Paranormal Romance Author, Marilyn Barr

Friday, February 19, 2021


Oh my gosh, you guys! This post has my nerves a bit jittery with excitement. I recently saw an Instagram page during my weeknight scrolling that caught my eye.. The description said that the Author was a "Paranormal Romance" Author. This caught me by surprise because I may be the only person on this PLANET that has never heard of anything called, " Paranormal Romance"!  I was more than happy to welcome her to the "Steamy February" Author's Spotlight page!  Mariyln Barr has a background in many specialties. She is a published microbiologist, special education teacher/inclusion science teacher, homeschool mother of a savant, and a certified spiritual and energy healer. We both homeschool and we found so much common ground in our lives that our paths were destined to meet. She also is a huge advocate for the autistic community, in which holds a special place in my heart. She has published a book series entitled, " Strawberry Shifters". The titles are: "Bear with me" and "Round of Applause". She is working on her third book which will be released Summer of 2021. (Go Scorch Yourself)

From her novel, "Bear with Me"

( Scroll down to check out her books, and their beautiful covers! Let us get to know her a little more as she took the time to answer all of the questions so vividly for us, I am honored to share this blog post for her!)

Author Spotlight Interview:

How long have you been writing?

 In December of 2018, my husband dared me to write a paranormal romance novel. I hadn't written fiction since high school but leaned on my experience in technical writing. A the time I was reading 300-500 pages of paranormal romance a day and I believe he was trying to get out of buying another bookshelf. I wrote Strawberry Shifters Book 1: Bear with Me, Book 2: Round of Applause, and was almost finished writing Book 3: Go Scorch Yourself in four months. My spouse learned never to dare me to do anything and I learned I loved writing paranormal romance as much as I loved reading it!

Tell us more about your book or books that we should know!

The titles of the Strawberry Shifters books are puns based on what the main characters need the most to find happiness. In the case of "Bear with Me", Alison needs her husband to stick around long enough to hear what she needs from him. Alison has lost her inner power, leaving Grant in the dark on what it would take to save their marriage. Just because they have been together for over twelve years doesn't mean he can read her mind. Grant also needs Alison to " Bear with Me". He has worked tirelessly to provide a lavish lifestyle for the family and has landed his dream job. Financially, the couple is set for life. He hasn't divided his time evenly between work and home but it will make the changes necessary to reclaim the Loe of Alison. Will Alison wait for him to find a healthy work life balance?

The second book in the series is " Round of Applause". What could the characters need to find happiness with that title? Find out in this story about acceptance of an unconventional family in rural America.

What inspired your books?

My first dreams of the characters are either the final scare or the ending of the boo. I insert the people I meet in lobbies of my son's therapy appointments into those dreams, I have about the wilds of Kentucky ( Where I live). I interview them, their physical/occupational therapists, parents (if they are kids), and spouses ( if they are adults) on what experiences are unique to the based on their disability. None of this was necessary for Alison in " Bear with Me", because she is an #ownvoices character. Not only are we both green witches, but also, we have a sensory processing disorder. I wrote Alison with the same combination of sensitivities and under-reactivities that I have. I hope to show others how I experience the world through her scenes. 

For Shifters themselves, I study animal behavior in nature documentaries, but I spend hours in zoos. While writing " Go Scorch Yourself" ( Coming in 2021), I became friend's with the bat's caretakers at my local zoo because I spent a lot of time watching the bat's wing patterns. Being a biomedical scientist for seven years, I have many years of training in animal medical procedures which gave us a common ground for friendship. My spouse signed me up for a behind-the-scenes animal encounter with the bats. It was a dream come true to go into the back of the zoo exhibit and hold one. The caretakers said the encounters with elephants are the most popular and no one had ever requested the bats. The caretakers claimed to have guessed it was me requesting before I even made it to the exhibit.

What genre do you write?

I write, read eat, sleep, and breathe paranormal romance due to my autoimmune disorder, I spend almost three hours a day in a hyperbaric chamber for oxygen therapy. It's like sitting in a 320 sq. ft. balloon filled with concentrated oxygen. This treatment gives me precious hours with my paperbacks every day. Because of this I have floor-to-ceiling shelves of paranormal romance books. I love shapeshifters, witches, vampires, aliens, ghosts, mages, and all the paranormal creatures. 

What or how did you publish your book?

