Thursday, April 23, 2009

Today's Guest Author is Barbara Bretton

Today our guest author is Barbara Bretton. Her most recent novel is Casting Spells, about a quaint little town that seems perfect to the outside eye-but really it is home to all kinds of paranormals. The main character is a sorceress with no magic who owns the knitting shop and acts as major of the town- Chloe.
Today Barbara discusses ideas.

Ask a writer where she gets her ideas and you always get the same answer.


And it's true. Ideas really are everywhere. They're in the produce aisle of Shoprite. They're in the local diner. Sometimes they're even on some gorgeous tropical beach, hiding at the bottom of a pitcher of lovely margaritas.

I'm a writer. Over the course of twenty-something years, I've published almost fifty books and that means I know a little something about ideas and where they come from.

Which is why I'm going to tell you exactly where I got the idea for CASTING SPELLS.

My dentist's waiting room while I was preparing to die.

Now I hate dentists. Okay, not the actual dentists themselves. Some of them are very lovely people. But, let's be honest here: the things they do to our poor unsuspecting mouths are probably against the laws of the Geneva Convention. Needles, drills, all manner of sharp instruments the Marquis de Sade would have loved.

So there I was, sitting alone in the waiting room, trying not to hear the cries of pain coming from the other room. (Yes. I'm exaggerating.) I had already flipped through back copies of the American Dental Association journal when my gaze landed on a fancy display of brochures for (hold on) dental implants.

Not exactly the kind of reading that puts you in a relaxed frame of mind but I'm one of those people who'll read the backs of cereal boxes so I grabbed for it. To my surprise it was kind of interesting. You could still eat steak without worrying that your teeth will land on the table. I could see the benefit. No wonder he had the stack of brochures placed next to a back issue of AARP's Modern Maturity.

Suddenly a question popped into my head, "But what happens to an aging vampire when his teeth start to go? Do they make uppers and lowers for the undead? Is there a dentist out there who would fit a vampire with implants?"

I pretty much giggled my way through my time in the dental chair, thinking of the possibilities.

And then I forgot all about it for almost four years until I was chatting on the phone with a knitter/writer friend of mine. We were talking about what makes one yarn shop better than the rest and I said, "I wish there was a magic knit shop where your yarn never tangled, your sleeves always came out the same length, and you always, always got gauge." (If you're a knitter, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.)

Well, the next day my imagination was on fire. It was Labor Day 2006. A cold rainy September Monday. I'm not sure how the two ideas came together but they did and in a few hours I suddenly had created the magical town of Sugar Maple, Vermont with its resident vampires, werewolves, witches, trolls, house sprites, shapeshifters, mountain giants, and Chloe Hobbs, the half-human half-sorceress owner of the knit shop of my dreams. Toss in a murder, a Fae enemy, and a hunky human cop who comes to town to solve the crime and you have CASTING SPELLS which, I'm happy to say, is still available. And I'm even happier to say that the sequel, LACED WITH MAGIC, will be on the stands August 4.

(And yes I do have some retired vampires in my book who zip around in Rascals and don't let dentures slow them down.)

I'm giving away five copies of CASTING SPELLS to five lucky readers. All you have to do is leave a comment and I'll choose five winners at random on Sunday. Winners' names will be posted here and on my blog at – I look forward to hearing from you.

Drop by my website or my knitting blog and say hello! There's always a contest going on.

Thanks for joining us today Barbara! I can't wait to read Laced with Magic. And Good Luck to all those who enter the contest for a copy of Casting Spells.

Remember everyone who enters please make sure you leave contact info so if you are chosen you can receive your free book. Thanks! ~RR


Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara

Your books sound fun. I would love to read them.

Heidi V said...

Thanks for the review book sounds like I book I would be interested in!

heidivargas [at] live dot com

Judy said...

Barbara, I am scared to walk into a dentist's office. I have always had problems with my teeth. Just lucky I guess:) I love how this book came about. It definitely sounds like a fantastic read. I have read many of your books and I do enjoy them.


SciFiGuy said...

I am very happy to ear there is a sequel. I really enjoyed the first book. Loved the whole small town feel and the quirky characters.

JerryR said...

Hey Barbara,

Love the covers of your books as well as your photo. You have good story ideas. I've yet to read any of your books so i can't wait to read them. Congrats on your releases, kiddo.

btw, I just got my 1st book contract. it has a male model & vamps.

Jerry Race - Sensual, seductive and hawt romance.

MDOBSON said...

I just started reading this book and I love it. Glad to here there are more.

Cherie' C Davidson said...

LOL! I love that fangtastic story of the dentist's office! But the catalyst about the magic yarn shop, that was perfect! I can really identify with wishing for magic shops...have you considered a magic Wal-Mart? ;-)

As always, loved reading your post and about your story ideas. Looking forward to reading both books; they sound enchanting!

Best of "luck" always!
~ Cherie'

Chris said...

Who can resist a story about a magical yarn shop - especially when there are black kitties on the cover?! :)

Becky said...

Hi Barbara! Your books sound real interesting to me. I also like the covers.

Barbara Bretton said...

