During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring members of WisRWA. As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the second interview of the series.
Barbara M. Britton
Award-Winning Author of Romantic Adventures from Ancient Israel to Modern Day USA
Barbara Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Southeastern Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. Barb writes romantic adventures for teens and adults in the Christian fiction and mainstream markets. She enjoys bringing Bible characters to light in her stories. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America, and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. You can learn more about her books on her website.
RTW: In the play, the character Olivia partially blames the failure of her first book on her editor’s choice in covers. How important do you think covers are to a book’s success or failure? Have you always been happy with your editor’s choice for your cover?
BARBARA: Covers can make or break a book. Olivia is right! Most readers do not know that covers are specific to genres. Vampire romances will be shaded in black, white, and red hues and have a dark feel. I write Biblical fiction, so my covers are attractive women wearing head coverings. Also, the author usually has no say in their cover art. Gasp! I was fortunate that I love my covers. The president of my publisher designs them herself and she does amazing work.
RTW: Do you let other people read your writing before you submit it to a publisher or an agent?
BARBARA: You bet I do. Every writer should have one or more critique partners to review their work. Before an agent or editor reads a manuscript, an author should have beta-readers scour the entire manuscript for errors, plot holes, and character development. Its best to have several eyes on a story before it goes to a publishing professional. Writing contests are excellent sources of feedback too.
RTW: How important are reviews to writers and why?
BARBARA: Reviews help readers understand if a book will fit their reading preferences and that is beneficial. Unfortunately, the number of reviews a book receives has become the end all for getting books noticed by certain companies. Marketing tasks and creating discoverability have been added to the writer’s busy life. So, if you like a book, please review it. This leaves more time for a writer to write.
WisRWA is teaming up with Renaissance Theaterworks in Milwaukee to host a mini book fair on October 28th in and around the performances of Renaissance Theaterworks’ production of Sex with Strangers.
From Renaissance Theaterworks website: “When frustrated forty-ish novelist, Olivia, meets fast-talking, twenty-something, blogger and memoirist, Ethan – known more for his sexual prowess than his prose – she worries that she will become just another chapter in his little black book. Their funny and passionate union blurs the lines between rewrites, romance and royalties – proving you can’t judge a book by its author. Sex with Strangers was one of America’s top ten most produced plays from 2014-2016. In addition to playwrighting, Laura Eason is also a producer/writer for the Emmy Award-winning Netflix series House of Cards.”
Eight WisRWA authors will take part in the signing, and we’ll have other WisRWA members on hand to answer any questions about WisRWA that we can. The authors participating are:
Starting tomorrow, each week, we will feature a Q&A with one of the authors.
Sex with Strangers runs October 20-November 12, 2017 but WisRWA will only be there on October 28th. Come support local theater and local authors! For more information, visit Renaissance Theaterworks.
Hope to see you there!
WisRWA members, Mia Jo Celeste, author of Other Than, and Barbara M. Britton, author of Providence and Building Benjamin, will be talking about book launch parties (both actual and virtual) at the June WisRWA meeting in Milwaukee. Jennifer Rupp asked them a few questions about their first year as published authors.
Jen: Brenda and Barbara, you’ve both released your debut novels within the last twelve months. Did it come as a shock how involved you would have to be in the marketing of your own book?
Brenda: Yes. Although I’d heard a lot about marketing, taken some classes and been a blogger for years, I was surprised about the time and financial commitment. That said, I like marketing—something I never imagined I would.
Barbara: Yes, definitely. Publishing has changed so much since I started my journey ten years ago. I knew I would have a hand in marketing my books, but I didn’t know I would be the driving force behind getting the word out about my novels.
Brenda: It varies. Usually I check Twitter and Facebook every couple of days and I’ve been trying to appear in cyberspace a couple of times a week, either on my blog or someone else’s. For me, it’s a lot like student teaching. Because so many tasks are new, they take longer to figure out and complete, but I’m sure that I’ll get faster and I’ll figure out which tasks are the most important to complete.
Barbara: I feel I do some sort of marketing every day because of social media. Certainly I am more involved right before, during, and after a release. With Pelican Book Group, I have an e-book release date that is different than my print release date. Twice the fun—and work. I would say my average is 5-10 hours a week.
Jen: Now that you’re a published author, do you write with more confidence?
Brenda: I hope the adage “practice makes perfect” works. Because I write more, I’m more comfortable writing and, God willing, my writing is getting better.
Barbara: Yes and no. I feel I have the basic craft of writing down pat, but doubts plague me as a published writer. I’m thinking my work isn’t good enough, or my success was a fluke. I have to silence those nasty voices and tell myself that I am writing solely for myself. If no one sees my book, that’s okay. I’ve enjoyed writing it and learning through my research.
To hear more from Brenda and Barbara, please join us at the Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level) on June 17 from 9-11:30 AM. It’s sure to be a great time.
Barbara M. Britton will be a panelist at the WEMTA Author Fair on March 19, 2017 from 11:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.at the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. She will also be at the New Berlin Public Library on April 1st, 2017 from 10:00 AM –1:00 PM their Local Author Fair. She will be celebrating her print release of “Building Building: Naomi’s Journey.”
Lois Greiman will be signing books and giving a workshop called ‘Writing From the Heart’ at the Rosemount Writers’ Festival in Rosemount, MN on March 18th.
Each month, WisRWA will announce the new books our members have published. We call it New Release Tuesday.
Congratulations to the following WisRWA members on their new releases.
Wolf and the Moon by Kayla Bain-Vrba
Building Benjamin by Barbara M. Britton
Winter Homecoming by Lyn Cote
Surprise Me Again by Anita Kidesu