Becky Barker is an award-winning romance author who writes contemporary western romances as well as romantic suspense. Most of her books contain a little humor, a little mystery and a lot of sensuality. Her husband calls her career the great roller coast ride, with many ups, downs, twists and turns. Having started writing for Dell’s Candlelight Supreme line 30 years ago, she has written for more publishers and editors than she can remember. As romance lines and publishers have folded, she’s also become an Indie publisher of her own backlist work.
How did you become interested in creative writing?
I’m one of those people who grew up with my nose in a book and spent a whole lot of time daydreaming. I was also a stay-at-home mother who needed an outlet for all my wild imaginings. Sometime between baby one and baby three, I started jotting down scenes in longhand.
How did you turn that interest in creative writing into a career?
Mostly by writing what I love and continually submitting my work to publishers who specialized in category romance.
You specialize in contemporary romance. What draws you to that genre in particular?
I’m a here and now sort of person. I don’t worry overmuch about the past or the future. I don’t write historicals because I’m too much of a feminist at heart, and the treatment of women in past eras always annoys me. LOL.
Is it a challenge to write sex scenes so that they are unique from each other?
It can be a challenge to make them unique, but I’ve never had much of a problem writing them. When there’s enough passion between the heroine/hero, the scenes just come naturally to me.
You do a lot of western romances. What interests you about the West?
The romantic in me, I guess. I grew up watching western heroes with strength and honor. Men who respected and protected the women they love have always held my heart.
You wrote to me that you suffer from very bad arthritis.
Arthritis is becoming a challenge. My hands, arms and shoulders are getting more stiff and painful. I don’t want to resort to drugs, so I try to be diligent with exercise and using my wrist braces.
What did you love to read as a child and what do you enjoy reading now?
I’ve been addicted to romantic suspense since grade school, and it’s still my favorite genre although I get tired of the grimness and angst. I’m searching for new authors who write less intense mysteries without losing the intense passion and romance. The books I write focus more on relationships than the suspense plot. That’s what I want to read now. (Suggestions greatly appreciated!)
What advice do you have for those wanting to get into writing professionally themselves?
Don’t disregard the importance of basic grammar and spelling or depend on word processing programs to do the editing for you. Pacing is very important, and I’ve learned how that’s done by reading, reading, reading until it comes naturally. Write complete stories, not just the opening chapters, and then move on to the next idea.Target publishers who are looking for the type of story you’ve written, and submit your work on a regular basis. If you decide to go the Indie route, make the extra time and expense for professional editing. If an editor questions something you’ve written, listen and learn.
Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know?
The Internet and electronic devices have opened a whole new world of reading (and listening) pleasure to most of us. These days, writers have options beyond traditional publishing, but the evolving market (and Amazon) has also diminished the ability to earn a good income or predict future earnings. There are positive and negative aspects of every career. If you want to be a successful author, you need a real passion for creative writing and the discipline to do the actual work. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s an easy route to fame and fortune.
A special thanks to Vicki for giving me the chance to visit with you all.