Barbara Jean, What Have You Been Up To?

Hi there, guys and dolls! Welcome to a new year – may it be a blessed one for us all. I’m so happy that my writer gals have gotten back into the swing of things and are letting yours truly come out and play. As are my fellow Santa Lucians, who have been going on and living their lives with glamorous intrigues and fashionable victims, giving me so much to tell about in the future.

I’ve been ask25ded42e8d4b539818adadc1e957b902ed about what I’ve been up to while my girls had to juggle life’s little problems. Well, I’ll say plenty. A rabbity girl like me doesn’t let the grass grow under her feet, no siree!

Not to say that I didn’t spend a little time perched on my favorite barstool at my usual watering hole. Tom, Dick and Harry would never forgive me if I didn’t, nor would I forgive myself for not spending a little time with my piano boys.

Taking care of hearth and home of course took up a good portion of my time. Don’t you find auditioning all the yard and pool boys just exhausting? Not to mention the milkman, plumber and tv repairman. By the third round of martinis with the door to door carpet and encyclopedia salesmen, I needed to get out of the house!f172c617e9f78550876ce25e22ddd1e4

Ah, the spa life, that’s the life for me. I got my bouffant re-pouffed, along with the rest of me getting buffed, polished and varnished, all set for the sand, sun and surf, or as I like to call them, Steve, Sam and Sherman. Followed by tennis with Todd, a massage by Michael and volleying  around with coach Victor, I got tanned, trimmed and tuned up to start working again on my Poppy Cove Mysteries.


Barbara Jean 

Posted in 1950's, 1950's California, 50's Novels, 50's Slang, Alter Ego, Characters, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, creative writing, Creativity, entertainment, Humor, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, Socializing, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Holidays, the Broadway Musical Way

Hi there, guys and dolls! I do hope you are having a fantabulous holiday season. I have heard through the party line that in many places it’s going to be a chilly new year. Now don’t let that bring you down, my darlings! If the weather outside is frightful, then you need to do something truly delightful. Let the party come to you, in fine New York style. Broadway style to be precise.

The spirit of the holidays can continue in your heart and in your home. I have found this absolutely swinging site called BroadwayHD. My goodness, the hours of entertainment this streaming channel can provide will have you wanting to stay in no matter how swell the shindig you’ve been begged to attend has promised to be. Here are three favorites (among many) that will put a song in your heart and a spring in your step. So get yourself a plate of your favorite party snacks, a cocktail or two and have a holiday happening right in your own living room.

Holiday Inn Studio 54Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn – a new addition to the channel’s line up, this one will have you grinning ear to ear through the whole performance. It’s ‘nothing but blue skies from now on.’ Take that, old man winter!




The Man Who Came to Dinner – hopefully this art is not imitating your life. And if it is, why not watch this with your lovely guests who are not making any attempt to leave. The snappy dialogue and witty banter will have you laughing right off your seat (and maybe get your Aunt Mabel and her brood right out your door).

She Loves Me
Studio 54She Loves Me – dear friends, end your triple feature with this delightful holiday romance. Based on the play Parfumerie (which also inspired the movie The Shop Around the Corner), it’ll warm the cockles of any retail clerk’s heart and remind us of the good old days when shopping was a grand event.

And to you and yours, I wish you the happiest of new years and the best of all of our lives yet to come.


Barbara Jean



Posted in 1930's, 1950's, Broadway, Christmas, Creativity, entertainment, Holiday Parties, Holidays, musicals, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, Romance, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Terrific Twelvetide to You!

17Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, it has been a while, hasn’t it? My girls, Andrea and Heather, have finally let me come out and play again. They left me swivelling on a rather precarious (yet entertaining) barstool while they got their personal stuff in order. They’re happy to be back and I am so pleased. More on that in a future post. There is just so much to catch up on, isn’t there?

In the meantime, they wanted to do something fun for my return (thoughtful of them for my fellow Santa Lucians as well :-)). I’ll take credit for the “Twelve Days of Christmas – Poppy Cove Style,” I’m just that kind of gal.

