Today's Rev Up Wednesday is the fabulous Ellora's Cave author, Barbara Huffert. Barbara is an interesting sort of character (hope you don't mind me saying this, Barbara :D). I mean this in the most positive of senses. She's a knitter, I found out from her blog site. I love knitters, perhaps because my mom is one and I love her to bits. However, a knitter who writes erotica and erotic romance - I've never met one of those... until I met Barbara! :D.
Barbara is also a poet, and she has some amazing work posted on her blog at http://barbarahuffert.blogspot.com. I got my start in poetry and have a fine appreciation for the genre. In short, Barbara is eclectic; she's fun, spiritual, and a positive soul. She's also a self-professed black sheep of her family. So, after knowing this lady, I'm thinking that's a very good thing... :)
So here's Barbara's story...
How long have you been writing?
Forever it seems although I’ve only been published since 2007.
When did you decide that you wanted to write for a living (that "aha" moment)?
I didn’t really have one. Writing books started as a challenge from a friend and continued because I discovered it was fun.
What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a writer?
You probably don’t want to know that. Let’s just say I’ve always been the black sheep in my family and my writing didn’t help matters.
What is your preferred genre both for reading and writing?
I read anything and everything. So far I’ve written romance, erotic and non, but there are some horror tales rolling around in my head.
Did you start by writing full time or did you have a day job?
I still have a day job.
Did you take any writing courses or did you just sit and write a book?
As Nike would say, I just did it.
Did/do you have a crit group or mentor to guide you?
Not really but I do have a writer friend I trade chapters with. We use that to help motivate each other. And I have a bunch of friends I bounce ideas off of, to see if anyone would be interested in reading a particular plot.
Do you use a/several pseudonym(s) and if so, why did you choose to have one/them?
I had a lovely pen name chosen but then my mother kept nagging me, insisting that I don’t use my own name because it would embarrass her as my first book was an erotica. Of course, that inspired me to only write under my true name.
How long did it take you to make your first sale? What was your first thought when you did?
Um, as long as it took to hit the send button. The friends I shared my stories with pestered me to submit somewhere. I did, fully expecting a rejection which I intended to use to pacify them. You can’t imagine how stunned I was to get a contract instead.
Did you sell the first story or novel you wrote?
Nope. In fact, very few people have ever seen that one. I love the plot but I’ve learned so much since then.
How many drafts did you write of your first novel before you felt you got it right? What about now - do you still write several drafts of a story?
I learned the hard way how much I hate rewrites so now I try very hard to edit as I go.
Do you read industry or writing related blogs? If so, can you share some useful links?
Not as a habit though I will if someone shares a link with me for something they found interesting.
Did you get an agent first or did you submit directly to publishers?
Directly to the publishers. With erotica you can do that. If I add horror then I suspect I’ll have to start looking for an agent.
If you signed with an agent, how did you go about the process of finding your agent/publisher?
Did you ever get rejected? If so, how did you handle it?
Yes and no. I had a book rejected because although it was a decent story it wasn’t right for the publisher. It came with encouragement to submit it elsewhere which I did.
What do you think of the changes going on in the book industry (e.g., e-books vs. print books, and big publishers getting involved in digital publishing)? Where do you see the industry going?
In a lot of ways digital publishing is great. It allows you to carry so many choices of what to read next with you. However, I personally miss the feel of holding a “traditional” book.
How do you feel about so many bookstores closing across the US? Do you think this trend is similar in other countries?
I think it’s very sad. I’ve spent many enjoyable afternoons browsing through bookstores.
Are your books available in print or in digital format?
All are in digital, some are in print.
What advice do you think aspiring authors should heed today?
Write your story, your way. Worry about finding a publisher after you’re happy with it. If you don’t love your story it will show and it won’t be as good as it could have been.
What are you working on now?
Believe it or not, a vampire romance.
What is/are your favourite book(s)?
There are far too many to name.
Do you read when you are plotting or writing a story? Do you read only books from the genre you write in?
Sometimes. I am very character-driven. I hear them in my mind. If reading distracts them, I don’t do it.
What hero/heroine/character was the most fun or challenging to write for you?
The couple in Chaos. As I said, I hear my characters in my mind. They chattered and argued non-stop the entire time I was working on their story which caused a lot of inappropriate laughter in public on my part.
How do you juggle work, writing, chores and family/personal life? Do you have a secret to time management that you want to share with readers?
I write when the characters demand it. For the most part they seem to understand that I can’t do that during the day job hours. Even so, it doesn’t keep them from whispering to me while I’m working.
Do you have a ritual that you follow when it comes to writing?
Not really. I let the characters dictate that. With one book, I had the same old Disney musical playing in the background. With my current WIP, the heroine prefers if I write out somewhere.
Where do you see yourself, careerwise, in 5 years time?
Hopefully, I’ll be writing more and at a day job less.
What's your website URL?
Are you on Facebook?
How do you connect with readers?
On facebook and I do occasional chats. I also welcome emails.
Barbara Huffert lives in Pennsylvania with her adoring cats who keep her company while she taps away at her laptop, purring to help bring stories out of her mind and onto the page. She has always been the black sheep of her family, horrifying her relatives by writing heartfelt, soul-rending poetry as well as short fiction and erotic romance.
Latest and upcoming releases:
This year I released Condemned, the third book in my Cosmic Connections series and Close to Forever, my first mainstream romance. Both can be found at Ellora’s Cave - http://www.jasminejade.com/m-515-barbara-huffert.aspx
~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love. "Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.