Kathleen, congratulations for the publication of River of Life in the new Guideposts mystery series, “Secrets of Wayfarers Inn.” I loved this warm and funny book! One particular phrase you used made me laugh out loud—creepy peeper! And then there are quilts. I am a quilter, so anything with quilts has my attention.
This Guideposts mystery series is about three friends who buy an old inn that used to be part of the Underground Railway. Did you do any special research about the Underground Railway in preparation for writing this book? If so, can you tell us about it?
Yes, I knew a little about the Underground Railroad, but I had no idea how extensive the system was and specifically how it worked in practice. I read everything I could get my hands on in regard to the topic in general and to the activities that happened specifically in the Marietta, Ohio area. My favorite research book of all is called Images of America: Washington County Underground Railroad by Henry Robert Burke and Charles Hart Fogle.
Was the quilt in the book based on historical fact? Were there really quilts like this one?
The quilt in the book was a complete figment of my imagination. I come from a very long line of quilters, both on my mother’s and my father’s side, and I have done some quilting of my own. So, while I am familiar with the process of quilting, I had to study up on the history of it. I was surprised to learn that one myth in regard to quilts and the Underground Railroad, namely that the UR used types of quilts or the positioning of quilts on a clothesline or fence as a signal, is false. I had no idea.
This mystery series is a collaborative process, from beginning to end, which isn’t the traditional model for writing a book. What was your favorite part(s) about the collaboration?
Yes it is definitely a collaborative process. This book is the second in the series, so all I had to do in River of Life was to make sure my story facts did not conflict with anything that was written in book 1, which wasn’t terribly difficult. However, I just finished book 10, and that was a whole lot more complicated. My favorite part of this is the creativity of the other participants and how we are all working together to make this series awesome. For example, in book 10, I pick up a plot thread from book 4 and run with it. I would never have written that part of the story without the creative input of the other authors. Also, I have to give a shout out to the Guideposts team. Several of the GP folks are active participants in our discussions and do a great job of not only keeping us up on the latest plot points but also cheering us on and coming up with some pretty great ideas themselves.
How does the collaborative process impact your own writing?
Iron sharpens iron. I write better because they are all so amazing. Not only do their insights help my story, but as I just mentioned, their creativity sparks my own.
What is your favorite thing about writing for the series?
I love my team! They are the absolute best. We are all having a great time writing these stories, and I believe it shows in the books.
Have you written any other books in other Guideposts series?
No, this is my first series, but I hope to do more in the future. Working with this team of editors and publishing pros is way too much fun not to want to do it again.
What is your favorite thing about the location(s)? Have you visited this location? Studied more about it? Please tell me a little bit about it.
Unfortunately, while I have been to Ohio several times, I have never visited Marietta. However, I feel like I know the city inside out after all the research, writing, and conversations with locals. What I can tell you is it’s a beautiful riverside city with such an amazing and deep history. Seeing all of this myself is on my bucket list.
What are your favorite things about the main character(s)?
Oh, I love the Inn Crowd, as they call themselves. These ladies are brave, spunky, and devoted to one another and the Lord. They all make major changes relatively late in life in order to go for a dream that at least one of them never expected would come true. They’re fun, they’re loyal, and they are true to their motto: Never be boring!
Do you write other books? What are they?
Yes, I do. I write clean contemporary and historical romance and romantic mysteries for the inspirational market. I have two new historical releases, The Pirate Bride (set in 1700s New Orleans and the Caribbean) and My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas (set in 1880s Galveston and New Orleans) and am working on several more books that will come out in 2019.
Do you have a website and/or Facebook page where people can find you?
My website is . Facebook is .
Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and author of more than ninety books with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and several Top Picks by Romantic Times magazine. She is a member of ACFW, Novelists Inc., and the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division.
Kathleen celebrated her fifteenth year as a published author by receiving the Romantic Times Inspirational Romance Book of the Year Award for her historical romantic suspense Sadie’s Secret, a Secret Lives of Will Tucker novel. Her novels celebrate life, love and the Lord—and whenever she can manage it, her home state of Texas. Recent releases include The Pirate Bride and My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas.
To find out more about Kathleen or connect with her through social media, check out her website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.