Guest Post: Sophie Barnes

Hi friends! I hope you consider me your friend. I think of you all as friends. For the obvious reasons, but also because it’s so plain you’re all so much nicer than I am. And who doesn’t want to be friends with nice people? Someone who is stupid, that’s who. And I’m not stupid. Or at least not that stupid. 

All stupidity (or lack thereof!) aside … we’ve got a guest with us today! A guest that showed up! Gold star to her! Who is this wonderful gold star achiever, you might ask, if you didn’t see the title of the post? Sophie Barnes, that’s who!  

A quick look at how I write:

Stories come to me little by little – they’re a gradual process that takes shape as my characters develop and start interacting with one another. When I first started writing, I did take a look at how other writers developed their plots and characters, hoping that I might stumble upon some words of wisdom, or better yet, a well kept secret to success =) As it turned out, they differed as much as their genres, leaving me more confused than ever. Some would make a very structured outline and then proceed to follow this outline step by step, leaving nothing to chance, while others would have a less concrete idea of what to expect, making up the story as they went along instead.

Because of how much easier and orderly it seems, I have tried making a detailed outline – repeatedly. This however, just doesn’t work for me. Sooner or later my characters will move off in an unexpected direction, they’ll have a conversation I wasn’t planning on, and just like that, the whole plot will veer off at a 90 degree angle. I love writing like this – it’s like reading a new book (I have some idea of where it’s heading, but I’m not entirely sure of what will happen along the way). Naturally, writing like this means that there are moments when I get stuck or write myself into a corner that I simply can’t get out of. In these instances, I either have to go back and take the plot in a different direction, or simply put the manuscript aside for a day and hope that a solution will come to me (it often does, right before I go to sleep in the evening, allowing me to get up the next day and write with renewed enthusiasm).

Other than this, my work schedule is a bit sporadic. My days are busy taking care of my two small children (three if I count my husband =)), I don’t have a quiet office that I can retreat to – my desk is at the kitchen counter, so I write on the go. Many people have stared at me in wonder, asking me how I managed to write a book, much less two or three (I’m now working on my fourth) when there are constant distractions all around me. The answer is simple really – lots of hard work, determination and sheer stubbornness =) I love writing, so it’s never been a chore, but rather something that I’m able to savor, whenever a spare momentallows it. Most of How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back was written during my children’s
naptime or after they would go to bed in the evening (thus the reason why this book took me two years to complete), but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t working on the book the rest of the time – I was always thinking about the plot. This saved me a tremendous amount of time, since I always had an idea or two ready to go when I finally sat down in front of the computer. The acknowledgement of having it published, with other books following in its wake, is an unbelievably wonderful feeling of accomplishment. A great man by the name of Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it,” so I did =)

Sophie wants to know what are you passionate about? And I want to know what is a “task” (or something generally considered one) that you love to do? Is there one? Why should you answer our questions? Well Ms. Barnes is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter! 

57 thoughts on “Guest Post: Sophie Barnes

  1. Jeanne Miro

    Once again another great post! I don’t know how you do it but you always manage to get authors to talk about how they develop their stories.

    Sophie –
    I love your title How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back and know from how you explained writing the story that your passion for writing will shine through in your book!

    My passion is cooking and baking especially for my family. My friends can’t understand how much I love to bake homemade from scratch creations that I can’t eat because I have Type I diabetes. My pleasure comes from not only seeing my family enjoy my creations but knowing that they are getting wholesome food and treats made with fresh ingredients – nothing from a box for me. When my sons were toddlers they both had alergies and at the time it was hard to find things in a store that didn’t contain something they couldn’t eat. I even made homemade ice cream with Coffee Rich (they didn’t have all the alternatives that they have available today at the time).

    I found one of the best things was that both of them also learned how to cook by helping me as they were growing up – needless to say my daughter-in-laws have always appreciated that dinner preparation can be shared!

    So the next time your on the road doing book signing come on up to Rhode Island and join us for a homecooked old fashion dinner with cherry cover homemade cheesecake for dessert – and don’t forget to bring Limcello along with you!

  2. myrandaroyann

    As an almost-graduated Early Childhood (pre-Kindergarten through 3rd grade) teacher candidate (please don’t judge my writing, it’s late!), I am very passionate about the education and welfare of young children.

