Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Author Barbara Ellen Brink Visits

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome author Barbara Ellen Brink back to Thoughts in Progress as the special guest blogger making a stop on her virtual book tour for her latest release.

Barbara’s newest book, CRUSHED, is the second installment in the Fredrickson Winery series. Here is a blurb about CRUSHED: Creating the perfect wine can sometimes be murder...

When Adam Fredrickson shows up at his sister's California winery, footloose and carefree, looking for a temporary job and a chance to play his music, he doesn't expect to find the winery struggling financially, or that the girl next door might just be the girl of his dreams.

Margaret Parker, a single mom, newly hired as Chief winemaker at Fredrickson's, finds her simple world put to the test when her father is unexpectedly released from prison, and the man who got her pregnant at fifteen, shows up from Italy wanting to play daddy nine years too late. 

It's crush time at Fredrickson Winery and everyone is working feverously to get the grapes in and ensure a great vintage. No one expects murder to be part of the joyous harvest season.

Barbara has stopped by today to answer some of my questions about her book and her writing.

Mason - Is writing a second book in a series harder or easier than writing the first?

Barbara - CRUSHED, the second book in the Fredrickson Winery series, was actually a little easier to write than ENTANGLED. I already knew most of my characters well, and then I added their siblings and told the new story from their point of view. I tried to maintain the same feel and tone, although CRUSHED is in third person and ENTANGLED is a little more intimate written in first person.

I still had much research to do on wineries and vineyards, especially what goes on during harvest, which is when CRUSHED takes place.

Mason - Has your writing process changed with writing the second book?

Barbara - My writing process changed with CRUSHED only
because I was trying to stick to a deadline and with ENTANGLED there really was no deadline. I wrote an average of six hours a day for three months to complete it. I’ve been quite a hermit this past winter and since the weather was so awful I didn’t feel that bad about staying in my office working. Now if I had a cozy fireplace in there it would have been even better. But I did maintain a drawer full of chocolate and almonds for those times when writer’s block threatened. That always jump-starts the thought process for me. 

Mason - If you could change places with any of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

Barbara - Sally works in the office at Fredrickson Winery. She has a quirky sense of humor and seems to have a secret life outside of work that I imagine could be very interesting. I especially enjoyed writing the scenes with her even though she isn’t a main character. She still has a substantial, and I think, necessary part to the overall feel of the story.

Mason - What can readers look for next from you?

Barbara - I’m working on a couple of different ideas right now. I want to do one more story in the Fredrickson series as I enjoy the characters and think they probably have more to say. But I need to switch gears for a while. So I am going in a totally different direction this time, although it will still include suspense and probably a good deal of humor.

Would you think badly of me if I say that I’m planning on making a foray into the very full genre of Vampires? I can’t tell you too much about it right now, but suffice it to say, I don’t think anyone has taken the vamps in this direction before.

Barbara, thanks for guest blogging today. It sounds like you have some interesting things in the works. Vampires in a new direction, will be fun to see.

Now for a bit of background on Barbara. Her ENTANGLED was selected as a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writer's contest in 2006 and her novel, SENSE OF DANGER, was a finalist in the 2007 contest. Barbara’s short stories and articles have been published in THEMA Literary Magazine, The Springhill Review, Evangel, Liguorian, and others.

She grew up on a small farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota with her husband and their dogs, Rugby & Willow. You can find her Facebook novelist page at and she blogs at http://www.barbarasthinline.blogspot.comCRUSHED and ENTANGLED can be found at Amazon.

What are your thoughts on writing a series? Do you think it would be harder to write the first or second book? If you’re a reader, which do you enjoy more - a series or a stand alone book?


  1. I think the challege in writing a series would be finding the happy medium between not repeating information that a reader of the series would know by heart while providing enough for the book to make it as a stand alone.

    Mason - when you can a chance, please stop by my blog. I've got an award for you.

  2. Good interview. I like the concept of the winery action. I'm not sure about the vampires--never got into the genre myself. But that seems to be where some of the money is these days so I wouldn't blame anyone for taking advantage of that. And new direction sounds good.

    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Barbara.

    Barbara - I know what you mean about the second novel in a series. In some ways it is easier, because one really does know the characters better and it's easier to imagine what they might do and think. I wish you much success with Crushed.

  4. Thank you Margot. I did enjoy writing the two stories and hope others enjoy the read.

    Linda, That is true. I was very careful not to repeat a lot because I have read stories that started out that way--with a huge amount of repetition and unnecessary information for the story at hand. No one likes to read the same thing twice.

    I actually said I would never do a Vampire book myself, there are just so many out there, but my daughter and I were talking and the craziest ideas came up and I thought I had to try it;)

  5. Barbara, thanks again for guest blogging here today. I'm looking forward to seeing where your next adventure takes you. Wishing you much success with your writing.

  6. Thanks for hosting me today, Mason! I appreciate the opportunity to share the writing life and my newest book, "Crushed" with all of your readers.

  7. Wish writing my second book had been easier...
    Mason! Sorry, I just realized I haven't seen your blog all week. My apologies.

  8. Great blog! The CTEC sounds wonderful, and I want to read that book!

  9. Love the excerpts and the interview. Great blog.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.