1. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?
The first book I wrote features the same characters from Opal Fire. It was called Shades of Amethyst and I landed an agent with that book and some publisher interest although it didn't sell. I now consider that my back story book for this series.
2. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
Never. Give. Up.
3. Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know.
I can't whistle.
4. Describe your book.
Opal Fire is a funny, fast-paced mystery with quirky characters, lots of angst and a strong, witty protagonist who has the worst luck of anyone you ever met.
5. What do you consider your strengths in terms of writing?
I love blending humor with tension and the best way to do this, for me, is through dialogue. I spent many years in the service industry as a waitress and a bartender and I think that fined my ability to pick up on the natural ebb and flow of a conversation.
6. What's your favorite quote?
"If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now." Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation
7. What place that you haven't visited would you like to go?
I would love to go to Ireland, perhaps trace my family tree. I also would like to set a book there.
8. Who is your greatest cheerleader?
My husband. He's so encouraging, but also diligent at helping keep me focused. He's smart enough to know when something isn't working and brave enough to tell me. I'm very lucky to have him in my corner.
9. Who is your favorite character in your book.
Cinnamon because she's tough as nails and doesn't take crap from anyone.
10. My favorite scene was banter back and forth between Stacy's ex-boyfriend and her present one.
Leo and Chance shared my sofa while Fiona poured the tea. She handed each of them a dainty floral cup and saucer, complete with lady fingers. I would have burst out laughing if I didn’t think one of them would have strangled me.
There was no avoiding the subject, so I launched into an explanation. Leo looked at the rock, then at me. Chance shook his head.
Leo sipped his tea under Fiona’s watchful stare, choosing his words carefully before he spoke. “This is serious. You could have been hurt.”
“I agree with Dirty Harry over here,” Chance said. “Whoever did this means business, so whatever you’re involved in, stop it.”
“Bob the Builder is right,” Leo glared at Chance. “We need to file a report.”
“A report?” Chance said. “What good is that? You need to find this asshole, Joe Friday.”
Leo gulped his tea and said, “Listen, Tim the Tool Man—”
“Enough!” I shouted. Geesh, what were we, in high school? “Neither of you gets to tell me what to do. I make my own decisions. That’s the beauty of being an adult.”
Leo was about to say something else, but stopped. I thought he was stopping because he knew he crossed a line, but when he set the tea down his head swayed a bit, then his dark eyes drooped and his body slumped. He crashed into Chance’s lap.
Barbra Annino is a Chicago native, a book junkie and Springsteen addict. A former bartender and humor columnist for Illinois Magazine, she finds the funny in just about everything. Except those Humane Society commercials, which she holds personally responsible for the reason she has three Great Danes.