Our interview today is with B. J. Robinson. Thank you for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.
Question: What do you think prepared you or qualifies you to write in your chosen genre?
Answer: I’ve done extensive reading in my genre, taken creative writing in college and won first prize for my first short story, which was published in the university’s literary magazine, worked with American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), have a critique partner who belongs to that group, completed two of Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild courses, the Apprentice and the Journeyman levels, with mentor Eva Maria Everson, who is a published Christian author, completed several Long Ridge Group writing courses, one with Karen O’Connor, and I’m a born-again Christian. I had ten devotionals published in one year before I started writing novels. My love and personal relationship with my best friend, Jesus, qualifies me, because through Him, I can write and be a personal testimony for others.
Question: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?
Answer: I love to read and write and those are my main two fun or personal satisfaction activities, but I also love to travel and visit places I’ve never been. I enjoy boating, fishing, gardening, and camping.
Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Answer: I have used readers in the past for my first debut novel. I’ve also used the ACFW critique partners in the past and still work with one lady. I have used editors. My granddaughter makes my covers from pictures I take for my independently published books. My publisher has an awesome graphic arts designer for the books published through Desert Breeze Publishing, and I’ve received many compliments on both type of covers. My granddaughter does beautiful work for me.
Question: Have you done anything writing-related, but besides your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
Answer: I sponsored a creative-writing club as a teacher for years. Both parents and students enjoyed it, and one of my students was published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I was praised by a colleague at the time for making a difference and helping others. She said she’d never seen anyone as passionate about writing as me.
Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
Answer: My newest novel, a Christian historical romance, is River Oaks Plantation and will be released soon. I am refining, layering, and editing it.
Below is a blurb:
Margaret Sarah Turnrow first laid eyes on River Oaks Plantation amid lush foliage and oak trees dripping with Spanish moss when she returned from her honeymoon as a petite hazel-eyed bride to the antebellum mansion. She immediately fell in love with the house and grounds and beautifying the gardens with plants. Her first task involved lining the oak drive with azaleas. Determined to have the best gardens, she soon recreated formal ones designed from precious memories of France, Italy, and England from her honeymoon tour. Before the Civil War, she imported plants, and gardening became her passion. During the war, it was her only one. The fertile Louisiana soil loved and nursed her plants as much as she did, and they grew like the cotton and sugarcane.
Pale as a magnolia blossom, she sparkled like the sun reflecting off Lake Pontchartrain when she flashed pearly white teeth with her camellia-red smile, but small white hands tucked demurely into the folds of her gown as she sat quietly during elegant dinners, concealed her true vivacious spirit. The war would change the shy woman-child as it ravaged through her life and took its toll on the home and family life she came to know and love with all of her heart.
Before the Civil War, dashing Daniel Paul Turnrow stood six-foot-two, as tall and elegant as the white-columned plantation home he’d purchased on the banks of the Mississippi River. He led a charmed life as a charismatic cotton baron known as one of the richest men around New Orleans and on River Road. River Oaks boasted over thirty-five-hundred acres of fertile Louisiana soil, mostly planted in cotton with the exception of some sugarcane along the Mississippi River banks and his wife’s gardens.
Danny returned from the war a different man, as broken as the pillared splendor of the South. Surrounded by cypress swamps and sugarcane fields on the river’s end and white blankets of cotton edging the dirt roads, the plantation still stood, but the grand life he’d led turned to one of backbreaking toil. He no longer stood so tall and proud with an aching back hunched over Louisiana cotton and sugarcane fields.
With the future uncertain, fear lurks in his heart and soul and clouds his mind. What will sustain his marriage through the loss? Can they defend what’s most precious to them and maintain River Oaks as a working plantation? The manor home is the only legacy he has left. Will he lose it?
Years later, Amaryllis Camilla O’Brien is stranded alone with two dogs on the top floor of an antebellum plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana, as a deadly hurricane rips and roars through the city and raging floodwaters threaten to devour the old home. She discovers a yellowed diary. Will family secrets drown in the flood with her? Will the diary matter? She’s determined to save it and the dogs, or die trying. Has her great grandmother left her a sinking ship?
Noah Gautreaux, the plantation manager, took vehicles to higher ground and is supposed to return, but will he make it in time to save Amaryllis and his pet girls? The old house withstood the floods of 1973, 1983, and 1993. He doesn’t think he has to worry about it floating off down the Mississippi River, but as excessive rain and wind continue to batter the area and the water continues to rise when the levees breach, he realizes there’s a first time for everything and this could be it for the white-columned beauty of ages past. Will River Oaks Plantation, the only woman he’s ever loved, and his pets drown or be blown away in Hurricane Katrina?