    I’m also very passionate about defending my family and friends.

    I’m also passionate about the things that I love, like Joss Whedon’s Firefly and Serenity. 😉 (See my avatar)

    Hmmm…what tasks do I like to do? I like to cook even though I don’t like to clean up the messes I make while I cook. I like creating PowerPoint presentations.

    Thank you both so much for this giveaway!

  3. Mary Preston

    I’m passionate about my craft work. I knit, sew, embroider & crochet. I always have a project on the go but it must be something useful. For example: I am knitting up some rather fancy dish cloths for the kitchen right now. I will make extra for gifts.

    As to tasks. A task is a task is a task for me I’m afraid.

  4. Liz

    Sophia, I really enjoyed hearing about your writing process. As a mother of two young children myself (and I totally count my husband as my third, too!), I know how hard it can be to get even the simplest things done. I’ve learned over the years how to vacuum with a small child wrapped around one leg and put on makeup with one hand while holding the drawer shut with the other so no one gets any ideas. 🙂

    I’m also passionate about writing and my process is – I have none! I write when the muse strikes (or when I grab it by the scruff and make it stick around), when I have those bare moments of peace I love sinking away into a world of my own making. My favorite time of day is early in the morning, when the house is dark and everyone else is still asleep. It’s like “magic time”. Cup of tea, laptop, little dog on my feet.

    I wish you much success and look forward to reading your book!

    1. Sophie Barnes (@BarnesSophie)

      Thank you so much Liz – yes, it can be pretty hectic at times, but I wouldn’t change it for the world =) Not sure how you manage waking up before your kids though…they start shaking me to get up and out of bed while I can barely get my eyes open =)

  5. Karen H in NC

    I always enjoy reading the background of a book and how it gets from author pen to that paperback (or ebook) in my hand. And I think it’s great that dispite thorough planning, your characters will lead you astray! I don’t have a copy of your book yet, but I promise I’ll get one soon! It sounds like a treat to read.

    I was looking at your website for future books. Your Summersby series sounds pretty good too. Have you finalized the title of Alexandra’s story yet?

    I like to ask authors a question…you here’s one for you: If your book was ever made into a movie, who would you like to see play the main characters?

    1. Sophie Barnes (@BarnesSophie)

      Hi Karen! Thanks for posting and for your questions. LADY ALEXANDRA’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE is the final title (The working title was A Change of Heart).
      For Miss Rutherford, I imagine Hugh Jackman and Keira Knightly. For Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure I’m thinking Henry Cavill & Rachel McAdams =)

  6. Monikarw

    Lime, of course I consider you my friend! Tho, I don’t know if I’m *that* nice 😛 lol
    & u are very nice yourself 🙂

    Sophie, umm.. I don’t know about a task I’m passionate about as much as you are for writing but I love cooking! 🙂
    & everyone around her says I’m fairly good at it! Of course that could be because they want me to keep feeding them so they don’t have to do the cooking ;D lol
    I love trying new recipes all the time & italian food’s my favorite, followed by mexican, for obvious reasons 🙂

    Thanks for this fun post girls *mwah* Happy Saturday 🙂

  7. Maureen (@MaureenCE)

    Hi Sophie,
    I am always impressed by people who can do anything while taking care of young children. Writing stories in between all that work really is impressive. Right now I would say that I am passionate about cooking (sometimes). I do like finding recipes and trying them out. Some results are better than others but it is nice when one comes out well.

  8. JoAnne Weiss

    Interesting interview with Sophie Barnes today. Glad to know others do things on the fly too.
    I am passionate about my family – I have a son, almost 21 and a junior in college far from home and a husband of over 30 years. I love getting together with siblings, dad, cousins along with my family and throwing a quick meal together for all.
    I am also passionate about reading. I am an avid reader of various genres (a lot of romance) and authors and my TBR pile continues to increase when I read about new authors.
    A task to me is my work and volunteering. I do both well, have a great work ethic and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day BUT there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do it all. I have trouble putting “ME” first and always have.
    Look forward to reading some of your books. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Sophie Barnes (@BarnesSophie)

      Same here Joanne – Family’s so important and getting together around the table for a home cooked meal is so wonderful! I wish there were more hours in the day too so I could read all the books I have on my TBR list as well as do some more writing & have time for more TV in the evenings…the day just seems to disappear for me =)

  9. Mary Doherty

    I would also have to say that my family is my passion. More then anything in my life I have loved being a mother and now a grandmother. But I have to say the thing that keeps me sane in life is my reading. I read anything and everything. The books I love most are historical romance, but I will read anything that pricks my interest. I love finding new authors, I will be buying your book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. savannah miller

    I am very passionate about my kids and making sure they are raised right and that they feel loved 🙂
    hmm now a task I enjoy doing….. cooking 🙂 My 4 year old son likes to “Help” so many of our dinners go wrong, but I love cooking with him, its never dull!

