#1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy talks strong women, hot guys and family series… Check out what she has to say then Read on for more information about this blog tour and all its great prizes!
This is the week you finally meet the Callaways! Not only are they all over the web as part of their extraordinary blog tour, but they are also out and about in your neighborhood. That's right; we're celebrating the print launch with Ingram by throwing a party all over the world! Make sure to follow this tour closely for your chance to win gift cards, swag, autographed books, and other incredible prizes.
All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment—easy to enter; easy to win
The Callaways were born to serve and protect! In Barbara’s new connected family series, each of the eight siblings in this blended Irish-American family find love, mystery and adventure, often where they least expect it! Each book stands alone, but for the full enjoyment of the series, you might want to start at the beginning with On A Night Like This!
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Check out this excerpt:
Her father stared back at her, his eyes dark and unreadable. "Why are you here, Sara?"
"I wanted to be here for your birthday. It's been a long time since we've shared more than an email. We should talk, catch up with each other."
"Why on earth would you want to talk to me?"
The confusion in his eyes made her realize just how far apart they'd drifted. "Because you're my father. You're my family. We're the only ones left."
"Do you need money?"
"This isn't about money. Mom would not have wanted us to end up like strangers. We need to improve our relationship."
He stared back at her for a long moment, then said, "There's nothing left for you here, Sara. I wish you well, but we both need to move on. If you stay, it won't go well. We'll only disappoint each other."
Her chest tightened, the finality of his words bringing pain as well as anger. Her father was like a brick wall. She kept throwing herself at him, trying to break through his resistance, but all she ever achieved was a new batch of emotional bruises.
"You're a grown woman now," he added. "You don't need a father."
"Not that I ever really had one," she countered, surprising herself a little with the words. She was used to holding her tongue when it came to her dad, because talking usually made things worse.
"I did my best."
A tickle caught at her throat and her eyes blurred with unwanted tears. She had not come here to cry. She sniffed, wondering why the air felt so thick. It took a minute to register that it was not her emotions that were making her eyes water, but smoke.
The same awareness flashed in her father's eyes. "Damn," he swore. "The kitchen—I was cooking—"
He ran out of the room, and she followed him down the stairs, shocked by how thick the smoke was in the entry.
She was on her dad's heels when he entered the kitchen. The scene was unbelievable. Flames shot two feet in the air off a sizzling pot on the stove. The fire had found more fuel in a stack of newspapers on the counter that had been left too close to the burner, those sparks leaping to the nearby curtains.
Her father grabbed a towel and tried to beat out some of the flames, but his efforts only seemed to make things worse. Embers flew everywhere, finding new places to burn, the heat growing more and more intense. Moving to the sink, she turned on the faucet and filled up a pitcher, but it was taking too long to get enough water. She threw some of it at the fire, but it made no difference.
"Move aside," her dad shouted, grabbing two hot pads.
"What are you doing?" she asked in confusion.
He tried to grab the pot and move it to the sink, but she was in the way, and he stumbled, dropping the pot in the garbage. She jumped back from an explosion of new fire.
"We have to call 911," she said frantically. But there was no phone in the kitchen, and her cell phone was in her bag by the entry. "Let's get out of here."
Her father was still trying to put out the fire, but he was getting nowhere.
"Get out, Sara," he said forcefully, then ran into the adjacent laundry room.
"Wait! Where are you going?"
"I have to get something important," he yelled back at her.
"Dad. We need to get out of the house." She coughed out the words, but she might as well have remained silent because her dad had vanished through the laundry room and down the back stairs to the basement. She couldn't imagine what he had to get. There was nothing but gardening tools and cleaning supplies down there.
She started to follow him, then jumped back as the fire caught the wallpaper next to her head, sizzling and leaping towards her clothing.
"Dad," she screamed. "We need to get out of the house."
A crash echoed through the house. Then all she could hear was the crackling of the fire.
Sara ran through the flames and down the stairs into the basement. A single light bulb dangled from a wire over the stairs, showing her father in a crumpled heap on the cement floor.
