Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Madness HotSeat...Barbra Annino!

Today I welcome Barbra Annino!

Barbra Annino is a Chicago native, a book junkie and Springsteen addict. A former bartender and humor columnist for Illinois Magazine, she finds the funny in just about everything. Except those Humane Society commercials, which she holds personally responsible for the reason she has three Great Danes.
She lives in picturesque Galena, Illinois where she ran a Bed and Breakfast for five years. Now, she's a happily married freelance writer and Lowe's regular who is constantly covered in dust and paint thanks to an 1855 brick home, which her family shares with friendly spirits. Or not. But that's what people tell her.
She is currently working on TIGER'S EYE, the third book in the Stacy Justice series.
For more information, visit

and interview!
R: Hello, Barbra!  Welcome to my hotseat!
B: Thanks, Rocco!

R: To begin, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your books?  And your short story in EVERY WITCH WAY BUT WICKED.
B: I write the Stacy Justice mystery series. The stories are filled with colorful characters, true pagan magic and herbal craft and lots of humor.

The story in the anthology was co-authored with Christiana Miller who has a similar writing style than I do. It features the characters from both of our books and was a ton of fun to write. Two witches are brought together by the elders to battle an evil force.

R: Where did the idea for Stacy Justice originate?
B: I've been studying alternative religions for years and I used to write a humor column. I wanted to combine those two elements and the idea for Stacy and her family was born.

R: What do you do when you are not writing?
B: I love walking my dogs, reading, watching movies and trying to figure out the ending to castle before my husband does.

R: How long does it take you to finish a book?
B: About three months.

R: Are you a pantser or a plotter?
B: I began as a plotter, but am now a pantser and I think my work is better for it. I figure if I don't know the ending, neither will my reader. This last book, BLOODSTONE, kept me on my toes with the turns it took right until the very end.

R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing?
B: Quiet, water, no clutter and a snoring Great Dane on the rug. (Great Dane huh?  HMMMM)

R: Do you have any particular rituals you follow when you write?
B: They change with each book, but when I'm stuck, I walk or take a shower. That's when the characters like to talk to me.

R: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, who’s on your playlist?
B: No. When I brainstorm, I do. I like Stevie Nicks, Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen and Carrie Underwood to get my gears turning.

R: What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given? What would you say to someone just starting out?
B: Never Give Up.

R: What books are you reading now?
B: I just bought Llewellyn's 2012 Witch's Companion and Wicca in The Kitchen in paperback. I like to read non-fiction when I'm working on a project. On my Kindle I have The Mill River Recluse (Darcie Chan), The Big Sleep (Raymond Chandler), The Space Between (Alexandra Sokoloff) and Basic Black (Scott Doornbosch). I am also patiently awaiting the last of Joe Konrath's Jack Daniels novels, Stirred.

R: You were a bartender at one time – what’s the funniest story a customer ever told you?
B: Oh wow, great question. I once had a guy tell me he went to New Orleans on Halloween and was robbed at gunpoint by Tweetie Bird. The man was about 6'5, a former football player, and he was dressed like Mickey Mouse. He didn't even bother telling the police. A year later, I was robbed by a clown in New Orleans. He took my engagement ring, but I shook him down and got it back. It was ugly. Balloons were flying everywhere. Both true stories. You can't make this stuff up.

R: What’s your favorite drink to mix, and have you ever created a drink from scratch?
B: I can tell you my least favorite drink to make--a mudslide--or anything with ice cream. Those drinks take far too many steps and when there are seven customers barking orders at you the last thing you want to do is turn your back on them. Don't ever order one of those. Not only does it piss off the bartender who has to make it, it really pisses off the drunk behind you who just wants a Bud Lite. Fights break out for far less.

R: Just for fun, your
TV show: Monk
Book:  Huckleberry Finn
Actor: Cary Grant
Actress: Betty White
Author: Way too many to list.
Character: Snoopy. He had it all figured out.
Spies or Spook? Witch!
Vampire or Warlock? Mermaid
Cats or Dogs? Dolphins  (Ha, Ha, very diplomatic!)
Beach or Mountain? Vineyard
Barry White or Barry Manilow? Dave Barry

R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
B:  I cannot tell a story orally. I would be a big hit at parties if I could type everything out on my laptop and just show people the screen.

R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
B: I'd have to be pretty drunk to tell you that. Let's just go with roughing up a clown in New Orleans.

R: What can we expect from you in the future? What are you working on now?
B: More books! The next project is TIGER'S EYE -- book three of the Stacy Justice series.

Thank you for a great interview, Barbra! (Even if you are a GREAT DANE lover! Meow!) Folks, check out Barbra’s books when you check out EVERY WITCH WAY BUT WICKED!

Barbra’s Links:

Tomorrow the fun continues with Christiana Miller!
And don’t forget study hard – our contest is coming at the end!


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