Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Book Tour + #Giveaway: Parallel Secrets by ML Barrs @RABTBookTours


Date Published: 9/25/23

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

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After a young girl goes missing, former TV crime reporter Vicky Robeson joins the search with the help of her attractive new love interest. They take his RV to a tiny town in rural Missouri that's filled with odd characters and darker secrets. But Vicky has secrets of her own. She believes this kidnapped girl may be linked to a case she reported on nine years ago, when a mystery child was found walking on levee, bloody and unable to speak. Back then, Vicky failed to follow up clues only she knew. Now, she has a chance to redeem herself. As she uncovers secrets, it becomes clear someone will kill to keep them hidden.

 Interview with ML Barrs

    How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

    I’ve written two and a half books: a memoir, Life, Interrupted which is still a WIP; a mystery, Parallel Secrets; and I’m halfway through its sequel. PS is my favorite because it’s out in the world and getting excellent reviews. I love my characters.

    If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

    Former TV crime reporter Vicky Robeson returns to the scene of her childhood trauma to continue her search for understanding about how her life was so disastrously changed. She gets caught up in the malevolent activities of members of The Colony and faces mortal danger as she tries to rescue its captives.

    Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

    Each book stands alone, but there is continuity between them.

    How did you come up with the title for your book?

    I took a writing class through PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association). The teacher, PNWA President Pam Binder, challenged us to come up with three titles for our book on the spot. Parallel Secrets popped into my mind. The title actually helped shape the book.

    How long did it take you to write this book?

    About a year, spread out over four years. 😊 A pandemic and two years of fulltime babysitting granddaughters slowed me down.

    What does the title mean?

    All our lives run parallel to others,’ and when people keep secrets, seemingly unrelated, random events have unanticipated consequences.

    What did you learn when writing the book?

    I learned the importance of clear POV—my first draft had so much head-hopping even I got confused sometimes.

    What surprised you the most?

    After writing and editing news stories for decades, I thought writing fiction would be easy—just make stuff up, right? Not so. I was surprised that it’s simpler to tell a story that is outlined by real events than to invent situations where everything has to tie together.

    Have you ever killed off a character your readers loved?

    Not yet, but I’ve been tempted.

    What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

    It’s easier with some characters than others. Vicky’s background has some similarities with mine, and I’ve thought about her for years while I was still working. I already lived in her head. Most people have some physical mannerisms or characteristics that at least partly reflect who they are, what kind of person they are. I pictured real life people I’ve encountered and built my characters’ personas based on them. I used dialogue to express those personas whenever possible because people’s choice of words and how or whether they use them are so telling. Ya gotta watch out for the quiet ones!

  About the Author

ML Barrs ran TV newsrooms for years, guiding and managing the content and production of more than eight hours of live newscasts a day.

In her debut novel, Parallel Secrets, protagonist Vicky Robeson shares that kind of experience as well as the author’s passion for justice, especially when it comes to the safety and well-being of children and other vulnerable people.

ML Barrs grew up one of thirteen children—the first girl, with three older brothers—a birth order she believes shaped her essence by the time she was eight. A girl’s gotta be a bit pugnacious to get along in that environment. Amid the chaos of fourteen people living in a mobile home (not a double-wide), she turned fifteen, dropped out of school and ran away from home.

Being homeless, then working minimum wage jobs quickly grew old. She earned her GED and went to college, where she met and married the father of their two grown children. After a successful career as a television news director and general manager, she decided that what she really wanted to do is write mysteries. Parallel Secrets will be published September 2023, and its sequel is in the works.


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