Friday, February 13, 2015

Barbara Brink - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Award-Winning Author Barbara Ellen Brink. She writes Mystery & Thrillers, Romance and Young Adult Novels. Barbara has written the Fredrickson Winery Series and The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Suspense, Romance, Young Adult

Website: Barbara Ellen Brink
Author's Blog: Barbara Ellen Brink
Twitter: @BarbaraEBrink
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
Barbara Ellen Brink writes mystery, suspense, thrillers, and young adult novels. She loves riding motorcycles, hiking in the woods with her dogs, and spending time with her husband, grown children, and friends. She hates exercise but endures it to justify her habit of eating chocolate while writing. She is the author of the Fredrickson Winery novels, ENTANGLED, CRUSHED, and SAVOR. She is also the author of inspirational suspense, RUNNING HOME and ALIAS RAVEN BLACK. Her speculative thriller, SPLIT SENSE won the 2011 Grace Award. She now has a Young Adult series: The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy, (CHOSEN #1, SHUNNED #2, RECKONING #3).

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Savor. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

My next series, The Double Barrel Mysteries, is set in the Upper Peninsula in a tiny town along Lake Superior. A Minneapolis detective and his wife move there to buy a bed and breakfast and become drawn into a murder investigation. The first book in the series will be coming out very soon. I do not have a release date yet.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?

I’ve been on twitter for quite some time and have slowly built up a following. Social media relationships are certainly important and I have met many interesting and loyal people along the way. There are some terrific individuals out there willing to link forces, so to speak, and help promote those they feel a connection to. I’ve made some good friends and have found many wonderful connections to writer groups.

Most importantly, I’ve been able to have fun conversations with happy readers.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Since I wrote the first Fredrickson Winery novel, Entangled, I have had the opportunity to do signings at many Minnesota wineries.

Wine and mystery goes together like Fabio and harlequin romance. I don’t have any signings scheduled at this time, since most Northern wineries close for the winter, but I do have a speaking engagement to talk about my books at the local Library.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

I work very closely with my cover artist. She is my daughter and a graphic design major. Luckily, she is very talented and has amazing ideas. I usually have the book finished or nearly finished before I set her to work on a cover. Sometimes I have an idea of what I want and give her my thoughts on the matter, but she invariably comes up with something better than I envision.

With my last winery cover, SAVOR, I did get my readers involved a bit. We had a contest and let them vote on their favorite of three different covers. The highest number of votes won.

You have several great book trailers. (See links below.) They look very professional. Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers?

Truthfully, I have no idea whether book trailers help a new book to succeed. I have not seen any jump in sales because of them. The younger generation seems to be more attracted to action than the written word, so I suppose for young adult books it is a good idea to use whatever means available for promotion.

My daughter not only designs my covers but also is my book trailer creator. For Entangled she went out to a winery/vineyard and took some video to use, then recorded other portions in studio. For Split Sense and the Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy, she did everything in her design programs.

I like the idea of bundling a series of novels. You have put together a set of your novels called The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy. What was the impact on your other sales? What was your main objective in bundling your novels?

Bundling is a way to get readers to pick up the entire series by giving them a discounted price from what it would cost separately. I did that with the Amish Bloodsuckers because a lot of people want to read the series straight through. It doesn’t seem to impact separate book sales. It just gives readers another choice.

I just released the Complete Fredrickson Winery Series as an eBook bundle. Just in time for Valentine’s Day! I waited on bundling this series until I was sure I wasn’t going to return to the winery. Now that the series is complete it made sense to put it out altogether. It makes a great gift for mystery or romance book lovers on all occasions.

What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I am a member of the Grace Awards Christian Writers group and The Clean Indie Reads group. They are always helpful to answer questions or support one another in any way they can. Some members are editors or cover designers or know people who are.

Some members are beta readers and helpful in the critique process. So finding marketing, writing, or publishing help is usually just a question away.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

The first book in my Amish Bloodsuckers young adult series – CHOSEN – is permafree right now. Many people will take a chance on a book if it is free and then get sucked into the story. I think giving away a free book works best if you have a series. Stand-alone books are not as successful for continued sales after the free days. My goal is to introduce readers to a series and hope they will return for the remaining books.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

I’m an Indie author, so I do most everything myself. I edit and reedit and then I send it to a real editor. Once the editing process is complete, I format the book for paperback and digital ebooks. I talk with my graphic designer, give her an idea of what I’m looking for, and she produces a cover that fits the book perfectly. I then upload the book to different stores.