She dropped to her knees next to his still body. He was unconscious, blood under his head, and his right leg was twisted in an odd position. She put a hand on his chest. His heart was still beating.
"Dad," she said. "Wake up."
He blinked groggily. "Sara?" he asked in confusion. "What are you doing here?"
"The kitchen is on fire. We need to get out of the house." A glance back over her shoulder revealed smoke pouring through the open door at the top of the stairs. There was no way out of the basement without going through the kitchen.
Her father tried to sit up, but quickly fell back, groaning with pain. "My leg is broken. You go."
"I can't leave you here. That's not an option."
"You can't carry me. Go. Get help."
"I'll be right back," she promised.
She ran up the stairs, shocked and terrified when she saw how much worse the fire had gotten in literally minutes. The heat was intense. She could barely breathe, and there was a wall of flames between her and the only way out. She couldn't afford to be scared. Grabbing a towel off the top of the nearby washing machine, she covered her nose and mouth, and prepared to make a dash for it.
Before she could move, a figure appeared on the other side of the flames—a man.
A wave of relief swept through her. Help had arrived.
He barreled through the fire and smoke, batting away the flames as if they were troublesome bees. When he stopped in front of her, her heart jumped again.
"Aiden?" She lowered the towel from her face. He was the last Callaway she wanted to see.
About the Author:
Barbara Freethy has been making up stories most of her life. Growing up in a neighborhood with only boys and a big brother who was usually trying to ditch her, she spent a lot of time reading. When she wasn’t reading, she was imagining her own books. After college and several years in the P.R. field, she decided to try her hand at a novel. Now Barbara is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author loved by readers all over the world. Her novels range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women's fiction. Learn more on her website, Facebook page, or in her Street Team.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Eleanor Roosevelt:
"A woman is like a tea bag. You don't know how strong she is until you put her in hot water."This quote perfectly describes the heroines in my new connected family series: The Callaways. I love to write about ordinary women who get caught up in extraordinary adventures. My heroines don't always know what they're made of until they're tested.
While we sometimes associate strong female characters with over-the-top roles like vampire slayer or some other kick-ass profession, I believe most women, even the quiet ones, have a superhuman core of strength that enables them to change the world they live in and also to change the men who love them. In my books, the heroine's strength is enhanced, not only by a new and powerful romantic relationship but also her personal journey to find herself.
In the first book in the Callaway series, ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS, the heroine, Sara, has grown up in a troubled family and is estranged from her father. She grew up next door to the chaotic, fun-loving Callaway family and often envied the relationships she saw on the other side of the fence. She also had a huge crush on the second oldest male in the family, Aiden Callaway.
While Sara was a studious, serious girl in high school, Aiden was the charming rebel. As teenagers they were not ready for each other, but now they meet again as adults and both are facing pivotal moments in their lives.
Aiden is recovering from an injury he acquired as a smokejumper and grieving for the loss of his best friend, who died during their last jump together. Sara has come home to repair the relationship with her father, only to discover that there are family secrets that will change everything she thought she knew about her past and her parents.
Sara has to find the strength within herself to risk her heart on a man who could quite possibly break it, to face a terrible lie and to find a way to forgive her father. Aiden also has to find a way to deal with the secret that took his friend's life. Together these two characters find strength within themselves and also draw strength from each other, which is, really, what love is all about.
As a reader, I love books that have layers: romance, mystery, adventure and surprises. As a writer, I strive to bring those same elements to all of my stories. My heroines have to be as strong as the heroes. And I always hope that they inspire my readers in some way, too.
I grew up reading books about strong female characters, and I know those reading experiences helped shaped some of my own attitudes about the kind of woman I wanted to be.
Who are some of your favorite female characters? And what do you love most about them?
Author InterviewYou’re an icon in—not just the indie publishing community—but the publishing community in general. Your success is something to which we all aspire. In your opinion, what has been the greatest contributing factor to the success of your novels?
