Chrys: Welcome Barbara. I know you are an author and also that, like me, you’re not a native English speaker! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?
Barbara: Thank you for having me, Chrys. I was born in Rome, but for my father’s job we spent 8 years in French speaking countries, so I learned 2 languages at the same time – which probably opened my mind to learning more. BUT when I came back to my hometown I was 13 and it was a shock. I don’t think I ever really fitted in, so I started writing. To cut a long story short, I wrote over 500 stories in 25 years without following any kind of rules, pouring them out and sometimes sharing them with friends. Then I did creative writing courses, started going to book fairs and talking to publishers (we don’t have agents in Italy) and eventually switched languages to “go indie”- I also do graphic novels: I started in the 1990s and usually had both the Italian and the English version even back then, but my latest WiP graphic novel is in English only.
Chrys: Wow, you speak so many languages so well – and do so many different things! Graphic novels, this is fantastic! Tell us about your writing and stories – which genres are your favorites, and what you are working on right now!
Barbara: I started in my teens with contemporary love stories (of course) and some sci-fi and fantasy. In my 20s, inspired by Duran Duran and other popstar music videos, I wrote my first sci-fi saga. By my 30s I had my angry hard rock period and all those long-haired guys inspired me to write medieval fantasy. At 35 I had a short period of M/M romance. Now I write mainly fantasy, set in the world of Silvery Earth, and this year I’m starting to reveal it to the world (who wasn’t lucky enough to get its hand on my photocopied zines in the 90s) through novels and short stories available on Smashwords, Kindle and in print on Lulu. I’m used to multiple projects, so at this time I’m working on Silvery Earth stories (a collection that should come out with next novel, which is out for pro-editing), an historical novel set between 1185 and 1215 (my first, and it’s tough!) + my graphic novel in progress.
Chrys: Sounds great! If you have stories published, give us a blurb or excerpt and link.
Barbara: I am VERY prolific, Chrys! 🙂 The graphic novels are in color, terefore they’re available only on Lulu in print or PDF (until I figure out how to upload them for the i-Pad). On Kindle I uploaded a novella and the first novel. On Smashwords I also have 2 short stories. I have done four book trailers and you can find them here on my blog all together: http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com/my-books-trailers/
Chrys: What inspired you to draft your first story and what prompted you to start writing in English?
Barbara: My first official story dates from the summer of 1978 (but there are precedents!), and I still remember I came up with the idea of an underwater town made of glass because I was at the seaside and enjoyed looking for bits of glass on the beach. I have reworked it into Silvery Earth, part 1 in the Chronicles of the Varian Empire (scheduled for next year), part 2 in Books of the Immortals – Water (out this August).
I started writing in English because a rejection letter from an Italian publisher suggested I write for TV (I stopped watching TV in the 90s, so I decided to write features instead) and one of my creative writing teachers said my prose sounds a good translation of an English writer. Apparently I’m not literary enough for Italian standards. So I started by writing screenplays in English, but after a couple of years trying to break into Hollywood I came back to my first love, prose and graphic novels.
Chrys: I know what you mean about not being literary enough! Greeks don’t care all that much for speculative fiction either… *grumble* Where can readers find you on the web?
Barbara: my blog http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com/
On Lulu: http://stores.lulu.com/barb65
On Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/barbaragtarn
I’m also on Goodreads and Amazon Author Central – but I don’t tweet! 🙂
Chrys: Is there anything particular about yourself that you’d like to share with our readers?
Barbara: I think I’ve rambled enough, your readers must be bored to death or fast asleep! Thank you for allowing me this space on your blog and keep writing – I love your Greek myths revisited!
Chrys: Thank you for being here with me today! Good luck with your writing!