Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Interview: Barbara DeLeo

Check it out! We have Barbara DeLeo on the blog, and she's not only super interesting, but also she's giving away a copy of her book, Contract for Marriage!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi Marisa and thanks so much for having me on the blog I’m from New Zealand where I live with my husband and four kids. My husband’s a winemaker (I was hoping for a chocolate maker but forced myself to love wine too....) and we’ve lived in different parts of the world together. We currently live in the wine region of the South Island of New Zealand which is stunning.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’d been a high school English teacher for ten years and had always imagined I’d write when I “had time”. When my second set of twins were born within three years of the first set I realized I probably wouldn’t ever have a whole lot of time so I’d need to make it! We’d moved to another town and I had no other family around and as teaching was going to be too difficult with four littlies I started writing. The first thing I did was get a book called “Writing a Romance Novel” out of the library and it changed my world. That was seven years ago.

What is your writing schedule like?

When I’m working on a new book I aim to write 8-10 thousand words a week minimum. And I mean good words, words that get to stay in the story...I’ll have done a lot of prep before that begins, though. I usually have a rough outline done in Scrivener with everything from pictures of my main characters and setting to a basic plan of what’s going to happen in each chapter. I get up early and do an hour of “writing business” , blogs or emails, and then I’m into writing. I teach part time so do a bit of a juggle with kids and teaching and writing.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time before you were published?

Be patient and learn your craft. For a long time I wanted everything to happen yesterday but I now appreciate the time I had to learn my craft.

How did you come up with the idea for your book Dishing up Desire?

I’ve always loved shows like “What Not to Wear”, “The Biggest Loser”, and “Extreme Makeover” and I wondered what it would be like to have to undergo a transformation when you really didn’t want to, and what would would happen if the person transforming you was your complete ideal of perfection. In “Dishing up Desire”, Kirin is a celebrity chef in the middle of a sex scandal. Blake Matthews, ex-international model and complete studmeister, has been tasked with turning Kirin’s homemaker image on its head.

How many books have you written, and which one is your favorite?

I’ve written eight books and my favorite is always the one I’ve just finished!

Do you have an agent?

Yes, I’m with Nalini Akolekar from Spencerhill Associates in New York.

Share with us "The Call" story.

I’d always imagined I’d get a phone call in the middle of the night (time difference Downunder) and that I’d wake up and be instantly calm and fabulous and a heavenly choir would break into song. In reality it was a Saturday afternoon, the house looked like a bomb had gone off and I remember I’d just given up trying to scrub dried egg off lunch plates. I took a break to check my emails and there was one from my agent. My partner-in-parenting-crime duly opened a bottle of Bollinger champagne and the dishes were forgotten!

What is your typical day like?

Sometimes I wish I had a typical day as I’m sure it would make me less gray and have fewer wrinkles, but it generally goes something like.

6am – Switch on my treadmill, pop my laptop on the console and walk uphill for 45 minutes while I answer my emails.

7-8.30 – avert any number of crises while the four kids and husband have breakfast and get ready for school/work

8.30-9.30 – try to clean up the bomb site the kids and husband left behind

9.30 – 12pm – Write

12-12.30 – Lunch

12.30 – 1pm – Walk my mini schnauzer Cosmo by the river

1-3 – Write

3 – bedtime – go to one six sports and music lessons the kids go to, cook dinner, answer emails, go to book club or writing group or the school board and hopefully grab a couple of minutes reading a great book

Fast Facts:

Coffee or tea? Coffee

Morning or night? Night

Rivers or oceans? Oceans

White wine or red? I can’t choose. My husband makes both!

Champagne or liquor? Champagne

Cupcakes or ice cream? Ice cream

Laptop or desktop? Desktop

Casual or couture? Couture

Ponytail or headband? Ponytail

Shower or bath? Shower

Summer or winter? Summer


Barbara DeLeo’s first book, co-written with her best friend, was a story about beauty queens in space. She was eleven, and the sole, handwritten copy was lost years ago, much to everyone’s relief. It’s some small miracle that she kept the faith and is now living her dream of writing sparkling contemporary romance with unforgettable characters.

After completing degrees in Psychology and English then travelling the world, Barbara married her winemaker hero and had two sets of twins.

She still loves telling stories about finding love in all the wrong places, with not a beauty queen or spaceship in sight.

Book blurb:

Image consultant Blake Matthews is facing his toughest PR challenge yet: salvage the image of celebrity chef Kirin Hart. Once he does, he'll be able to acquire LA's most successful PR firm. But Kirin's no easy fix. She's stubborn about changing her comfortable homemaker image, and is being sued for sexual harassment by a junior staffer. She needs a PR lifeline fast. Only problem is Blake wants more than to make her over...

Kirin doesn't need a makeover--her fans love her as she is. But she could lose everything if the sex scandal and reputation that has followed doesn't get quashed right away. Kirin agrees to let model-perfect Blake work his magic for two weeks, but things get complicated when she can't deny the way her body flares to life whenever he's near.

Find Barbara and her books here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As always, thanks for stopping by!

xoxo ~Marisa


  1. Sounds like a great read and I love the cover! The cover for Contract for Marriage was great too.

    1. Hi Sonya, Aren't the new Indulgence covers gorgeous?! And that's exactly how I pictured Blake and Kirin.

  2. I'm always humbled and amazed when I read about your life, Barb. :) I don't know how you accomplish everything!

    The new book sounds GREAT. I've read/seen a couple of "PR nightmare" books lately, but it's always the guy needing the makeover, so I love your twist. And the character names, too. :)

    1. Aww, you're so lovely, Natalie! The thing is, every woman I know spends her whole life juggling. It's just important to keep the ball you love best the highest in the air — for me that's my writing. Thanks so much for stopping by.