With the future uncertain, fear lurks in their heart and soul and crowds their minds. Can they save what’s most precious to them? If the Mississippi River doesn’t take it, will River Oaks ever be the same again? The manor home is the only legacy they have left. Will they lose it? Just as they thought things would work out, will they lose everything they hold dear? Will it be gone with the flood?
Question: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
Answer: My purpose is to entertain and share my love of Jesus as well as encouraging old-fashioned values.
Question: Tell us one place you visited or person you met, that made a big impression on you, and why.
Answer: I visited antebellum Louisiana plantation homes, and they evoked an interest in the Civil War and lead me to complete readings and research of the time period and fall in love with those old homes.
Question: What’s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!
Answer: My newest project and current WIP is Louisiana Sunset. Below is a teaser:
Lilly Mae Reynolds shook her head, but to no avail. His words echoed through her mind fresh as a Louisiana sunrise. “Meet me at the river. I’ll be waiting.”
Would he? He’d never kept his promises. She had to wonder if he’d make it.
Years ago, their time on the river had crested. Once, it’d flooded, the two of them entangled like riverbank vines. Their love had overflowed for one another, reached flood stage, crested, and receded until it finally trickled away and dried up like a mudhole in the boiling Louisiana sun. She’d buried him in her mind long ago. What was she doing resurrecting him now?
She stood riveted and gazed upon the spot in the river where they’d once clung to each other like vines as the current swirled around them and threatened to pull them under. Happy times, but she couldn’t say better days.
In her mind, she studied his profile, as it’d been that sunshiny day in May. Broad, muscular, tanned shoulders. Cerulean blue eyes that danced with happiness. Six-foot-two. Caramel hair tipped those tanned shoulders. Muscles bulging from his upper arms in a sleeveless demin shirt. Cut-off jeans that revealed muscular, tanned legs. His hand clinging to hers. His laugh like a song floating through her mind.
Beautiful memories, but she’d never forget the horrible ones that’d ruined them. She struggled for years to forget those nightmares, but they’d remain with her forever, despite the fact that she’d forgiven him years ago. Dark memories reared their ugly heads and shadowed her joy at seeing him again. Her hopes of ever seeing him again dashed like rocks to the bottom of a river. It’d been over a decade. She was torn. A part of her wanted to gaze into those eyes that were once so filled with love for her, but another part of her couldn’t help but remember how suddenly they could change from love to cold indifference or anger, fury, and rage.
Once, all he’d had to do was shoot her a glance with those intense blue eyes and smile his crooked, lopsided grin to melt her heart. Those heavenly orbs filled with shining love lit up her world like Fourth of July fireworks. Problem was their love had sizzled out like their time together and died like a dried-up vine on the riverbank they’d once romped carefree.
Now, here she stood waiting at the river. Would he join her? Reminded her of the hymn “Shall We Gather at the River”. Shall we?
Question: How many books do you have out?
Answer: Four traditionally published and four independently published as well as a couple short stories and short nonfiction.
Question: What are your future projects?
Answer: Fiction romantic suspense and historical.
Question: Are their characters/stories/scenes/etc based on anything in real life?
Answer: Life experience serves as fodder. River Oaks Plantation is based upon antebellum plantation homes along the River Road in New Orleans, Louisiana, and St. Francisville, Louisiana, but the story is pure fiction. It is based upon historical accounts during the Civil War period. I lost my mother and youngest sister six years apart, Mom to cancer, and my sister to an eating disorder. In my debut novel, Last Resort, I use the loss of my loved ones in the hopes of helping others deal with the loss of theirs. I love outdoors, flowers, nature, pets, and animals, so I feel that comes through in my writing even though I create fictional work.
Question: What is your favorite book/character?
Answer: Out of the books I’ve written, I enjoy my character in my novel Southern Superstitions. Her name is Myrtle. Some readers see her as a nosy old woman and miss her soft spots, but I once had an editor who loved her as well as Andy and June, the main characters. She was an editor at a big-name traditional publishing house when I first penned the book in the early nineties, and she praised my realistic characters. I think Myrtle offers comic relief in the novel, but she’s also in essence the spirit of the little petite woman who reared me.
Question: What is your writing style?
Answer: I’ve been told conversational by readers. If you mean how I write my books, I don’t use an outline, but I’ve explained how I started River Oaks Plantation on my blog at
My Personal Blog: http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com
Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBJRobinson
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/B.-J.-Robinson/e/B007DNJIKU/ref=ntt_athr_dp/link_code=as3&tag=growthrogracb-20
Look what people are saying about B. J. Robinson’s Southern Superstitions!
Shawn K. Williams says, “Southern Superstitions is an inspirational story that’s full of personality as well as intricacy in the way it explores the complexities of family life and the conflict between faith and luck. Barbara does a great job of pulling together the deeply rooted superstitions of the South and entwining them into a suspenseful tale of faith, romance, and endurance. I especially enjoyed the setting and the culture of the deep South.”