They however, wanted to do a little research about the Twelvetide, as they found out it was called. Turns out it starts on Christmas day and falls for the next days following. There’s something new – I always thought it was the days leading up, but it became apparent that’s a misconception perpetuated by our oh so commercialized, advertised modern life to gear up people to buy, buy, buy to the big day. I sleuthed out  that’s the “Twelve Days Before Christmas,” not “Of.” Clever move or not, depending on your point of view.

fe71b2545e4bd5cb1916f35933eec620 Anyhoo, stay tuned during the holidays where I will be sharing my “Twelve Days of Christmas” Santa Lucia style from December 25 – January 5. And just for kicks, I’m going to offer my Poppy Cove Mysteries (STRANGLED BY SILK, DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN and A NATE TO REMEMBER) for special pricing through the event. A great time to catch up on what you haven’t read or treat a friend to a little fun read of murder and mayhem for the holidays. Follow along on Facebook and Twitter to see the deals and join in on the song.

It’s nice to be back. I’d love to hear from you, old and new friends alike. Tell me how you’ve been and all your happenings. I’ll be sure to have more to come and I wish you all a happy holiday season.


Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 50's Fashions, 50's music, 50's Novels, Alter Ego, Authors, book series, books, Characters, Christmas, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, e-publishing, ebooks, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Holidays, kindle, Mysteries, Nostalgia, novels, Readers, reading, Uncategorized, Vintage, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Girl Means the World to Us…

Hi there guys and dolls, Andrea and Heather here. Slowly but surely we’ve been getting back to Barbara Jean’s Poppy Cove Mysteries set in her beloved Santa Lucia. From what we’ve seen in recent news, its alternative reality of Santa Barbara and its California environs have been taking quite a beating from Mother Nature’s wet and wild side. We send our well wishes to everyone in the area to stay safe and out of harm’s way.

f12da-barbarajeancoast3Although the winter storms we have faced have been mild in comparison, we’ve personally had our share of challenges in health and emotional family situations, including a new one that we are currently getting through at this time. And we thought we’ve built enough character for a while, but life has given us other plans.

We’ve heard from so many of you lately, telling us how much you like STRANGLED BY SILK, DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN and A NATE TO REMEMBER and look forward to more, as well as Barbara Jean’s posts, pics and quips. Thank you; it makes our hearts smile as we deal with life. As we can, we’ll pick up on the Daily Tweets and blog posts along with writing more books and developing new ideas.

As we thaw out and cope in these trying times, we recall what Barbara Jean Coast means to us. She reminds us of fun and whimsy, of a world where the dilemmas are heels or flats, Bob or Charley, making it a single or a double.

She takes us out of ourselves and into the whirl of silks and satins, date nights and handsome sights. She’s clever and wise when we’re gobsmacked and full of sighs.

She came to us after the first novel was written, just as an afterthought for simplicity with a single author name instead of two. Rapidly after having fun wither the word play of her name, she quickly emerged as her own person, with her own version of wit, wisdom and sparkle. She’s been somewhat patiently waiting for us to let her out on the world again, swinging her foot as she sits on the bar stool of life, male escort and cocktail at her side, and we’ve sorely missed her coming out to play. As our muse, she give us joy and light in our temporarily dark corners. And along with you, our dear friends and readers, help make our everyday feel all right again.

Warm Regards,

Andrea and Heather

aka that Barbara Jean, who says Toodles to you

Posted in 1950's, 1950's California, 50's Novels, Alter Ego, Authors, book series, books, California, collaboration, Commitment, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, creative writing, Creativity, ebooks, Fictional Characters, Inspiration, Mysteries, novels, Patience, Perspective, Readers, reading, Santa Barbara, Uncategorized, Vintage, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Don’t Just Accessorize, Glamourize!

Hi there, guys and dolls! Every now and then, it’s a good idea for a gal to discover some new little tricks and tips to keep the glamour game going. This week, yohqdefaulturs truly is sharing some gems of my time, courtesy of the Youtube Vintage Fashion channel. I just love British Pathé films, don’t you? These quippy clips are all about the finishing touches to put you heads up above the crowd. Just click on the title or picture to get to the link.

Hair – Check out this feature showing off the daring new dos of an up and coming stylist – The Vidal Sassoon Show – Mayfair’s Hot New Hairstylist! Thinking this young man will go far  ;-).

hqdefaultSwimming Caps- Want to protect your perfectly coiffed crown of glory and get a little exercise (in the form of poolside flirtation, of course) at the same time? Why, try out one of these little numbers from Swimming Cap Fashions. And wasn’t the crowd captivated (tee-hee)?

Earrings – Oh those bewildering baubles in hqdefault1950s Novelty Earrings! How will the model ever choose what pair she wants to go out for a gay time? Of course, for me it’s natch – the champagne bucket for the girl with the effervescent personhqdefaultality who knows when to stop :-).

