Genalea Barker

Genalea has an Associate’s Degree in English Literature and a deep-seated passion for stories which highlight mental health and body positivity. Her short fiction has been recognized by Idaho Creative Authors Network, Idaho Writers Guild, and Women on Writing. Select works have been published with Bookends Review, Grande Dame Literary, Gemini Magazine, and Writers in the Attic: Rupture.

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Do you have a writing routine? Where and when do you write?

I’m a busy mom to four young children, so my “routine” is mainly to write whenever I have both the time and brain power to do so. Usually late at night after everyone is in bed, and occasionally during the school day when I only have my toddler at home with me. 

Do you have any patterns or rituals associated with your writing time?

Not particularly, though I do like to have something caffeinated nearby, especially if I’m on a tight deadline, or working on tedious edits. Chocolate helps, too. 😉

What do you do when you hit a wall with your writing?

Typically, take some time off to read during what would normally be my “writing time.” Often times immersing myself in someone else’s words will help my boggled brain relax and find the right words again. Other times, I’ll change gears, so to speak. If I hit a wall with a full-length manuscript, I might take time out to write a short story, personally essay, or blog post. 

Do you plan your book in advance (plotting and outlining) or are you a “discovery writer” (AKA “writing into the dark”)? Or are you somewhere in between?

Though I fall somewhere between being a “plotter” and a “pantser”, I do lean a little more toward figuring it out as I go. I always reach a point with my plotting where I can’t do it anymore and I just need to see where my characters take me. 

What’s the last book you read that made you go “wow!”?

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

What book or author do you find yourself recommending and why?

I often find myself recommending Kelly deVos, a Young Adult author. Her books feature a lot of body positivity, which I think is very important for readers of all ages, but especially young readers. 

What’s on your To Be Read pile?

Currently: We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz, The Secret Cure by JD Spero, and about ten others. 

What advice do you have for readers?

Only read the books you want to. It’s okay to not finish a book you really hoped you would like. Always, always, always leave a review, especially if you finish a book by an indie author, and NEVER return an eBook after you read it. 

What author, past or present, would you wish to have a long conversation with? Why?

Laurie Halse Anderson. Her books were some of the first that truly burrowed into my soul and made me realize I wanted to be an author one day. I’d love to talk process and inspiration with her, sure, but mostly I’d just love to thank her. 

Do you have early memories of reading or writing you’d like to share?

When I was in first grade, my parents brought home our first computer. One of the first things I learned to do was create “books” using the Paint program. The “illustrations” were truly terrible, but it didn’t stop me from printing those “books” out and reading them to my entire class at school. I’m so grateful to those teachers who indulged me. 

What books and/or authors have most influenced you as an author?

Laurie Halse Anderson, Kathleen Glasgow, Kelly deVos, Ashley Woodfolk

What do you most enjoy about being a writer? What do you least enjoy about being a writer?

I love the catharsis of being able to give a character exactly what they deserve. I least enjoy that place about 2/3 of the way through a manuscript where I know what I want to happen and how it will influence the final outcome of the book, but I don’t quite now how to make it happen. 

What would you tell a new writer?

Find good writer friends and critique partners, and don’t be afraid to share your work and accept feedback. It’s how you’ll grow. 

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