Today’s star of LitPick’s Six Minutes with an Author is Rebecca Barnhouse! Rebecca writes exciting books for young adults set in the Middle Ages. When she was little, she fought with her brother over books in the Alfred Hitchcock series! Rebecca earned her doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and medieval literature written in Old and Middle English, Old Norse, and other fascinating languages. Rebecca is now an English professor at Youngstown State University.
How did you get started writing?
It's hard to remember a time when I wasn't writing, but before I wrote I was always reading and being read to. I was one of those lucky kids whose mother read to her every day, and whose father recited poetry, and challenged me to memorize long poems. Words were always part of my life.
Who influenced you?
My influences are writers I love, like Laura Ingalls Wilder, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, and many, many more. I am also influenced by friends who share my passion for books and writing.
Do you have a favorite setting?
My favorite time period is the Middle Ages. Since that covers a thousand years, it gives me a lot to read and write about!
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
I recommend that people who want to be authors read a lot of different genres, looking carefully at how writers put their stories together. See what works and try to emulate it. Look to see what doesn't work, and try to figure out why. Experiment. Learn your craft before you start thinking about publication.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I need a quiet space with no distractions when I write, so I like to work in my book-lined study – preferably with no internet access!
What else would you like to tell us?
There are lots of great new books coming out every day, and I urge readers to look for them – but don't forget the older books! If you love stories about wizard schools, go back to Ursula K. LeGuin's wondrous A Wizard of Earthsea. For dragons, dive into Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown. (I'll stop here, or else I'll spend all day listing the amazing books I think everybody should read!)
Thanks for spending six minutes with LitPick, Rebecca! We’ll check out those book recommendations – and your latest book too, of course. :) Peaceweaver, a companion to The Coming of the Dragon, is available as an ebook and in print.