The Author Spotlight is running throughout August in celebration of the launch of my new novel Darkest Dawn on 31st August (the 2nd book in the Jessica Dawn Series).

I want to CELEBRATE all Indie Authors because of the hard work and dedication they put into their work and it truly becomes their baby. To many people Authors are just a name on a book but we are REAL and this is a glimpse into their lives.

SOOOOOO……on that note…..

We are starting with the AWESOME……drum roll please….TARA BARNACLE!!!

Tara Barnacle lives in sunny South Australia, and dreams of walking on wild wintery Atlantic shores. She worked in a Library in another life, but had to quit before her book addiction reached epic proportions..well, almost before! Blood, Bone and Stone is her first fiction book.

SO this is Tara! But I wanted more so bombarded her with questions…

Do you write as yourself or under a pseudonym? Why?

As myself, although I’ve dropped the second part of my double barrelled surname so that it fits on a book cover in a decent sized font!

What made you want to be a published author?

I wrote the story because I was looking for a way to define and express a profound experience. I published it because I wanted others to share in it.

What genre do you write in and why?

I’m not sure really! Archaeological fiction? Paranormal fiction? Historical Fiction?

If you could talk to your 12 year old self, what advice would you give?

Very, very soon…it’s going to feel like boys are the most important thing in the world. Run…….and keep running til you’re 40. No, not really! What I’d like the chance to tell myself would be this…You know you’re the only kid in the class who doesn’t mind being set an essay for homework? That’s because you’re meant to be a writer…put down the paintbrushes, back away from the guitar…a writer!

Have any other authors influenced your writing through theirs?

Um, I mostly read nonfiction, so I hope not! Although, I do suspect that it sneaks in, that fascination with Facts.

As a self-published author what made you take this route and what was your experience (good or bad)?

I had already published in the non-fiction genre in the traditional way, with my first novel I wanted a clean break from that identity, and to try something completely different. I freely confess to being a bit of a control freak, and the idea of having my way at every step of the process was alluring too.

It’s been interesting, the toughest part of the process is publicity for sure!

How would you rate your writing?

Well now, THAT’S a tough question! I enjoy reading what I write, if that’s any kind of answer?

How do you react to poor reviews of your book?

It’s a multi layered reaction really. Step one. Throw myself on the ground and cry, howl indignantly, maybe a little vomiting..

Step two. Try and reread it calmly and see if there is any constructive criticism that might actually be anything helpful to future books.

Step three. Move on.

Step four. Feel proud I’ve moved on, then spend the rest of the day sulking.

Really, you can’t allow yourself to be bent out of shape by them. In all likelihood, it just probably wasn’t a good fit between reader and book. I know why we allow ourselves to be so crushed by them though, out of all proportion to the joy we feel when we read a good review. Because we really do love writing, and a bad review is like having your favourite child come home from school with ‘REJECT’ stamped on their forehead. True?!

What influences your choice of book covers?

Well, part of my reason for choosing the self-published ebook route was for exactly that. I wanted to use something of my own creation. Control freak..remember?! The cover for Blood, Bone and Stone was a photo that I took of the Ring of Brodgar in Orkney, and I edited it myself too. I love how atmospheric it is!

How do you balance your writing with your real world responsibilities?

Where I live, we have cold winters, and scorching hot summers. I hate the heat, so I spend the summers inside writing like a maniac in front of a fan, and catch up on the outside chores when the days turn cooler. I know, I know, but it’s a plan, right?

Do your characters drive the plots of your stories or do you plan out your plot?

I have no clue who’s in charge sometimes! I definitely have a plan, but quite often I find myself having to do more research because a character had taken me into uncharted waters. I call it the art of Zen writing – you don’t know where you’re going, but you end up where you need to be!

Do you ever write what you dream? Give an example.

Never. I save my dream time for predicting lottery numbers. Oh, and Gerard Butler in a kilt.

Do you market yourself or pay a professional?

My strategy so far has been to get some professional help with each stage, like facebook, or a web page, which is my current focus, then I take over myself once I’m up to speed. I’m only a recent covert to Facebook..a Blog seems very far off still! It’s a bit like using a professional editor, sometimes you need to take a step back, otherwise I for one would find it a bit daunting. Anyway, I’d rather be writing than learning the fine art of web page design!

What are your tips for editing?

Simple. Do it yourself til you just can’t face it any more…then give it to friends, and finally hand it over to a professional editor. It’s their job, they’re not worried about your feelings. It’s good practice for releasing the finished product too, and remembering it’s only yours until you’ve finished it, then it belongs to the readers.

What inspired you to write your current WIP or current published work?

This is my favourite question! I had my Mitochondrial DNA tested, and, at the risk of sounding all New Agey, nothing was ever the same. I was a highly contented adopted child, with absolutely NO sense of lacking roots, or a family connection. Zero. Finding out which ancient female clan I belonged to gave me the deepest sense of a family connection I hadn’t known I was missing! All I did, when writing Blood, Bone and Stone was to superimpose my feelings of wonder at the test results onto my other passions…Prehistory, Orkney, Archaeology.

Do you prefer to write stand-alone novels or a series? Why?

A series! The next one in the Orkney series is about Vikings…and YDNA! I thought it would be an interesting challenge to write about the male experience of DNA inheritance. And..c’mon..who doesn’t love Vikings!? Why a series? I write what I would like to read…and I love opening a new book and revisiting a place and characters I’ve already engaged with.

If you could change one thing in the publishing process what would it be?

That we could go back to the good old open minded, cashed up publishing house days of the eighties. I know, what a dinosaur!

What advice would you give to a new author?

Write something every day, believing that one day, someone will be glad that you did.

Share a favourite quote from your book.

Iona snorted. ‘You bloody Pagan!’ Finn gave a delighted grin in response. ‘The old ways never die. The old Gods don’t fade away just because we ignore them!’ ‘Oh yes’, sneered Iona, ‘very Wicker Man.’”

Anyone else laughing?? I really think Tara is as mad as me!! But seriously this is just a snippet into why we write and it’s true what Tara said, the book is only ours until it’s published, then it becomes the readers! Never let those bad reviews get to you…well ok sulk a little but get up and shake it off!! Oh and Tara if you could send your Gerald Butler in a Kilt dream my way I would REALLY appreciate it!

Ok lets see what Tara writes shall we??? I think so!!

The story spans the millennia between modern day Oxford and Bronze Age Orkney, with the mysterious town of Glastonbury floating somewhere in between, combining modern day archaeology and ancient history, cutting edge DNA research and reincarnation, and blurring the borders of life and death..

Iona is an archaeologist who is burying herself in her work in an attempt to forget her guilt and grief after the death of her mother. When the team uncovers the skeleton of a Bronze Age woman in the sands of an Orkney beach, Iona is about to discover the true nature of life and death, and the enduring nature of love. Sometimes, when we uncover the past, we discover ourselves.

My advice…go out and buy it before I beat you with a stick!

Blood, Bone and Stone is available from Amazon Kindle, Nook, the iBookstore, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Gardners…in fact, wherever you get your eBooks!