Interview with Barbara Venkataraman
One of my favorite authors, Barbara Venkataraman, came back for another visit and we propped up our feet and started chatting right away.
So happy to have a sister word nerd visit! So tell me, who is your favorite playwright or writer?
Love my sister nerds! Do I have to pick just one? It’s impossible…okay, I admire Stephen King for his wicked imagination and prolific outpouring of work; I admire Ann Patchett for writing “Bel Canto,” one of my favorite books; and I admire Shakespeare for just about everything, his plays, his sonnets, “Hamlet”—he makes me laugh and cry and work harder at my own writing.
In your Jamie Quinn series, which element is stronger, character or plot?
I would have to say character. For example, in the first book, “Death by Didgeridoo,” if Jamie weren’t wracked with guilt about her cousin Adam, she wouldn’t have stepped out of her comfort zone to help him and it would have been a very short book. Since it’s a novella, it’s pretty short to begin with.
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How does your impressive law background help out with Jamie’s adventures?
I don’t know how impressive my law background is (I’m not even close to being F. Lee Bailey, lol), but it has been invaluable for the Jamie Quinn series. Not only can I draw upon actual scenarios I’ve encountered in the divorce biz, I can also use the locales of the various courthouses and the personalities of court personnel I’ve worked with over the years. Write what you know…
Does Mrs. Grammar Person ever get in the way of a good writing spell? (see our Mrs. GP slides from the writing tab)
Ah, Mrs. Grammar Person! She is always with me and while I love her (who doesn’t love Mrs. G.P.?), she can make me spend an hour fretting over one word or sentence. It’s important to do it right, she says, and I believe her.
How do you take a break from writing? Do you get up and stretch a bit, jog, clean the cupboards?
I think I’m always on break and then I take a break from taking a break to do some writing. I can’t sit still for too long, I have the attention span of a flea. Believe it or not, I’ve also been known to do some writing while standing in line at a restaurant waiting for a take-out order. Weird, right? Since I do a lot of my ‘real’ work from home, it’s not unusual for me to have two or three work documents up on my computer and also my latest chapter. Then I toggle back and forth. I also like to go for a swim when the pool is warm enough. And then there’s always laundry to do…
Are you as hooked on the Outlander series as I am?
Not yet, but now I will check it out! I have heard so much about it.
She would be a good friend to have and she’s a lot of fun, but somehow she’s always getting into trouble and she will pull you in with her…
Have you ever jotted down notes during your lawyering days and thought, “Gee, that’s my next character.”
Good question! I have jotted down lots of notes—about situations and people, but could never get them to gel into a story until Jamie Quinn came along.
How has Jamie changed from the first book to this latest release?
Jamie started out depressed because she’d lost her mom; she was nervous about leaving the house and rejoining the world. Now she says, “bring it on!” Although she’s still insecure, she’s willing to give it her best shot.
Any final comments or thoughts for us fans?
Love you guys! Thanks for all of the support, suggestions, comments and, above all, your loyalty. Some of you take my characters as seriously as I do and that is awesome!
Barbara gathered up her books and headed out the door. After a merry wave, I noticed she left the cookies on the table. Well, I can’t enjoy this perfectly good cup of tea all by itself…