Congrats to Cheryl H! She won an e-book of her choice from Barbara Winkes.
Hello and happy Tuesday! Today we’re joined by my friend Barbara Winkes. I gotta tell you, folks, she is one of the hardest working authors in the business. You should check her out.
And, because she really is awesome, she’s giving away an e-book today. Winner’s choice, even. Check out her list of available books HERE.
What Didn’t Change by Barbara Winkes
When I received the email from the small press I had submitted my debut novel to, my first thought was “This has to be a scam. Where’s the part where they are asking for money?” There was no such part. Autumn Leaves had been accepted for publication, something that remained unreal until the day I first saw it on Amazon, and not much later, held the first copy in my hand.
The dream had been around for a long time, and it didn’t change much—meanwhile, the publishing industry has changed drastically and continues to do so. Smaller publishing houses and Amazon opened up possibilities to authors that didn’t exist before, and the dream became reality for many more of us.
I am still with the same publisher that has since changed owners, and I have published via Amazon for a little over two years now. I still believe that unless agents and the Big 5 are calling, this is a good combination, allowing a variety of possibilities for the readers and giving me access to different methods of promotion.
I guess the biggest difference between dream and reality is that while on one side, you don’t really know what’s going to happen once you’re on the other. In addition to the writing, you try to stay afloat in an ocean of books. It’s a learning curve. On some days, it can feel more like a curse, but that’s only until you remind yourself of the initial dream. It’s a privilege and the best job in the world if you can have it, no matter how frustrating some parts can get. And sometimes you have to make choices. The book you loved to write most is not necessarily the one that sells best. Another might surprise you and lead to opportunities you never imagined.
And it’s exhilarating that all the changes in the past decades opened up the publishing world to more diverse voices. I still often hear from other authors that agents and publishers are cautious about LGBT characters—or women characters over forty. We don’t have to sit around and wait until they change their minds.
One of my dreams had always been to have a mystery series. I’ve had various characters that could have gone that way, and decided that Jordan and Ellie of the Carpenter/Harding thrillers are the ones.
Along with them, I’ll have a few other surprises coming this year, like a paranormal utopia, more romance and a political novel—I once read that you should only tackle politics in fiction if you can stand the heat. I’m more ready these days. I have always written about women who find their own ways to navigate the patriarchal framework of their worlds, from Rebecca who eventually manages to stand up against the bigotry of some people in her hometown, to Marsha, or Jordan and Ellie who step into the path of a serial killer.
In some of the upcoming books, I’ve tried to go beyond the individual, trying to answer different questions, like how much change is really possible within our lifetimes, and how drastic does it have to be?
From Autum Leaves to Secrets, Indiscretions, and the upcoming The Exodus Strategy and Rise, I’ve made myself at home, in my writing, the universe that these characters inhabit. Having readers to follow me there makes me incredibly fortunate.
The reality of it all might look slightly different from what I envisioned, but through all the changes, this is still my dream. Thank you for enabling me to live it.
By the way, if you’re visiting the GCLS convention this year, make sure to stop by the Lesbian Authors Guild table and pick up some swag. Have a great time!
A psychologist/trauma counselor by training, Barbara Winkes left her native Germany to live with her wife in Québec City. Telling stories has always been her passion. She loves to write suspense and romance with female protagonists who try to solve the puzzle of their love life, a murder case, or sometimes, both.