Oh, how I hate bios! All of that deadly dull information about name (Barbara Bretton) and date of birth (June 25) and geographical data (born in New York City; lives near Princeton, NJ), marital status (many years married), and hobbies (who has time??). How do you gather up all of those dull, dry facts and turn them into something interesting?
No wonder I tell lies for a living.
I considered weaving a story for you about life on a houseboat on the French Riviera. Or maybe my years as a concubine, hidden away in a golden pleasure palace in the shimmering desert. Then I decided to do the unthinkable and tell you the truth.
When I sold my first book and my life changed forever. I sent in my manuscript on Thursday February 21, 1982 and four days later the telephone rang and I heard the amazing words, "We want to buy your book." How I wish you could have seen me. I was standing by the kitchen door of our North Babylon house, the picture of cool sophistication, as I listened to Vivian Stephens explain the terms of the deal to me. You would have thought I'd sold a first book every single day of my life. Yes, I said. Sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for calling. I look forward to our association. That cool sophistication hung on until I hung up the phone, took a deep breath, then promptly threw up on my shoes.
I was thirty-one years old, unagented, unschooled, unfamiliar with anything to do with the business of publishing. To put it mildly, I was in shock. My husband was working in Manhattan at the time (and finishing up his degree at night) so it would be hours until I could break the news to him. This was too exciting to waste on a phone call. I wanted to see his face when I told him that my dream had finally come true -- and came with a $6000 advance!
He pulled into the driveway at midnight. I was waiting in the doorway, holding a bottle of champagne and two glasses. I didn't have to say a word. He knew right away and the look of joy and pride in his eyes warms me now, years later, long after the advance faded into memory.
A lot has happened to me in the years since that first sale. I've learned that this is a difficult and demanding business (it takes a tough writer to write a tender book) and that I am happiest when I am most ignorant. I've also learned that a good friend, a writer and pal who truly understands, is worth her weight in good reviews and royalty checks.
I fell madly in love with Skye O'Malley in early 1982 and wrote an unabashedly gushy fan letter to our beloved Bertrice Small. By the time Sunny answered, I had joined the ranks of the published and Sunny became friend and mentor, guide and confidant. She has held my hand through broken dreams, disappointments, family illnesses, and accepted my bizarre need to go underground from time to time with great affection and understanding. Over the years I've come to understand the difference between the writer and her work, that loving the book doesn't guarantee that I will love the author. But what a joy it is when you discover that the author of a beloved favorite is even more wonderful and witty and wise than the characters she creates.
So this bio is for you, Sunny, for being the best of friends during the worst of times and -- even more wonderful -- during the good times as well.
And now for the statistics:
Barbara Bretton is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of more than 40 books. She currently has over ten million copies in print around the world. Her works have been translated into twelve languages in over twenty countries.
Barbara has been featured in articles in The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Romantic Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Herald News, Home News, Somerset Gazette,among others, and has been interviewed by Independent Network News Television, appeared on the Susan Stamberg Show on NPR, and been featured in an interview with Charles Osgood of WCBS, among others.
Her awards include both Reviewer's Choice and Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times; Gold and Silver certificates from Affaire de Coeur; the RWA Region 1 Golden Leaf; and several sales awards from Bookrak. Ms. Bretton was included in a recent edition of Contemporary Authors.
Barbara loves to spend as much time as possible in Maine with her husband, walking the rocky beaches and dreaming up plots for upcoming books.
Hayley had sworn off bad boys until Finn Rafferty set out to win her heart...
Once upon a time, Hayley had believed that a good woman (her) could turn a bad boy (her ex) into a knight in shining armor (pure fantasy). Ten years of marriage had finally drummed the truth into her head. In the real world bad boys didn’t turn into knights in shining armor. Bad boys grew up to be even worse men and the world would be a much happier place if little girls were taught that basic fact along with their ABCs.
Hayley Maitland Goldstein knew all about how these things worked. First a girl giggled, then she sighed, and the next thing you knew she was in Vegas taking her wedding vows in front of a red-haired Elvis with an overbite. You knew you had made a bad choice when Elvis slipped you his divorce lawyer’s business card while you were still shaking the rice from your hair.
But then Finn Rafferty came into her life and everything changed.
Hayley should have seen the kiss coming but it surprised her just the same. He had been looking at her with a crazy kind of unfocused intensity and she had been about to ask him if he was having a stroke when she realized she was about to be kissed by a man she actually wanted to kiss back.
Every now and then life handed you a perfect moment but the secret was figuring out how to make it last.
Q) What inspired you to write this story?
A number of things that all came together simultaneously and pointed me in the right direction. I’m a Food Network junkie and they’d recently launched a new show with Baltimore baker Duff Goldman and the crew of Charm City Cakes. He made amazing creations using blow torches and piping and all manner of weird things tucked in amidst the fondant and marzipan. I was completely sucked into the world of a master baker and started reading about the artists who made amazing cakes. Goldman led me to the queen of cakes, Sylvia Weinstock, and others and before you knew it, I had myself a knee-high pile of research information and a character, Hailey Goldstein, waiting for a story.
And boy did I have a story to give her. Not long before my father died, I discovered that his mother had been married three times, not two times as I’d always thought. And, surprise, surprise, husband #1 (the one I’d never heard of before) was my actual biological grandfather. Now how my family had managed to keep that a secret for over fifty years was beyond my comprehension . . . not to mention why they’d found it so important.
This meant my father might have had half-brothers and –sisters out there somewhere and that I (an only child, grandchild) might have relatives floating around waiting to be discovered.
That idea fed into an old fantasy of mine that one day there’d be a knock on my door and I’d open it to discover a long-lost brother or sister or cousin I’d never known existed and a world of family would suddenly drop into my lap.
So far that hasn’t happened, but I took my experience and gave it to Hailey when she discovers that she wasn’t a child of artificial insemination, but of a one-night fling between her brilliant professor mother and a young rock musician.
Q) How long did it take you to write?
About three months, give or take a week or two. This one was a delight to write. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I mean, cake and rock stars and dogs and babies and sexy love scenes. What’s not to like?
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
There’s something magical that happens when the story starts to click and the characters sweep in and take over. The flesh-and-blood world drops away and the only thing left is the world in your imagination. It’s a rush beyond description.
Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
The empty longing when it isn’t working. The physical pain when it is. (There’s no pleasing writers, is there?) You’re either avoiding placing your desk when the words just aren’t there or you’re welded to it when they are.
Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Great question! I’d like to be Queen Elizabeth II. I want to know why she carries that purse with her everywhere she goes.
Joking aside, QEII has lived an incredible life. Her reign has spanned sixty years. She’s known all of the great women and men of our time. She is a living repository of secrets.
And, let’s face it, it’s great to be queen.
Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
A Christmas mug filled with bacon fat. It’s tucked way in the back, up against the wall of the fridge, and I’m not sure why it’s still there. I don’t use bacon fat in anything. I don’t like bacon fat. My husband doesn’t like bacon fat. The only explanation I can come up with is that I poured it into the mug to cool down so I could safely throw it away and somehow it became a member of our family.
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’m bringing out more backlist titles in digital form for the first time and am currently working on a third book in the Paradise Point series, and a third book in the Shelter Rock Cove series.
Thanks so much for hosting my tour. I had a terrific time answering your questions.