Barbara Silkstone 


I've got the fantastically funny Barbara Silkstone on my blog today! So grab a chai and find out why Kindle was love at first site for her, and why she's an expert on how men think! 

 

About Barbara

When you’re a freelance writer with a quirky sense of humor, being in the right place at the right time helps a lot. If I just stand still for five minutes… wham! Something funny and worth writing about will happen to me. I’ve accidentally sky dived, been elected president of the Japan American Society (I’m not Japanese), been stalked by crazies, and ran off with a real life White Rabbit. 

I’m a single mother, living on the edge in South Florida. My writing history is diverse. I started an underground newspaper in grade school and was threatened with excommunication by the nuns. After being published in the horror genre, I was fortunate enough to take part in writing workshops with Stephen King, Robert B. Parker, PD James, and James Michener. 

I enjoy doing playful things with language, blending two distinct words to create a new word.  If I’m laughing out loud when I’m writing, then I know I’ve hit the mark. I just released Wendy and the Lost Boys… a contemporary take off on Peter Pan with a touch of  Madoff as Captain Hook. I laugh so loud while I’m writing that the neighborhood committee has asked me to move.

For six years I traveled the United States listening to men reveal their darkest secrets for my book, The Adventures of a Love Investigator, 527 Naked Men & One Woman. When I was finished with my adventure, I realized the only man I should have interviewed was Lewis Carroll, unfortunately he was long gone. So I set out to pay homage to his logic by re-telling Alice in Wonderland in a contemporary setting. The result is The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters ~ a comedy mystery that takes place between Miami and London.

My books are also available at Barnes and Noble.


Kindle – Love at First Sight

Sibel,

Thank you so very much for having me. I must confess I adore all your books. The Fashion Police was one of the first books I read on my Kindle.  It was a delight. Now, I’m going to settle back with a cup of tea and chat. If I talk too much give me slight kick under the table. 

I’ve always wanted to be a writer from the time I was about four years old and  I realized I couldn’t actually turn into a black panther… this after spending most of that year snuggled in the hall closet trying to become a jungle cat. I knew I had to choose a slightly more realistic career path. I attempted to become a professional majorette and lead parades. A nasty neighbor boy burst that bubble telling me there was no market for professional parade leaders. 

The first book I published – not counting the one my 8th grade nun confiscated – was my naked men. The Adventures of a Love Investigator, 527 Naked Men & One Woman was first published as a paperback. I quickly became known as an expert on how men think which could account for my nervous twitch.

My gift for understanding the male mind led to my mini-career in standup comedy lecturing on relationships. It was fun, but I wasn’t doing what I loved… writing comedy.  It was frustrating to be in demand for something that stood between me and my passion for writing. It was like having the wrong man lusting after you.

Kindle was love at first sight. I could write what pleased me and reach a vast audience. I was jazzed. I had no idea that within months of publishing The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters I would have fans in the UK, Australia, and spots around the globe. It was addictive. 

I’m a bit of a slow writer as I like to create juicy plots and quirky characters. For me, they take time to stew. Nigel Channing, the charming British con man in Alice took eons to fully develop. I think of him as my John Cleese character. 

My heroines are always 42 years old. I lace my stories with gobs of physical comedy… which means really laying out the visual effects for the reader. As I was writing Alice I had no doubt if it were ever made into a movie it would star Debra Messing from Will and Grace. She’s a champ at mugging and funny body language – a modern day Lucille Ball. 

Writing comedy is a funny thing – great Barbara – real clever. There’s the timing element, but more important is the subtlety. You can’t beat the reader over the head with the humor of a scene or a line. I imagine my ideal reader reading one of my funny lines and then pausing to say, “Huh?”
Ideal Reader returns to re-read the line then bursts out laughing. 

After the success of The Secret Diary of Alice came Wendy and the Lost Boys. Wendy didn’t take as long as Alice to write. But there’s tons more action which made me grow as a writer in an entirely different way. She was just released last week and is doing well. (She sounds like a lunatic.)

