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Monday, 3 February 2014

Monday Musings featuring Guest Author Jo Barker & The Adventures of the Frog Prince



Welcome to

Monday Musings


Jo Barker

Children's Author


Book Blurb: 

The Adventures of the Frog Prince is a new take on an old fairy tale.

Prince Leo had problems. He had been turned into a frog and turfed out of his castle.

He is currently stuck in a moat and is trying to come to terms with being small, green and surprisingly springy.

Now he must learn to walk all over again, and avoid being eaten, as he finds his way back to the castle to find out who wants him out of the way and why. 

Buy Links: 

This is a universal link for Amazon:  


  Author Bio:

Jo Barker has been writing short stories for many years as a hobby and has now finally published.

Her stories take you on weird and wonderful journeys using a combination of fantasy and strange facts that makes the narrative more engaging.

At the moment she is writing children’s tales but there are plans for other books.

Jo also creates videos with her partner.  You can see some of these videos at her YouTube channel- The Ian and Jo Show.

 Connect with Jo:



 Book Excerpt:

The sun was shining on the Kingdom of Baddlebee.  The sky was blue.  The red carpet had been laid and the trumpets had been polished to a fine shine.  The trumpeters were standing to attention with pursed lips and lungs full of air ready to play their part in the day. 

The Kingdom was in full celebration for today was the day that Prince Leo would choose his bride and future Queen of Baddlebee. 

Everyone was ready for the grand day.  The guests were waiting in the great hall, chattering amongst themselves.  A row of Princesses stood in line at the foot of the throne nervously waiting for the Prince to arrive.

In short, everything was ready but the Prince.

The Prince was terribly late and the entire castle was in a frenzy of activity.  Guards searched every nook and cranny of every room to find him, but there was still no sign of him. 



Author Interview:

Hi Jo and welcome to my blog
When did you decide that being an author was ‘thing’ for you?
When I was a kid my best friend and I would write stories together, but the writing bug lay dormant when I was at school, analysing other people’s stories was very dry work and not very inspiring.

One day, when the memory of school lay far behind me, the bug bit me again and I started writing down my very strange dreams, from there it escalated into writing stories.  My other half reads them and insisted that I write a book, so I did.

Can you tell us a little about your latest novel/release?
It’s a new take on the old fairy tale, The Frog Prince.  The story had always been told from the point of view of the Princess, so I decided it was high time the Prince had his say.

Of course, by time I had it written and the cover drawn, out came The Princess and the Frog.  My partner and I decided mine was different enough and good enough to publish regardless, so I did. 

What was the very first book idea you had, did you write it and did it get published?
The Adventures of the Frog Prince is the first book I wrote and published.

Before that I was writing stories with my best friend, one was about man who was so clumsy that he became of scientific interest.

Another was a fantasy story, which will incidentally be the back bone of the third book of my Fantasy trilogy. 

How long does it take you to typically write a novel?
How long is a piece of string? In one afternoon I managed to commit 6000 words to paper, but that was a very good day.

I have finished the first draft, that took about a month, however I’m currently writing all the background information for it before I do the edit, to see if I can add some flesh.  

However, every story is different and will take different lengths of time to complete.

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you, if any?
Marketing, always the marketing.  How do you tell someone how awesome your book is without seeming big headed?

What’s your least favourite thing about the writing process?
Again the marketing. I’m one of those weird people who loves the edit as much as the creating of a story.

What’s your most favourite thing about writing?
The edit.  When you have your first draft and you say this is good, but how can I make this sentence sing?  How can I make it flow better?

I don’t know why but when I write there has to be a rhythm to it, a beat that has to sound right.  The words have to convey all the meaning and texture of a world that your reader knows nothing about, but that none of that means anything if the words don’t flow.

Do you have a playlist that you write to?
I used to listen to music all the time, now I rarely do, especially when writing; unless I have to block out other annoying noises. 

Although I discovered that just putting in earbuds makes people assume that you are listening to music so that they don’t bother you.

If asked to review a novel, and you didn’t like it at all, would you?
Say as little as possible, only voicing a few criticisms with a dash of positivity, sometimes I talk to the author first and express my opinions/findings in a helpful manner.

Do you have any input into the cover design of your novels?
Yep, I designed the cover for The Adventures of the Frog Prince myself.

 I would only go to an artist in which I knew I would have input for the cover. 

Do you have any advice for newbie authors just starting out?
Don’t be too hard on yourself, you will make mistakes and get it wrong and wish you’d done things differently, but don’t go away crying.  Learn and use that knowledge for the next time.

Don’t take criticisms to heart, learn from them and improve. 

Most importantly of all, no matter what the story, write in a style that is true to you and interests you.  If you have a good idea but you can’t find an interest in it, think of an angle that does interest you and try again.

Who is your favourite author/s of all time and if you could meet him/her, what would you say?
Terry Pratchett and whatever I wanted to say would be irrelevant because all that would come out is:
“Err, blab blab, mutter mumble, stutter stumble,”

What was the best book you have read in the last few months and why did you love it?
A feast not so Fancy by Mandy White, she’s an Indie author and one of the best I’ve found so far.  It was engaging, horrific and clever.

If HG Wells turned up in his Time Machine in your living room, would you get on-board and where would you go first?
To meet Boudicca, I wouldn’t understand a word she’d say, but it would be pretty darn amazing.

 Out of the following places to get inspiration, which one would you choose & why:
a.       Deserted Island
b.      Sprawling Megatroplis
c.       Magical Forest
d.      Outer Space
Magical forest, I’ve always been an outdoors type gal and love the woods.

Are you a pre-planning plotter or a go with flow writer?
A bit of both.  I plan a bit, write the story and it inevitably takes its own direction.

Are you working on anything new right now, if so, can you share the details with us?
Yes, I’m working on a fantasy trilogy.  It follows a young woman called Elaina who, it turns out, knows nothing about her own life.

She goes on a journey and falls into a plot in which she discovers her identity and a whole new world she knows nothing about, and that others seem to want to ignore.  

It will all come to a head in the second book with political intrigue, magical wars and utter mayhem.  

The third book will see a new generation who are left to deal with some pretty deadly consequences of the wars in the second book.  They discover that the threat has not only NOT gone away, but it’s got worse they must find the cause and eliminate it, all whilst being unsure as to whether they can trust each other, or indeed themselves.

How do you come up with titles for your novels, do you get the idea for the story first or does that come after you have the title? 
Mostly names pop into my head, occasionally I will have to work at something before a name presents itself. 

However, I recently had a name but no character. 

It was a name that I really liked, but I had no character that it would suit.  It was like the name had a personality and it would not do to give it to just any character.  Then, in an unforeseen plot development, in walked a character and he assumed the name.

What’s your personal take on E-Books, and do you prefer reading them over a traditional hard copy?
Ah, the ever raging debate, I like books because it gets me away from the computer and I love that new book smell.  In fact I love the old book smell even more.  There’s also this romantic notion behind a book that you just don’t have with a piece of machinery.

Although I won’t discredit ebooks because you can try new authors out for a very small price, or for free, and you don’t have to worry about running out of space in your house.

Growing up, what were you?
A total bookworm devouring everything in sight


Many thanks to Jo for sharing a little of her writing and life with us,  and I can't wait to see what she publishes next!  Don't forget you can get your copy of

The Adventures of the Frog Prince 

Join me again tomorrow, as I have another awesome author joining us.

Wishing you all a great start to the week



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