Here is Barbara Silkstone who lives in a slightly parallel universe
How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?
I can only write what makes me happy. If I break out in giggles while writing, then I know I have hit a sweet spot that will make my fans laugh. For me writing is all about sharing my joy with others. I couldn’t bear the thought of causing my readers nightmares, suspense and thrills, yes. When I first started writing I took workshops with Stephen King and PD James. Back then I loved the idea of “putting worms down readers’ shirts” and watching them squirm in terror – not the worms, the readers. But as our world grew more hostile, I felt it would be kinder to spread giggles and not wiggles. I am, by nature, a kind person.
What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.
I write comedy mysteries and comedy adventures. In my imagination I am always writing for John Cleese, Cameron Diaz, and Debra Messing. I love creating heroines who despite having the best of intentions, cannot help but become involved with the barmiest villains. I like to think my stories would amuse Oscar Wilde and Lewis Carroll.
Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?
I am forever jotting down ideas and throwing them into a large plastic box. I once dated a Brit with a very upper-crust accent, purely for his witticisms. I was forever jotting down his Pythonesque expressions. Once my little notebook was full I ended the relationship. Besides he turned out to be a notorious international conman.
Often my ideas come flying in the window much like Harry Potter’s owl. They swoop low and drop a plopping good idea on my head.
How do you manage plot bunnies (ideas that invade your mind that aren’t usually helpful to the story you’re writing but breed like...er...bunnies)?
Plot bunnies are the parents of sequels. What does not fit it Book One might make a dandy adventure in Book Four.
How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?
Alice in The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters is the closest to the real me. A terminal anglophile, she is gullible, good-hearted, and plots a wicked revenge.
Wendy Darlin - Tomb Raider and I often hang out together. She’s a Miami real estate broker who supplements her income by returning stolen antiquities. What she lacks in physical coordination, she makes up for in sheer determination.
Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?
I am the opposite of a hoarder. I throw out anything I haven’t used in three months. That is what happened to my last husband. I now enjoy blessed peace and quiet as a singleton.
What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?
I love British comedy mysteries. I’m a big fan of Helen Smith’s books. I adore Elmore Leonard’s novels for their terse dialogue. Any book where I can imagine John Cleese as a main character is great fun. I recently re-discovered Pride and Prejudice. Cleese is a bit long in the tooth to be Darcy, but Colin Firth is a perfect substitute.
What lengths do you go to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?
My humour either hits the reader straight off or goes over their heads. Humour is subjective. It’s like trying to convince someone to “get” Monty Python.
How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?
Typos are like fleas on a dog. They can happen to the best of hounds. I am blessed with a number of beta readers, a terrific scene editor, and a final editor. Admittedly crossing from Yank to Brit does cause some comments. My latest bug-a-boo is the word noddle. Noddle is not noodle. Noddle is a British word for head. Noodle is the American version.
What is on your near horizon?
I have happily entered the world of Pride and Prejudice variations. I love Jane Austen’s subtle humour and gentle sarcasm. I have just released my second book in my Mister Darcy series by Barbara Silkstone. I plan five books in the series, a contemporary spin on Austen’s timeless characters from Pride and Prejudice. Mister Darcy is a man of mystery. Dog psychologist Lizzie Bennet dreams of someday treating the corgis in Buckingham Palace.
I enjoy the delicious anticipation of the culmination of their relationship. It is the journey and not the destination that provides the fun.
Where can we find you for more information?
Barbara Silkstone is the best-selling author of the Wendy Darlin Tomb Raider series that includes: Wendy and the Lost Boys, London Broil, Cairo Caper, Miami Mummies, Vulgarian Vamp, Wendy Darlin Tomb Raider Boxed Set. Her Romantic Suspense Fairy Tales series includes: The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters; Wendy and the Lost Boys; Zo White and the Seven Morphs. For a squirt of paranormal comedy try: Cold Case Morphs. True fiction fan? Try: The Adventures of a Love Investigator.
Pride and Prejudice contemporary variations:
Mister Darcy’s Dogs
Mister Darcy’s Christmas
Silkstone’s writing has been described as “perfectly paced and pitched – shades of Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiaasen – without seeming remotely derivative. Fast moving action that shoots from the hip with bullet-proof characterization.”
All books are available on Audible.com
Barbara Silkstone’s Amazon Author’s page