Barbara Froman says she grew up in the sticks of Oklahoma about twenty years behind the rest of the country. Her parents and grandparents told her stories about the one room school house a few miles from her. After hearing the tales, she was relieved the school was closed by he time she was ready to attend. She was bused to schools about ten miles from her home. Closing the school changed the community. There were no more Christmas dinners of Valentine dances. She missed the get-togethers in spite of being, as she says, "a snotty little squirt. "
The school she attended was in a college town where she was exposed to different races, religions, and cultures. As a kid, she thought nothing of the differences and as a result was blessed with diverse experiences, unique
1. When and how do you write?
Someday, somewhere someone will do a study and confirm that a full moon affects certain brains. I'll proudly wear the button that says, "I wax and wane with the moon." It is common to find me in the thin hours of the night at the keyboard under a bright moon. The house is quiet. The crows are quiet, and my surroundings are dark, so I can't see dust or laundry or the nagging chores I should be doing. I wear headphones and play instrumentals to match the scenes I'm working on. But NO LYRICS. I can't think while lyrics play in the background. I'm trying something new. I have inspirational pictures taped around me: a hidden lair, an eagle talons-out, a face full of joy, reminders to go a little deeper, tap into more to get it on the page.
2. What do you write about?
Change. Not because it's a personal creed, but because it's always stomping and kicking the slats out from under me. I frequently bumble adapting to it. My first series was "The Stories of the Lutheran Ladies Circle." The women argue their way through every event. I couch the traditions, change and getting along in humor. Letters came to me from readers telling me they knew the women in my stories, worked with the women, and at times were these women. The books are written under Kris Knorr. For the Two Pan series, I used my name, B.K. Froman. The stories are set in ranches in eastern Oregon and are about developing vacation only homes and how the culture is changed with the mix of the community with lots of humor and my secret addiction - cusswords. My dad had a lyrical quality and creative syntax in his cussing. I hear it in my stories. It's a struggle because my mother scorched my brain saying intelligent people found more descriptive words. I don't use C-words, F-words, or use the Lord's name. Thankfully, my editor slashes my drafts and not to many curses make it to the final version.
3. How long does it take you to write a book?
Haha hahhahahaha! This is the best question yet. I have two drafts in a drawer. They may NEVER see the desktop again. I've written to others during National Write a Novel in a Month. Wow, they were full of holes. It forces a person to write. It broke that nasty witch-voice in my head that likes to visit at night and taunt, "Nobody wants to read about this" of "This is crap" or "There so many better writers out there. Why are you doing this?" I love research and spend quite while on it. Some books take longer than others. Like everyone else, I have crazy busy times and slower times. The more I take care of myself, the more things I learn and the more I write. I'm often kinder and less critical of others than I am to myself. That, too, is changing.
4. What do you want readers to take away from your books.?
HOPE. That's it. That's all. I try to put readers in a situation to learn something new they didn't know before, but with every book that's been published, I send up a prayer. "May this find the person who needs it and give them what they need." I think we're all on the same road--and we're all learning to deal with change. We're together in this.
5. What do you do when you're not writing?
I stand around a lot, looking at things. That's the most accurate summary. I look at my garden and wonder what possessed me to plant so many tomatoes. And where are those boogery squirrels coming from to raid my spinach? Are crows and jays cursing or laughing at the plastic snakes I've put in the berry patch? I look at my house and tell other people I have too much to do to go to another committee meeting. It doesn't seem to merit any sympathy from committee members. My husband and I like to stand around an look at stuff in other countries. We hiked for 15 days from one side of England to the other, and walked 92 miles of the Cotswolds, looking into backyards, barns and pubs. We stayed longer in the pubs than the barns.
GOOD NIGHT OREGON
GROWING-UP. MOVING AWAY. COMING BACK. A comical thought-provoking, head-banging journey.
In 1997, Rain, Oregon native Sophia Bolton wants to fulfill her lifelong goal of saving humanity. To do so, she knows she needs to escape Rain and its quirky collection of buried secrets, the convent, a jailbird, a buffalo, and crazy neighbors. Though her family---and their collective, perpetual messes---keep pulling her back, Sophia is certain she can overcome the obstacles in her way to finally finish a college degree.
One night, in order to vent her frustrations with the constant struggle she walks, Sophia makes a secret broadcast on the campus radio station. The secret becomes an obsession and the airwaves soon become her own verbal diary, offering unseen listeners advice on how to survive the crazy, comical trials in growing into a functioning adult. What does becoming an adult mean? Why can't she stop pirating the airwaves? And who is really listening?
GOOD NIGHT OREGON
Then on evening in 1981, my confidence changed again.
My family entered my fourth-grade room. Dad stared, mumbling, "Ho-ly donkey crap!"
Mama screwed her elbow into his ribs so hard he grabbed his side with an uff. He'd been warned. Before we'd entered Montgomery Elementary School on open house night, Mama had set clear rules. "No cussing. No jokes. And don't raise your voice louder than a whisper.
My classroom was filled with parents and kids, but still smelled of the typical school droppings: eraser rubbings, lunches left in desks, and art projects stowed in corners along with chalk dust. Usually, Dad didn't come to school conferences because he was at the mill or cutting site. And when he was at home, he'd declare, "Why would I spend time with a buncha eraser lickers? I've got the smartest girl in class right here."
He'd pull me to his chest, his fingers circling the base of my ponytail, twitching it back and forth as I'd try to pry loose. If he hadn't had a chance to shower, I'd hold my breath against his musk of grease, sweat, and sawdust.
Tonight, I smelled his Hai Karate cologne as he leaned his head next to mine. "Sweetie, you don't have to look at that ol' gal after lunch, do you?
My eyes flitted from my teacher, Miss Gardner, to my black sneakers that looked like Keds, but weren't.
Melinda Kutcher was staring at us. She had dark hair, dark eyes, and a pixie nose whose primary function was to make her look cute.
The biggest problem was--she was smart. And that was my realm. It was all I had going for me. Miss Gardner usually called on Melinda. I figured it had to do with her just-right-everything.
My parents and I stood in a loose line of people, waiting to talk to my teacher. "That is one ugly woman," Dad whispered. "And I've seen some biddies who could, honest to Pete, scare the bark off trees. But your teacher..."
I laughed, my hand quickly covering my mouth. When I saw people looking at me, my attention flicked back to the floor tiles the custodian had polished to a gleam.
Ignoring Mama's scowl, Dad leaned closer, wearing a lop-sided grin. "You only see hair like that on a poodle-dog."
"Tonk…" The tone of Mama's voice prickled with layers of past lectures. She didn't have to worry. I knew what Dad was doing. He was king of busting up solemn occasions and best behaviors.
Dad took Mama's arm, snugging it under his. "Hon, no wonder Stiks has stomach problems, if she has to watch this permed Bigfoot after lunch."
Melinda's father turned and looked at my dad. He stood a head taller. His purple-collared shirt had a logo over his heart, Cumbria Investments. He wore real leather shoes with thin laces. He didn't say anything. Just looked at Dad.
The corner of Dad's mouth kicked ever higher, but his smile didn't touch his eyes. He began telling Mama one of his stories, yet his focus stuck on Melinda's father. "Did I tell ya I recently met a woman who had an eyeball that spun like a merry-go-round?"