Author: Barbara Ellen Brink
Page count: 352
Price: 2.99 ebook/12.99 paperback
Barbara Ellen Brink is a freelance writer, supported financially by a loving husband who just happens to have a much better paying job. She is currently working on another novel in the Fredrickson Winery saga.
Her mainstream novel, “Time in a Bottle,” was selected as a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association 2006 contest and her suspense novel, “Sense of Danger,” was a finalist in 2007. Barbara’s short stories and articles have been published in THEMA Literary Magazine, The Springhill Review, Evangel, Liguorian, and others.
She grew up on a small farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota with her husband and their dogs, Rugby & Willow. With her kids now pushed out of the nest and encouraged to fly, Barbara spends much time writing, motorcycling with her husband in the summer, and hiking through snow with the dogs in the winter.
Tell us about your book:
What if you inherited a California winery, fully equip with a house, vineyards, and a sexy blonde lawyer, and not only does it reawaken your worst childhood memories and give you recurring nightmares, but your mother decides you need her and moves in with you indefinitely?
Entangled is told in the voice of Billie Fredrickson, a twenty-eight-year-old cynical divorce attorney from Minneapolis who inherits a winery and must decide whether to stay and run it as her uncle wished, or sell out and return home. Billie has every intention to cut and run, but her return to the winery after an absence of twenty years opens up more than the reading of her uncle’s will. Childhood memories, long-buried, begin to surface, prompting more questions than anyone is able or willing to answer.
A late night prowler, a break-in at the winery, and an unearthed box of shocking photographs is someone’s way of pulling the Welcome mat out from under Billie’s feet, but it only makes her dig her heels in deeper.
More secrets lie buried beneath Fredrickson Winery’s innocent facade and Billie intends to get to the root. In her search for the truth, Billie unintentionally lays bare painful secrets in her mother’s past as well. Can she live with the consequences of full disclosure?
Along the way, Billie’s love of winemaking is awakened, as is an attraction to her uncle’s attorney. But before she can pursue these options, she must learn to see past hurt and regret to hope of the future, like a good wine that stands the test of time.
Great wine evokes a sense of place, a connection to our heritage, much as a good story. Billie’s story is about finding that connection, that sense of belonging.
How long did it take to write the book?
I worked steadily for about six months to finish it, but then went back a few months later and did more edits and reworked the first chapter.
What inspired you to write the book?
I was visiting relatives in Washington State and noticed how wineries and vineyards had popped up across the countryside. I’d read a number of articles about how popular wine tasting rooms had become in numerous states and wondered what it would be like to own and operate a place like that. I also wanted to deal with repressed memories. I spent much of my childhood in Washington, but my memories aren’t so good. Not that they’re repressed—just poor. I found that memories were often jogged through things like the smell of apricots ripening on a tree, tumbleweeds blowing in the wind, or the sound of frogs croaking in unison down by the creek. It set my mind spinning this story.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I try to write in the mornings and afternoons when the house is quiet and there are no interruptions. I get my email, blogging, and other things out of the way first and then settle in to work on my current book. I usually have a very sketchy story plan in my head and just start writing. I’m not much of an outline person, but I do use a whiteboard to keep track of names, timelines, story arc, etc.
I happily visited a winery or two—just to get the feel for such a place of course. I also had a critique partner who kindly handed over a pile of research she’d done on wineries while living in California. For other aspects of the story I visited the local library and a few interesting winery websites.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
Entangled has something for everyone: a mystery to be solved, a budding romance, and mother/daughter relationship problems, all set in sunny California. But the theme throughout is that even though family ties may bind at times and we strain to be free, they’re also our lifelines when storms come our way.
So I hope they laugh and cry and nearly wet their pants, but I’ll be happy if they enjoy the story, tell their friends, and eagerly anticipate my next book.
Where can we go to buy your book?
My ebook is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Smashwords, Kobo, Sony, and Diesel online stores. The paperback is available through Creatspace, Amazon, and other bookstores. If your local bookstore doesn’t have it stocked, please be sure and ask for it.
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Web page: http://www.barbaraellenbrink.com
Author page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/barbaraellenbrink
Excerpt from book:
Dreams of shadows hovering over me stole the restfulness from my sleep, and I woke still tired and irritable. I got up and moved about the room, admiring the view from my window, and taking a closer look at the artwork on the walls. In here too was an assortment of paintings, abstract and bold in composition, frightening in intensity. I didn’t like them and blamed the room’s heightened atmosphere for my less than adequate nap. I promised myself that I would take them down and store them in the back of the closet before I slept in here again.
I stole into my mother’s room and saw that she was still sleeping, a little mascara smudged beneath her eyes, but her hair quite perfect in its protective shell of spray. Mother was one of those people who always woke fresh as a spring flower, happy and talkative. When I woke, no matter how long I slept or how still I lay, I always looked like Attila the Hun after a night of pillaging and mayhem.
The sound of a child singing wafted through the open window, and I tiptoed past the bed where Mother slept to lift a slat of the closed blinds and peer out. Our rooms were situated at the back of the house where the view of the vineyards was obscured by dozens of full-grown oak, redwood, and eucalyptus trees.
A small boy of about six was sitting in a tire swing, suspended from the branch of a tall oak. He pushed his bare feet against the ground for momentum as he sang at the top of his voice.
“Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys…”
I watched him for a moment, a smile on my lips, as he swung higher and higher, his voice floating up into the branches of the trees. Suddenly I felt a shiver run down my spine as the scene changed and I imagined myself as a little girl sitting in that tire, swinging back and forth, back and forth, like the pendulum on a clock, unable to stop or get off.
I closed my eyes and swallowed hard. What was wrong with me? I wasn’t remembering this place, that swing, the week I spent here as a child. I blew out a breath of exasperation, realizing my imagination was working overtime. My father had hung a tire from a large maple tree in our yard in Minneapolis when I was seven. That’s what I remembered. I’d fallen out of the thing one time and broke my arm. I turned away from the window and silently exited into the hall, closing the door behind me.
Exploring the house alone was like rummaging through a stranger’s underwear drawer. I felt strangely voyeuristic. I knew it would all belong to me eventually, once the paperwork went through, but I didn’t necessarily relish the idea. Inheriting “holdings” was one thing, but becoming the proud owner of someone else’s toilet brush, kitchenware, and music collection was quite another. I made a mental note to schedule a yard sale as soon as possible.
The kitchen door opened into the backyard, and I went out in search of the boy. Was he one of the field worker’s sons or a neighbor child wandering aimlessly, looking for entertainment in the long afternoon? I followed a path of stepping-stones through the trees to the back section of the house where I’d seen him swinging. The tire hung empty now, but still moved gently with the breeze as though a ghostly hand were in control. I stood there a moment, straining for the sound of his voice in the distance, but there was nothing but the creak of the branches above me and the rattle of leaves in the wind.