There are so many factors that contribute to a successful writing career and it's hard to say which ones are the most important, but I do believe that publishing frequently helps to build an audience and also momentum. I don't write as quickly as some authors do or as slow as others; I think I'm somewhere in the middle. But I try to put out 3-4 books a year and I think that helps keep my books in front of the readers. I also write what I love to read. Sometimes that means my books are not part of the hot trend of the moment, but that's okay. I think it's a mistake to try to chase fads. They blow out as quickly as they blow in. And, finally, I look at writing as my career. I work hard at it. I spend a lot of vacations at my computer. But it's a really rewarding career, so it's all worth it!
Writing and publishing books is not a business for the faint of heart. You have to be a risk taker. You have to be willing to speculate on your income and to be able to live through the slow times. You have to develop a thick skin, because rejection is everywhere: agents, publishers, reviewers, readers… We all know that books are subjective. But if you're up for the task, writing can be an awesome career choice!
When did you start writing your very first novel, and did it ever get published? How has the world of writing change since you started out?
I wrote my first book when I was pregnant with my second child, who is now a young adult. It was eventually published as a Silhouette romance titled Promise of Marriage under the pen name Kristina Logan. The writing world has gone completely upside down and spun around a dozen times since I wrote my first book, but it's an amazing time to be a writer now. There are so many opportunities for writers to get their books to the reading public. I'm thrilled for the writers who are starting out now, whether they want to be traditionally published or publish themselves. There's more work. There are more changes. But there are also many more opportunities.
Technology has brought many changes to the world of books, but readers continue to embrace new books, new formats, and—at the heart of every book—great stories. I don't think great stories will ever go out of style.
What advice do you have for authors who are either aspiring to write their first book or are working overtime to try to get that book noticed?
For writers working on their first book, the most important thing you can do is write all the way to the end. Too many new writers get hung up in the middle or caught up in rewriting the beginning over and over again. To get over the hump, jump ahead in the story or just write something—anything—knowing you can fix it during the editing process. Until you write to the end, you don't know what you don't know. You have to experience the entire process of writing a novel. It takes dedication, determination and stamina to finish a book. But it's hugely gratifying, and there's no better experience than the actual writing.
For those writers who have published their first book and are working overtime to get it noticed, I would caution against spending all your time promoting that first book. What you really need to do is write the second book and then the third. You have to look at your writing as a career. More books will increase your audience faster than any amount of marketing you do. I urge an 80-20 split: 80% of your time should be spent writing and 20% on promotion.
Describe your writing process. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or something in between?
I am closer to being a pantser than a plotter, but I do always know at least the five main plot points of my story before I begin writing. But part of the fun for me as a writer is telling myself the story. I want to be inspired and surprised as I go along. It makes it more interesting to me. Of course, I would be able to write faster if I outlined, but it just isn't the way my brain works. There's no right way to write, just the right way for the individual author.
What was your reaction when you first found out you broke onto the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers’ lists? How did you celebrate?
Hitting #1 on the New York Times with my novel SUMMER SECRETS was an amazing moment, especially because it was my first self-published title. I celebrated with a lovely dinner out with my husband. What was even more astonishing was that the novel stayed on the NYT list for 5 weeks and since then I've had 19 more novels hit both USA Today and the New York Times. It never gets old!
How do you find balance between writing, publishing, and promoting your books and the rest of your life? Any tips for the rest of us?
I have no balance whatsoever at the moment! I do try to do something in the world of exercise—take a walk or play tennis at least 3-4 times a week. And I also try to refill the creative well by reading and watching movies and television. Inspiration comes from everywhere, sometimes a song on the radio, a person that walks by, a sign on the road… I think it's important for writers to be out in the world, because all our experiences provide the fabric for our stories!
Congrats on your groundbreaking, new partnership with Ingram to get the paperback editions of the Callaways out to the world. What about this opportunity has you most excited?
