Guest Author: Stella Barcelona
I first heard of my guest author today at an RT Convention in New Orleans, her home city, as she was fundraising alongside Tina DeSalvo and Cherry Adair for the fight against breast cancer. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to meet her.
It hasn’t been until very recently that I heard she had a new title being released and looked up her website. Instantly, when I read about her inspiration to write her Black Raven series, my attention was seized. Reading more, I learned that her books are packed with romance, action, mystery, thrills and are described as having “intelligent protagonists” who “face dark adversaries” and that she loves many of my favourite authors. In fact two of my favourite authors gave her a great wrap.
“Deceived brings history to life in a suspenseful, contemporary tale that sends the protagonists on a research trip to a past close to their hearts. Barcelona’s debut book brings an excellent author to the fore; the intrigue blends beautifully with the romance.” – Heather Graham, New York Times Bestselling Author
“Barcelona writes for those of us who want intelligent protagonists and an intriguing mystery.” – Cherry Adair, New York Times Bestselling Author
Then, there was an RT Book Reviews summary that spoke about her book SHADOWS as being a “smart techno-thriller with a steamy and surprisingly touching love story between two characters who are both torn between duty and desire” with high stakes “in the midst of a tangled, dangerous and well-plotted escapade.”
RT Book Reviews also praised her title JIGSAW as an “emotional roller coaster of a novel that leaves your breathless. Intelligently written, the plot is both edgy and intense.”
Unfortunately, my current deadlines for my next two contracted novels, and my balance of work and family life has made it impossible for me to get to any of these titles yet, but after reading up on them, I have a burning desire to get to them as quickly as possible. I’m doing the next best thing and hosting Stella Barcelona as my guest author today ahead of her October 30th release.
Welcome Stella! Thank you for being here and I can only say that I wish life had allowed me to already read your Black Raven Series because I’m sure I’m going to love it. I’m directing readers to your site https://stellabarcelona.com/about-stella/ to read your story post Hurricane Katrina and how you were inspired to write this story. It really gripped me.
Hi Alyssa –
Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog! Thank you, also, for directing readers to my site and for your interest in my novels.
Can you tell us about your upcoming release IMAGINE and tell us whether it posed any particular challenges for you to write?
I’d love to tell you about IMAGINE. The novel is a continuation of my Black Raven Private Security Contractor series, but, like the other novels in the series, it is a stand-alone story. The books can be read in any order.
IMAGINE takes place on a luxury cruise ship, a few days before Christmas, in the dark waters of the South China Sea. Sylvia Leon (Leo) and Adam Evans (Ace)—two best friends—are part of Black Raven’s on-board team of undercover agents, providing security for a high-stakes tournament for some of the world’s wealthiest gamblers.
Ace and Leo’s friends-to-lovers journey begins with an “accidental” kiss. Once they’re on board the cruise ship, Leo is intent on ignoring their kiss, and what it might mean, while Ace is hell bent on confronting the feelings that inspired it. With the chemistry between them reaching a boiling point, a team of kidnappers seizes the cruise ship. Leo and Ace are forced to operate in stealth mode in an attempt to save the passengers. As danger escalates, the question becomes – will anyone aboard IMAGINE live to see Christmas? And, will the dire circumstances aboard IMAGINE force Ace and Leo to recognize their feelings for one another?
To answer your question whether IMAGINE presented particular challenges, the answer is a resounding yes! Characterization was different for this story as compared to my other novels, as this is the first story where both of the main characters are Black Raven agents. This is also the first story in the series that is a “friends to lovers” story. I had to remember to tell Leo and Ace’s story in a way that explained the reasons for their great friendship, in addition to their deeper feelings for one another, while managing a tight time line with the occurrences on the cruise ship.
In addition to characterization, like all of my novels, some of the subject areas that I cover in the story required research. For IMAGINE, some research topics were playing craps, details of a cruise ship engine room, and throwing a flash bang grenade. Learning how to play craps was especially fun – while I was writing the beginning of the story, which includes a casino scene, my husband and I happened to attend a casino party. I parked myself at the craps table for a few hours. I had fun throwing the dice and placing bets, and I’m happy to report that I walked away a winner!
