Beverly Barton is a headline author for Avon and a phenomenally successful New York Time bestseller. Hailing from the Deep South, Beverly is a born and bred Alabamian with over sixty novels under her belt. She first earned her spurs as a romance writer, eventually going on to become an award-winner. But ever adaptable, she has been writing page-turning, nerve-shredding thrillers for the market since 2000.
Her latest blockbuster is Time of Death, set in Beverly’s stomping ground of the Deep South, and follows the fall from Hollywood stardom of actress Lorie Hammonds who has returned to Alabama. When the first death threat arrives, she assumes it’s a joke. But as the notes become more personal, Lorie starts running scared. Sheriff Mike Birkett, Lorie’s ex-lover, has been keen to avoid her since her return, but when investigators uncover Lorie’s connection to a string of recent murders, he’s drawn into a case that’s becoming terrifyingly intimate. With every murder, the killer edges closer and soon Lorie’s name will be the last left on the list. As she battles to unearth a deadly secret, will she be able to save herself before time runs out for good?
Described by Tess Gerritsen as “shocking and terrifying – it will chill you to the bone”, Time of Death is out now, so make sure you grab yours before they fly off the shelves!
To celebrate the launch, the Killer Reads team were recently lucky enough to talk to Beverly herself. Read on to hear what she had to say.
When did you start writing?
I wrote my first book when I was nine, but after marriage and motherhood, I put my writing on hold for many years. I began writing again as a hobby, however, I soon realized that I wanted to fulfil my lifelong dream of becoming a published author.
Where do you write?
I have a lovely home office that I personally decorated. It’s functional and feminine. (To see photos of my office, go to www.beverlybarton.com and click on All about Beverly.)
What are the pros and cons of being a writer?
Earning a living doing something I love has to be one of the major pros of being a writer. Having my books published around the world and knowing that I’m sharing my stories with so many people is a definite pro. The absolute joy of planning and producing a new book is a pro, each step in the process both fulfilling and difficult. For me, the major con is knowing that even if I live to be a hundred, I won’t be able to write all the stories inside my head.
Which writers have inspired you?
When I was much younger, I loved Ellery Queen, Frank Yerby, Daphne DuMaurier and Edna Ferber, to name a few. When I began reading romance in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, I fell in love with books by Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, Diana Palmer, Iris Johansen and Elizabeth Lowell. A couple of my all-time favourite writers are James Patterson and Dick Francis.
How important is a sense of place in your writing?
Extremely important. I was born and grew up in the South and am a sixth generation Alabamian. I know the South as only a “born & bred” Southerner can know it. Whether I set my books in large Southern cities or small Southern towns, I bring a lifetime of knowledge and experience with me to create an authentic backdrop for my novels.
Do you spend a lot of time researching your novels?
Definitely yes! I’d like to say that I know everything about everything, but unfortunately, I do not. I do pre-writing research while I’m plotting and then I continue doing research throughout the writing process. I have accumulated a small private library of research materials – books, magazines, newspapers, etc. – and continue to add to this collection. I also use the Internet to do research, but never rely on only one source. In addition, I have interviewed, either over the telephone, in person or via e-mail, various professionals, everyone from doctors, veterinarians and nurses to policemen, FBI agents, district attorneys and lawyers.
Do your characters ever surprise you?
Always, and in every book. I enjoy the process of getting to know my characters while I’m writing the book. They become very real to me and I always hate saying goodbye at the end. I believe this is one reason I love to write books with continuing characters.
How much of your life and the people around you do you put into your books?
Probably a great deal, although I’m usually not consciously aware that I’m doing this when I’m writing. I think every writer does this to some degree whether they realise it or not. It’s inevitable that any creative person will draw upon her surroundings, including the people she knows, as inspiration. The person we become and the work we produce are affected by everything and everyone we encounter from the day we’re born.
How did it feel when you saw your book in print for the first time?
Amazing! It was almost as wondrous as the moment I held my first child in my arms. Seeing my first book in print was the fulfilment of a lifelong dream.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing now?
There is nothing that I’d rather be doing. I think I’m one of those people who was born to be a writer. But I do have other interests. If I had to choose another profession, I could narrow down my choices to: interior designer, caterer, teacher, or psychologist.