I believe that everyone has a story to tell, and I recently had the pleasure of talking with news personality Mike Hoss of Hoss Communications, who seems to believe the same thing. Mike was interested in what inspires me to write my novels and how I find the time to write while working as a lawyer. This video interview is the end result.
To tell my story, Mike started at one of my favorite places in the French Quarter, the showroom and museum of Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights. The video also shows Lafayette Square in downtown New Orleans, where an unfortunate post-Hurricane Katrina event provided the first seeds of inspiration for the continuing character in my novels, Black Raven Private Security Contractors. The video also shows my home office, where I love to write.
See the transcript of the interview, below:
Mike: Stella Barcelona is a New Orleans girl, but she strolls through the French Quarter’s iconic Bevolo Gas Lights like a tourist, taking it all in, every detail. It might not look like it, but she’s working. Stella is an author with 3 books in circulation. A 4th, Concierge, to be released soon, and 5 and 6 on a notepad somewhere, or in her head.
Stella: I like to have a story running in the back of my mind. All the time. It just makes the days better.
That all started when she was 6 or 7 years old and her mom gave the introvert, in a large family of extroverts, a book. She read it and never stopped.
Anything I could get my hands on. Anything!
She loved romance and suspense-filled thrillers and reading became an escape, not from something, but to a different place.
I think it’s always been an escape into a daydream world. I love the act of shutting out the world and opening a book for hours.
And by the time she was 12, that voracious reading had opened a new door.
I can write this. I did. I knew it. I could. I could, I knew it, but I didn’t know how to get started.
But like many dreams of a 12-year-old, Stella didn’t get started, but life did. And after Loyola Law School, Lafayette Square would become her world. First, with a private law firm, then nearly two years with the US Attorney’s office, and now full time with the Federal Court System. But through it all, Stella kept her creative writing dream alive.
I took classes, I went to seminars, I went to conferences, got books on writing.
She’s been inspired by other successful authors, such as Tina DeSalvo and Cherry Adair, who’ve also become great friends. One common denominator she’s learned is there’s no substitute for hard work. Stella uses a phrase she attributes to Cherry Adair, who teaches writers when she says,
Get your “butt in the chair” and do it. If that’s your dream, do it. Every day, sit in a chair and try to write every day.
And she did, and the pages finally happened. And Lafayette Square, again, would play an integral part in her life. She and her husband got back into the city, early after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans at the time was mostly deserted and dark. And one night she took her two dogs, at the time, to Lafayette Square for a walk.
And I was alone with them and it was silly because I shouldn’t have been there. Not even the birds had returned to the Square. It was scary.
And out of the darkness, Stella noticed two men, who began to walk towards her.
And I got really scared. I was about ready to turn and run and out of nowhere this man approached me, a young man, and he said “You’re fine. I’ve got you.”
The man coming to her aid, as the other two men turned away, was an armed private security guard contracted to help protect the city after the storm. But to Stella, he was much more. He would become the paramilitary figure, continuing characters she’d been searching for in her novels.
And that’s when my Black Raven guys were born.
Her first Black Raven series book “Deceived” set in her beloved New Orleans came out in 2014 and was well-received and fueled her inner fire for more.
It’s amazing. You know, if writing is like this wonderful walk on the beach, then hearing from readers is the surf sound that goes with it.
“Shadows” came out a year later, “Jigsaw” a year after that, with “Concierge” due out later this year. They are stand alone novels to be read in any order, but characters in the series will flow from book to book.
I say they’re thrillers with heat and heart.
None of them likely delivered by this award-winning author were it not for these two desks in her home office. While sitting at one, life seemed to always get in the way.
The next thing you’re paying bills and opening mail and it just messes with my writing time.
So now Stella, with her two Papillon dogs by her side, begins each day between 4 and 5 am at her writing desk only, music blaring into her ear pods, thankfully for her sleeping husband, hoping to get a few hours in before her federal court job. Stella works social media and her website religiously doing everything she can to find new readers to maybe someday write full time. And that’s part of what drives her.
I’ve got to work hard at producing a better book each year. But give me time, I’m going to get there. I’m going to make myself get there.
The other motivator is that little girl who picked up a book and it changed her life.
I think I really owe it to the young girl I once was to fulfill the dream. She wanted to be an author, and it feels good to be doing that.
If you enjoyed learning about author Stella Barcelona and want to know more, take a look at her Ask Stella feature or send her an email. Visit the book pages of her site for excerpts, book club discussion questions, and information on where to purchase her novels.