Eyeglasses – Here we have a lovely double feature for your troublesome double vision. In 1950s Glasses Fashionshqdefault you’ll learn all about accessorizing your lovely assets. More Fab 1950s Spectacles shows designer ‘specmanship’ and doesn’t the crowd look impressed? Bamboo, anyone?

Hope you enjoyed this delightful and informative tour through the land of glamour. Sorry, got to fly. Now that I have things to wear, I’ve got to find the places to go!


Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 50's Fashions, Accessories, Alter Ego, Beauty, Creativity, educational films, England, entertainment, fashion, Humor, Inspiration, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, Self Esteem, Shopping, Social Mores, Socializing, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Susan Takes 5 with Barbara Jean

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, look at that. Another month is passing before our very eyes. Being that it’s almost Halloween, I think we’re all due for a treat rather than a trick, don’t you? For yours truly, that means to share an interview with a fellow cozy mystery author, and this month’s friend is Susan Bernhardt, who is just simply divine. Do sit yourself down and settle in with a hot toddy or two and get to know this delightful lady and her work a bit better.

1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.1

Thank you, Barbara Jean Coast for having me on your beautiful website today. It’s great to be here and I look forward to answering your questions. I have two series that I am presently writing. The first is the Kay Driscoll Mystery Series. The main character is Kay Driscoll, a newcomer to town whose tenacious nature tells her city officials are attempting a cover-up and she must expose the truth. With her new friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, Kay discusses new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa’s Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters. The titles in the series are: THE GINSENG CONSPIRACY, MURDER UNDER THE TREE and MURDER BY FIREWORKS. I’m presently writing the fourth novel in the series.

a-manhattan-murder-mysteryA month ago I had the first book in a new series published titled A MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY (An Irina Curtius Mystery). The protagonist, Irina Curtius is a retired ballet dancer who runs a ballet school for small children on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. A young neighbor and friend, Stephen Kramer becomes ill over time. When he travels for business and is away from home, his health improves until he returns home and then his health deteriorates again. He dies and Irina sets out to prove that her friend was murdered. Subplots involving other main characters are a returning love from her college days, Robert and a stranger to the neighborhood who seems to be everywhere Irina goes.

All of my mysteries are character and plot driven with plenty of twists and turns and red herrings. The stories are filled with layers of tension to keep the reader turning the pages as quickly as they can.

2. What is your writing process like? Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?

Before my husband retired, I used to write part of each day. Now I write two full days a week. I think I’m actually more productive knowing that I only have these days. I start writing the first draft and write anything and everything that pops into my head for the story, no matter how strange it may be. I don’t edit at all during this stage. There will be plenty of time for that with revisions. I usually do about five revisions looking for different things in each revision, such as tension, humor, description, etc. Then voilà…I have the finished product.

3.  What exciting moment or moments have made you realize that you were really an “author”?

When I started writing my first mystery THE GINSENG CONSPIRACY I considered myself an author. I began writing as a challenge to myself. I had reread THE QUICHE OF DEATH by M.C. Beaton and I thought that I could write a mystery as good as that one. I set goals for myself and all have been met. The goals were that I wanted to be traditionally published, I wanted my mystery to be on Amazon, and I wanted to sell a certain number of books.

4.What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?

To tell you the truth, this hasn’t happened to me yet. I’ve never experienced writers block or a lack of inspiration. When I’m having a problem with a scene, I think about it in various places. In the evening, in bed before I fall asleep, I think of the problem I am having in hopes that I will dream a solution and often I wake up and I do have a thought on what I was trying to write. Often when I go in the shower, again, I think about what I am trying to write about and often times I’ll also think of a solution. I keep a pen and pad of paper in the shower so I can write the ideas down. If I’m taking a walk alone, I’ll think about the problem and sometimes find a solution. I carry paper or a recorder. This is one of the things that I enjoy about writing, thinking about a problem area in my book, dwelling on it, and coming up with a solution.

5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?

I would have to say M.C. Beaton influenced me to begin writing. As I mentioned before, I thought I could write a mystery as well as she had and I took writing on as a personal challenge. I thoroughly enjoy Sue Grafton. Susan Wittig Albert, Ann Purser, Rhys Bowen, etc. I love other mysteries written by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Arturo Perez-Reverte, B.A. Shapiro. I love a great mystery and I am totally thrilled when I come across a new author, a new series or book.

Susan, it’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know more about you and your writing. And friends, be sure to give her books a read. They’re all available on Amazon by just clicking on the titles through to the links. No tricks (unless you count great plot twists and red herrings), just treats for you, dear readers :-).


