Barbara discusses her road to publication.
I had always been writing, and it had been my dream for a long time to hold my own book in my hands—when it finally happened, the story leading up to it could have been from a romance novel itself. I fell in love and less than two years later, I moved across the ocean and got married.
You can imagine that this process involves lots of paperwork which, of course, is less romantic. I couldn’t get a work visa before I became a permanent resident (I’m currently still counting the days until I can apply for citizenship), so I used the time to get serious: Finish and polish books, and submit them.
In the summer of 2012, I got signed with small press Eternal Press. Lots of first times, thrilling and terrifying at the same time, followed. My first book, Autumn Leaves, came out that November. It’s the first in a series about a married woman who falls in love with her (female) neighbor. Not everyone in the small town of Autumn Leaves reacts kindly, and there are unexpected obstacles they have to face before they can be together.
The dream came true, and Eternal Press accepted several more of my books. I mostly write romance and suspense—because I’ve always loved reading thrillers with female main characters, and I believe there’s still not enough happy endings out there, at least when it comes to lesbian fiction. If we believe in ‘It Gets Better,’ we need to create a vision of ‘Better,’ and fiction/entertainment does play a part in that.
In the following years, I met many other authors, mostly online, who often were firmly on either side of the fence, going with a publisher, or going the self-publishing route.
After having several stories in the queue with Eternal Press (now an imprint of Caliburn Press), I decided learning about an alternative route could only be helpful. I started out with the short stories about Jayce and Emma, two women who meet in a halfway house. Next were the Carpenter/Harding thriller series (both are still ongoing).
Looking back on these decisions, there isn’t much I would change. Being accepted by a publisher was amazing, and it gave me the confidence to take it a step further and become a hybrid author, and learn all the benefits and challenges of both ways.
2016 is going to be a big publishing year, with Caliburn Press aiming at clearing the backlog, and other books that will be published on Amazon only.
What got me there? Watching other authors closely. Aiming at 2000 words five days a week and actually writing them. Taking advice and sometimes discarding it. There are very few things that work for everyone, but this is true: The more you write, the more you put out there, the easier it becomes for readers to discover your work. And when they do, you want it to be the best it can be at that point.
My latest release is Amber Alert, a mystery that features a straight female main character who has no idea about the homophobia her sister faces until she finds her family at the center of a kidnapping case. It was released this month from Caliburn Press.
Bio: A psychologist/trauma counselor by training, Barbara Winkes left her native Germany to live with her wife in Québec City. Telling stories has always been her passion. She loves to write suspense and romance with female protagonists who try to solve the puzzle of their love life, a murder case, or sometimes, both.