As some of you may know, Barbara Jean Coast is the pseudonym for us — Andrea Taylor & Heather Shkuratoff. The concept of her started as a joint name to refer to the both of us, but when we came up with it, evocative of the 50’s time period in which our Poppy Cove Mysteries are set & a loving tribute to the sense of place — the central California coast. As fledgling new writers, we’re sensitive, but try not to take responses (or lack there of) to our stories personally yet we are attached to our characters & want to share that with our readers. Balance and surrender are a challenge for a couple of neurotics like us; excited about the exposure, ignoring & then over-analyzing the results, wanting to tell the world about our bright, shiny new project and at the same time, wanting to just hide away and keep writing, not thinking, will people really enjoy it? Does it matter if all we really want to do is share our stories? Can we provide for ourselves in other ways so we can just keep going, regardless of sales & rankings?
This is where Barbara Jean comes in. She’s a social butterfly, a flirty throwback party girl, fun-loving and delightful, without a care in the world. To her, every problem can be solved with a wink & a smile, all while wearing kitten heels an sipping a cocktail with a fine young man.
Having this lovely alter ego take charge of the process helps us keep focused on telling the tales, living life, not worrying about the small growing steps & stumbles. Whenever we get too caught up, stressed out or too serious about the whole darn thing, we stop, look at each other & say, “What would Barbara Jean do?” Then we have a good laugh at ourselves, relax, take a deep breath, maybe pour a glass of wine or two & put our feet up, all the while counting the blessings for the great lives we already do have.
Andrea & Heather
Aka Barbara Jean Coast