Friday, March 20, 2015

Faculty Interview: Barbara (Samuel) O'Neal

By Jason Henry 

Are you excited? We certainly are! Why shouldn't we be? The 2015 Pikes Peak Writers Conference is just around the corner! It has been an absolute pleasure recruiting the incredible faculty that we have lined up for you this year and the workshops they will be teaching are proving to be just as amazing.

Pikes Peak Writers Conference is known as one of the best and friendliest conferences for many reasons. One of those reasons is that we provide as many opportunities as possible to not only learn from our faculty, but to get to know them. Keeping in the spirit of that very statement, we interviewed all of our faculty members to get inside their heads just a little. Really, we don't see the point in waiting until April. Do you?

Over the weeks to come, we will be posting those interviews along with the responses right here on the PPW Blog. Be sure to check in on Facebook and Twitter as well! We hope you enjoy reading these brief Q&As as much as we have!

Barbara (Samuel) O'Neal – Writer - Colorado

1. What are the most compelling elements you feel are necessary for a good read? 
For me, there are two: I need a character who interests me and a story hook that keeps me turning pages to find out what is going to happen. A queen of dragons who makes a lot of mistakes and her quest. A man who has ruined his chances with the only woman he all ever love--and his last attempt to win her love. A girl who falls in love for the first time at the exact moment she should be concentrating on getting a submission in to art school

2. What do you see as the pleasures and difficulties of being a writer/artist in today's world? 
The pleasures are the same as they've always been--the constant possibility of learning something new, the chance to get a story on the page in a way that touches others, the delight of turning through the pages of your own story in your own mind. Writing is like reading, except that you get to spend ever so much more time and get to go so much deeper than you ever can as a reader.

The challenges are much more intense, and require a clarity of decision-making thoughtfulness that's honestly a bit rare among creative people. More than ever we need our critique partners and editors, our truth-telling friends and the discipline to really learn the craft. It's a lot more challenging to have to juggle social media along with writing, and because often writing a blog post or a Facebook post can feel like work, the real work doesn't get done.

Creatively, it's the best and freest time I've ever seen--which is exhilarating to me both as a writer and a reader. Who knows what gem I might discover as a reader? And who knows what I can do if there are no limits to my genre-mixing or storytelling madness?

3. What is the best career/writing advice someone has given you? 
"Remember, you are always writing your backlist." Which is a reminder to always, always, always do my very best work.

4. Would you pass that same advice on or alter it? 
I'd pass it on. No alteration necessary.

5. What do you love most about your career? 
I love the writing itself. Making up stories and characters, diving into worlds I don't know and exploring them. It's just so much fun.

6. What is something you wish everyone knew (or didn't know) about you? 
Although I've learned to cope with it and have become comfortable teaching and meeting new people, I'm actually very shy.

7. Which fictional character do you relate to the most, and why? What character would your friends/family pick for you? 
I love and relate to Daenerys Targaryen as much as any character I've loved, ever. My phone calls me Khaleesi. ;) Family and friends, Joan Wilder from Romancing the Stone.

Quick Qs:

Pen or Keyboard? Both.

Plotter or Pantser? Both

Book or E-Book? Both

Spicy or Mild? Both

Sunrise or Sunset? Sunrise

Mister Rogers or Sesame Street? Sesame Street

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook


Barbara (Samuel) O’Neal sold her first novel in her twenties, and has since won a plethora of awards, including two Colorado Book Awards and seven prestigous RITAs, including one for THE LOST RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS in 2010 and HOW TO BAKE A PERFECT LIFE in 2012. Her novels have been published widely around the world and she travels internationally, presenting workshops, hiking hundreds of miles, and of course, eating. She lives with her partner, a British endurance athlete, and their collection of cats and dogs, in Colorado Springs. Her most current works are The All You Can Dream Buffet; Going the Distance, a series of New Adult novels written as Lark O’Neal, and Writing Romantic Fiction as Barbara Samuel.

1 comment:

  1. "a character who interests me and a story hook that keeps me turning pages to find out what is going to happen." That's what I look for in a good read, too. (And try to do in my own writing.) I enjoyed Barbara's take on the challenges that face writers today, and her advice to always remember you are reading your backlist.

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