It's great to see some old friends here. (Waving hi to Cherie!) And congrats to JerryR on his first book contract. Enjoy the ride! (And make sure your seatbelt is secured. You're gonna need it!) I appreciate all of your comments -- I love the covers too! They did a great job on them, didn't they? I was almost embarrassed to admit how I came up with the idea. Most people don't believe me when I say it all started in my dentist's waiting room. But the Muse is a moody wench and she shows up whenever and wherever she pleases. Who am I to question her??

Roxanne Rhoads said...

The muse is definitely fickle isn't she? I think mine is schizophrenic because she always has different ideas, keeping her on topic can be difficult.

It's pretty bad when the voices in your head hear voices in their heads, huh?

Anyway, thanks for joining us today and letting us peek into your mind a little and get a glimpse of your ideas.

Barbara Bretton said...

LOL, Roxanne! You're right. When the voices in your head start hearing voices you =know= you're a writer. It's the only socially acceptable explanation!

-.- said...

I love the cover for Casting Spells and Laced with Magic looks good as well. I've had Casting Spells on my TBR list for awhile now, so I'd love to win this.

I'm jealous that you committed to your idea Barbara. I always get these ideas, but nothing really comes from them. If you don't mind me asking a question, I was wondering what made you commit and take your idea to the next level?


~ Popin

Melissa said...

I don't read too many paranormals, but Casting Spells sounds really good!

Thanks for the giveaway!

Donna M. Clark said...

This book looks really neat. I would love to win it.
litefoot873 (@)

HockeyVampiress said...

Would love to get a new book. Your books sound great..... plus right now with the economy anything free is loved by me!!!

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

This sounds good. Count me in!

Jane said...

Hi Barbara,
I'm looking forward to reading "Casting Spells." It's amazing what ideas can pop up when you're in the dentist's office reading a magazine.

janie1215 AT

Barbara Bretton said...

Popinfresh, that's a great question. The honest answer is simply that taking ideas to the next level is what I do. When you write for a living as I've been doing for over twenty years, taking an idea to the next level becomes second nature. The problem is not every idea merits the jump to the next level. Many times a great idea sputters and dies somewhere around chapter three. What you have to do is close your eyes and take the leap and trust there will be a net there to catch you if it doesn't work out. And somehow there always is. I hope this helps.

If it doesn't, I'm open to more questions so please ask away.

kimmyl said...

Barbara, I loved reading your post. Can't wait to read your boooks and hope to win. A sequel. Yippeee!!!!!

Michele L. said...

Hi Barbara,

Waving over here! I enjoy your posts at Tote Bag n Blogs and followed you over here. Beautiful book covers! The one cover makes me hungry! I am really into paranormal books at the moment. I have bought so many! I would love to win your new books!

I have a question for you, when did you make the leap into the paranormal genre? Did you find it harder or easier to write a paranormal book?

Michele L. said...

Hi again!

Ok, now I am embarassed! I thought the cover of, CASTING SPELLS, showed fruit in the basket. I see it actually is balls of yarn. I guess I need to get glasses! Anyway, your covers are bootiful! My verfication appeared below as booticar, ha,ha! Also, here is my info if I happen to win,
deseng (at)

Barbara Bretton said...

Hi, Michele! Those balls of yarn actually do look good enough to eat.

This isn't my first foray into paranormal. I wrote an "invisible man" story for Harlequin American many years ago and one about a semi-magical healer for the same line. Then I did three time travels (SOMEWHERE IN TIME - 1992; TOMORROW & ALWAYS - 1993; DESTINY'S CHILD - 1995) for Harlequin/MIRA. I've been doing mostly women's fiction since then but when the idea for CASTING SPELLS popped into my head I was hooked and just had to write it.

SpinKitty said...

I'd love to have my own copy of Casting Spells! I'm also looking forward to the sequel, when it comes out.

rita said...

This is exactly the kind of book I love. I'm excited to find it!

Anonymous said...

I would love to be entered. Thanks.

carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

drey said...

Hi! I'd love to be entered to win your books, they look like fun reads! dreyshouse at gmail dot com

CrystalGB said...

Hi Barbara. Your books sound wonderful.


I would love to read this book.

tetewa said...

I'd like to be included!

Mariee said...

I love the way you came up with the idea. And agree with everyone else, the covers look great!

marieimy (at) gmail (dot) com

Luvdaylilies said...

I'd like to be entered to win! Thanks for the giveaway=)

Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

Debs Desk said...

I love the covers on all Barbara's books they are so inviting and you just have to pick them up. Please include me in your giveaway.

Unknown said...

Sounds great!


Kytaira said...

Barbara, You book sounds like a really fun read. I love hearing background info on how a story came about.

I've also really enjoyed your Grandmother's story. Is the next chapter ready to go?

lynda98662 at yahoo dot com

Sarita said...

What a wonderful interview! New books sound great. I look forward to reading them.

Barbara Bretton said...

Drum roll, please! The lucky winners are:

1. Melissa...Shh I'm Reading
2. Hockey Vampiress
3. carolsnotebook
4. luvdaylilies
5. Rita

Please drop me an email at with your mailing address and I'll ship off your book ASAP. Thanks so much for the wonderful comments. And thanks, Roxanne, for inviting me. I had a ball here at Fang-tastic Books.