Being had… in the Big Red chair
I met Barbara Silkstone through the effervescent (and suddenly very quiet) Mark Williams. She bravely (some would say foolishly perhaps) agreed to interrogation in my Red Chair which is working overtime with some high-end ‘Indie’ authors right now.
Barbara writes ‘laugh-out-loud’ fiction. I love her! This world needs more of such a thing. Laughter is the best medicine and heavens knows after the last couple of weeks on this strange global village we call Earth, we really do need to laugh.
So let’s get right down to it:
Barbara Silkstone…1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born and raised in northern New Jersey. From the time I was a toddler, I knew I didn’t want to have an accent from that area. I was three years-old when the doctor said I had to have my tonsils out, I was thrilled. I figured with the tonsils went the accent. And it did.
I attended Catholic school where I was the bane of the nuns. Nothing like a practical joke to throw an entire class of subservient little Catholics into stitches while frying a nun’s nerves. I hold the record for ruler-smacks over the hands for the state of New Jersey. That’s why I moved to Florida.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
Let’s go back a bit further. I spent my fourth year in the hall closet trying to turn into a black panther. When that didn’t work I decided to become a professional majorette. I liked the idea of leading parades. Then some nasty little boy in kindergarten explained to me that the job market for majorettes was limited. He burst my bubble.
At 12: I wanted to be a writer, but I was also sure I wanted to be a nun. When our Mother Superior told me if I became a nun I couldn’t write without permission, I scraped the nun idea.
At 18: I was in the Peace Corps training to be a midwife. I took notes for when I became a writer. While in the Peace Corps, I kept receiving marriage proposals from the guy I left back home. I flipped a coin and it came up heads. Based on that solid groundwork, I decided to marry him. I left the Peace Corps and flew back to New Jersey. We stayed married for eleven years which is not bad for a twenty-five cent flip.
At 30, I was head of a major real estate development company, a single mom, and a fledgling writer. I began to attend writer’s conferences. I met and was befriended by some brilliant, well-known writers.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
My country – right or wrong.
4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?
* I read a book by Theodore Sturgeon – More Than Human. It so touched me and still has an effect that I can’t describe. I thought if only I could do that.
* I met Stephen King and attended writers’ conferences where he was instructing. He encouraged my writing and told me I had real talent. That was all I needed to hear.
* My eighth grade nun sitting on my newsletter, trying to stop me from publishing my illegal school newspaper. Freedom of the Press! I would not be silenced.
5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you- – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?
Oh no. I have a Kindle and I’m reading 10 x more books than I ever did. Wherever I go in the USA, I see folks of all ages reaching for their Kindles. It’s amazing. It’s a revolution. I’m proud and thrilled to be part of the first wave of eBook authors to span the globe.
6. Please tell us about your latest book…
Wendy & the Lost Boys – release date August 2011. A modern day spin on Peter Pan. I love bending fairy tales.
When a deathbed promise to one of her agents leaves Wendy Darlin, feisty Miami real estate broker for billionaires, trapped on a super-yacht with Ponzi-king, Charlie Hook, she’s forced to join the crook on a quest to recover his hidden treasure. Along for the danger-filled adventure are an undercover SEC Investigator, who kindles a spark in Wendy with his ‘Johnny Depp’ eyes and Hook’s attractive, young female helicopter pilot who befriends Wendy as they sail the high seas, one step ahead of modern day ruthless pirates. A laugh out loud who-dunnit…kidnapping, revenge, and a little murder on the side. The second book in the Fractured Fairy Tales by Silkstone series of criminally funny fables, this comedy mystery is set in Miami and the Caribbean.
“This is a modern morality tale that takes the reader on an action-filled ride with memorable characters and lots of laughs along the way. It’s Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone while still remaining faithful to the original Peter Pan and Wendy. ” ~ Consuelo Saah Baehr, author of Best Friends
7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
I would love my writing to be an injection. It would instill in people the ability to laugh at themselves and all of humanity. It would create a giant love-in / laugh-in.