I'm thrilled to be able to bring my bestselling digital titles into print and have the books sold at physical bookstores throughout the country. Partnering with Ingram Publisher Services has allowed me to use their national sales team and distribution system to sell my books into Target, Barnes and Noble, airport bookstores and supermarket chains. I know that some readers still love their print books, so I want my readers to be able to read my books in whatever format they prefer. Until very recently print has been under the control of large publishing houses, but now print readers will have an opportunity to get titles by an Indie author, and I think it's a game changer for the publishing industry!
What do you love most about being an author?
Being able to tell stories! I've been a voracious reader since I was a child, and having a job that allows me to create my own worlds, characters and plots is a dream come true.
What first inspired you to write the Callaways? Where did you get the initial idea for the series?
I had wanted to write a family series for a while, and I wanted the family to be blended, just to make the dynamics a little more interesting. Jack Callaway was a widower with four small boys when he met Lynda Kane, a divorcee with two small girls. They fell in love, got married and had twins. The eight siblings are now adults and range in age between 35 and 25. I also wanted the Callaways to stand for something. So there's a family tradition of "serve and protect". All the kids are raised with the idea that they need to serve the community, to help others and to always protect the family as well as anyone else in trouble. And the Callaways always seem to find trouble, even when they're not looking for it.
Which of the Callaway siblings is the most like you? How are the two of you similar?
There is a piece of me in every character that I write, which makes it impossible for me to ever pick a favorite. I do like Emma a lot, because she's the one person in the family who has a close relationship with every sibling. She's also independent, brave and loving, which are all great traits.
Your characters all have such fascinating jobs, and, in reading your novels, it feels like I'm right there with them. How do you perform your research in order to make careers such as a smoke jumper, homicide detective, or Coast Guard rescue pilot so authentic?
I've read quite a few nonfiction books and articles written by smoke jumpers, firefighters, cops, etc. And I have a writer friend who is also a police detective, so I often ask her for help with the more technical aspects. But what's really fun about writing is discovering new things—so I love to write about people in careers I don't know that much about. In THAT SUMMER NIGHT, one of the characters is tied into the pharmaceutical industry, and I had never written a book that delved into that area. I found some of the true whistleblower stories that I read in preparation for writing that book to be fascinating. I think enjoying research is probably a big part of being a successful writer. I was born with a curiosity and an imagination. Writing is a great outlet!
The Callaways all have such beautiful, unique love stories. How do you get in the mindset for writing them? Are any of their stories inspired, at least in part, by your own real-life love story?
I have a wonderful husband who always takes credit for being my inspiration. And while that's true, as a writer I do love to explore stories beyond my own personal experience. I like to bring together couples who complement each other but also drive each other a little crazy. I think love is about finding that one person who pushes you to be better, who challenges the way you think, supports you no matter what and gives you that heady, dizzy, wonderful feeling that comes when you fall in love.
I love that your novels are not only awesome romances but also have gripping suspense as a central part of the story line. How do you start planning your novels with the romance or with the suspense—or with something else altogether?
I enjoy writing romance that brings a little extra in terms of a plot. So every Callaway novel features a great love story, a puzzling mystery, some family drama and a little nerve-tingling suspense. I don't outline in great detail, but I always have a general idea of the suspense plot points before I begin. The story takes shape and changes as I put myself into the characters' heads. That's part of the fun of writing!
Congrats on your groundbreaking, new partnership with Ingram to get the paperback editions of the Callaways out to the world. What about this opportunity has you most excited?
Since I formed my own publishing company and began independently publishing my books outside of the traditional New York publishing industry, it's been a challenge to get my books into print and into physical bookstores across the country. Late last year, I entered into a groundbreaking partnership with Ingram Publisher Services to sell and distribute my books into retail outlets like Target, Barnes and Noble, airport bookstores and supermarkets, as well as other bookstore chains. I know there are lots of readers who still prefer to read in print, and I'm thrilled that they'll now be able to read my bestselling digital series in their favorite format!
To Win the Prizes:
- Purchase any of the Callaway novels by Barbara Freethy (optional)
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
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