Welcome, Barbara! Tell us a little about yourself!
I love dogs, specifically beagles, I love to travel (I haven’t been doing much of that since 2019), and I love to collect antiques.
I didn’t start writing my first book until I retired; before then, I wrote the occasional op/ed piece, and I also did a fair amount of business writing.I write Women’s Fiction/Book Club fiction, generally targeting women in the forty to the sixty-five-year range. However, Nowhere Near Goodbye also attracts younger readers and some male readers.
I’m the USA Today Bestselling author of Nowhere Near Goodbye, released in August of last year—in the middle of the global pandemic. Not necessarily the way I planned to release my debut, but you take what you’re given and work with it.
What inspired you to write Nowhere Near Goodbye?
I wrote my debut, Nowhere Near Goodbye, because a friend lost a loved one to glioblastoma, a brain tumor that generally prefers middle-aged men, but in this case, settled into the brain of a child.
I wrote this book because I was angry; I’m still angry because there is still no cure for this disease. But before I scare you away, although the brain tumor plays a part in Nowhere Near Goodbye, the story is about a female pediatric oncologist who sacrificed everything she loved to create a (fictional) cure. It’s the story of failure, family, and second chances.
What an inspiring premise! What is your writing routine?
I’m a morning writer. I start somewhere between 7:00 am and 7:30, after meditation and exercise, and work until noon. After that, my brain is pretty much fried for writing, so I catch up on correspondence, social media obligations, and reading books that I need to blurb or review.
What are your top 3 favorite books?
Picking only three is difficult! Peace Like A River by Leif Enger, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni, and The Hearts Invisible Furies by John Boyne.
What writers inspire you?
Many writers inspire me! Along with Leif Enger, Robert Dugoni, and John Boyne, I would add Jodi Picoult, Chris Bohjalian, Kristin Hannah, Anne Lamott, Kristan Higgins, and so many more.
What are you currently reading?
The Guest Book by Sarah Blake and Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins.
Do you use any life experiences to inspire your writing?
Maybe not actual experiences, but I can project how I reacted (or might react) about a situation onto my characters.
I love the limitless possibilities of watching strangers and imagining their lives, their problems, their greatest love. And maybe I borrow from others’ experiences, but never the hurtful, gut-wrenching ones, only the happy ones.
How did you get into writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, I’ve always wanted to write. I thought I would write magazine articles, maybe some short stories. The thought of writing a novel was beyond anything I could comprehend.
Dialogue alone set me into a tizzy. Writing enough to keep a reader interested for hours (and hours) was unimaginable.
And yet, that dream was always there, and finally, after raising two children,and being gifted with four grandchildren, and having two different careers, I sat down at my desk and tried. And I kept trying until I succeeded.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My best advice is this: never give up, leave your ego at the door, ask for help, read voraciously, take craft classes, join an organization that will support your goals, provide help, and most importantly, picks you up when you think you cannot bear another rejection. Because the rejections do come, and if you let them win—if you stop writing because of those rejections—then the rejection wins, and you lose. And you do not want rejections to win.
My suggestion for a wonderfully uplifting organization is the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). And don’t let their title throw you; members are both male and female, and they don’t necessarily all write Women’s Fiction. You can find them here. Without this group, I doubt I would have published my first novel.
What’s your experience marketing your book? Do you have any tips for other writers?
I read somewhere (before my first book was published) that the book business is a business, and it was the writer’s responsibility to keep that in mind. And this is so true. Whether you are with a big press, a small press, or are self-published, you, the author, need to play a role in making the decisions on what is best for your book and in presenting a brand (a persona) whatever you want to call it, to help readers get to know who you are and what you stand for. And why they want to buy your book.
What’s next for you? Do you have any other books in the works right now?
My second novel, My Secret To Keep, is a prequel to Nowhere Near Goodbye and will release in early 2023. It’s the story of Miss Maggie, a secondary character in Nowhere Near Goodbye who I fell in love with, and I decided I needed to know more about her story.
My third book, as yet untitled, is completely different from the first two: it’s a two-person point of view where one of the main characters is male. I’m having so much fun writing him!
What’s a fact about you that might surprise your readers?
I’m not the most organized person, although I’m working on it. And I have at least one (most likely ungrounded) fear: quicksand. Although I recently read that if you don’t panic, once you’ve managed to get yourself into quicksand, you have a longer chance of survival than if you go thrashing about, so if I ever encounter quicksand, I hope I remember not to panic.
Barbara Conrey is the USA Today Bestselling author of NOWHERE NEAR GOODBYE, published on August 4th, 2020, by Red Adept Publishing.
NOWHERE NEAR GOODBYE is Barbara Conrey’s debut novel.
Previously, Barbara worked in the health care industry before opting for an early retirement, which lasted all of three months. She then accepted a finance position, for which she had absolutely no background, and four years later, she decided to write a book. But not about finance.
Travel is her passion, along with reading, writing, hiking, and exploring antique shops. Her greatest love is Miss Molly, her rescue beagle. There are stories to be told about beagles, and Barbara hopes to incorporate some of them into her books.
Barbara lives in Pennsylvania, close to family and friends.
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