Barbara Jean

Posted in Authors, books, Characters, Conversation, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, creative writing, Creativity, ebooks, Fiction, Fictional Characters, First Novel, Inspiration, Interviews, murder mystery, Mysteries, new release, Newly Published, novels, Readers, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing, Writing Ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Make Your Own Magic

Hi there, guys and dolls! As writers, my girls Andrea and Heather make things up. They pull ideas out of what seems like thin air, making up tales of trails that twist along and lead somewhere. There is plenty of supposing and considering, then developing and following the inspirations to make things happen for my Santa Lucians. Authors of all kinds do it all the time.

When the ideas don’t come, it’s usually thought of as writer’s block. Sometimes that happens in real life, too. We call that a rut. General malaise and his friend ennui come to visit and sometimes stay a while, till one gives them the boot, or they get bored of themselves and move on.

For the position of scribes, my girls observe people and themselves. Not for creepy purposes, but how to relate to the world they are creating in a natural fashion, adding a hint of the ‘what if’ factor to keep stories rolling, when in reality a person may hit the doldrums and stay wallowing for a while.

Take shopping for example. Many times I’ve heard people say when they see a beautiful dress or fancy shoes that brings a smile to their faces and a light in their eyes, “Oh, I can’t buy that, where would I wear that?” Then they walk away, feeling a little sorry for themselves. I say poppycock to that. Buy the dress, wear the shoes and make the occasion. Set up the dinwalt_otto_swaminer reservations or have a fancy night in, but for goodness sake, perk yourself up and live a little.

We sometimes sit around and wait for magic to happen, to be inspired. The real truth of it is that you have to be open to it and take the leads that spark, not dampen them by being your own wet blanket. As authors, my girls have to pick up tangents and work with them, play and weave thoughts to go somewhere. The truth goes for living life, too. A life worth living needs to be lived, not tsk-tsked and put down because we can’t be bothered to make an effort to see things through. Do something different, or something that you feel that you can’t do or initially put down as a ‘dumb idea.’ Follow it through, it might start you off on a whole new adventure, or at least give you something to talk about. Magic doesn’t just make itself, you have to be there to pull the rabbit out of the hat!


Barbara Jean



Posted in Alter Ego, Authors, Beauty, Characters, Commitment, Communication, creative writing, Creativity, Inspiration, opinion, Perspective, Readers, reading, Self Esteem, Socializing, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing, Writing Ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grow, Change or Stay the Same?

Hi there, guys and dolls! Do you often hear voices in your head? Well I do, or should I say my girls Andrea and Heather do (sometimes I forget that I’m the fictional alter ego and my real writer girls exist, or is it the other way around…. I’ll have another drink at the well of inspiration and see iffiguring-it-out I remember to get back to you on that).

Anyhoo, talking about imaginary ramblings. My girls have been working on book four, now that life has settled down to a less roaring manageability. The Poppy Cove Mysteries are all about people, how they live, die and breathe in their Santa Lucia world. The characters drive the stories, what happens or what doesn’t happen to and for them. How do their lives grow, change or stay the same as their world shifts and shapes around them in time and circumstance. How do they act, react? What are their hopes and dreams? What fates occur to the fair social set and their fellow characters? What are their paths through their (fictional) lives?

Even though the people in the stories are not real in the physical sense, they do exist on some plane. They need a sense of grounding to be relatable to each other in the stories, and also to the writers and readers as well, in the course of time as the stories develop. As in day to day nonfictional life, every person goes through different interpretations of their experiences and surroundings, which create a sense of movement or stasis, in harmony or discord, depending on every detail at the time.

How does that effect the course of the characters’ journeys? Where do they go, what do they do? How gradual, how abrupt? Are they stagnant, in a rut? Constant or contradictive? So many questions, so many discussions. Trust me.

Also at what pace do the personal character tales flow? Who takes a back seat, who’s front and foremost in a particular story? What is revealing too much and what do the readers want to know about them? A sense of reality brings relativity, but a sense of the fabulous brings fondness for all of our own dream destinies.

As the girls talk, they realize that not only are the books about imagination, they are about humanity and the possibilities of what any of us could choose or achieve in both desirable and arduous circumstances.

I could go on, but I’d rather leave you with this, dear readers. Growth, change or stay the same? What do you want for you?