Kathy Boswell says, “Very good. She never gives up hope that Andy will return to her someday. She puts it all in God’s hands like she’s done every crisis in her life. She knows He will take care of this for her.”
Pam Cable says,
“When I read Barbara Robinson’s Last Resort, I thought it can’t get any better than this. But, as a southern writer myself, I found myself caught up in this book of superstitions and the power of God. With a strong hand, the writer delivered the goods here. As good as a read from Eudora Welty. I was wrapped in the “pages” from beginning to end. Captivating. Loved the character of Andy … Enjoyed the ride, B. J. Robinson.”
Her mother’s warning about history repeating itself nagged in the back of June’s mind. It was Christmas Day. Andy was supposed to have returned on Christmas Eve. June’s father had died and left her all alone one cold Christmas Day. “Please God,” she prayed, “please don’t let history repeat itself. Please don’t take Andy away from me. I need him so very much. I love him so much, oh, so much. Please don’t take away the love of my life.”
Excerpt for B. J. Robinson’s Southern Superstitions:
Myrtle busied herself cooking the Christmas dinner. June was too upset to even think about it. “Gotta have a turkey and cornbread dressing ready when Andy gets home tonight. He’ll be starved for love and food.” She baked a turkey and dressing, cooked eggplant dressing, and baked several pies and cakes. She also had cream potatoes and gravy, green peas, whole corn, cranberry sauce, rolls, butter, and potato salad. The phone didn’t ring. There was no word. No brown pickup stirred up dust as it made its way down the lane. No one touched a gift underneath the Christmas tree.
She gazed into his eyes, and her heart thumped in her chest. “I know you know those woods like the back of your hands, but for some reason, I have an uneasy feeling about this hunting trip.”
He rubbed her shoulder. “Aw, honey, you worry too much, just like your mom.” Andy hugged her to him. “I’m a big boy, and I can take care of myself.” He continued to babble excitedly about his upcoming trip.
June shuddered, as a cold chill ran down her spine. It reminded her of some old saying of her mom’s about someone walking across her grave, but she couldn’t exactly place it. She couldn’t focus. Her blood ran like ice. She didn’t like the premonition she was getting. A knot formed in her throat and stomach, but she refused to say anything to Andy. She didn’t want to put a damper on his spirits. He looked forward to this hunting trip, and he didn’t get away from the farm very often. Yet, the foreboding feeling gnawed at her heart.
She couldn’t help remembering the cedar tree he’d planted in the front yard. Her mother’s superstition flashed through her mind’s eye. She’d told Andy about it, but he’d laughed and said, “We’ll see if I’m still around when this tree is old enough and big enough to shade my grave. I plan to still be here, and I’ll decorate this cedar each and every year for Christmas.
Andy took her riding to look at Christmas lights the weekend before the hunting trip. They rode to Albany, where she saw decorations each year that she called Lollipop Land. She brought a camera so she could take pictures.
“There’s Lollipop Land! Slow down, honey, so I’ll have a good view.”
Andy slowed the car to a near crawl as she snapped away He laughed at her. “You’re like a big kid at heart. You’ve got a twinkle in your eyes and a flush in your cheeks that’d make Santa jealous.”
She pointed and clapped her hands, blurting, “Oh, look how beautiful,” each time she spied a new area of decorations. Now that she had pictures she could enjoy the sights any time of year.
Back at the farm, a gaily decorated Christmas tree graced the front picture-window, facing the porch. The cedar tree Andy planted before Rod’s birth was also decorated. Just as Andy declared he would do, he decorated it each year. Each year, he had to add a few ornaments since the tree seemed to grow faster than normal, or so it seemed to June. She shivered at the difference in the tree’s growth every year. She couldn’t help remembering the cedar her own father planted, which stood on the other side of the yard. He’d transplanted the tree from a bucket into the yard the year he’d bought the farm. Before that, Bert had grown the tree planted in the bucket. Planting that tree and some azalea bushes in the backyard were the only two things he’d gotten to do to the farm before he died. Andy also decorated it each year. According to Myrtle, June’s father died when the tree grew big enough to shade his grave. Usually, June didn’t pay much attention to her mother’s superstitions, but for some reason, this one bothered her much more than the other ones ever had. Perhaps it was because she’d lost her own father one cold Christmas Day when she was only four years old.
June remembered her mom warning Andy again only last week as he decorated that tree. “Andy, if I were you, I’d be cutting that tree down instead of decorating it. It’s growing faster than a normal cedar tree usually does.” Myrtle shook her finger at him. “That’s not a good sign. You know what happened to June’s father. We don’t want to see history repeat itself.”
“Yes, Miss Myrtle, I know what happened to June’s father. He had bleeding ulcers. You women worry too much. I married into a family of worrywarts, but I love you both.” He grinned and tiptoed up to hang the last ornament on the tree.
