Author Name: Barbara Winkes
Twitter Handle: @demeter94
Title of Novel: Amber Alert
Q1. How long have you been writing? And what was the first thing you can remember writing?
A long time. I remember imagining stories before I knew how to write. I always loved suspense, and I wrote some (pretty far-fetched) stories about girls who solved a mystery, but the earliest I think was something about a rabbit (?) finding ways to evade a fox and a bear. That was based on characters in one of my children’s books, and I guess you could call it an early attempt at fan-fiction. I stuck with human characters after that, though.
Q2. Did you always want to be a writer?
For a long time, I didn’t really think about it so much, because I was always writing, and I considered myself one. At some point, I started looking into my options, polishing material for submission and finding publishers who might be interested in my story. I was lucky to find Eternal Press and have published 5 books with them so far, with five more, including Amber Alert, to come. Holding my own book in my hand was a dream of mine, and I’m still amazed it came true.
Q3. How did you feel when you were writing this book?
As the title suggests, it deals with some very emotional subjects, the abduction of a young child against the backdrop of lies and betrayal committed by some hateful individuals. When I had the idea, it got to me, and it still does when reading through it. I look forward to sharing it with the world, because it deals with timely issues. It’s not always an easy read, but I think in some ways, that makes the writing easier, because there’s an urge to get the story out.
Q4. How long did it take to write?
Two to three months, give or take?
Q5. Do you have a special place where you go to write?
I’m lucky to have my office right here at home. When I moved in with my wife, it wasn’t just another city, but another country and continent (I was born and spent most of my life so far in Germany, met her in 2009 and moved to Canada in 2011). During the process of becoming a permanent resident, I was on a visitor’s visa, which meant I couldn’t apply for work. I used the time to push myself, write and edit more, submit and see where it would take me. By the time I became a resident, my first book Autumn Leaves was published in the same month.
Q6. When you begin writing, did you ever think you’d get to where you are now?
The publishing industry has changed so much, I don’t think I had a clue when I started writing on a regular basis. Many traditional publishers are still reluctant to publish LGBT fiction, so I was lucky to come in at a time where indie publishers and self-publishing was–and still is–on the rise. Eternal Press is great about supporting my choice to write in different genres, and while I predominantly write lesbian-themed books, Amber Alert has a straight female main character. Eventually, I also self-published (the Carpenter/Harding series, book #2 is coming this November, and the Jayce & Emma series). I didn’t intend it at first, but I was interested in learning more about the process, and the combination of both works well for me.
A psychologist/trauma counselor by training, Barbara Winkes left her native Germany to live with her wife in Québec City. Telling stories has always been her passion. She loves to write suspense and romance with female protagonists who try to solve the puzzle of their love life, a murder case, or sometimes, both.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us Barbara, it sounds great! I wish the best of luck with all your future projects.