Q & A with Barbara Ann Wright
Welcome back and welcome to 2023! I'm so happy to kick off the new year with another flash Q&A, this time with fellow Bold Strokes Books author and eclectic spec-fic extraordinaire, Barbara Ann Wright. Some of you may have met her signing alongside me at Denver PrideFest. If not, her books are absolutely worth tracking down, including her newest title, The Mage and the Monster, the latest in The Sisters of Sarras series (go on, alliteration nerds. I'll wait).
Welcome to the blog, Barbara! What’s your writing practice like? Do you have any specific rituals or habits that help?
I used to be one of those “write every day,” and “let’s do a writing sprint!” people, but after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2015, I’ve slowed down considerably. I write now when I feel like I can, and I feel grateful for every session. As for rituals or habits, I like to make copious notes about my characters, exploring their backgrounds and personalities, and thinking up details that might never make it into the book, but they help me know the characters better. I’m careful to think hard about what motivates each character, what their goals are, and what the stakes are if those goals aren’t met. Once you know your characters, you can complete projects faster because you’ll know how your characters will respond to every scenario you throw at them.
Which do you identify with? Mage or Monster, and why?
The secret to that is…they’re the same thing! In my latest series, one country’s mage is another’s monster. And I identify with my magic users a lot because their ability to cast spells takes a physical toll on them, so they live with chronic pain, just like me. And like me, they’ll never give up doing what they love because it means more to them than the pain.
Who was your first spec fic crush?
For characters, it was old-school She-Ra, then Deanna Troi and Wesley Crusher (I know) from Star Trek: TNG when I got a little older. My first crush on a spec-fic writer was on Meredith Ann Pierce for Birth of the Firebringer, a novel I read over and over and still have in a little plastic bag.
You write across a wide variety of genres. Do you feel your readers follow you, or are you writing for slightly different readers each time?
I guess I write for myself first, telling the stories I want to tell, and I just hope people like them. I’ve had people who read everything I write because I write it, and I’ve heard people say they don’t like my sci-fi, or they want me to write another comedy, or they’ve skipped one book or another because it’s not their genre. That’s the long answer, anyway. The short answer is, I’m writing books for whoever wants to read them. 😊
What’s the strangest thing you keep on your desk?
It might be quicker to ask about the normal things. I currently have a selection of Barbies (I collect the badass ones), a dragon figurine, a plush sheep, a glittery music box, a mug that threatens people with stabbing and is overflowing with sparkly pens, a coffin-shaped pencil case, a ruler with Egyptian hieroglyphics on it, and several journals, one of which is an apothecary’s journal with a glass vial attached and another that says, “People to Kill.”
The Mage and the Monster is now available through Bold Strokes Books. Cover at by Tammy Seidick.