Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My name is David-Matthew Barnes. I’m an author, playwright, poet, and screenwriter. I write in multiple genres, primarily young adult, romance, thriller, and horror. To date, I have written twelve novels, five produced screenplays, three collections of poetry, seven short stories, and more than sixty stage plays.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My newest book is actually a re-release of my contemporary romance novel ‘Ambrosia.’ After being out of print for 15 years, the novel is getting a second life in paperback and eBook. The novel is set in Chicago, which is my favorite city. In the book, a woman named Tina Duncan is dumped by her musician boyfriend on the night of her 30th birthday and is left with nothing. From that moment on, Tina becomes determined to improve the quality of her life. Along the way she falls in love with a wonderful man named Oliver. I was inspired to write the novel after a co-worker of mine shared stories with me about horrific dates she survived while being a singe woman.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I have many, including creating a playlist for every project that I listen to while I’m writing. I’m greatly influenced by music and the poetry of it. Also, when I’m writing a novel I keep a composition book solely for that story. During the creative process, I always have it within reach to jot down notes, ideas, questions about plot or characters, or even reminders of story elements I need to revisit in a later chapter.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Growing up, I read everything written by Judy Blume, Lois Duncan, and Norma Fox Mazer. Collectively, those three authors have influenced my work more than any other. To that list, I would also add Jane Austen, Tennessee Williams, and Dorothy Parker. I read many genres, but mostly memoir, young adult, and thriller.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently finishing the final draft of a holiday-themed romance called ‘The Everlasting Gift.’ After that, I’ll be working on a dance-themed romance called ‘Dance Break.’ I’m also working on a new stage play called ‘I Bet She Has a Party to Go To.’
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Two methods have helped my books find readers: word-of-mouth and librarians. Many of my readers tell their friends and relatives about my books, which I am very grateful for. I am also forever thankful to librarians (especially high school librarians) who have recommended my books to readers. I also love connecting with readers through social media. Their feedback is always very helpful.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write every day. Set a word count goal for yourself and work towards that. The words you write don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be written. You are the only one who can tell your story. It belongs to you and only you, so own it. Believe in your ability to tell a great story. Don’t let anyone deter you from writing. Most importantly: study your craft.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
One of my college professors told me in order to have a successful writing career, you have to treat it like an airport: you need to have something boarding, taking off, and landing constantly.
What are you reading now?
I love vintage gothic romance novels, especially those written in the 50’s and 60’s because of the awesome cover art during that era. I’m reading one right now called ‘Carnavaron’s Castle’ by Jean Francis Webb. It’s good stuff!
What’s next for you as a writer?
I plan to continue writing and publishing my work and sharing it with my wonderful readers. Within the next year, I have many new releases planned. It’s an exciting time for me as a writer.
What is your favorite book of all time?
After I read ‘Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man’ by Fannie Flagg, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I was eight. The novel is filled with humor, compelling characters, and a tremendous amount of heart and soul.