After years in the corporate world, Royal Oak-based author, Barbara Pietron, found herself with a chance at a second career. Inspired by a lifetime love of reading, and with a background in technical writing, she decided to pursue a career as a writer. Beginning by writing nonfiction magazine pieces, she achieved both regional and national publication before trying her hand at her true passion–fiction.
Gravitating toward stories with supernatural elements, both when reading and writing, all of her novels thus far are urban fantasy. Her books are classified as young adult, yet they are enjoyed by many adults as well. Barbara’s first novel, Thunderstone (Legacy in Legend Book One), was nominated for 2013 Book of the Year by ForewardReviews and was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, winning a review by Publisher’s Weekly. Since then she’s released Soulshifter, a stand-alone novel, along with other Legacy in Legend novels: Veiled Existence (Book Two) and Heart of Ice (Prequel). She is currently working on Legacy in Legend Book Three.
BMN: What was the first thing you ever remember writing about and how old were you at the time?
Barbara: When I was in high school I wrote a lot of angsty and dark poems, mostly about relationships—and many of them read like song lyrics. Very teenager!
BMN: What prevented you from pursuing a career as an author earlier in your life?
Barbara: Growing up, it never occurred to me that I could pursue a career in the arts. It just… wasn’t on my radar. Careers were things like engineering, accounting, business, etc.
BMN: What finally prompted you to shift from a corporate work experience into a creative one?
Barbara: Well, I survived cancer, which taught me a lot about living. So when my company downsized and wiped out my department, I decided I should spend my time doing something I was really enthusiastic about. Books have always been my number one passion, so I got a job in a library and I started to write.
BMN: What is it about the supernatural that fascinates you?
Barbara: The possibilities! There are things in life that can’t be explained away with logic, and I love that. I want to believe in magic. I think the commonalities in mythology around the world are very intriguing, and the little bits of truth behind legends interest me too. It’s that kind of stuff that fuels my stories.
BMN: Who are the authors whose work you most admire?
Barbara: Stephen King – He’s all around amazing, but particularly, he’s the master of building characters readers care about. I love Anne Rice novels because she’s great at creating a mystic mood and her sympathetic, romantic vampires are still my favorites. My top urban fantasy authors are Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, Rachel Caine and Cassandra Clare. I often read one of their novels when I need a creative boost. J.K. Rowling! Yes, I am very much a Potterhead.
BMN: What is your trick for getting through the inevitable bouts of writer’s block that every author seems to face?
Barbara: Aside from reading other books for inspiration, I typically will do research to spark ideas. I’ll get books out of the library on things like mythology or witchcraft. I’ve also read quite a few books about the Mississippi River for my Legacy in Legend series.
BMN: What advice do you have for aspiring writers who have yet to take the leap?
Barbara: Write the story that you want to tell; that you must tell. Make it the best it can be before you put it out into the world. Develop a thick skin. Let money, fame, and bestseller lists take a backseat to the fact that you get to share your story with readers—you’ll be much happier that way.