Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Saving Grace Blog Tour and Giveaway!



What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?  Ayn Rand for Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead; John Steinbeck for The Grapes of Wrath; Leon Uris for Trinity; Michael Connelly’s entire Mickey Haller/Lincoln Lawyer series; Steve Cavanagh for the Eddie Flynn series; Tim Hallinan for the Junior Bender series;  Marshall Karp for both the Lomax & Biggs series and the NYPD Red series; Larry McMurtry for Lonesome Dove; Brad Parks for the Carter Ross series, Stieg Larsson for the Millennium Series, Jo Nesbo for the Harry Hole series, and I’m leaving out a ton of others that I adore. 


What book do you think everyone should read? The Bible, not because I’m religious but because the themes are everywhere in literature; the same goes for Greek/Roman mythology and Shakespeare. 


How long have you been writing? Since I was around ten, though back then, it was mostly depressing or satiric poetry. 


Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write? I usually have a vague idea of my main characters before I put pen to paper (or fingertip to keyboard) and I flesh them out as I write. Secondary characters seem to materialize out of nowhere. 


What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book? It varies. For Slashing Mona Lisa, I did a lot of reading about body positivity and fat shaming. For Saving Grace, I did read a bit about poisons. For Expired Listings, I tagged along with some kinky friends to learn more about the BDSM subculture. And for my newest book, I read up on elder abuse. Of course, I have Google constantly open as I write, I fact check as I go along. 


Do you see writing as a career? I used to make a living as a travel trade writer. If I could make a living as a fiction writer, I’d be the happiest person on earth. 


What do you think about the current publishing market? Very hard to break in, many of the agents and publishers look for derivative work instead of taking a risk on something totally original. Unfortunately, it’s those original pieces that break the mold and become groundbreaking works, but they too often are overlooked. And too many self-publishers don’t realize that they must treat their books the way a major publisher would, by investing in top editing, cover art and formatting. 


Do you read yourself and if so, what is your favorite genre? I enjoy reading psychological thrillers, romance (especially if it’s amusing, like The Hating Game) and literary fiction on occasion. 


Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why? Silence, it’s the only way I can truly concentrate. 


Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time? I don’t know how people can write more than one book at a time; I would get my plots confused. If someone can do that well, they earn my undying respect. 


If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose? I wish I’d written Harriet the Spy or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because they were my favorite books growing and influenced me greatly. Capture a reader when they’re young and they’ll love to read forever. 


Pen or typewriter or computer? Computer. 


Tell us about a favorite character from a book. Lizbeth Salander. What a badass! Same with Katness Everdeen from the Hunger Game series. 


What made you want to become an author, and do you feel it was the right decision? My grandmother always made me feel so proud of everything I wrote. I still feel that way. 


Advice they would give new authors? Vomit out the first draft, don’t self-edit, and then make it shine in revision. Have your computer read it back to you while you edit; you’ll find a ton of errors you’d miss otherwise. 


Describe your writing style. Snarky and punny at times. I always try to highlight an issue and champion the underdog. 


What makes a good story? Conflict, conflict, conflict. Keeping dialogue realistic and unstilted, leaving out any details that don’t move the plot ahead. 


What are you currently reading? I am beta-reading some manuscripts for other authors, and also Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby. 


What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?  I have a basic idea of where the story will start and how it will end, and the adventure is filling in the words between the two. I always write in chronological order. When I’m about halfway through, I write one-sentence descriptions of the remaining chapters in terms of what will be accomplished. 


What are common traps for aspiring writers? Not really understanding what the story is about. If you can’t summarize the plot in 280 characters (a tweet), you should probably rethink the plot. 


Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want? I am always original, which is a problem when agents and editors ask for three books like yours and I have to start scrambling for titles. I try not to be derivative. 


If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Start writing fiction much earlier and read the classics. Major in English and literature in college. And lay off the chocolate. 


How long on average does it take you to write a book? Anywhere from one month to ten years. I’ve done both. Currently, I write about 1,000 a day, finish the book in three months and then spend the next one- or two-months editing. 



Saving Grace
by D.M. Barr
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Grace Pierrepoint Rendell, the only child of an ailing billionaire, has been treated for paranoia since childhood. When she secretly quits her meds, she begins to suspect that once her father passes, her husband will murder her for her inheritance. Realizing that no one will believe the ravings of a supposed psychotic, she devises a creative way to save herself – she will write herself out of danger, authoring a novel with the heroine in exactly the same circumstances, thus subtly exposing her husband's scheme to the world. She hires acclaimed author Lynn Andrews to help edit her literary insurance policy, but when Lynn is murdered, Grace is discovered standing over the bloody remains. The clock is ticking: can she write and publish her manuscript before she is strapped into a straitjacket, accused of homicide, or lowered six feet under?
With a cast of secondary characters whose challenges mirror Grace's own, Saving Grace is, at it's core, an allegory for the struggle of the marginalized to be heard and live life on their own terms.

By day, a mild-mannered salesperson, wife, mother, rescuer of senior shelter dogs, competitive trivia player and author groupie, happily living just north of New York City. By night, an author of sex, suspense and satire.
My background includes stints in travel marketing, travel journalism, meeting planning, public relations and real estate. I was, for a long and happy time, an award-winning magazine writer and editor. Then kids happened. And I needed to actually make money. Now they're off doing whatever it is they do (of which I have no idea since they won't friend me on Facebook) and I can spend my spare time weaving tales of debauchery and whatever else tickles my fancy.
The main thing to remember about my work is that I am NOT one of my characters. For example, as a real estate broker, I've never played Bondage Bingo in one of my empty listings or offed anyone at my local diet clinic.
But that's not to say I haven't wanted to...

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