Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Interview with Barbara Morgenroth

Over the last several months, we Avaloners have undergone some major upheavals. Because of these changes, we have banded together in unique ways to support, encourage, and inform each other. One of the strongest allies to come forward from our circle is Barbara Morgenroth, and I'm pleased to sit down with her to get to know her even better.

With dozens of books available, Barbara is pleased to discuss one of her latest: INHIBITIONS.

Wildly creative and intensely vulnerable, filmmaker Jemima Blume falls in love with Dr. Jay Gold at first sight. Jay finds Jem’s onslaught on his libido irresistible. 

Destiny or old wives’ tales put aside, Jay needs proof her love is real. For no apparent reason, the women in town begin losing their inhibitions--making chocolate casts of their breasts, dancing in their lingerie in front of business associates and creating the world’s longest cartwheel chain, the situation even makes the national news. 

Jay, as the only doctor in town, wonders if it be something in the water. Is it pollution or drugs or mass hysteria? Could it be the heat wave and why only the women? 

Is Jem also afflicted? Sensing his distrust and unable to prove she truly loves him, Jem lets Jay go. But can Jay let her go?

Gina: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me today. Tell us what inspired INHIBITIONS.

Barbara: I’m sorry to say I don’t remember since it’s a number of years ago. I wrote ARI AND THE DOCTOR to use up some of my experiences writing for daytime television and Jemima Blume appeared as Ari’s almost sister.  I liked them both and decided to focus on a book on Jem. I had recently sold off part of the estate of a famous editor, Malcolm Cowley, and his Christmas card list was a who’s who of the artistic community of the 20th century. Since I also lived in Litchfield County, Connecticut, I became fascinated by these luminaries who are now gone. I have certainly been very inspired by my rabbi and all the wisdom I discovered through my relationship with him. Writing a novel is like creating the Bayeux Tapestry.  It’s complicated.  There’s a lot of history and life that happened before it’s begun.

Gina: INHIBITIONS definitely reflects a lot of research, and it's a fun journey for the reader! What has made all of your books so memorable for me were the characters. Your heroines tend to be strong, independent women. Is that a reflection on who you are?

Barbara: I’ve been told that and it was never a compliment. All my characters have a strong sense of self, but they’re all capable of great vulnerability.  (Yes, Viva, even you.)

Gina: Ha. Sometimes our characters don't want to admit their foibles. What's a typical writing day for you?

Barbara: That’s easy!  Come to the computer early, turn it on, sit down.  Get up.  Let the dogs out.  Let the dogs in.  Feed the dogs.  Feed the feral cats.  Sit back down at the computer, check status of world, email and sales.  Stand up.  Let the dogs out, let the dogs in.  Start the laundry.  Sit down.  Play Bubble Saga for 5 minutes.  A dog wants something.  Attend to dog.  Sit down at computer, check to see if world has blown up.  Realize it’s lunch time.  Feed dogs, feed self.  Let dogs out, let dogs in.  Sit down at computer.  Open Word.  Play Boggle.  Someone comes to door.  Weed garden.  Feed feral cats.  Let dogs out, let dogs in.  Sit down at computer.  Can’t remember where I was.  Start dinner.  Around 8 pm when the dogs are exhausted, I write.  It’s a messy process.

Gina: And clearly, not a writing method that will work for everyone. Is there a significant message you want to convey in this book?

Barbara: Just be nice.  It’s the same message in all my books.  

Gina: If Hollywood called tomorrow, do you have certain stars you'd like to see play Jem and Jay? Care to share your dream casting?

Barbara: Since Jem is an indie filmmaker and her father had a fairly sordid affair with a starlet which practically destroyed Jem’s life, I think she’d want me to tell them to take a flying leap. 
I honestly don’t know any of these people anymore.  At one time I wanted to be a filmmaker but Hollywood has either changed so much or revealed its shallowness, that I don’t care.  “Dignity is when the check clears” is about the best I can say about that business.

Gina: Do you plot your books or let them flow where they want?

Barbara: I know where I’m going.  How I get there is always a surprise.  

Gina: Any advice for newer writers or those just starting out?

Barbara: My advice to everyone is what my rabbi told me—Dig deeper. It has served me very well.

Gina: How have the new options in publishing affected you as a writer?

Barbara: Easy.  I don’t have stupid people telling me what I can’t do anymore. I’m more productive and more creative than I’ve been at any time in my life.

Gina: If you could invite three authors (living or dead) to dinner, who would you choose and why?

Barbara: Anita Loos. She was a terrific writer, smart and funny. She had the career in Hollywood I would want to have had. Dorothy Parker. She was another terrific writer, intelligent and funny.  And Jewish. Jackie Cochran—I have no idea how good she was as a writer but she was a pioneer in women’s aviation and I’m sure she was one hell of a storyteller. 

Gina: I guess I'll have to settle for catering the event if I want to eavesdrop on those conversations! Where can we find you on the Web?

Gina: Thanks so much, Barbara! It's been fun getting to know you better!

INHIBITIONS is available at


Sandy Cody said...

I felt like I was eavesdropping on a chat between two funny, smart women. It doesn't get any better. Kudos to both of you.

Mona Ingram said...

I second what Sandy said. Great interview. By the way, I've read Inhibitions and it's an exquisitely told story.

Beate Boeker said...

Great interview, you two!