Barbara Jean

Posted in Alter Ego, Authors, book series, books, California, Characters, collaboration, Commitment, Communication, Conversation, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, creative writing, Creativity, ebooks, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Inspiration, Mysteries, Pen Names, Perspective, Readers, Reading, stories, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing, Writing Ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fall into a Good Book

Hi there, guys and dolls! Look no further for a good book. I’ve got five that I recommend to you for whiling away the longer evenings. 25860008

GRANNY FORKS A FUGITIVE by Julie Seedorf – Granny has a new weapon – a pink pitchfork! And just in time! A trip to her old farm ends in Granny forking a dead body in her silo. When the body turns out to be Granny’s long lost love Robert Blackford, Granny is flabbergasted. When her devious twin sister, Amelia, the very person who stole Robert from Granny many years ago, shows up searching for her long lost son, Granny reluctantly agrees to help her find him. Of course, Granny’s fiancé, Franklin Gatsby, is concerned for Granny’s welfare and doesn’t like it when she goes out sleuthing – one of Granny’s favorite activities. So, Franklin starts to follow Granny everywhere she goes to protect her. But Granny is determined to find out who killed her former boyfriend, so along with her gal pals and her menagerie of pets, she sets a trap and soon – GRANNY FORKS A FUGITIVE.

Listener_frontLISTENER IN THE DARK by Bret Jones – Tucker Niles lives his life vicariously through the old-time radio shows he broadcasts each Sunday night. He is more than just a DJ, however, as his life revolves around OTR shows, conventions, and his friend, Bobby, who is on a “quest” to find lost shows that have become the Holy Grail to collectors. When Bobby is found dead, Tucker decides to find his killer.
Through the maze, and sometimes greed, of the collecting world, Tucker discovers that Bobby was close to finding the lost I Love a Mystery programs that have become the dream-find of every OTR collector. Betrayal, l
Dinner_and_Death_1600x2400_(Ebook)ies, and selfish collectors lead Tucker through a world that people seldom see to discover a “master” collector who will stop at nothing to own “the ark” of the old-time radio world.

DINNER AND DEATH by Helen Grochmal – Who would try to poison a helpless cat in a retirement home? Is it a prank? An accident? Or something more sinister? Buckingham Courte’s own Carolina Pennsbury is just the amateur sleuth to find out. She narrows the field of poisoner candidates down to three new residents who have filled an empty seat at the table where Carolina and her friends dine regularly, saving several human lives.

19345343THE SINISTER SITCOM CAPER by Sally Carpenter – Sandy Fairfax, former teen idol and star of the ‘70s hit TV show “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth,” is now a middle-aged recovering alcoholic who realizes that making a comeback can be murder. He’s the guest star on “Off-Kelter,” a corny family situation comedy, and the lowest rated TV show of the 1993 fall season. Before rehearsals barely begin one of the actors drops dead at Sandy’s feet. He investigates, enlisting the aid of two of his new cast mates: a dwarf and an animal actor. During his snooping, we meet Sandy’s ex, his parents and his teenage son, all with their own “situations” going on. During rehearsals Sandy also encounters a beautiful choreographer—could this be love? Will Sandy solve the murder before the Friday night taping of “Off-Kelter” or will the elusive killer cancel our hero before the final credits? This book was inspired by the author’s experience working as a tour guide/page at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood.81MP3YrYXqL._SL1500_

THE CUNNING CRUISE SHIP CAPER by Sally Carpenter – 38-year-old Sandy Fairfax is a former ’70s teen idol and star of the TV show “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth.” Now he’s rebuilding his career with a series of concerts aboard the SS Zodiac bound for the Bahamas. He makes amends with his estranged sister, Celeste, who is blind and also a musician, so she will join his performances. But their cruise hits turbulent waters when Sandy finds a dead body in his onboard dressing room. He investigates the colorful cast of suspects while avoiding an old flame and trying to ignite something with his beautiful choreographer. When Sandy gets too nosy, the bad guys throw him overboard. Will he sleep with the fishes or escape and unmask the killer at the ship’s Halloween costume gala?


Barbara Jean


Posted in Authors, Book Reviews, books, Characters, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, creative writing, Creativity, e-publishing, ebooks, Fiction, Fictional Characters, kindle, murder mystery, Mysteries, novels, Readers, Reading, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Andrea and Heather Take 5 with Barbara Jean

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, if you told someone you’d ‘See You in September,’ you’d better do it lickety split, because the month’s almost over. Wasn’t that a fast one? Yours truly cannot believe how fast the days fly.