  11. Marquita Valentine

    Hi Sophie!

    What a great blog! I wrote my first ms at the desk in our kitchen, too. At least it was near the fridge and stove. lol! 😉

    Congrats on your book. It’s in my TBR pile.

    I’m passionate about my family (i’ve got two little one, too, plus the husband :)) of course, but also about having a career as a romance novelist. Hopefully sooner than later!

    1. Sophie Barnes (@BarnesSophie)

      Hi Marquita! Thanks for stopping by =)
      The kitchen’s a strategic location for me – it allows me to pay attention to what’s happening in most parts of the downstairs. Being in a closed off office just wouldn’t work =)

  12. Melissa B

    Hi, Sophie ~~ I can’t tell you how much I love the title of your book!
    I’m very passionate about workers rights ~ and have actually done quite a bit of organizing, and worker education on it. Not so much about $$, but about health and safety, and equality in the workplace…and just flat what it RIGHT. It always amazes in this day and age what workers think is right/normal for them to put up with/suffer just because someone is paying them.

    OK, off my soap box! I LOVE reading ~ and cooking! I actually have discovered audio books, and love to cook and listen to my books at the same time ~ you can’t beat that scenario!!

      1. Melissa B

        You know, I hadn’t ever listened to them until I got my first Kindle a few years ago ~ and even then I really didn’t think I’d like them, but got a deal w/ Audible subscription (back when Kindle’s were still $250) so thought I’d try it out. I’m so totally hooked now! I’ve found that I really, really like suspense books ~ Tess Gerrittsen, JD Robb, Karen Rose, Allison Brennan, etc..~ and books that are in 1st person that I normally wouldn’t read (I’m not a fan of the written 1st person) so it’s opened a lot of doors for me. The narrator makes alot of difference, so I tend to buy books I think I’ll like that are narrated by people I already like ~ I’ve had a lot of luck, and now am a total fan! I spend a ton on Audio books now. Sometimes I’ll buy the book, read it, and still wind up buying the audio for that experience, too, when it releases.

  13. Cathy M

    My family is my passion. One task that I enjoy doing is vacumning. It’s too loud to talk over, so I just let my mind wander for those few minutes.

  14. candymorton

    Hi! I used to be passionate about sewing and scrapbooking which led to journaling and that to writing. I had become comfortable in my little world, spending my spare time (I homeschool two of my children) just reading and writing a little.. Recently my world was rocked and I find my drive returning! Maybe now I’ll gets some projects done!

    I enjoyed reading this post! Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. Sophie Barnes (@BarnesSophie)

      I really admire people like you who home school their kids – I think it’s very admirable! I used to sew a lot too but haven’t done much of it since the kids were born – priorities change, and now that I’m writing, that’s what I want to do whenever there’s time for it =)

  15. Evie Knight

    I realize I’m a little late to this event…my apologies to you. I became a Sophie Barnes fan before “How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back” was out. Sophie has great talent, and I am looking forward to her next installment about a Lady’s great adventure (that’s not the actual title of her next book, mind you). I think Sophie is one of those authors who readers around the glove will absolutely fall in love with, if they haven’t already ;0) I’d love to host her on my blog when her next book comes out.

  16. Diane Sallans

    My recent passion has been renovating the house I inherited and going thru all the things left from multiple generations. It’s been a lot of work, lots of aggravations, but loving how it’s turning out. Of course, to chill out, I indulge in my other passion – reading.

  17. Jane

    Congrats on your debut release, Sophie. I’m passionate about reading whether it’s comic books, gossip mags, romance or murder mysteries. I actually feel okay about scrubbing the sink(but not the toilet or tub.)

  18. aliquis

    Great post, Sophie! Thanks for hosting her, Lime. I always find so many new authors here.

