for sharing with us, Sara! I can’t wait to hold these books in my hands.  I’m very proud of you.

Once again, here are the links to order the books, or just to contact Sara. (She loves to talk LOL).
The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants
It’s available in both digital and print at: and at Amazon: 

A Heart on Hold will be published in September, 2012 by 5 Prince Publishing.  Sara will post an update when it comes out.

Campfire Tales will be published in October, 2012.  We will both post links for that when it comes out!

Here are the links to contact Sara:

Kiss those grandbabies for me!


  1. This was a great interview, Sara. We learned so much about you and I just am in awe of what you've accomplished even with all those little beautiful kids at home. Quite inspiring!

    Ann, another excellent article! Really insightful.


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