I have not tried doing a “preorder” promotion yet. The first book in my next series is coming soon and I may try that this time.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and blogging about other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

My blog started out as a place to write humorous snippets from my life or what I observe in the world around me. Erma Bombeck was one of my favorite humor writers when I was growing up, so that’s what I enjoy. My posts are usually light-hearted fun and may give you a chuckle or two. Sometimes I write about new releases or sales, reviews of books I’ve enjoyed, or promoting another author’s release. There is no primary goal for my blog, and sometimes I don’t have time to write posts as often as I’d like, but mostly I have it just for fun and to let readers know what I’m up to.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

I rely solely on my reading audience and am very grateful when they take the time to leave a review. Reviews are more important than ever, especially on Amazon. The more reviews you have, the greater reach your books have to be seen. I think most people do read reviews before purchasing a book and sometimes, regardless of how enticing a book blurb is, the reviews can make or break their decision.

Author's Book List
Reckoning - The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy
The Bishop is growing his vampire followers by leaps and bounds, feeding on the naturally rebellious teenage population. Jael tries to keep one step ahead of the undead and their schemes while maintaining a semi-normal life. But living Amish while still being considered an outsider is beginning to wear on her.

With old friends in town for the summer and a boyfriend as loyal as Captain America, Jael is never short of help. Slaying vamps and having people around that you love can be a dangerous combination. Jael has some hard decisions to make and she’s afraid not everyone will be on board.

Will she fulfill her destiny or fall into the Bishop’s trap?

Book Trailer: Reckoning

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Shunned - The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy
In Shunned, Jael leaves Nevada and her close friends, Brianna and Shadow, behind. She travels to the Loon Lake Amish community in Minnesota where she moves in with grandparents she’s never met and learns to live the plain and simple life... at least as plain and simple as she can handle. She may learn to milk a goat, but she is definitely NOT giving up her cell phone or crossbow!

While finishing out the school year at Loon Lake Public High School, she meets the guy of her dreams…someone to keep her company when she's out staking vampires at night.

Her true purpose is to destroy the Bishop, the oldest and most powerful vampire of all. But first she must find out just what his diabolical plans are for the teenagers of the community, and put a stop to him and his undead followers before it’s too late.

Book Trailer: Shunned

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Chosen - The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy
The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy

Jael is just an average teenage girl with over-protective parents, an unrequited crush on the hottest guy at school, and a best friend she shares everything with. Until her parents let her in on the secret they’ve kept for nearly sixteen years…

Jael is the Chosen One. Born to be a vampire slayer, her destiny was written in the Book of the Shunned. She's been chosen by God to set the Minnesota Loon Lake Amish community free from the grip of the Bishop, an ancient and powerful bloodsucker who has been using the Amish people for his own personal Jamba Juice.

Will she leave her friends and all she knows and follow her destiny to Minnesota willingly, or will the Bishop bring her destiny to Sunburn, Nevada?

This is author Barbara Ellen Brink’s first foray into the world of Amish and Vampires – both of which scare her – but it won’t be the last. Get the 2nd book in The Amish Bloodsucker Trilogy now… Shunned.

Book Trailer: Chosen

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Alias Raven Black - Second Chances
Brenna has lived most of her life just left of the right side of the law. While on vacation at a secluded ski resort, her past finally catches up with her. Her father, who she hasn’t seen since she ran away at sixteen, suddenly wants to reconcile.

Before she can make sense of that overture, the FBI whisk her off to Minneapolis. In exchange for a clean slate, she is recruited to work as a mole in the home of known mobster and suspected drug lord, Anthony Giordano. Under the alias, Raven Black, she becomes nanny to Giordano’s children. Brenna’s hands are full just learning to mother two spoiled kids, while her main objective, finding information that would put their father away for life, remains elusively out of reach.

