Today, I’m delighted that Kathleen Y’Barbo is back with us at Inner Source. Kathleen is a bestselling author, and a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than fifty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and several Top Picks by Romantic Times magazine.
A member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and a former member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, she is currently a proud military wife and an expatriate Texan cheering on her beloved Texas Aggies from north of the Red River.
To find out more about Kathleen or connect with her through social media, check out her website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.
Her latest novel, a contemporary Texas beach themed romance called Their Unexpected Love, released July 1 from Love Inspired Books.
Kathleen, I last spoke to you after the release of Sadie’s Secret. I enjoyed it so much that when you advised your next work was a contemporary romance, I couldn’t wait to read it. Naturally, my first question to you is about the difference in writing historical versus contemporary. Do you find one more difficult than the other, or maybe more enjoyable than the other?
Thank you! I love writing in both genres! My challenge with both genres is to get the details right, so I cannot point to either as being the more difficult. When I’ve been writing historicals for a while, I find I’m yearning to write contemporary, and vice versa. My ideal story—and one I love to read—has dual contemporary and historical threads. Perhaps one day I’ll write that story!
My next question is along those lines because I’ve attended some writer’s conferences recently, and I’ve listened to other faculty members state unequivocally that authors should not switch genres. As an author who writes in three genres (all contemporary), I disagree. Historical romance/fiction and contemporary romance/fiction are two different ends of the spectrum. What do think of the advice to stick with one genre? What would you say to a reader who hesitates to pick up a novel in a genre they don’t normally read, even if they are a fan of the author’s work?
I would tell that reader to do the research and see what sort of book this is. Has the author completely departed from what he/she writes (romance to sci-fi or dystopian to Amish?)? If so, it’s unlikely there will be much resemblance to the stories the reader might have already read. Or is this a switch from contemporary to historical romance or perhaps from romance to women’s fiction? If so, it’s likely there will be a similar voice in all of this writer’s tales even though the content is different. For example, does he/she write feisty female heroines? If so, there’s a good chance this author’s women’s fiction will feature such a main character.
Ultimately, my best advice is to check out the new book before you buy it. If you can’t find the book in a store, many publishers offer samples of books before a reader must decide to purchase. Check out the reviews and see what other readers think, but please understand that reviews are not always representative of the work. Some reviewers just don’t share your particular taste in books, and others are trying to prove a point by posting things that may not be very nice. Thankfully the good and honest reviewers FAR outweigh the others. Still, judging for yourself is always best!
With its unique backdrop, different storyline, and the fact that hero and heroine were both in their own ways right but willing to listen and disagree with each other, I enjoyed Their Unexpected Love very much. I’d like to know if you’re familiar with any portion of the Gulf Coastal area and the extreme sport/recreation you depicted.
Thank you. My roots go VERY deep into the Texas Gulf Coast. My ancestors settled there in the 1820s. I was born there and spent most of my teenaged years at Crystal Beach (an inspiration for fictional Vine Beach) and in nearby Galveston. Later, I owned a beach house that sadly did not survive Hurricane Ike several years ago. Other than a stint overseas in Jakarta, Indonesia and five years in Lafayette, Louisiana, I lived at or near the beach. In 2010, I married and moved north of the Red River, but the beach is still in my heart.
As to the extreme sports, oh yes, I have far too much knowledge about that! My middle son was an inline skater and my youngest son was a skateboarder, as were their friends. A group of us moms used to drive carpool on select Saturdays down to South Houston to Southside Skate Park (www.southsideskatepark.com). When they weren’t skating at the skate park, they often skated around town, using parking lots and other places to do their tricks. I was stunned and appalled at the harassment these kids endured from people who thought they were the worst sort of criminals because they dressed like skaters. Honestly, if I hadn’t been their mom and known the other guys so well, in my heart I know I would have likely felt the same way.
That group of “skater thugs” that included my two sons and their friends are now young adults. All are still friends, and every one of them is either in college or has completed his education and is in the workforce. Several are married and one has a daughter. In short, they are intelligent, well-spoken members of society.
In writing Their Unexpected Love, I wanted to show that looks do not indicate the heart and that sometimes the kids on skateboards are exactly the ones the Lord sent into your path to speak the gospel to.
Your hero has a healthy weight of regret on his shoulders? What scripture or Biblical concept would you use in ministering with someone who carries that type of burden?
Logan has deep regrets over insisting his wife take a flight that ultimately crashed. The fact that their marriage was already strained is also a regret, both for what he feels is his selfishness in not being a good husband and in his inability to make things right before she died. His regret also goes back farther to the time when he made poor decisions and caused his parents to be deeply disappointed in him. While Logan turned his life around and made his father proud, he has yet to shake the feeling that he has let down God. In ministering to someone like Logan, I would remind him that God’s mercies are new each morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and that there is no burden too heavy for God to bear (Matthew 11:28-30).
And I have to ask again. Do you have any other projects in the work? If so, please tell us about them.
Actually, I do! I just finished an historical novella called The Bogus Bride of Creed Creek that will be released later this year in Barbour’s Homestead Brides collection. In addition, I’ll be doing another historical novella, The Last Baker Bride, for Barbour as well as a 365-day devotional. There are a few other projects in the works, including a contemporary Southern novel that I’m very excited to finally be writing, but the details aren’t firmed up on those yet. Thank you for asking!
Well, you know what I’m going to say next. I hope you’ll come back and join us at Inner Source to share the new releases!
Thank you for being with us again!
More About Their Unexpected Love:
Widowed contractor Logan Burkett knows exactly what troublemaking teens need: discipline. A former rabble-rouser, Logan had his life turned around by firm guidance and hard work. But try telling that to Pippa Gallagher. The softhearted event planner runs a skate park ministry for troubled teens and thinks a place to be themselves is the answer. As he and Pippa work together renovating the space, they seem to disagree about everything. But when disaster strikes, Logan finds himself feeling very protective of the beautiful planner and surprised to discover they share one very special thing in common…love.
If you missed Monday’s interview with Logan Burkett of Their Unexpected Love, you’ll want to hear what he has to say.