Saturday, November 26, 2016
Sit-down Saturday: Meet Crystal Barnes
I'm pleased to be chatting with my STT colleage, Crystal Barnes, native Texan, avid reader, and gifted writer about her latest release Husband Hunting. Join me and get to know this delightful author!
Linda: How did you decide to start writing, and when did you know you wanted to pursue publication?
Crystal: God called me to write in Jan 2011 after an evening service when, by surprise, my pastor had everyone gather around and pray for me to find a job. God surely answered in unexpected ways. I’ve been learning the craft of writing ever since. I had a couple of short stories published in anthologies in late 2014 – early 2015, and I published my first full-length novel in Nov 2015. In fact, I have just recently gotten back the rights to that very first short story, Husband Hunting, and I’ve lengthened it to a novella and released it in a collection titled My Secret Love with four other talented authors.
LM: Your most recent book is “Husband Hunting,” a Crystal Falls novella. Where did you find your inspiration for the story?
Crystal: When I originally wrote the short story, it was for a contest. I’d just read a novel by Kathleen Y’Barbo and it had an old dime novel story in the back that had such a twist I wanted to write one with a similar fun twist. So I did. Lengthening the story to a novella was…trying at times, but with God’s help I got it done.
LM: How did your book become part of a collection with other authors?
Crystal: Janice Thompson invited me to be a part of this My Secret Love collection a short time after the publisher, who’d produced the anthology including my short story, closed its doors. Husband Hunting fell into the “secret love” theme so well I contacted the publisher and asked for my rights back to my story, which God be praised, they graciously did. I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to this collection with such wonderful authors as Janice Thompson, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Traci Tyne Hilton, and Janetta Messmer. Only God can open doors such as these.
LM: Do you have an unusual research story to share?
Crystal: Hmm…well, I was taught a lesson when lengthening this story I never expected to learn. Funny how God does that. Anyway, I ended up weaving that lesson into the pages of this book.
Crystal: I am definitely a pantster but I’ve been teaching myself, with the Lord’s assistance, to be a more focused pantster. J Normally that means I write the first few chapters of the story then make myself write out a synopsis of some sort so that I know my characters and the plot better, although I do still love the curve balls God throws my way. J
LM: What is your favorite scene in the story?
Crystal: Hmm…I have so many. I guess it’d Roxie’s last big kitchen fiasco. The scene was so vivid in my mind as I wrote it that I had myself laughing as I typed the pages. J
LM: What is your next project?
Crystal: To get back to the story I put on hold while I lengthened Husband Hunting—Hook, Line, and Suitor. Hook, Line, and Suitor is the third and last (unless the good Lord changes things) book of the Marriage and Mayhem series. After that, I’m thinking on writing a Mail-Order Mishaps collection of stories.
LM: I can't wait for your next Marriage and Mayhem book. I loved the first two. What are your passions outside of writing?
Crystal: Well, reading for sure. Singing also. Recently, I’ve discovered the joy of acting in community theater. I sang, danced, and acted in Janice Thompson’s musical comedy Johnny, Be Good in October and had such a blast.
LM: What else do you want folks to know about you?
Crystal: Hmm…I suppose I’d want to remind them that I’m still a work-in-progress. Like y’all, each new day brings new challenges, new joys, new decisions to be made, new lessons to be learned. God is still teaching me about life and stories, time management and balancing priorities. The publishing industry is ever changing, and the demands on our time are constant.
I’d hoped to have Hook, Line, and Suitor out before year’s end, but it’d take an act of God, which is most definitely possible, to get it done before then. So, I guess I’d like to ask that they’d be patient with its release, and trust, as I’m striving to do, that God will bring it to fruition in His way and His timing. To me, readers, family, and friends are precious and I value their time and trust in me to write what God has called me to write and tell the stories He wants told. To me writing is more than just stories; it’s a ministry. Parables have the power to minister to hearts in a way other talents cannot.