Will the secrets she discovers bring absolution from the past she’s tried so hard to leave behind or simply tear her heart in two?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Running Home - Second Chances
Ivy’s husband has always been a cheat and a liar, but when he gets caught up in a game of espionage he flees the country with his latest bimbo, and Ivy has finally had enough. She packs up the kids and moves back to her hometown to escape the fallout. Trouble is – her problems don’t stay behind in California, but follow her all the way to Omaha, Nebraska.

The FBI is tracking her every move, hoping she’ll lead them to her fugitive husband, while evil men threaten her family’s safety if she doesn’t give them what they want.

Agent Samson Sinclair is assigned to keep an eye on Ivy. He is her only ally against threats and suspicions that come from every side. But can he keep their relationship professional when he finds himself falling for the woman he’s supposed to be protecting?

Ivy’s attempt to assemble the broken pieces of her life may prove harder than she anticipated. Especially on her own. When the past intrudes on the present Ivy is forced to deal with why she ran from God in the first place and whether faith, once lost, can ever really be found again.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Split Sense
When a senator and pharmaceutical giant partner to experiment with a new drug on pregnant women, they tap into a world they never knew existed – the supernatural touching the natural – and it will cost the innocent more than they know.

Split Sense interweaves the lives of two families, twins separated at birth, and two different but powerful gifts that each child discovers which impacts their lives and others in unbelievable ways.

Zander Howard has been able to hear the thoughts of those around him for as long as he can remember. Sometimes he is overwhelmed with feelings of anger, joy, or fear that is not his own. He tastes words, feels sounds, is surrounded with voices in the dark of night. He is Howard Pharmaceutical’s prize guinea pig. He wishes to be free of the company and their mind games, but his father is caught up in their web of deceit and can’t bring the Company down without destroying his family in the process.

Emma Tatum has been sheltered in a small town with loving parents who have no idea she’s not their own flesh and blood. She also has a gift. The ability to heal with music. She sees colors of mercy and grace fly from her fingers with each note she plays.

When the twins are reunited, nothing will stop them from seeking the truth about their origins, but someone is willing to commit murder to keep the project secret, while others want to possess the power of the twins.

For a boy who has been used his entire life, learning to trust isn’t easy. But through Emma, Zander has a glimpse of a loving God whose plan of providence has brought them together at just the right time.

(This is a thriller with Christian elements, people struggling with faith to reconcile events in the storyline. Just as the real world has believers and unbelievers, my fictional world is populated with the same.)

Split Sense won The Grace Awards for speculative fiction published in 2011.

Book Trailer: Split Sense

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Savor - The Fredrickson Winery Novels
Savor the moment, cause it just might be your last…

Newly married, Billie and Handel find themselves knee-deep in another mystery. Defending a wealthy San Francisco businessman against capital murder charges, Handel soon discovers that media attention brings more than fame and fortune. When Billie’s life is threatened, he believes it’s connected to the case, and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

Across the vineyard, Margaret has problems of her own. Davy’s Italian grandfather is in town and starts right in where his son left off. Throwing the weight of his money around, he intends to prove that Davy would be better off living with him in Italy. To complicate things further, Billie and Adam’s mom flies in from Minnesota and starts dating the man who is making Margaret’s life miserable.

Romance is in the air at the Fredrickson Winery this summer. Sip a glass of Sangria and fall in love with the characters all over again.
SAVOR, the 3rd Fredrickson Winery Novel, continues the saga of the Fredricksons and Parkers as they run a small California winery and find love and mystery in the Napa Valley. Savor celebrates the joy of romance, laughter, and family. Cheers!

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Crushed - The Fredrickson Winery Novels
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 feverishly to get the grapes in and ensure a great vintage. No one expects murder to be part of the joyous harvest season.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Entangled - A Fredrickson Winery Novel
A Minneapolis attorney inherits a small California winery, reawakening memories that have lain dormant for twenty years. One summer of her childhood is a mystery she intends to solve. But digging up her past also lays bare the skeletons of others, including her mother’s. Entangled between what she once believed and a new reality, will she be able to live with the consequences of full disclosure?

Book Trailer: Entangled

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS eBook Author’s Corner
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having me on Author's Spotlight! I enjoyed sharing my books and writing life with you all.