Posted on December 2, 2015 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Barb Froman has been “noodling around” for stories her entire life, from her time as a cub reporter seeking the more compelling side of city council to her gig as a marketer looking to sell an emotion and inspire loyalty.
So it’s no surprise that she became a novelist (well, two novelists, really), or that the literal journey she recently took – with the intention of letting it stay her adventure – is worming its way into her next book.
Froman is the author of the Two Pan series (writing as B.K. Froman) and the Lutheran Ladies Circle series (writing as Kris Knorr). Her latest accomplishment, though, is the completion of a hike across England.
Froman during her hike across England.
After that, she was probably thrilled to sit down and answer our questions about writing.
SADYE: Your novels are set in modern-day Two Pan, Oregon, and your blog features “flashbacks” to the Wild West-era Two Pan. How did you become so interested in this particular town?
BARB: Two Pan is on the Oregon map. If you drive there, you’ll get out of the car and find yourself standing in a gravel parking lot under towering pines. And that’s it. It’s a trailhead.
The town is in my head and the characters from growing up on a hardscrabble ranch. I do lots of backpacking starting at the Two Pan Trailhead, and my mind rolls with the untold stories of what happened at this fizzled-out mining camp.
The fictional town borrows a few actual landmarks. When I do book talks, readers who know the area have guessing contests on which bar or burg I modeled the fiction after.
SADYE: Your blog seems to have a faithful and enthusiastic following. What would you advise other authors to do, in order to replicate that success?
BARB: One, write something that’s interesting to others. A few people will “like” your picture of the tree in your front yard, turning fall colors, but most folks will yawn, because their trees are turning too. Write about the best way to toilet paper that tree and WHY you’re doing it once it loses its leaves.
Two, go to other people’s blogs and make comments. It’s about community, which means spending time at other people’s sites. We’ve all had that one friend who expected the world to revolve around her, haven’t we? She’s probably not a friend anymore, is she? Blogging is the same deal.
And three, do it for a while — like, several years. It takes time to build community. Blogging, like all other social media, can chew hunks out of your day. So pace yourself. Visit other blogs when you can and as often as you can, and leave time to have an interesting life for yourself.
SADYE: What is your biggest challenge as a writer?
BARB: Sometimes I know the beginning and the end of a story, but the middle snakes around in the dark and I can’t get a grasp on it. The Lights of Two Pan took seven years to complete. The solution was in doing more interviews and research, then a complete rewrite.
Usually the story will unfold and “feel right” when there’s enough insight, but getting the time and maintaining the persistence can be a head-banger.
The second biggest challenge is marketing. I know it’s a common complaint among all writers. We’d rather be crafting a story than selling it. Here’s where I owe thanks to Fussy Librarian and all of the subscribers for helping others learn about my books.
SADYE: What prompted you to publish novels under two different names?
BARB: While the Lutheran Ladies series is laugh-out-loud funny and sometimes even combative, the books contain very little cussing. The B.K. Froman Two Pan series is full of colorful language and situations. I didn’t want loyal readers to pick up the wrong book and be surprised, so I kept the brands separate.
What I’ve discovered over the years is that most people aren’t offended and readers have been crossing over. So now the covers are being rebranded with both names in case someone wants to search out more of my stories.
SADYE: Will there be a book about your hike across England?
BARB: After fifteen days and 192 hard miles, I slapped my journal shut and stuck my feet in the North Sea with no intention of turning the journey into a book. Walking coast to coast across England was simply intended to be an adventure. Something I wanted to see if I could do.
And now scenes pop into my mind: like the fragile-little-old-lady who wobbled down to the village church (every afternoon) to hand out hot tea to passing hikers — and oh, the yarns she told. I’m guessing she did it because she was lonely, but maybe she simply wanted to pass along pieces of life. The stories won’t leave me alone.
So, yes, readers may see glimpses of these tales in the upcoming book Goodnight Mama.
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Categories: Author Interview