Who would play Wendy in my imaginary movie? Maybe Cameron Diaz. She’s great at the physical stuff. Since I’ve already described Roger Jolley as a Johnny-Depp, I think we’ll have to take Johnny. Oh… don’t make me take him.  Twist my arm.

As we all live our personal fairy tales, I wanted to help readers laugh at their lives. None of what we enjoy or endure in this life has to be taken seriously. We can choose to take it as one big practical joke. 

My ideas come from my own screw-ups and occasionally have to be tamed down. There’s a scene in Alice where she leaps from the dock to a boat in the River Seine. She misses the deck and finds herself dangling in evening clothes inches over the murky waters. There’s no one there to help her.

That was a real-life blunder I pulled in Florida. I can’t swim and hate to get my face wet. I dangled from the side of a sailboat moored in a marina for twenty-minutes before I admitted defeat and called for help. I broke two pinky fingers and lost an expensive pair of evening shoes in the oily water. 

My writing influences are, Raymond Chandler, Helen Fielding, Janet Evanovich, and the words “you can’t do that.”

I used to do a lot of things before I found my Kindle-calling. But now time is of the essence and I must give up sky-diving, falconry, hot-air ballooning, and laundry.

What do I struggle with in my writing?  Commas. 
I am comma-challenged. I have a love/hate relationship with them.  Either I ignore them completely, or I indulge in comma-orgies. Not a pretty sight.

Speaking of orgies: who would I invite to my five-guest dinner? Mostly live guys… a few not with us anymore.
Oscar Wilde, John Cleese, Johnny Depp, Graydon Carter, Bernie Mac.

You ask if I wasn’t writing what I want to be doing?
Lovely question. I’d be an archeologist… but without the dirt. I’d have a huge bottle of hand-sanitizer strapped to the back of my camel.

Advice to aspiring writers…Network and spread the love. Write, write, write. Right?

I have no bucket list…but I do take donations of Kentucky Fried Chicken for my bucket. ‘Tis my passion in life… extra crispy please. 

Notes on my latest novel in the Fractured Fairy Tales by Silkstone series:

Wendy and the Lost Boys

When a deathbed promise to one of her agents leaves Wendy Darlin, feisty Miami real estate broker for billionaires, trapped on a super-yacht with Ponzi-king, Charlie Hook, she’s forced to join him on a quest to recover his hidden treasure. Along for the danger-filled adventure are an undercover SEC Investigator, who kindles a spark in Wendy with his ‘Johnny Depp’ eyes and Hook’s young female helicopter pilot who befriends Wendy as they sail the high seas, one step ahead of modern day ruthless pirates. A laugh out loud whodunit… kidnapping, revenge, and a little murder on the side. The second book in the Fractured Fairy Tales by Silkstone series of criminally funny fables, this comedy mystery is set in Miami and the Caribbean. 
~
"This is a modern morality tale that takes the reader on an action-filled ride with memorable characters and lots of laughs along the way. It’s Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone while still remaining faithful to the original Peter Pan and Wendy." Consuelo Saah Baehr, author of Best Friends 


A murder by beheading sends Alice Harte, Miami real estate broker for thugs, running into the arms of Nigel Channing, a charming British conman... 

The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters
 
Wendy and the Lost Boys

Wendy and the Lost Boys (Fractured Fairy Tales by Silkstone)

 
A comic contemporary spin on the classic Peter Pan. Pirates, Ponzi's and Lost Boys

 
 
You can also catch up with Barbara on her blog.

It's been a pleasure to have you here, Barbara, and thanks so much for your lovely comments about my books. I'm honoured The Fashion Police was your virgin Kindle book! And omigod, I'm cracking up here! You actually sounds like my twin! I'm as accident-prone as you, and that inspired my character Helen in Fourteen Days Later. 

I completely agree about laughing at life. Why take yourself or circumstances too seriously? We live in such a stressful world, and laughter therapy really does help us cope. We should aim to laugh at least sixty times a day! 

Helen Fielding, Janet Evanovich, and John Clees are all massive faves and inspiration for me. One of my characters in Fourteen Days Later is actually based on the fab John Clees!
 
Happy laughing!

Sibel XX