Genre: Mature YA
Word Count: 39,000
Cover Artist: Photo by Aleshyn Andrei. Cover design by Barbara Morgenroth
“You tell and next time you won’t even be able to crawl away.”
Neal Marchal lived with this threat for the next eight years. When she finds her neighbor murdered, she knows who did it. The why is the secret the family has been keeping forever. The reminder to never reveal the secret is her limp.
She rebuilt her life and now Neal has everything to live for—music, performing and a growing affection for the young man who pulled her to safety.
Then Joe comes home. Neal knows Joe’s going to finish what he started 8 years ago because she told. But this time Neal vows the outcome will be different.
1) Try to describe the book in one sentence.
Bad Apple--Like a bottle of spilled ink, one act of evil can spread through years and lifetimes, impacting many people as the darkness leaches outward in an ever widening pool but, ultimately, repair is very possible.
2) Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?
Not at school! Neither in high school or college did anyone get what I was doing or trying to do. In college, my professor compared me to the “best writer” in the creative writing class. I can still remember his story about a guy taking a shower and pushing spaghetti down the drain with his toes. I am so waiting for his bestselling novel, and waiting and waiting.
Every once in a while you get just the boost you need and because, typically, it’s quite a rare occurrence, you’re extremely grateful and humbled.
3) Do you read reviews written about your book?
They’re rather unavoidable and can be awfully good feedback. Some years back, I received a review on my middle reader novel, Impossible Charlie, now titled Dream Horse, and it was described as “an easily consumed confection.” It was memorably accurate. I’ve been brought to tears by lovely, heartfelt reviews, how a book touched someone personally, how it helped them through a difficult time in their life. An emotional connection like that makes it all worthwhile.
4) Did you always have it in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?
I always knew serious writing was in my future, once I had all my adventures out of the way. After being a photography major in college, I had a stable and was teaching horseback riding when the owner decided he wanted to use the property for something else. Suddenly, my timeline was massively compressed. What I thought I would do later in life, became what I would do right then.
5) Why did you choose the genre you write in?
I’ve written in a number of genres for a number of age-groups, as well as daytime television. I don’t think there’s another genre besides Young Adult where you can tackle important life issues the way you can in YA. I receive emails from readers saying how much they appreciate the depth and significance of the stories and characters that they’re not finding elsewhere. I’m very happy where I am now but that’s not to say I don’t do other genres and age-groups, too. Indie publishing makes that possible whereas writers were not, and still are not, allowed to do that in tradition publishing. This is freedom.
6) What inspired you to write, you took any ideas from other books, movies etc?
Ideas come from all over but I can’t remember being inspired by a book or movie.
Bad Apple had two sources of inspiration. One was that I have a neighbor who presses apples into apple cider.
The other was the murder of an acquaintance and I was very involved in the aftermath. They thought I had to be a part of the crime since I called the police to say something was wrong. Like on television, I was brought into the police station, Mirandized, and questioned. At the same time, the murderer had been caught and was being questioned by the police elsewhere. He could have gotten away with it; it was a close thing.
In the aftermath, I tried to put the pieces together, to understand the why of the tragedy. Bad Apple is partially an attempt to give the audience the same experience.
So the answer is that life inspires me. In trying to tell the story, I’m trying to say something about the nature of life.
7) What book is currently on your nightstand?
Gee, there are so many books on my nightstand sometimes I worry that it’ll break.
I mostly read non-fiction in paper, and fiction on my Kindle or Nook.
Right now, I’m reading a non-fiction book about a portrait photographer in Hollywood during the Silent Era. Her name was Ruth Harriet Louise and she had a wonderful eye for light and shadows, drama, beauty. So much of photography is seeing the right moment to take the shot. Louise was blessed with that ability. I love photography and that’s why Kip Chanin in my YA Flash is a photographer.
8) How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?
I adore the readers who go to the trouble to contact me. They come to my blog or my Facebook page, and are so supportive and so patient while they wait for Bad Apple 4--Parked. I named a character in Unheard after Angela. A character in Bittersweet Farm 2 will be named after Kelly so I’m looking forward to that. We share something—the Bad Apple series. It’s like watching the same soap opera. You immediately share the same experience with a stranger so you’re not unknown to each other.
Someone commented on my blog yesterday about Mounted and wanted to know when Book 2 in that series will be published. I was thrilled to hear from Sam and told her the scene I was working on yesterday evening.
I love the enthusiasm and the commitment to the books my readers feel.
9) If I give you a time machine, what time period and in what place would you travel to?
So easy! The 1920’s either New York City or Hollywood or both. I love the Jazz Era and love the Silent Era of film. Hollywood was never so open to women working in the industry as it was before sound. I think I would have made a good screenwriter and would have adored Los Angeles and California in the 1920s. It had to be like paradise.
10) Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?
I’m currently working on Bittersweet Farm 2—Joyful Spirit. As soon as that’s completed, as promised, Bad Apple 4-Parked will be written. Bittersweet 2 will probably be out in February 2013. I may write fast but I don’t think fast.
About the Author:
Barbara was born in New York City and but now lives somewhere else. By now, she thinks of herself as a country girl and knows more about gardening and animals than how to ride the subway.
Starting her career by writing tweens and YA books, (and did the cover photography for her first two books published by Atheneum so continuing to do the covers to her ebooks is predictable), she was actually aiming at the small screen. Television seemed like the perfect place for her even if she had no clue how to get there. Life is funny and often presents opportunities. Advice--Grab Them! Through a neighbor, Barbara wound up getting an introduction to a lower honcho at ABC and an audition to write for them. Her hopes were more than dashed, they were disintegrated, evaporated, demolished when ABC couldn't find a place for Barbara on General Hospital. (No Luke and Laura in her future!) To ease the crushing disappointment, Barbara wrote “In Real Life I'm Just Kate” about a 17 year old girl who becomes a star on a soap opera. That became an open sesame moment and shortly thereafter Barbara became the last headwriter for NBC's daytime serial, The Doctors, where she was ordered by the network to kill Alec Baldwin, shooting him not once but twice. With two different guns. From different directions.
Ah, good times.
You can read the book that started Barbara’s television career as the Kindle YA ebook, “Just Kate”, now with a substantial tweak because living life made her smarter.
You can also read about some could-be-hers-could-be-rumors experiences gleaned during Barbara’s stint in daytime television in the Kindle romantic comedy, In Under My Head. Barbara is a recipient of a Writers Guild of America Best Writing Award for her work on One Life To Live.
Whether you're looking for a Mature YA or a romantic comedy, Barbara has a book for you!