Like so many authors, Barbara Howell has worn many hats, including her many careers: farmer, cosmetologist, wife, mother, grandmother, woodworker and now author.
Enjoy this interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
I laughingly tell people I’m proud to be from the country—more specifically from the hills and hollers of Tennessee. I was born and raised in a small town about 70 miles south of Nashville, but later as an adult I also lived in Tulsa, OK for about 10 years. Through my business, Southern Ladies Showcases, I have had the opportunity to travel extensively across the United State, especially in the South East and Mid West regions.
My love for writing began almost 50 years ago as I started writing plays and skits for a youth group at my church. Pretty soon that developed into a stronger passion and years later in my 40s I had the opportunity to begin taking college writing classes to develop my skill-set. From there, I spent as much time as possible writing, but found that at that time, ‘my story’ hadn’t yet been completed. It would be 20+ years later before I realized the book I was actually supposed to write–the story having been in the making all of my life.
Tell us about your latest book. What do you hope readers take away from it?
My book, Splinters: Splinters: The Pain, The Passion, The Point is a story of hope and encouragement that is actually auto-biographical in nature. Splinters shares my tale of growing up with a several hearing loss handicap that would later prove to drastically effect my life. The story is a candid look at the triumphs and struggles that I overcame, and the ultimate victory I experienced, making it to the ‘other side”.
The message I hope every reader walks away from is something that I’ve built my life around. I saw a cartoon many years ago of a bird trying to swallow a frog. The frog in turn, had his hands around the birds throat even from within it’s mouth. The caption reads, “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over!” and that cartoon inspired me so much that I had an artist paint it for me and I have it hanging in my house to this day. When I was ready to write Splinters I knew I had to share that motto with my readers. Regardless of the situation or circumstances, a reminder that “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over!”
Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on my second book, a book that delves deeper and centers around one of the topics in Splinters: my brother-in-law’s murder conviction. (Readers will have to grab a copy of Splinters to get a preview of this story!) In addition to that, I currently speak to groups, churches and clubs and hold regular book signings promoting Splinters. I am proud to say that Splinters has won several awards, including “Best Christian True Story” for 2010 and an Award of Excellence from Graphic Design USA.
That’s a tough question as I read anything I can get my hands on—but I especially love books of an encouraging and inspirational nature. One of my favorites currently is a book called, The Bloodline of a Champion By Mark Hankins. I love books that push me to grow and help to serve as a reminder that as I tell others, “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over!”
Book you’re currently reading?
I am actually reading several books currently especially as the holidays are behind me—I can always count on a hefty variety of new books to delve into after gifts are exchanged! Among these, I gravitate toward other books that are biographical and I’m currently reading books about the lives of John G. Lake and Nancy Reagan.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I can almost always be found in my woodworking shop, crafting wooden display cases and overseeing operations for Southern Ladies Showcases. The circumstances that led to my profession as a female woodworker are detailed in Splinters, but the passion I have for the activity is still just as prevalent today. I love being down in that shop!
Where can we learn more about you?
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would just finish up by reminding readers that regardless of their current situations or how bad their circumstances look, there IS a new day tomorrow and things can turn around almost immediately it seems. Just a reminder that if they will keep fighting, keep persevering and stay after it they too can determine that “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over!”