Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Featured Author: Chloe Barlow

Hey Bookies, Leslie here! I'm so excited that I got the opportunity to get to know Chloe Barlow! {We like the same kind of music, so obviously we should be best friends ;) } I'm also thrilled to be able to share it with you so you guys can get to know this amazing author as well! Make sure you head to the Facebook page this afternoon for two giveaways! That's right I said TWO giveaways, so TWO winners!! An ebook and some signed swag! ~ Leslie

Chloe is a contemporary romance novelist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and their sweet puppy. Chloe has always loved writing and cherishes the opportunity to craft her fictional novels and share them with the world.

When Chloe isn’t writing, she spends her time exploring Pittsburgh with her husband and friends. She also enjoys yoga, jogging, and all Pittsburgh sports. She is an avid reader and wrote her debut novel Three Rivers in her spare time. She loves to research every last detail relating to her books. For example, in an effort to bring authenticity to Three River’s treatment of grief and loss, she consulted with a psychologist and grief counselor during its preparation

1. Where are you from?

I was born in San Francisco, but moved to DC when I was little, and grew up there until I went to Duke for college, where I was an English major and Chinese language minor. I studied Chinese for 9 years and lived there twice (once in high school and once in China). I met my husband my senior year of Duke (he was in his last year at Duke Law at the time). It was definitely love at first sight for us and we've been inseparable ever since. I moved to Pittsburgh with him after we graduated in 2001 and have been here ever since.

2. When you aren't writing what do you like to do with your time?

I love to do yoga, and go on walks or jogs with my husband and our puppy. I also love trying new restaurants or going to concerts with my husband, and hanging out with friends, of course.

3. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I've loved writing for as long as I can remember. My mother tells me I was writing short stories and poetry from as soon as I could hold a pen. Becoming a real novelist was always my dream. I loved the thrill and joy of taking a story or image in my head and sharing it with someone else. That story then – hopefully - becomes a part of them and perhaps enriches their day in some little way.

4. What inspired your book?

This answer is a long one – so brace yourselves, ha ha. For a while I wanted to write something about moving on with life after loss, because I had a lot of mysterious health issues starting when I was 12.  They escalated as I got older but no doctor could ever figure it out. For several years my husband and I were on an emotional roller coaster wondering what was wrong with me – in fact, at one point, doctors (inaccurately) thought it was a form of leukemia and told us to brace ourselves that I could only have a matter of months to live.
After my first trial as an attorney, I became severely ill and it was really touch and go.  I made it through, but the severity of the symptoms finally revealed that I had been living all those years with undiagnosed and untreated Lupus – a chronic autoimmune disease.  This meant that my immune system was ruthlessly attacking and damaging my own cells, tissues and certain organs for 17 years, completely unchecked.
That near-death scare was terrifying to me, but what was worse was seeing what it put my husband through.  He is a total hyper-protective alpha male type and for him to see me fading away before his eyes, yet not being able to do anything about it, tore him apart.
One night we were listening to the song Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men, which is about living with the ghost of a dead spouse (on the Three Rivers playlist here on the website) and he said, “Losing you is the worst thing I can imagine happening. It would be a life sentence, because that grief will never go away.  You don’t come back from that.”
Those words – and the memory of his fear, anger and guilt while I was sick – haunted me so much that I wanted to write a novel for people that went through that actual ultimate loss, but did manage to come back from it.
About a year ago, I asked myself: "what if when I moved up to Pittsburgh with my husband, he had died while I was young? How would that have changed me? Changed my friends?" That's when the idea for the series hit me and I've been writing ever since.

5. Are any characters or experiences based off of your life or someone you know?

Some of Althea is based on me – I am an attorney, I have two very close girlfriends from college who mean the world to me and have similarities to both Aubrey and Jenna. I met my husband in college and I am a Pittsburgh transplant.  I also highlight a lot of my favorite Pittsburgh locales in the book.  Aspects of both Jack and Griffen are inspired by different facets of my husband.  Vivian is based heavily on my own firecracker of a mother. Other than that, these characters have minds of their own, for sure.

6. If your books were made into a movie who would be your dream cast?

This is always a tough one. I have a dream cast that physically works, but some aren't actors. I've included the graphic of the dream cast with these questions. I see Justice Joslin as Griffen (at least physically), Chris Hemsworth is a great Jack, Lea Seydoux is a good Althea. Jenna's dad is always Kevin Costner in my mind. Annette Bening is a perfect Vivian, while Blythe Danner is a nice fit for Carol and Mary Steenburgen for Valerie. I've never found a perfect fit for Jenna or Aubrey, but the ladies in the graphic look like them from my mind.

7. Which writer, if any, would you consider a mentor?

I have been lucky to have a lot of mentors during the process of writing Three Rivers. They include Helena Newbury, Julia Kent, Lyla Payne, Denise Grover Swank, Noelle Adams, Seleste Delaney, Tessa Bailey, Georgia Cates, Arabella Quinn, and Barbara Ellsborg.

8. What are you reading right now?

I've been so swamped ever since Three Rivers released that I haven't been able to read anything in months. Right now I am pretty much only reading my second book, City of Champions, as I draft and revise it, so I don't think that really counts, ha ha.

9. What are your current projects?

I am currently writing the second book in my series. It's called City of Champions and focuses on Althea's friend Jenna and her man. Here's a short little blurb for you.

Tragedy and betrayal taught Jenna Sutherland early on that her safest bet was to fiercely avoid any risk, whether it is in work, life, or love. Now a respected orthopedic surgical resident on the cusp of finally breaking through in her career, she’s more guarded than ever.
When injured NFL quarterback Wyatt McCoy bulldozes into her life there’s no denying he’s cocky, selfish, and downright dangerous — everything Jenna’s sworn she doesn’t want.
Suddenly the levelheaded doctor finds herself facing down her greatest fear, and she’s tempted to gamble all she’s fought so hard to build. The two embark on an intense love affair that quickly teeters on obsession, and tempts them both to think they could go all-in on a real future together. Yet Wyatt's desperation to stay on the field — and out of the operating room — lures him to take dangerous risks with Jenna's trust.
Will they win at love or lose everything — including their fragile chance at happiness?

10. What is something you hate doing? Why?

Cleaning. I want to be getting so many other things done instead of cleaning, but I love a clean house, so it's tough. I do love doing laundry, though.

11. Do you ever write naked? :) While under the influence?

Hmm, I don't think I've ever written naked, but I have written while wearing pretty skimpy things around the house. I do love to write with a glass of wine next to me, so yes on that one!

12. What is your favorite drink?

Just like the heroine of Three Rivers, Althea, my favorite drink is a barrel aged Manhattan with brandied cherries. There's a great restaurant here in Pittsburgh that makes them. It's actually the site where Althea and Griffen meet in the book.

13. If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?

I wouldn't want to be anyone else because I love my husband too much. I know, lame, LOL. But I would love for us to live in Paris, so anyone that lives in Paris, I guess.

14. Tell us something no one knows about you.

I can peel a banana with my toes. Which is a weird skill to have since I HATE bananas.

15. Most embarrassing story?

It's pretty hard to embarrass me. Probably the nip slip photo in my freshman year sorority pledge formal group shot. Ugh!

16. Biggest pet peeve?

People that misuse the word "literally." He is NOT "literally bursting with ideas!" That is impossible. If it were to happen, that would be really sad and very gross.

17. Any quirky habits?

I love wooden pencils (especially pretty ones), but the point has to be "poke your eye out" sharp for me to use them, and the pencil has to be the right length, so it can feel balanced in my hand. This means I have pencil sharpeners everywhere and am always sharpening them. It drives my husband nuts I think. Oh, and I despise mechanical pencils.

18. Ebooks or Paperback?

I love eBooks. They are so efficient! I still love the feeling of sitting down with a real book, though. I basically buy paperbacks of books I really love, so I can see them on my actual shelf.

19. Do you judge a book by its cover?

As far as books go, I do like a cover that "grabs" me. I spend days fretting over my own covers for that reason. As for people, I try very hard not to do that.

20. Do you listen to music while you write? What is your current favorite?

I definitely listen to music while I write. I actually make soundtracks for each book, tracking the story and reflecting what I listened to while writing. I'm listening to some pretty intense stuff these days, because the characters in City of Champions are quite that way. Here's the current spotify playlist that I'm listening to while I write. I am really into the girl groups "Haim" and "First Aid Kit" they remind me so much of the bond between my characters Althea, Aubrey, and Jenna.

21. Puppies or Kittens?

I love all animals, but definitely puppies for me.

22. Favorite Food?

I love all kinds of food so much. This is so hard! Hmm, sweet has to be ice cream. I love ice cream so much and no matter what dessert I eat, I want ice cream with it. As for savory, it's hard to beat a really good steak.

23. Favorite bad habit?

Twirling my hair. I do it all the time, even though I know it's a bad habit.

24. Go to Author?

I love Jane Austen, but for an escape, I always go to Olivia Cunning and her rockers.

Connect with Chloe!!!!

4 1/2 COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN STARS! This book hooked me and didn't let go. The characters are amazing and very well developed, even the supporting ones. I loved how this book hit every emotion for me. Althea is a strong character who has been through heartbreak. Griffen is a sexy man running from his secrets. The chemistry was HOT! The writing, especially for a first time author, was brilliant! Definitely add this one to your TBR!
~ Leslie ~

***Update: I think we are officially becoming best friends (even if she doesn't know it yet) because we both seriously have the exact same taste in music! Like 5 out of 5 bands mentioned between the two of us are matches! Everyone do yourselves a favor and go listen to Hozier, Haim, First Aid Kit, Of Monsters and Men, and David Gray!

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post! And yes, we are certainly becoming BFF's :)