8. Whom do you most admire and why? Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
Graydon Carter. I can hear folks saying… “Who?”
He’s the Editor of Vanity Fair magazine. He is brilliant. VF is THE most consistently awesome, aware, and articulate publication on the face of the earth. All you would ever need to read to stay aware of what is really going on in the world is to read that periodical. No hype. No yellow-journalism. All fact-based and on topics that are always surprising and never routine.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Like Stephen King said to me… Write. Write. Write. ♫ ♪ ♫
11.What are the last five websites you visited?
I was recently forced into accepting updates on my computer programs. It was like falling down a rabbit hole and being followed by MSN, Bing, Yahoo. It was a nightmare. The five “helpful” websites I visited to remove the “helpful” updates were worse. I would not even mention the names of those last five websites. I would just beg the existing BIG guys to stop updating… please.
12. What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?
Most of my fans know I’m addicted to fried chicken, particularly Kentucky Fried Chicken. I just eat the skin. I can knock back a bucket in an afternoon. Thank goodness I have skinny genes.
But my other guilty pleasure is…
Take a big bowl of extra-chunky blue cheese salad dressing, mix in pieces of salami, tomato, feta cheese, and potato chips. Then sit back and watch the television show, Weeds. Lovely!
I also enjoy pulling really good practical jokes.
13. If music be the food of love, what do you think writing is and please explain your answer?
The written word is the greatest gift one person can give another. We choose our words and string them together like pearls. We hope they achieve the desired effect on our readers… a smile, a giggle, maybe a sweet tear. Now through the magic of eBooks I’m able to share that gift with the world. I love it!
Thank you for having me.
I’ve been had.
Barbara’s link. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005FKHKTE/
Barbara, I’ve giggled and laughed out loud and you’ve succeeded in warming this Big Red Chair right through. As an aside, I must say I knew straight away who Graydon Carter was as I’ve been a fan of Vanity Fair for more than fifteen years… one of the few magazines with credible substance. Thanks so much for making the effort to climb into the Big Red Chair and the very best of luck with the release of Wendy and the Lost Boys.
Wow – what a fabulous photo of you and Stephen King! I’m envious…
Some folk get to meet the most enlivening people, don’t they? And look where such a meeting has taken her!
Fascinating interview with the witty and talented Barbara. Always interesting to pick up a bit of background. If Wendy and The Lost Boys is half as good as Alice, it’ll be brilliant.
I’m really looking forward to reading and laughing. It’s all to do with endorphins I believe…
Thank you for having me. I really let my hair down. Notice how it was blonde in my Stephen King days? That’s what divorce will do to you. Turns your hair bloody red.
Hope you enjoy Wendy and the Lost Boys
On to infinity… and beyoooond!
Love the interview. I read The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and three-quarters last year and it was one of my favorite reads of 2010. Right now I’m reading Wendy and the Lost Boys. It’s great. Barbara is funny and quirky and those qualities shine in her books.
Always good to hear what readers think, L.C. Evans!
What a fun interview! I love that picture of Barbara and Stephen King and am jealous as well!!! 🙂 Good luck with Wendy & the Lost Boys! I’m reading it right now and laughing out loud from the first page.
Love Barbara Silkstone. Loved Alice. Am loving Wendy now.
Barbara has obviously pigeonholed the perfect niche for her fiction. I think that laughter, happiness and the whole feelgood thing is often overlooked by the Big Six houses in favour of drama. I can’t wait till she writes her take on life from Peter Pan’s POV…
That might be interesting. I have enough material from all my 527 interviews with men. Hmmm..
Great interview. I’m now on chapter 15 of Wendy and the Lost Boys and am having SUCH a hard time putting it down. It’s thrills one minute, laughs the next. I just want to congratulate Barbara on this wonderful work! She’s definitely up there with the major guns in humorous/mystery fiction now.
Georgina, Thank you so much. I takes a certain “bent” sense of humor to get my bends.
How wonderful she got to meet Stephen King! He was my favourite author all through my twenties and I’ve re-read all his early books. The newer ones left something to be desired though, and I haven’t kept up with them.