One of the goals of SPFBO is to give a chance to self-published authors to get more exposure. In the Finals I’m taking part in the competition as one of the judges in Fantasy Book Review‘s team. As I did with our group’s authors, I decided to offer a spot to the Finalists too to be featured on my blog. You can check out all of our content during Phase 1, and everything that’s happening during the Finals on my SPFBO 4 page!
Barbara Kloss loves adventures, and finds them through reading, writing, trekking through the wilderness, and gaming—though she doesn’t consider herself a gamer. She just happens to like video games. RPGs, specifically. She’s also a bit of a fitness enthusiast, a classically-trained pianist, and she believes that maintaining balance in life is a good thing (coffee excluded).
Barbara studied biochemistry at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA, and worked for years as a clinical laboratory scientist. She was lured there by mental images of colorful bubbling liquids in glass beakers. She was deceived.
She currently lives in northern California, with her gorgeous husband, three babies, and pup. Author of The Gods of Men, and the award-winning Gaia’s Secret Series.
Welcome to the Asylum! Take a seat by the fire, have a glass of beverage of your choice and tell me something about yourself!
Hi, Timy! Thanks for having me! I’ll have a pot of coffee. Something about myself… just had a baby (hence the beverage of choice)! So if I’m rambling and incoherent… well… 😀 Please be gracious.
Say, you can live in the fantasy house/lair of your dreams. What would it look like?
Rivendell. Hidden, in lush hills, beside waterfalls, and protected by magic. YES, PLEASE.
What is your favorite fantasy creature and why?
Dragons. That’s not very original—I know—but it’s true. They’re powerful and terrifying, and they show up in almost all of my favorite stories (and games), so I’ve grown quite fond of them, despite the havoc they typically wreak. Or maybe it’s because of the havoc. 😀
Why did you decide to become an author and how did you end up choosing self-publishing?
I sort of… fell into it, I guess…? I was working in a clinical lab at the time. Very different. But. As a reader, I wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted to read. My first love has always been fantasy, but I wished for a bit more of a romantic element. Not ROMANCE, just romantic threads. Romantic at heart, here! *raises hand* So, with a few figurative shoves from my husband, I started writing my own and added those threads I so desperately wanted.
As far as why I chose self-publishing: I’d originally set out to trudge the traditional path, but somewhere along that path, I realized it might not be the right path for me. The WAITING was like a slow, meandering death, and I also didn’t care much about writing “to market.” I just loved the writing and storytelling, and also the total control, so indie pub has suited me just fine.
Which author would you say is your greatest influence as a writer?
This is hard for me to answer! Hm. Greatest would probably be my very favorite fantasy author: J. R. R. Tolkien. He’s responsible for my love of the genre in the first place.
If you could go back in time and offer any advice to a younger Barbara prior to releasing The Gods of Men what would it be?
Most of my advice would be to myself prior to my previous series, like: PRINT YOUR DRAFT AND EDIT A HARD COPY. I did that for the first time with Gods, aaaaaand let’s just say it was reeeeeeeally humbling.
Also, stay away from Goodreads. #stillstruggling
What SPFBO means to you? What do you hope to gain (fame and wealth aside)? What are your experiences so far?
SPFBO has been amazing! I’d originally entered hoping to reach a broader (and right) audience, but it has been SO MUCH MORE than that. Connecting with so many other fantasy writers and bloggers has absolutely been the highlight for me. It’s a fabulous community, and I will forever be grateful to Mark Lawrence and SPFBO for introducing me to it!
What inspires your writing? Do you listen to music, stare into the fire, listen to the whispering of the wind, make deals with the Devil?
Definitely music. Oddly enough, I can’t listen to music WHILE I’m writing, because I start thinking too much about the tones and melodies. But. I’ll listen to it for brainstorming and outlining, and to work myself out of tight corners.
How do you relax after a long writing/research session? Do you have any hobbies (writing not included :P)?
Right now, my “relaxation” time IS my writing time. #becausebaby But *usually* an RPG will clear my head. So will a beer, on the couch, with the hubs. As for other hobbies, not writing or gaming related, I love hanging out with my family, lifting, hiking, reading (duh), piano, and snowboarding. Though I haven’t been able to do much of that last one lately.
What was the most exotic place you’ve visited? Did it inspire any of your work? How that experience affected you personally?
The most exotic place I’ve been to is the Caribbean, but I’ve yet to write something beachy (or involving pirates…), haha. Being in California, I’m fortunate to live by so many beautiful places, and THAT probably inspires my writing more than anything. We’re an hour from the Sierras, and we spend a lot of time in them. Yosemite is also near and dear to my heart, and we’ve camped there a bunch—the Half Dome trail is amazing! I find so much inspiration from mountaintops, and the camaraderie built in conquering them with others.
Which character of your book do you identify with the most and why? Who would you like to live with in an asylum?
Hm. Pieces of me are in all of them, but MOSTLY. I’d have to go with Sable/Imari. Much of her character arc stems from my own sorting through spirituality.
Who would I like to live with in an asylum? My husband. He’d keep me stable and happily distracted by great conversation. Which is pretty much what he does anyway! ☺ If we’re talking book characters, I’d have to go with Braddok. He’d at least keep me laughing about it.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the good or the bad ones?
Yes. *cringes* I know there are various thoughts about this, but I like feedback. I like knowing what does or doesn’t work for readers, what people focus on, etc. Bad reviews still sting. I know not everyone will like my stuff, even though I wish they would, haha. But I’m always a student, or I try to be, so I check to see if there’s something to the “bad” that I can learn from. If not, well, I try to keep it in perspective (which might also require a private venting session :P).
Are there any books that have been/ are being released in 2019 that you are excited to read?
Right now, I’m just trying to catch up on all the books from 2018 that I missed. I was pregnant most of 2018 and couldn’t look at words. It was horrid.
While you are locked in here for eternity, we will allow you one book – what would you choose?
The Bible. I might actually read it more. 😀
Well then, we hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the Asylum! Any last words? *locks door*
THANK YOU to Mark Lawrence and all of the bloggers/judges involved with SPFBO, for all you have done and are doing for the indie community! *huge hugs* Really grateful to be a part of it! And thanks again, Timy, for having me!
If you’d like to get in contact with Barbara Kloss, you can find her on social media:
The Gods of Men, book 1 of the Gods of Men series has made to the SPFBO Finals thanks to The Weatherwax Report‘s team. Get her book by clicking on the cover!