I also can’t believe that after all these interviews (with plenty more to come), I haven’t set my girls down in the hot seat. They claim they’re too busy keeping an eye on me and  listening to all my prattling on about my Santa Lucians to Take 5 with me. Finally I pinned them down (all it really took was the promise of a cocktail or two, to be honest) and Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff settled down to have a great little confab with me. So get yourselves comfortable and enjoy learning a thing or two that you didn’t already know about my gal pals. Cover Hi Res

1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.

Andrea: Our Poppy Cove Mysteries are cozy novels set in the fictional town of Santa Lucia, loosely based on Santa Barbara in the late 50′s, early 60′s and revolves around the glamorous comings and goings of the social set of the town, with a little murder and mayhem thrown in for good measure. The Poppy Cove Mystery Series currently consists of STRANGLED BY
, DEATH OF A Death_of_a_Beauty_Queen_1600x2400_(Ebook)BEAUTY QUEEN, and A NATE TO REMEMBER, with more to come.

Heather: The stories are very character driven. The main heroines Daphne Huntington-Smythe and Margot Williams run their dress shop/design atelier at the corner of Poppy Lane and Cove Street (that’s where the name Poppy Cove came from), and through their work with the town’s social set get involved in the lives, loves and scandals of the people they meet.A_Nate_To_Remember

2. Being that there are two of you, how do you write?  Do you compose separately, or talk it out as you go along together, share or divide up characters, scenes or research?

Heather: We always write together and we talk constantly. A lot. On our own time, we’ll often each come up with different thoughts and plot lines for the tales and then weigh them out and decide if and where it fits in the overall story line.

Andrea: We’re very visual, it’s like writing a play or movie script. We’ll get an overall feel for where the points are going in the story, then envision the way the scenes round out and flow into one another.

3. What exciting moment or moments that made you realize that you were really an “author?”

Andrea: I’ve been writing stories all my life, since I could hold a pen. It’s hard to pin down an exact moment, but possibly back in my teens when I could get involved in the writing process. Creating a finished story on paper from thoughts that came to me made me realize that I had a place in the writing world.

Heather: When we typed “The End” on our first draft of STRANGLED BY SILK. Whatever happened with it after that, I knew we had finished something that I would be proud to say I helped to create.

4.What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?

Heather: Playing with you, Barbara Jean, helps. We channel you and your ‘joie de vivre’ to get us through the mundane and taxing aspects of life. I also like to watch movies and television series like Poirot, Morse, Lewis, Endeavour, Wallander- I could go on. They provoke my thought processes and get me scheming.

Andrea: I love watching all those, too. We listen to Frank Sinatra and the great jazz from the era. I love looking at the fashions, illustrations and photos of the time. Movies from the 50’s, like ‘The Best of Everything,’ ‘Funny Face,’ ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’ all transport me to such a dreamy place and inspire me.

5.  Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?

Andrea: There’s so many that it’s hard to pin down. For mysteries, I like P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, Susan Wittig Albert, M.C. Beaton, Donna Andrews, Hannah Reed, and Cathy Ace to name a few. I love to read works by Virginia Woolf, Thomas Hardy, Tracy Chevalier, Beatriz Williams, Gail Anderson-Dargatz, and Margaret Atwood as well. They make me want to be the best writer I can be.

Heather: I read all the time too, and just as eclectic. I love the authors that Andrea has mentioned, but I’ll add in Carola Dunn, Elaine Viets, G.A. McKevett, Rhys Bowen, Melissa Bourbon for mysteries. I’ve been reading Madeleine L’Engle, Chris Bohjalian, Alice Hoffman, Susan Gregg Gilmore, Fanny Flagg and Mary Stewart inspire me to tell good stories about ordinary people who turn out to be fascinating as life plays with them.

Thank you, ladies for Taking 5 with me. And friends, be sure to check out the world my girls are creating for me. The three books in the series – STRANGLED BY SILK, DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN and A NATE TO REMEMBER are waiting for you on Kindle with just a click away. You can also join them through my Facebook, Twitter, website as well as this blog as they continue to create more of my stories and welcome you all to Poppy Cove.


Barbara Jean


Posted in 50's Novels, Authors, book series, books, California, Characters, Classic Movies, collaboration, Commitment, Communication, Conversation, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, creative writing, Creativity, ebooks, entertainment, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Humor, Inspiration, Interviews, kindle, murder mystery, Mysteries, Pen Names, Perspective, Readers, Reading, Santa Barbara, Uncategorized, Vintage, Writers, Writing, Writing Ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments