One of your passions
is educating people about dyslexia. Tell us about that.
simple. Dyslexia affects my family. Texas Scottish Rite gave us a video, which
had been produced by dyslexic children, in which kids talked about feeling stupid
because they had a hard time learning to read. Some dyslexics never read. To
compensate, they memorize the shapes of words. Imagine that.
kids talked about the pain they felt at being treated differently by teachers
and teased by peers. My junior high son, who is dyslexic, is extraordinarily
bright. But, if you graded his intelligence based on his ability to spell, the
picture would look different. He couldn't really read until fifth grade. He has
an amazing support system through home, school, and friends. As a result, he's
doing incredibly well. He's fortunate. Many kids don't have that kind of
support. When I heard how many otherwise bright children were suffering poor
self esteem and flunking out of school because of this condition, I knew I had
to do something. Especially when I learned the kids who succeed, despite this
condition, had one person believe in them. Think about that.
people understand the condition, we can help so many kids reach their potential.
Knowledge is a powerful thing.
can't be that person for everyone, but if I can help turn on the light bulb for
a few dozen or a few hundred people, then imagine how many children's lives
Do you have a writing
routine? What does it look like? Where do you usually write?
write every day, seven days a week. I work as much as I can while my children
are in school. After night time routine and showers, I've been known to squeeze
in another hour or two. On weekends, I work throughout the day when I'm not
attending horseback riding lessons, basketball games, or grocery shopping.
always chuckle when people ask where I usually write. I write everywhere. In my office. On my laptop.
At my local Starbucks (I know, it's cliché, but whatchagonnado?). While waiting
for carpool to start. On bleachers during my kids' sporting events (Of course, I
always stop to watch when they're up).
practice my pitches everywhere too (including to my dog who I swear rolls his
eyes and walks away when he's heard a pitch for the 30th time). I have to give
a shout out to the very gracious mothers who've let me practice my pitch during
our daughters' gymnastics classes too. As you can see, no one's safe around me.
you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time and
living a normal life?
Normal life? Balance? (insert string of
Let's see, I have children ranging from
college to elementary. We help care for my mother-in-law (who suffers from
Alzheimer's). Oh, and we're a dual
career family. Guess you could say we're the meat in the sandwich generation.
I used to feel a lot of stress about being
everywhere I needed to be and being everything to everyone. I had to give that
up or I was going to go insane. Now, I've accepted the fact that these are the
Since my children are spread out in age,
I know how much I miss the oldest who's in college, so I really take time to
enjoy my junior high son and first grade daughter. I love being involved in
their activities and volunteer as much as I reasonably can in their school.
Despite my sometimes crazy, hectic
schedule, I always make time for the important stuff. I read with my kids. I
play video games (great stress reliever!). I'm involved in their lives. We
sneak away on as many fun vacations together as we can. We get outside. I play
with them at the playground (it's a great way to exercise).
I get everything done because I've
paired my life down to the basics. Family first. Work second. Then everything
I got rid of tasks that didn't support
my goal to be a good wife and mother, or advance my career. I don't do
housework anymore. I hire out.
I think it's important to talk to your
spouse about your career goals. Mine knows exactly what I'm trying to
accomplish. He's the biggest supporter of my dream and he's great about
pitching in to make sure I have time to get everything done.
I have wonderful, understanding friends
who know what I'm trying to accomplish, support me, and understand I may not
check in every week. It could be as much as a month or more before we talk, but
you can be sure I'll be there in a heartbeat if they need me. It's reciprocal.
I say no (this is oh-so-tough because I really love to roll up my sleeves
and volunteer). I'm getting better with practice.
This is a biggie: I don't bring my cell
phone into my office. Interruptions are time killers.
I'm crazy about prioritizing. It really
is the best way to cover what you need to in a day instead of letting the day
get away from you. I make lists. I write down my daily work goals and check
each one off as I accomplish it. I have a whiteboard downstairs in the main
traffic area where I list kid activities for the week and a wall of white
boards in my office where I post everything from daily goals to accomplishments
I like to work hard, have fun, and I
don't take things too seriously. My description on Twitter is this: I write. I
cook. Run carpool. And repeat.
What is the best
advice you have received about this journey?
learned so much from other successful writers who are gracious enough to share
what they've learned. Candy Havens and Tracy Wolff are two of my all-time
favorites. They've given so much great advice, I couldn't possibly list
everything here. I'll settle for sharing a career-changing moment.
a fast writer because I'm used to working on deadline (I was a journalist in a
past life). Early in my career, everyone kept saying, "Slow down. It can
take a year or two to write a story." I kept thinking I would die if I had
to work that slowly. Then I heard Candy Havens speak at a DARA meeting. She was
the first person who said, "Hurry up! And I'll show you how."
gave me revision tools that worked perfectly with my work style. I used her
Revision Hell method on my WIP, submitted my entry to a publisher's contest,
and wa-la was contacted by an editor (which began a two-year relationship where
she taught me how to write romance).
listen to Candy Havens speak every chance I get.
What advice do you
wish someone would have given you when you were starting out?
a marathon, not a sprint. Learn craft the way you would train—try to learn
something new every day. Be dedicated.
your work from the perspective that you've already "made" it. Work
like you're the success you know you're going to be.
Tell us a bit about your work in progress.
This idea came to me a few years ago.
The premise is simple: How well do we really know the person we live with?
We like to think we know each other
intimately, don't we?
But what if we didn't?
In my story, a woman's husband was
killed outside of Central Park in what authorities have told her was an extreme
mugging. After two years of mourning, she decides to rejoin the living and
reclaim her life. She’ll sell the country house and move into their small place
in the city.
when Taylor cleans out her husband’s NY apartment–a place he kept to be close
to his job in the Financial District–she finds a strange bank account. Investigating
the rogue account kicks off a chain of events that put both she and her
college-aged nephew in danger, and makes her question whether her husband’s
death was an accident. But that’s not all, she unearths information that makes
her unsure if any part of the life she shared with her husband was real.
to the core, she leans on her friend, Emma, and becomes friends with Alex’s
neighbor, Ian. But Ian doesn’t have the same warm feelings for Emma. In fact,
he seems downright suspicious of her. But Taylor thinks he’s pinned the wrong
person. It’s Emma’s politically-aspiring husband, Richard, whom Taylor doesn’t
to find the truth, Taylor’s life hangs in the balance as she searches for
How can we find out more about you? Blogs?
I Tweet at @BarbHanAuthor
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Barb! Your story sounds very intriguing!
So, what else do you want to know about Barb?