Barbara Dunlop is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over fifty romance novels.
A three-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award, she is also a two time winner of the RWA Golden Heart award. An Unlikely Match, the first book in her acclaimed Match series, was a number one bestseller on Amazon. Barbara’s Christmas novel, His Jingle Bell Princess, has been optioned for a TV movie.
Barbara makes her home in Yukon with her bush pilot husband and the moose and bears that wander through their yard.
Her most recent book is Match Made in Paradise, the first book in a series about the Alaskan Bush Pilots finding love. It released today, May 25th, 2021. I figured we could bring some romance to the FanFiAddict site and that today would be a perfect day for an interview, to celebrate Dunlop’s achievements.
Hello Barbara, thank you for taking the time to do an interview with me! I really appreciate it. I’ll dive right in!
When did you realize you wanted to be an author? Would teenage Barbara be surprised at where you are today?
I started writing stories as a child, but it wasn’t until my twenties that I decided to write a full-length novel. Oddly, it was a disappointing book that inspired me. I got to the end of the story and thought I could write something better and decided to give it a try. The following months were more humbling than validating, but I finished that first novel, then a second and a third before I finally sold.
What’s your favorite thing about writing romance?
I love getting swept away in the lives of the characters in my stories. I know my writing day is going well when I look up from the keyboard and marvel at how much time has passed.
Do you stick to a strict writing schedule or write as you feel inspired?
Most days I write from late morning until dinner time and sometimes into the evening. For most of my writing career, I also had a fulltime job, so I wrote in the evenings and on weekends. Stylistically, I write slightly differently at different times of the day. Morning is good for nailing the bigger elements of a story, afternoon for production, and evening for getting the finer points to flow nicely.
Did the pandemic affect your writing habits at all?
Novel writing turned out to be the perfect pandemic job. But, like everyone else, I’ll be glad to get back out into the world and refill my creative well. I will say I got quite a lot of writing done while we were all locked down.
Are any of the characters in Match Made in Paradise inspired by people you know?
I’ve lived in the Yukon for years, and I’m married to a bush pilot, so I had a lot of inspiration for both the characters and the events in Match Made in Paradise. I also grew up in Vancouver and have many friends who still live in larger city centers. So, the idea of a diehard city woman being plunked down in the middle of a remote northern town really appealed to me. It felt like two facets of my life had been tossed together.
Out of all your books, do you have any character you relate to the most?
I would say I relate best to the characters I’m writing at the time. In Match Made in Paradise it was very easy to relate to Mia since I had a similar experience leaving Vancouver to move to Yukon. Then, having lived here for so many years, it was also easy to relate to Mia’s cousin Raven who grew up in Alaska and can take the challenges and idiosyncrasies of wilderness living in stride.
What are your favorite romance or rom-com books by other authors? What are some favorite books outside of the genre?
There are so many. Jennifer Cruisie, Catherine Anderson, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Diana Palmer all come to mind.
Match Made in Paradise is set in Alaska, does Alaska hold a special place in your heart?
The rugged independent spirit of the north has always called to me. I married an outdoorsman, so it was an easy choice to move north. From the second we arrived, I’ve loved the wilderness, the wide-open spaces and the community spirit of northerners.
Are there any misconceptions about the romance genre or being a romance author that you commonly come across?
The main misconception I come across is the belief that all romances are the same. Readers know that’s dead wrong. The diversity between romantic stories has always been wide, and it’s growing all the time as authors stretch the genre. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be writing romance.
How would you describe your writing style to an inquiring reader?
I would say I have a fast-paced, light-hearted style that focuses on characters with an optimistic, possibly ironic worldview.
Do you get nervous when publishing a new book? Do you still feel excited and accomplished with each new book or does it just feel like a normal part of your job now?
After 66 books, I still find each complete manuscript immensely satisfying and each new release very exciting. It’s an extraordinary feeling when readers reach out to share their impressions of characters and events that were formed inside my head.
Do you have a special way of celebrating when you finish writing your novels or when you publish?
A festive beverage with my husband is always nice!
Thank you again for taking the time! I’d love to wrap up the interview with some rapid fire questions for fun:
•Favorite show at the moment? All time? Anything by Aaron Sorkin. I’m re-watching The Newsroom right now.
•Favorite movie? There are so many to choose from, but I’ll go with The Last of the Mohicans
•Favorite food? Pizza with friends.
•Favorite color? Shades of green
•Favorite vacation spot? The coastal Pacific Northwest
•Dream vacation? A river cruise
•Favorite beverage? Cabernet Sauvignon—to go with the pizza
•Cats or dogs? Dogs, but cats too
•Text or call? Text and then call
•Date night out or stay in? Stay in—I make a terrific homemade pizza!
Thank you again to Barbara and to Yazmine from Berkley for this interview. I will say that after finishing A Match Made in Paradise, I’m super invested in the lives of these Bush Pilots and I can’t wait to continue with the series. Congratulations on yet another novel accomplished!