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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Meet the Author: Barbara Ellen Brink. Plus, an Excerpt from Chosen

We'd like to welcome Barbara Ellen Brink, author of The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy, to the blog today! We're excited she took some time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.

authorHow long have you been writing?I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid but I started writing seriously toward publishing about twelve years ago.

What inspired you to write Chosen?
I wasn’t so much inspired as frustrated. Up to now, I’ve written mostly mystery, suspense, or thrillers. I’d go to a bookstore to scope out the competition, and it seemed as though the only books selling were vampires, werewolves, or zombies, and the Christian bookstores were stuck on Amish fiction – which I totally don’t get. So I decided to take both worlds and combine them for an awesome, action-packed, vampire slayer story set in the plain and simple world of the Amish.

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
I very much relate to the main character. Jael doesn’t always fit in. She feels like an outsider at school and just wants to be like everybody else. While everyone feels that way at one time or another, Jael learns that being different is also what makes her special.

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
You know those people who sing in the shower? Not me. But sometimes I have conversations with my characters in the current book I’m writing. We chat and decide what’s going to happen next. Standing in a stream of hot water opens my mind to endless scenarios.

What book have you read too many times to count?
I used to read books over and over when I was a kid, but now I’m lucky to find time to read all the books I really want to read, just once. When I was thirteen or fourteen, I read Little Women multiple times and wished I could be Jo Marsh because she and I were kindred spirits. We both wanted to be writers.

If you could hop into the life of any book character for a day, who would it be, and why?
I recently read The River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren and I loved the character Gabi. She was smart, pretty and could handle a sword like nobody’s business. Finding myself swept back in time to Italy and falling in love with a handsome young knight doesn’t sound so bad…just don’t tell my husband.

What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?
I’d always heard write what you know, but a couple of years ago at a writer’s conference one of the speakers said just the opposite. He said writing what you know is boring. So write what you don’t know. Write about something so intriguing to you that your readers can’t help but be intrigued as well.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned that Vampires like to play with their food and they don’t play fair.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I enjoy riding motorcycles with my husband, meeting friends for lunch dates, and catching up on all the movies and episodes of my favorite shows that I missed while I was writing.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Chapter 8, Tourist Trap, was my favorite chapter in CHOSEN. Jael’s uncle and father take her out on a practice run to stake her first vampire, but things don’t necessarily go as planned. There is a lot of humor in the scene and I think I may have laughed out loud while I wrote it.

An Excerpt from Chosen
“Jael?” Brianna was watching her with a puzzled expression on her face. “Are you all right? You seem sort of out-of-it.” She closed her locker, her history book in the crook of her arm.
“Yeah, just tired. Up late last night,” Jael said, dropping her book bag in the bottom of her locker and sliding out the book she needed for first class - Trigonometry. Ick. She’d rather smell a rotting corpse on a warm night than solve math problems.
“Okay…well… I’ll see you later, right?” She backed up a couple of steps, holding her gaze as though Jael would disappear again as soon as she let her out of her sight.
Brianna smiled, then turned and hurried down the hall toward Mr. Stanton’s history class. Jael watched her go, feeling as though she was losing the only real friend she’d ever had, and there was nothing she could do about it. She saw Marti stop Brianna outside the history classroom to say something and then they both laughed and went into class together.
Jael slammed her locker shut and twisted the combination lock. She couldn’t go on this way much longer. Kicking vampire butts at night and pretending to be an average girl during the day was just taking too much out of her. She wasn’t cut out to live a double life. She wanted to be normal. If only she could be like Brianna, have parents that were nerdy scientists, a baby brother who was already taking college classes cause he tested out of third grade and was considered a genius. Okay, maybe Brianna’s family wasn’t that “normal” but still.
“Hey, Jael,” a male voice whispered close to her ear.
She twisted around and was a tenth of a second from crushing the guy’s windpipe with the heel of her hand when she realized it was just Lyle standing there. She dropped her arms and blew out a confused breath.
“You scared me,” she lied, a flimsy excuse for cover.
“Sorry.” He backed up a step, as though sensing his near demise. “Just wanted to see if you were coming to the exhibition game against the Redville Scorpions tonight. Some of us are going out afterwards for burgers. Thought you might like to come along. Hang out. Have some fun.” He narrowed his eyes. “You live way out in the desert somewhere, don’t you? Like in a commune or something?”
“It’s cool. I don’t mind.” He smiled, and stepped closer, leaning in against the lockers with one hand. A wave of minty fresh breath wafted over her. He was always sucking on those Altoids. Curiously strong indeed.
“Good to know,” she said, basking in the warmth of his gaze. The blonde basketball star could believe she lived in a cave in Afghanistan if he wanted to, as long as he looked at her like that.
“So…?” He leaned closer, pinning her against the lockers with the heat of his eyes and another wave of peppermint.
She smiled back. “I was thinking about coming to the game.”
“Cool. I’ll see you tonight then,” he said, and pushed off from the locker. He winked and walked away to join a group of guys waiting at the end of the hall.
Her arms and legs felt paralyzed as though she’d been shot with a tranquilizer dart. At least how she imagined it would feel to be shot with a tranquilizer dart. She forced herself to move, to look away from the group of guys and walk in the opposite direction. She couldn’t let Lyle know that he set her heart racing just by speaking to her and that her skin tingled with electricity at his proximity. He would think she was some crazy, stalker girl – someone to avoid, not date.
The bell rang as she slowly moved toward the trigonometry room. Her legs refused to hurry, regardless of being tardy. She paused outside the door, listening to the sound of voices and laughter and scraping chairs as kids settled down for class. Mr. Winchester’s gruffy baritone rang out calling for attention.
Jael suddenly realized the predicament she’d shoved herself into. Since when had she ever thought about going to a game, much less believe her parents would allow her to be out of their sight that long? She blew out a frustrated breath. Since a hot guy asked her out on a date–that’s when. She had to get into town for the game tonight. It was her only chance to be normal. If it were up to her parents and Uncle Seth, the only socializing she’d ever do would be with undead creatures in the dark of night.
This was a once in a lifetime. She never thought Lyle would give her the time of day much less invite her out for burgers. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a real date; just a group thing. But it was a start.
To learn more about Barbara Ellen Brink and her books, visit her website. You can also find the author on Facebook and Twitter.

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