Interview by Garret Andrew
night five years ago at about 3 a.m., Brenda Ashworth Barry woke suddenly and
headed straight to her house’s computer room. She’d had a dream and needed to
write it down.
had dreams before, but never like this,” she said. “It was so vivid. I could
series of romance and family sagas debuting this month is a testament to a
dream’s drawing power. In Barry’s case, it wasn’t just the dream of becoming a
published author, but she realized it was a goal, too.
first started having these dreams in her 50s. She’d always been interested in
dreams and the potential of human consciousness. She took courses on dream
interpretation and developing their themes near her longtime home in Novato
California in the San Francisco Bay Area.
grew up across the street from Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato, California,
during the Vietnam War. Her brother served two tours in Vietnam. “I saw
firsthand what war did to the families and knew how it affected us.”
married her husband who was in the Air Force, Matthew Barry, 16 years ago. He
was a Master Sergeant when he retired.
four children and worked a varied career that included a nutritionist and the
owner of three office cleaning franchises, before retiring to Roseburg three
writing assignments of hers were noticed by her teachers, but writing —
especially fiction writing — was never a real ambition but always in her heart,
of Barry’s first book, “Seasons of Love and War” have been showing up in some bookstores
this spring. And many copies have been purchased on Amazon.com and the websites
of Barnes and Nobles, Lu Lu, and at Melanges website..
She said her deal with
her publisher, Melange Books, was a dream come true.
signing with Melange, she’s enjoyed her pace. She’s nearly completed three
books, with the outlines of two others committed to lengthy drafts.
six other books committed to outlines. Her outlines, she says, run between
10,000 and 20,000 words.
stories as well were pulled in parts from dreams where she uses her creativity to fill
them with life. One is set in the Appalachian Mountains, which was a problem at
first, she said. “I didn’t know anything about Appalachia.” So that calls for endless
hours in research.
first drafts of “Seasons,” Barry spelled leading man Kaylob’s name the more
traditional way, “Caleb.” She said the character came to her one night and
asked her to start spelling it right.
“Seasons” saga tells the story of Kaylob and Beth Anne, young lovers separated
by the Vietnam War. Where Kaylob goes back for a second tour, the question is
will he make it home?
sections of the book that deal with struggle on the home front, Barry said she
drew on her experience as a girl living in across from Hamilton Air Force base
during the Vietnam War. One moment in particular stands out. Barry said she was
baby-sitting for a woman when “the men in uniform” came to inform the woman her
husband was missing in action, presumed dead and shot down. He was an Air Force
Kaylob become a POW?.
research for her book, Barry said she interviewed former POWs. She found there
was much she didn’t know about the war and what the guys went through
over there. She also says she faced resistance in the book world at first. Some
people didn’t believe she could accurately cover her topic or that a woman
should write about the Vietnam War.
tricky, as a woman writing a book about childhood sweethearts with the Vietnam
War included,” she said.
Barry’s website features a “Seasons of Love
and War” video trailer on her website and a slogan, “Stories that feed the
and tweeted giving leaks to her upcoming books to share with readers. She has more
than 4,000 Facebook likes and over 1,000 Twitter followers.
because she’s a new writer, Barry has a little different style of correcting
her writing. To achieve a flowing, conversational tone, she reads aloud each
draft to her “author assistant.” Husband Matthew has filled this role, but
friend Cindy Watson puts in the most time, listening often by phone. Watson’s
critiquing can be fun and helpful, Barry said it’s humorous which keeps them
Cindy told Brenda, “It’s just sentence after sentence after sentence, and I
don’t know what’s going on.” And Brenda’s response was, “Well Cindy, that’s how
books are made, sentence after sentence.
Garrett Andrew- Reporter