    As for what I’m passionate about, reading and literacy. I think it’s really sad there are people who actually go through the school system in the US and are still illiterate.

  19. Pam

    Very nice post, Sophie. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity as well!
    Currently my passion is reading. Though my passions tend to change over the years I’m hoping that my love of reading never changes, unless it gets stronger. 🙂 I used to love singing but then I no longer had an outlet for that and am so out of practice I probably shouldn’t attempt it anymore. LOL And I had a major passion for graphic design though I’ve not completely gotten away from that, though I certainly don’t do it as much as I used to.

    As for tasks, hmm, well this might sound very strange but I kind of like to mow the lawn. LOL Of course, it’s by no means easy where I live what with steep hills. However, I’m not so eager as I once was about mowing since being diagnosed with skin cancer on my face. Thankfully it was a treatable kind though.

  20. June M.

    Something that I am passionate about is crafts. I love to crochet, work with beads, various other crafts. I go through spurts with it to where I am almost obsessed with it, lol. I tend to get tendonitis in my shoulder and arms/hands. I have been known to crochet so much that my shoulder and arm would be sore for days. As I said, obsession, LOL.

    As to a task that I don’t mind doing, it used to be cleaning bathrooms. I always liked scrubbing the tub, sink, etc until I had an accident that messed up my back and my shoulder tendonitis became worse. Now I just can’t do to bend and stretch to scrub and my shoulders burn from that kind of movement after a couple of minutes.

  21. Nat

    First of all, I’m passionate about my job, I believe we all should be – it’s a blessing, really. And of course, my other passion is my blog all all that comes with it! Oh and the last but not the least, travelling =)

    1. Sophie Barnes (@BarnesSophie)

      You’re right, Nat – it really is a blessing to be passionate about your job and for me writing’s perfect: I can travel (I loooooove doing that too =)) whenever I want, work from home and keep my own hours – it’s ideal really! What’s your favorite destination?

  22. Limecello Post author

    Hi Sophie!!

    Thanks for guesting with us today! I have to say, I’m totally impressed you’ve managed to write four books with two small children! Even being passionate about it, wow!

    I’m passionate about food. And reading! Both have betrayed me though >:( (well I’m still in something of a reading slump…) I absolutely love cooking things from scratch. Don’t like clean up as much. 😉

    I look forward to hearing about your other books as well. And I’d love to have you come back and visit with us any time!

    1. Sophie Barnes (@BarnesSophie)

      Thanks for having me – it’s such fun getting to know people a bit better and interacting with them – loving it!
      I’m like you – whenever cooking inspiration strikes, I love doing it, but not so much the cleanup – at least I have a dishwasher =)

  23. Mary Kirkland

    Great post. I love these sort of interactive posts. lol I’m passionate about my rats and teaching others how to care for them, which I why I write articles pertaining to small animal care.

    A task that I like doing that my brother makes fun of me for is cleaning out my rats cage. i bought a very large cage for my 4 rats and every 5 days I have to take all the fleece blankets out *because I don’t use any pine or wood shaving type bedding, it’s bad for them* replace them and wash them.

    I like doing it because 2 of my rats are very social and will come out and run around on the couch while i clean the cage while the other two would rather stay in the cage. My little one Brodie, will hop up into one of the hammocks and just watch me. while Ares, will walk in my way, come over and sniff what i am doing, try to drag the blankets around the cage and otherwise just be a pain in the butt. lol But I love doing it because I have fun with them and I like to make their house clean for them again so they can go dirty it up once again..

  24. Kim in Hawaii

    Aloha, Sophie! I am passionate about literacy projects; I volunteer with the base library. I am also passionate about soliciting support for deployed personnel and their families – we cannot thank them enough.

  25. CrystalGB

    I am passionate about being there for my family. Since my mother passed away in January, I have been diligent about being supportive of my dad and brothers.
    A task that I enjoy is couponing and searching for shopping deals.

    1. Sophie Barnes (@BarnesSophie)

      My deepest condolences to you and your family, Crystal – I can’t even begin to imagine what that must be like! I admire you for staying strong and helping your dad and brothers through this.
      About your task – that’s my father-in-law’s hobby – he once paid for all of his shopping with coupons and even got a $ back at the end…the rest of us couldn’t believe it!

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