Get ready to learn more about the book Indiscretions in this discussion with sapphic author Barbara Winkes.
Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Barbara Winkes about Indiscretions, writing, reading, and more.
This book is part of the Opposites Attract category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.
Why did you write Indiscretions?
It’s a classic serial killer thriller with a sapphic detective romance, all elements I love in a book.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
Jordan Carpenter is definitely one of my all-time favorite characters. She has overcome considerable odds over the years, much of it thanks to her relationship with Ellie who is the sunshine to her grumpy. I can identify with that to some extent!
What inspired the idea for Indiscretions?
An episode of HGTV’s House Hunters. A couple visiting a house found a creepy trap door under a carpet, and… my brain went from there.
If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?
The sequel already exists, a number of them, actually! I’m about to release #16 in the Carpenter/Harding series. Jordan and Ellie have come a long way from their messy lives in Indiscretions, though there are still challenges. Some premises have changed for them professionally, and they have a family to protect. Lucky for them, they can always rely on their closest friends.
What is your writing process like?
I used to be a pantser, but these days, I usually have my outline ready before I start a book. It saves me time, and I’ve learned that no matter how detailed it is, the characters will still surprise me at some point! Outlining is not my favorite part, but I do it because I know it helps me not to get stuck so often later.
Where do you usually write, and what do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
I have my office that we redid only a few months ago. I need a semi-clear desk and as few distractions as possible.
When you’re writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?
Music can help with that if the emotion works, or more, my interpretation thereof. They lyrics don’t necessarily have to fit. But usually I find conflict and emotional scenes easier to write than the between. This is when the writing flows.
What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?
I never really asked myself that… Often they appear out of nowhere, with their thoughts and emotions all there, and I fill in the backstory and tie it all together. Mapping out scenes, spending a lot of time with the character, helps. I get impatient sometimes, but it takes the time it takes.
Do you feel bad putting your characters through the wringer?
I feel slightly guilty, but on the other hand, those emotional scenes are some of the most rewarding, so it’s a bit of both. But I did feel bad about something I did in book #11 of the series (readers who have read this one will know what I’m talking about). I still feel uneasy when I read over that part.
What type of books do you enjoy reading the most?
Detectives. Investigators. I read Nancy Drew-type books as a child and moved to adult detective/crime fiction from there. Before I discovered sapphic fiction, I was already always seeking out female detectives. For me, there’s something deeply rewarding about seeing a woman, even more so, a queer woman, in a position of power. Sapphic love interests make it even better.
Do you only read books in one genre or do you genre hop?
In recent years I have read more romance, some YA and women’s fiction (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo prompted a Taylor Jenkins Reid reading spree, because I was intrigued by her style). I always return “home” though!