Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Introducing BWL Author Barbara Baker

 


 Visit my BWL Author Page for Details and Purchase Information

 

          Hi, my name is Barbara Baker

 

This is my first blog attempt. I hope you enjoy it.

As a writer, how often have you been told ‘write about what you know’? All the time, right? Well, it bit me in the butt when I wrote my first YA novel, SUMMER OF LIES.

I went to school in Banff during the 60s and 70s. It was a sleepy little town back then - not the iconic vacation destination it is today. My dad was a National Park Warden. In the winter he was on the ski hills assessing snow conditions for the public’s safety. The rest of the year he was in the park’s backcountry to monitor the wildlife, ensure predators stayed away from the townsite, and he kept hiking trails accessible. Dad was lucky to have a job he loved.



As kids, when we weren’t in school, he would take us to work so Mom could have a break. I remember one February when teachers went on strike. It was a huge snow year, and we skied every day with Dad on Mt. Norquay … way more fun than math and English class. Each morning we were the first ones down the runs. Getting first tracks in powder snow is a skier’s dream. What an epic month.



We lived east of the Banff Park Gates in Harvie Heights, a place so small you couldn’t find it on an Alberta map for many years. A cluster of houses in the middle of the woods. No street lights. No curfews. Parents knew where their kids were by the sound of pucks ricocheting off the boards at the rink, bats smacking baseballs or frenzied shouts in the dark during enthusiastic games of kick the can.



Horseback riding, hiking, playing in the woods - it was what I did to kill time when I wasn’t in school because the tiny black and white tv only came on when my parents watched Hockey Night in Canada, Walt Disney or The Beachcombers. Remember those days? When kids weren’t allowed to operate the family tv? As an adult, I now realize how fortunate I was to have such an amazing backyard to grow up in but as a kid, it was just where I grew up, nothing special.



Fast forward 4 decades (2008ish), I was riding on a chairlift with my tenacious niece chatting about a book series we were reading. I asked her what type of book she’d write. She said she’d write an adventure story about Banff and the cool spots we’ve hiked or discovered. We discussed conflicts we’d put our characters through. It started as a joke and since she was still in high school, it was my job to write the book.



In my YA novel, SUMMER OF LIES, I take a teen from Toronto, Jillian, and plunk her in a one room log cabin in the wilderness of Banff National Park. She has to spend a month there with her aunt who happens to be a park warden (write about what you know). As Jillian describes it, I put her in the middle of bloody nowhere and staying there for a month was not on her agenda. Jillian has to navigate her way on trails I’ve travelled and also down the streets of Banff which are so familiar to me.



When you start your story, do you write about what you know? Or do you create new worlds? Where do your stories take the reader?

 

Summer of Lies: Baker, Barbara:9780228615774: Books - Amazon.ca

Summer of Lies - YouTube

Smashwords – About Barbara Baker, author of 'Summer of Lies'

Barbara Wackerle Baker | Facebook

Barbara Wackerle Baker (@bbaker.write)

 

 

8 comments:

  1. To answer your question. I began wwriing what I knew but also writing stories similar to those I read and loved. Keep writing.

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  2. Great introduction. Welcome to BWL. My first three novels were about familiar things and places (familiar to me. India isn't an ordinary setting). And I based my characters on a fictionalized version of people from my past. Since then, after thirty titles published, I had to research medieval history and legends for my Curse of the Lost Isle series, and I rely on my fertile imagination to create new science fiction worlds. Thanks for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. 30 titles and more on the way? Wow. Congratulations. That's amazing.

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  3. Welcome, Barbara! What a great childhood you had! I take my readers to places where I've been and places where I wish to go. Every time I write a new book, i go on an adventure :)

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    Replies
    1. 'Places where I wish to go' - what a great idea. Thanks.

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  4. Sounds like you had a dream-childhood, Barbara. My Twisted Climb series sees the characters meeting in a dream world - a world that's rooted in my imagination. I then write it so the reader can 'see' it too. I call it my 'word movie.'

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    Replies
    1. I just read the Good Reads blurb on My Twisted Climb. I'm intrigued and will have to check it out.

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