After writing " Bear with Me", "Round of Applause", and almost finishing " Go Scorch Yourself", I joined a local writing group run by one of my best friends. Journalist/Author/Motivational Speaker Leah Bomar. I loved my books but I did not think anyone else would, but Leah's group loved them. We read them like a book club on Zoom calls and meetings at the local library. I loved talking about my fictional town of Strawberry with others and answering questions about my favorite characters. 

When we finished reading, " Go Scorch Yourself", I thought that was the end of my writing. I went to an Author-Reading-Meet-Up Event where I met my favorite author, Lora Leigh. I was so starstruck, I was laughing and crying at the same time, like a nut. She told me her story and how she got started by publishing with a small press publisher. After hearing my pitch about Strawberry KY, " Bear with Me", and " The Strawberry Shifters Book Series", she encouraged me to let a small press decide whether my series was "worthy". Before I left her very busy autograph table, she aid to " enjoy becoming a published author". I couldn't let he down, so I queried The Wild Rose Press that night and the rest is history!

Tell us something interesting about you!

My most interesting writing quirk is my crutch to write steamy scenes. When writing my first draft, I substitute my husband's name for the love interest even if I have the character's name in my mind. The Strawberry Shifters books have a spicy hot heat level. It makes my skin crawl to be intimate with someone other than my husband, even if it is in my mind. My racy scenes are honest, emotional, and pivotal to the plot because I'm writing them from an innermost place in my heart. I couldn't write them any other way. 

What other hobbies do you enjoy?

My family loves to travel, and our annual trips have become the other pack locations in the Strawberry shifter's series. Rosie Paulino's sons are coming of age and need to find potential mates outside of isolated Strawberry. This is a common problem, so packs have joined together to trade youngsters in summer internships. Frank Paulino Junior is the first of Rosie's sons to leave and we watch his journey to Seagrass Island Fl, in " Smoother than Spumoni" (Coming in summer of 2021). Seagrass Island is modeled after Anna Maria island where my family travels at the end of every summer. In researching the upcoming novella, I went on multiple dolphin sights tours to film prototypes for Suzie Larkin, an MBA student and Encantago Shifter. While Suzie's best friend Jean has made up her mind to intern at Bergan Pharma in Strawberry, more spin-off novels will be written so fans can check-in with th pack who can surf the best.

Had Frank never met Suzie, he would have traveled to the mountainous North Carolina Pack. The home of this pack is modeled after Gatlinburg TN, where my family hibernates every November.  Will Rosie send another son away if Frank decides to stay with Suzie? Or will she Manipulate the young couple into living in Strawberry, so another son has a chance of finding Loe without her leaving her too lonely? Stay tuned.

Who is your favorite Author?

My favorite Author is Lora Leigh. Every element to her stories seems to be lifted a notch above the other books in the Weres and Shapeshifters genre, from the sentence structure and vocabulary, to story arcs and character differentiation. I love how she blends complex characters, a fast-moving plot, and steamy scenes. Her books are brain candy that I usually devour in a single day. I can only hope that someday my Strawberry Shifters reach the caliber of her Breed books.

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book is "The Savior" by JR Ward. I am a long time fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, but this book has my favorite scene from all her books. I am fortunate to share an adopted hometown with JR Ward. While I was editing "Bear with Me", I went to her presentation at our local library. She talked about having the courage to write  the story in your head instead of the story desired by the market, the publisher, or the haters. She autographed my idea book with advice, " Only listen to your rice crispies". She gave me the courage to keep the spice level of the Strawberry Shifters at the hot level of the books I like to read. One of the themes of Bear with Me is the balance of power in a marriage needs to be equal in all ares: emotional, financial, intellectual,  and sexual. Grant and Alison start their journey to Kentucky as adversaries in every area. It is through the bedrooms scenes the reader can track their progress toward a loving relationship based on a mutual partnership not a struggle for control. Taking the naughty scenes out or cooling them down would diminish the journey. I had to develop the courage to share them for which I credit, JR Ward.

Where to find her books and keep up with all things Mariyln Barr?

 Where to purchase? 

The Link to Amazon is below, be sure to follow for updates and please leave a review if you read her book!

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, iTunes and Kobo! 

Follow Mariyln Barr on Social Media below!

A huge thank you to Mariyln Barr for allowing me to showcase her work and for allowing my little blog to share her Strawberry Shifter's series to the world. - Amanda, the Book Witch

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