Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Interview with picture book writer Barbara Barth

Author of a picture book for kids and adults, Barbara Barth, is here today as part of a virtual book tour to talk about her newest release, A Dog Dreams of Paris From Rescue Dog to Diva.

Who will love a Dog Dreams of Paris?
Children? Yes!
Paris lovers? Yes!
Dog lovers? Yes!
Art Lovers? Yes!
Divas? Yes!
Romantics? Yes!   
Journalers? Yes!
Humor lovers? Yes!
Shy people? Yes!
Dreamers? Yes!

Author, Blogger, Sometimes Antique Dealer, Dog Whisperer.

Barth lives with six rescue dogs from her local animal shelters in Decatur, Georgia. She started writing and adopting dogs seven years ago after the death of her husband. The Unfaithful Widow is a series of essays over a year on finding happiness again after loss with the help of a vintage corvette, dogs, great friends, bad dates, and signs from the universe. It placed as a finalist in the 2011 USA Best Book Awards. Since then she has written a novel, Danger In Her Words, a spicy thriller, and has contributed to several anthologies, one which she edited and produced through her company Gilbert Street Press. A Dog Dreams of Paris is based on a true story of one of her rescue dogs, Miss April In Paris. Barth also hosts several blogs to highlight other authors’ books. She is a former blogger for Lifetime Television’s The Balancing Act and member of The Dog Writers Association of America.

Welcome, Barbara. Please tell us about your current release.
A Dog Dreams of Paris is a picture book for dreamers of all ages. It is available in paperback only. I call it a fantasy memoir. Miss April in Paris was the sixth dog I adopted and she had trouble finding her place in the pack. One day I placed a vintage pink Chapeau with a large silk rose on her head and changed her name from April to April in Paris. She took to the attention and the rest was history. At one point I had a blog for April where she dreamed of visiting the city of lights.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was getting ready to have surgery and needed something to occupy my time the weeks beforehand. This book seemed like the perfect project and one that was close to my heart. It is colorful, whimsical, and through a dog’s eyes as she writes in her diary of the places she would visit if she went to Paris. In the end, April realizes there is no place like home, her forever home with her dog friends.

Part of the proceeds of this book go to animal rescue and I am selling copies at wholesale prices to animal groups to use for fundraising.

The book is comprised of photos of my dogs, stock photos, and vintage ephemera from my collection. I ran the photos through an online site that gave them a watercolor finish.

It is shockingly lovely. My book designer is my sister who made magic with the layout and full color pages. It was published through my company Gilbert Street Press. I have to admit we pulled it together in six weeks and it still amazes me how awesome it turned out. Her company is PD King Design

I call this a book for dreamers of all ages, it is not a picture book for children, but my friends’ kids have loved it. Perhaps the excerpt below will explain that comment!

Excerpt from A Dog Dreams of Paris: Don’t laugh too hard!

Dear Diary, Making New Friends Abroad

I can’t wait to sniff some butt in Paris. You know, make new doggie friends. It is our universal language. You should see the butt sniffing here when one of us goes to the vet for a visit. It is a smelling frenzy afterwards. I will learn some French to use as I write in my diary. It is important to educate oneself to all cultures. Butt sniffing is for the dogs, but you never know who you will meet and most humans don’t like to have your nose in their private places. Arf! Arf! I will use my French with them.

What exciting story are you working on next?
The one project on the back burner for a few years is my memoir on life with six dogs. I have written stories about them that have appeared on many blog sites. This summer I hope to pull everything together and make it happen.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Becoming a widow as I turned sixty made me a writer. I looked at widow help books and they were so depressing. I decided to write about my own experiences in finding my way back to a life of my own. I find humor in dark places, so my memoir is a bit quirky. It has put me in touch with many other widows of all ages who have felt a kindred spirit with me. The rest is history. With six dogs I call myself writer with dogs. If I didn’t write I’d just be that crazy dog lady in the neighborhood!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I retired early from the federal government to pursue doing things I love. I was lucky I could retire at age 55. I sold antiques and designed jewelry that sold online and at the gift shop at The Atlanta Botanical Gardens. For a year I had my own antique shop, but turned it into an artist colony. We had book signings and art openings every weekend. Then I ran out of money. There may be a book about that one day. Best time ever.

Now I have lots of projects in my head and am trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I look at my writing as a total art project. I am very hands on and want the final say on how the book looks, right or wrong! A quirk or a flaw? I know what I love and want to share that vision. That is probably why I self-publish.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A mother. And look at me, no children, but a six-pack of dogs are my babies.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
You are never too old to start creating and following your dreams. This year, after I heal from my hip replacement surgery, I’d like to sell my house in the city and find the house I’ve always longed for, an old farmhouse on an acre of land an hour from Atlanta. I write about this in my stories. I hope I can make it happen in real life.


Note: of special interest, a portion of all book sales will be donated to animal rescue.

1 comment:

Barbara Barth said...

Lisa, thanks for having me on your blog today. I've marked it as a favorite to keep up with you and all the great author interviews you do. It was a pleasure meeting you via my tour with WOW!