Friday, August 21, 2015

Interview & #Giveaway with Kathleen Y'Barbo

YAY! I (Jaime) am so excited to feature Kathleen Y'Barbo because she is, after all, one of my favorite people. She spent some time chatting with me and it was SUCH a blast to hear her answers. ENJOY!

· How did you begin writing?

It all started in 1996 when I got a nasty case of the flu and did nothing but read book after book for several weeks. At some point, I decided to stop reading and start writing though it took a few months for me to actually take the plunge. In April of 1996, I bought a word processor. Five weeks later, I finished my first 100,000 word historical romance. It took another four years of writing before I got published, but I’m thrilled to be celebrating 15 years as published author and next year will celebrate 20 years in this crazy amazing writing world.

· Take us through a day in the life of you, the author (because some us picture you rise from bed, calmly pour your coffee, sit in a sunny little alcove, and write for eight hours before getting ready for a luxurious dinner out with your special someone) ;)

Oh, I wish! I did write full-time for many years, but with four children at home, my schedule was dictated by schools, sports and homework. Often I wrote while my kids were at school, took a break when they got home, and picked the writing back up after everyone had gone to bed. My children are grown now, but I still maintain a divided schedule. Now it is my job as a paralegal at a law firm that fills my daytime hours. Before work, I usually get an hour in, and then I write in the evenings and on weekends. Thank goodness, I learned to write fast!

· Tell us where you got the idea for your latest book and why you developed a passion to write it?

Thirteen years ago, I was having lunch with my pretty widowed mother at Luby’s when she uttered these words: “If I am ever going to find a man, he’ll either have to quilt or sing because the only places I go are to the fabric store and choir practice.”

I wrote that down and held on to the story idea behind it for more than a decade. I’m thrilled I can now bring Firefly Summer, the tale of Bonnie Sue and the ladies of the Pies, Books & Jesus Book Club to my readers. While Sugar Pine, Texas isn’t exactly the little Texas town I was raised in, it’s close. So finding a passion to write about the people and place I love? That was easy. Tackling the topic of forgiveness? A little more difficult. Still, I am so proud of this story and the Pies, Books & Jesus Book Club series. I can’t wait to share more stories of the ladies of Sugar Pine.

· Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
Bonnie Sue, of course, because she’s based on my very Southern mama.

· What is the most important takeaway from your book that you hope your readers see?

Firefly Summer is about learning to forgive. It’s about how family doesn’t always look like you expect and how love and grace are dishes best served with a smile. Oh, and it’s about books. And pie!

· If you were to be offered the opportunity to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or to back pack deep into the heart of the Swiss Alps, which would you do and why?

Backpack! I don’t do heights so well, but I love hiking.

· And while you’re on this grand adventure, would it be necessary for you to have coffee or tea? (‘cause we’re split evenly in preference here at the CCC blog)

Definitely tea!

· If you had to write your novel long-hand, would you use a fine point Sharpie, a roller ball pen, a fountain pen, or a pencil?

Fountain pen! I have the most fabulous Waterman pen with a fine point. I use it for everything—except writing books. However, if I must, I’d give it a try.

· Your favorite flavor of pie … because we’re heading into pie season! 

And because I wrote a whole series of books about pie! My favorite flavor of pie is Buttermilk Pie, amazing since I do not like buttermilk at all. However, in Autumn Leaves, the next book in the Pies, Books & Jesus Book Club series, I write about a Pie Cake. Imagine three different pies baked into three different flavors of cake and then stacked up and covered in frosting. I know, right?! I’m tempted although I’ve not yet tried to make it.

· What are you currently working on in the book world?

I’m busy plotting several things. Some of them can’t be revealed yet, but I can say that I am working on the third book of the Pies, Books & Jesus Book Club series, due to be released in 2016. This means my favorite character, the fabulous Bonnie Sue, will be back for one more great adventure. Who knows what trouble she’ll get into this time? I know I don’t!

· Lastly, will you leave us with a snippet from your book that is one of your favorites and gives us a glimpse into its pages?

I’ve already given you the line that was the starting point for the entire series, but I would love to share one of my favorite scenes with you. To set the scene, forty-something Sessa (Bonnie Sue’s daughter) has raised her granddaughter since Pansie’s father was killed and her mother declared herself unfit to raise a newborn and disappeared. Pansie is now three years old and quite a handful, but she’s taken a liking to former rodeo cowboy turned doctor Trey Brown. Here’s the blueberry kisses scene:

Sessa returned to find a grown man and a little girl carrying on like fools in the rain. Not just dancing, but twisting, turning and jumping. Pansie’s blueberry stained dress stuck to her in places and Trey’s pearl snap shirt was drenched to his skin.

