Featured Interview With Barbara T. Cerny
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado, which at that time was a small town of 30,000 people. I left that little burg to see the world, garner three college degrees, and to serve in the US Army. After eight years on active duty and fourteen years in the reserves, I retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2007. While deployed to the Middle East in 2005, I finally figured out I had to get going on the real love of my life, writing. I wrote my first two novels during that time and haven’t stopped. I am presently working on novels number seven, eight, and nine. When not writing, I work as an information technology specialist and supervisor for the US Air Force. I live with my loving husband, our two active teenagers, two needy cats, and two turtles. The turtles patiently watch me write and listen to me intently as I discuss plot lines with them.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I have wanted to write since the second grade. I was always coming up with stories to tell my friends at lunch or on the bus rides to/from school. I wrote through high school – on the journalism team, in creative writing class, on the teen page for the city newspaper.
My first story, Of Angels and Orphans, rolled around in my head for nearly thirty years. Life eventually got in the way and writing was shoved to the side. “Someday, I will write…” You know how it goes.
Well, that someday came in the most unusual way. I am a retired lieutenant colonel in the US Army Reserves, a twenty-two year veteran in our military. And I, like hundreds of thousands before me, was called up by my country to serve in Southwest Asia (SWA) in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
I left behind two small children, aged eight and five, and a husband, who overnight became chief, cook, bottle washer, mom and dad. I bless him every day for the sacrifices he made to keep the home fires burning. He took the brunt of the deployment, not me. I love him with all my being: my heart, my mind, my body, my soul. My love for him is where my ability to write about the love between my two main characters is born.
In SWA, I worked six days a week, twelve to thirteen hour days for twelve straight months. My day off was sometimes a day off, sometimes only six-to-eight hours of work. I lived Groundhog Day for three hundred sixty-five days.
But I had time on my hands. No kids, no responsibilities outside the mission, no cleaning the bathrooms, no cooking or grocery shopping. I just had to make my bunk and take the bus to work. I lived in an open bay barracks with forty-eight of my favorite friends, walking three buildings to a shower/toilet trailer in 115º heat.
When I first arrived, I read voraciously, downing four-five novels in a week. In January 2006, I was able to take a four-day break to Qatar and lay around reading seven novels. I read two romance novels in those four days, a genre I rarely read as I like Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Clive Cussler, and their brand of book best.
So there I was, reading a romance novel and wondering why I was reading other people’s books when I had ‘Of Angels and Orphans’ still wandering around in my mind.
So I started to write. I wrote on my days off. I wrote on my evenings I wasn’t dancing – I taught ballroom and country dance lessons for the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines on my camp. I worked directly for a general and when he wasn’t in, my workload was very light so I wrote when my boss went on leave, I wrote when my boss went on business travel. From the first week in February to the first weekend in June, I wrote that book that I had dreamed up so long ago.
Since I had written it in my head, every activity planned to the nth degree, it flowed very quickly. I wrote the meeting between Nate and Audra first and the two whippings, the wedding day, then the wagon train, then the final sword fight between Audra and her brother as they had been detailed greatly in my mind over the years. The rest filled in fast without problem.
Bottom line, deployment gave me the time I had pushed aside for almost three decades so I guess I have to say, “Thank you, Uncle Sam!” for giving me the chance to actually put the life of Audra Markham and Nathaniel Abbot on paper.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My all time fav: Stephen King. Others: Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Clive Cussler (he is SO out there it is fun!) Go figure that I write romances. My romance fans think I should stick to historical romances and my fantasy fans think I should do only fantasies. Truly, I write what comes to my head.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
“Branan Lachlan is transformed by the devil, betrayed by God, and made to battle demons with naught but his Scottish wit…”
My first paranormal, The Tiefling, will be published in the spring of 2015 by Assent Publishing. It is set in Scotland, 1053, and first person male. I really had to get in touch with my masculine side for that.
“Because of Hestia’s unspeakable betrayal, Zeus unwittingly creates his own mortal enemy and sets the path to his own destruction.”
The sequel to Shield of the Palidine, called Magic Thief of Gavalos, will be published in a couple of months. It is in text blocking at the moment with Strategic Publishing. I have two more in my head for the The Palidine Series so there will be four altogether. This is my first and, currently, only series.
I am also developing three new novels: one romance is set in Sweden in the 1600s (researching the 30 Years’ War for background history), a second is a modern murder mystery called The Walled Cat (you will have to read it to understand that strange name!), and a biography of an amazing woman I know. That biography is by far the hardest book I have written and will probably be the only non-fiction I will ever write. It takes a special kind of writer to do biographies and I don’t think I “have” it.
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