As well as being an author, you’ve been a history teacher, a prior assistant US Attorney and a litigator in private practice. Obviously your knowledge of the law is very useful for the types of novels you write. What made you decide to make the change from teaching to studying and practicing law?
My father went to law school and, for a variety of reasons, he constantly encouraged me to continue my education. Because of him, I taught for one year, then went to law school. Going to law school was a great experience for me, and I remain thankful to my father for leading me down that path. However, I really enjoyed teaching and, one day, I’d like to return to the school environment in some capacity. I especially love the middle school age, which was my area of focus as a teacher.
Is there any one of your heroines who resonates most strongly with you?
Interesting question! At first, I thought it would be easy to answer, but it isn’t, because there are certain traits of all of my heroines that resonate with me. To be really honest, the traits aren’t always flattering – in me, or my characters! Here’s a snapshot of some character traits of my heroines with which I identify:
Taylor, from DECEIVED, is a young, naïve attorney. She has an incessant curiosity, similar to how I was as a new attorney. Skye, from SHADOWS, has an undying love for her sister, with which I can relate; I have two sisters and I’d do anything for them. Skye takes this trait to the extreme; her protectiveness results in decisions that aren’t always beneficial. Sam, from JIGSAW, is a tough-as-nails lawyer with a sensitive inner core that is easily wounded. Her sensitivity causes her to present a really tough exterior to the world, and I can certainly relate to that trait! Andi, from CONCIERGE, is an artist who sees the world differently than others. Of course, as an author, I can relate to that part of Andi’s character. Finally, Leo, from IMAGINE, has a single-minded focus and a strong drive to succeed – both traits that I understand.
If you could host three famous people (living or deceased but not authors) to a dinner party, who would you invite?
My answer to this question can change from moment to moment. Because I love to create strong heroines, and I’m constantly searching for inspiration, as of today, I’d invite: United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Actress Jamie Lee Curtis; and Poet (and so much more) Maya Angelou.
I can’t really imagine how I’d hold a conversation with these three women at once, or what kind of food they would eat at a dinner party, but, I like to think that I’d actually be able to chat with them about their journeys and how they found strength to overcome challenges. I’m betting their wisdom would be beneficial not only in my own personal life, but also for creating fantastic heroines who incorporate some of their magic.
My questions wouldn’t all be serious – for some reason, right now, I’m dying to ask each of them about their favorite comfort food, and whether, like me, there are times in their life when they need comfort food. I REALLY want to know if they’d sit down and devour a platter of crunchy French fries with me! J.
What’s next for you as an author?
Ace and Leo’s story is continuing in the next Black Raven novel, INSERTION. Right now, though, I’m focusing on pulling together the last few production items for IMAGINE. I’m so glad you asked this question, because it reminds me to tell your readers that I’ll be running a fantastic giveaway at stellabarcelona.com to celebrate IMAGINE’s October 30, 2018, release. The giveaway will run in the first week of November and it includes a Kindle Oasis, along with other fun items.
Thank you so much for being my guest today, Stella. I’ll make sure I find you at NOLA at the Booklovers Con in May and by then, will definitely have read your novels! Meanwhile, I hope I’ve introduced you to a large group of readers who’ll be able to add you to their favourite author list!
Alyssa – thanks again for hosting me on your blog. I really appreciate the opportunity to meet you and your readers!
For more information about Stella, visit her website: https://stellabarcelona.com/
Thanks for visiting the blog today. I hope you’ll join me next Saturday when I host one of Stella’s friends, Tina DeSalvo. Until then, Happy Reading!
Alyssa J. Montgomery
About the Blogger:
Alyssa J. Montgomery is an Australian contemporary romance author who is published by Escape Publishing (Harlequin Enterprises, Australia). She also
writes medieval romance as Alyssa James,