She backed up into the shadows and her heart melted. If she hadn’t already been falling for the man, this moment would have sealed the deal.

The frolicking stopped when Trey motioned for Pansie to move closer to put her feet on top of his boots. “Just hold on to my hands and don’t let go while we dance.” She complied and they began a slow twirl, something between a waltz and a Texas two-step.

“Good job,” Trey told her. “See, that’s how princesses dance in the rain with cowboys.”

She tossed the washcloth on the table and leaned against the doorframe, arms crossed and watched the cowboy and the princess dance.

“This is like at school,” she heard Pansie tell Trey. “We’re making a joyful noise.” Then Pansie spied her. “Gwammy, come dance!

Trey aimed a grin at her and her knees nearly buckled. “That’s right,” he said with an I-dare-you tone. “Come dance!”

She moved to the edge of the porch. “Oh, I don’t know. It looks like the cowboy already has a princess to dance with.”

Trey knelt down and whispered something in Pansie’s ear. A moment later, the little girl came running toward her, curls flying and her grin broad.

“Come on, Gwammy.” She tugged at Sessa’s hand and urged her out into the rain.

Sessa felt the first few drops of rain slither down her neck and she shivered despite the warmth of the evening. Pansie pulled her closer to Trey as the downpour dampened her hair.

“Hey cowboy,” she said when Pansie left her in front of Trey to go and chase the raindrops.

Trey grasped one of her hands and then took a step back to offer a courtly bow. “Hello, my queen.” He then closed the distance between them to wrap his arm around her waist. “Shall we dance?”

Unlike the dance he’d shared with Pansie, this dance was slow, deliberate, a conversation without words. His eyes never left hers, and she didn’t dare look away.

The warmth of his palm in the small of her back distracted her almost as much as the width of his chest and the breadth of his shoulders. Of the muscles she could feel as she held tight to his arm.

Don’t let go.

She held on tighter, and he smiled. “Doing all right, your majesty?”

“Oh yes, cowboy.”

“Then don’t let go.” He hauled her close and then the horizon slipped as he dipped her backward.

And then he kissed her.

From out of nowhere Pansie appeared in her line of sight. “Hey there, princess,” Trey managed. “This cowboy’s kind of busy right now.”

“Blueberry kisses!” she shouted as she planted sloppy kiss on Sessa’s cheek. Then, being the diplomat, she did the same for Trey.

“Blueberry kisses,” he said as he swiped at his cheek and then stuck his finger in his mouth. “Tasty.” He paused. “And unforgettable.”

Then he kissed Sessa again.


Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than fifty novels with almost two million copies in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and Book of the Year by Romantic Times magazine.

Sadie’s Secret, a Secret Life of Will Tucker historical romantic suspense novel and the winner of the 2015 Romantic Times Inspirational Romance of the Year, is in stores now.

For another book with ties to Kathleen’s hometown of Port Neches, Texas, Firefly Summer, the first novel in the contemporary Pies, Books & Jesus Book Club series features a character with the same name as her mama—Bonnie Sue. And a very similar personality. Check out the book here:

When not wearing her writer’s hat, Kathleen is a paralegal, a proud military wife, and an expatriate Texan cheering on her beloved Texas Aggies from north of the Red River. Connect with her through social media at


Enter to win Kathleen's Firefly Summer!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. No, I haven't read any of her books yet but this one sounds amazing. Would love to try a new to me author.

  2. I do love reading your books. kamundsen44(at)yahoo(dot)com.

  3. I have three novella collections that Kathleen Y'barbo has participated in, but I haven't read one of her full length novels. Although I mostly read contemporary fiction like Firefly Summer, I really want to read her Secret Lives of Will Tucker series. I have about 10 of her novels on my tbr, so I better get busy.

  4. I've not yet read any of Kathleen's books but they sound like ones I need to :-) Thank you for the chance to win "Firefly Summer"!

    Also, the first option on the Rafflecopter "sign up for Kathleen's notification list", there isn't a link attached to it to go sign up? Where would I do that at so I can fill it out? Thanks for the help!

  5. Thank you all for the nice comments! Trixi, if you're looking to sign up for my newsletter, you can go to my website at and click on the link there.

    1. Thank you, Kathleen!! I got all signed up and the Rafflecopter option filled out, I'm good to go!! :-)


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