Though June felt uneasy, she held her tongue. But as Andy’s trip neared she found it harder to stay silent.
The day of his trip, he kissed June goodbye and reassured her. “Don’t worry about me, dear. I’ll bring home the venison, and a rack worth mounting to grace our living room wall. It’ll look perfect over the fireplace.”
June clung to him and hated to let him go. She finally released him and watched him drive away in his old brown Chevy. He’d leave his truck parked at his mother’s house and go into the swamp in his pirogue. He brought enough supplies to last a weekend and a small dome tent. She eyed the pickup until it was out of sight and waved goodbye.
Two out of 20 Review for Southern Superstitions See others on book link,
Review for Southern Superstitions
Author, B. J. Robinson, is a Christian award-winning, multi-published author with four traditionally published novels as well as independently published short stories, novellas and novels. She writes from Florida with a golden cocker spaniel, golden retriever, and a shelter cat for company, blessed with a husband, children, and grandchildren. She’s an avid reader and passionate writer. Visit her at http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com
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Beautiful job and thanks so much for spotlighting me on your blog. Blessings and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! BJ Robinson
Glad to do it Barbara. May you have good success.
Love the ideas of the plantation series
Thanks. I’m glad to know this. 🙂
Looks like its going to be a good one. Cant wait for it to come out.
Thanks. Coming soon 🙂
Wow, I can’t wait to read this new book by BJ Robinson! I am a big fan and this new story line sounds exciting–thank you for spotlighting her–she’s amazing!
Thanks, Valerie. It’s coming very soon.
Thank you for this incredible interview. I enjoyed the first book of the Dead Lake series and have plans to read more of B.J.’s books. I reviewed it on Cardinal Bluff.
The connection with B.J. on social media has led to a friendship and realization of the real person writing the stories. I admire her spiritual stories and passion to write.
Thanks JudyAnn. I treasure your friendship. One of the best things about being an author is the connections you make and making new friends. Blessing. BJ
Loved the interview and the information on your books, Barbara. I look forward to reading more of your work. Inspirational messages in books are so encouraging to read. Blessings
Thanks, Shirley, and I admire yours, too. Blessings,
I love reading these books as i find christian history books interesting as they always have lots of secrets.
Thanks, Claire, lol Blessings, BJ
Wow….looks like a nice series. I don’t do historicals much any more I was doing those in my teens. I do one every now and then usually about cowboys….Congratulations on the series!!!!
Thanks, Elaine 🙂 Blessings, BJ
Wow.. I love this post and author B.J Robinson is absolutely one of my Favorite authors. Her books are top notch and always always keep me wanting more.. Thanks for sharing with us.
Thanks so much, Kim. I’m so glad you enjoy them. Blessings, BJ
Thank You Russell Sherrard in spotlighting B.J.Robinson. Loved this interview. Can’t wait to start read this great looking book. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Tina 🙂 Blessings, BJ
Great spotlight! I love learning more about the authors I read.
I love the idea of this novel. I was hooked right away.
Thanks for the opportunity!
Thanks for stopping by, Andi, and I’m so glad to know it hooked you right away. Blessings.BJ
Barbara, Best wishes on your new release. June
Thanks June, and thanks for stopping by. Blessings. BJ
I love reading good clean Christian Historical novels. And this one sounds so very good.
Thanks, Juanita. I’ve been working hard on the final touches today. Blessings, BJ
Fantastic interview. I look forward to reading River Oaks Plantation! I love all of your books!
Thanks so much for your support, Rita, and I’m so glad to know you love them all and have really read them. You’re a blessing to others, and here’s to blessings for success with yours as well. BJ
Wow, it’s been a pleasure. Lots of great comments. I’ll announce a winner this evening.
Am I too late fir the contest? I enjoyed reading this blog about to author–it is always a pleasure to learn more about authors, especially when find one am not familiar to me. Barbara, you sound a lot like me and your upcoming books sound wonderful–it would be a pleasure to read either or both of them. Thanks for sharing your heart for writing and a bit of these upcoming books. And enjoy your Christmas and New Years.
Thanks, so very much,Vicki, and no, you’re not too late. I said I’d post the winner this evening. It’s great to meet another reader, and I so enjoy readers I can connect with. Blessings and may you and your loved ones have a Merry Christmas. BJ
And the winners are Vicki, JudyAnn, Kim, and Rita. Please message me with your email so I can send you copies when they’re ready. I’m friends with Kim, JudyAnn, and Rita, so your messages won’t go to the other folder. Vicki, I just sent you a friend request. It’s always great to make new friends. Thanks everyone so very much for visiting and commenting. I enjoyed connecting with readers. Blessings and have a Merry Christmas. Russell, thanks for having me. God bless us all.
Congrats winners. Lovely interview.