Interview with Barbara Underwood
Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. I'm sure your readers are looking forward to hearing a bit about you as much as I am. Let's just start, shall we?
I'm sure you have been asked this question many, many times but truth be told, I'm curious. What inspired you to become an author?
That’s actually a difficult question to answer because it wasn’t a conscious decision I made one day. You see, I’ve loved to write since childhood, and for many years, it was simply another way of expressing myself. Then, when I wrote about some travelling experiences and showed them to some friends, I kept hearing the words, “You should write a book!” So while I was working and doing other things, I kept writing as a hobby, then did a correspondence course in professional writing, then tried to have some short stories published. Perhaps the main inspiration came from reading Thor Heyerdahl’s books about the subject that fascinates me the most, namely ancient mysteries such as the pyramids, giant megaliths around the world, and lost civilizations. Reading Heyerdahl’s books made me want to write about the subject I am passionate about, so perhaps that was the turning point to becoming a serious author of books, not just a writer in general.
What are your ambitions and goals for your writing career?
At this stage, I am firmly looking ahead – and looking forward! – to writing more books in the Rhuna series, and making it a unique, enjoyable read of high quality which many readers will appreciate. If that’s all I accomplish, then I’ll be satisfied, but if I still have the creative energy for more books, probably Fantasy, but possibly other genres, then of course, I’ll just keep going for as long as I can!
Have you got any role models in the world of literature?
No, not a role model as such, but I admire a few others such as Herman Hesse in classic literature, and Sarah Rayne is my favourite contemporary author. Even if one doesn’t consciously try to emulate anyone, I believe one’s favourite authors definitely influence one’s own writing.
Could you please briefly explain what your "Rhuna Fantasy Novels" are about?
Gladly! The Rhuna Fantasy books are the result of my passionate interest in ancient mysteries and lost civilizations, namely Atlantis, the pyramids and megaliths all around the world, and the myths, legends and other stories surrounding them. After reading many books on the subject, both factual/scientific and New Age theories, I chose the ideas that appealed to me the most, and which would also sound good in a Fantasy/Magical Realism type of novel. But of course, the reader doesn’t have to know all this, nor have an interest in those subjects. I hope that Rhuna and the people in her life are all interesting characters with realistic problems and challenges that readers can relate to, as well as having fun with the magic element and the indestructible villain, the Dark Master!
Thinking of Rhuna, the main character in the series, where have you drawn your inspiration for this particular protagonist from?
That’s an easy one! Rhuna is like an extension of myself, and she thinks, feels and reacts the way I do (or think I would in her circumstances!)
What are you working on at the moment? Can we look forward to a new book in the series soon?
Yes, definitely! Readers will soon be able to read the sequel to “Rhuna: Crossroads” in English. At this very moment I am finishing up the 3rd book in the series, entitled “Rhuna, The Star Child.” And I’m already working on the outline for the 4th book, “Rhuna: New Horizons” and getting ideas for the 5th book as well!
Tell me a bit about your writing schedule. Do you sit down whenever an idea hits you or have you got a structured day in which you won't call it quits as long as you haven't managed to write a certain amount of words?
Usually, it’s a matter of sitting down when an idea hits me, or I’m in the right mood to write certain scenes, but that’s the easy part. In order to get a book finished, I also have to be a bit disciplined and just sit down with the objective of writing a certain amount of pages, or finishing a certain chapter.
How do you write? On a laptop? Typewriter? Longhand?
On my desktop computer at home, mostly. Sometimes I use the laptop if I’m somewhere else, or enjoying the outdoors. When I get ideas or am planning a storyline or plot, I write some notes longhand.
Where do your ideas generally come from?
Partly from the books I read on various subjects, such as theories on the true purpose of the pyramids, how Magic began in Ancient Egypt, and many more along those lines. The rest is just from my imagination.
What do you consider the hardest thing with regards to writing?
Making the story appear to flow effortlessly while developing a good storyline and plot.
And the easiest?
The dialogue: especially interesting, emotional or fun scenes.
Is there one particular thing you have learned since you've started writing which still fascinates or surprises you?
Yes, I’m constantly amazed at how the story changes as I go along, as if the story and characters take on a life of their own!
Who do you think are your biggest supporters?
Fellow authors I’ve met through social media, and who have been positive, encouraging and helpful in various ways.
What books are you reading at present?
Right now, I’m reading several non-fiction books to prepare for the next book in the Rhuna series, and those are: “The Divine Spark” edited by Graham Hancock and “Tibetan Magic and Mysticism” by J.H. Brennan. On my shortlist of fiction books to read in coming weeks are: “The Bell Tower” by Sarah Rayne and “A Pattern of Lies” by Charles Todd.
How do you relax in your spare time?
My other passion next to writing is art: painting, drawing, sketching, which balances me out after writing a lot. But I also watch movies and do crosswords to relax, as well as reading fiction just for fun.
Just recently, the first book of the series, "Rhuna – Keeper of Wisdom", was published in German. Are you excited?
Yes, it’s certainly very exciting to be exposed to a whole new market and group of people! So far, it seems like Germans are really taking to Rhuna, more so than in the enormous American market.
Will the second book, "Rhuna – Crossroads", also be available in German soon?
In Summer 2016, if all goes well! And hopefully the following books will also be available in German later on!
Is there a closing statement you would like to share with your readers?
I’d like to say that I am grateful for this opportunity to share something about myself with readers and others. I hope my comments have left a positive and long-lasting impression, and also made everyone more interested in, and curious about Rhuna and her world!
Barbara, once again, thank you very much for this interview. It was a great pleasure, and I'm wishing you the best of luck for the future. I'm very much looking forward to reading the rest of your books!
Should you wish to learn more about Barbara and her books, you can do so through the following links.
Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/beljf9