Five Questions with…Jo Barrett, author of THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on February 29, 2008 0 Comments

You submitted your questions for our Fiction Readers authors. Now find out what Jo Barrett, author of This Is How It Happened has to say about inspiration, her writing process, and the characters in her story.


How do you know when you’ve finally written that perfect Query? The one that gets the agents, or publishers blood pumping.
F. Jeanette c.

Queries should be short and sweet. A letter that nails home the point without going into overt detail. A new angle, twist or theme for a book is always one which will get the agents blood pumping. Ask yourself: have I seen this before in a novel?


I would like to know each of their processes for completing a work in progress and what inspires them most.

Renda ~ With my comment, you get a 10.

I’m inspired by the people around me. My 1st novel: THE MEN’S GUIDE TO THE WOMEN’S BATHROOM, which centers around the theme of women passing along good advice in bathrooms was inspired by a conversation I overheard in a ladies room. My 2nd novel: THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED, (Not a Love Story) was inspired by women who’d recently been dumped by their boyfriends and shared with me how they’d gotten revenge. I thought to myself: wait a second, if these women took revenge against an EX, it must be pervasive among women in our contemporary culture. Let me explore that…


I always like hearing about an author’s writing process. How do they go about honing their stories?

Stephen Prosapio

I write as I go. No outlines. It just comes to me, often in the morning hours as I’m waking up. I typically have an Ah-Ha! Moment.


Are there any moments when your characters completely take over, and your story is totally different than when you first imagined it to be?

Ruthe M.

YES! In my first novel: THE MEN’S GUIDE TO THE WOMEN’S BATHROOM, I had to lose a character that I loved because it made the story too convoluted. So, I melded two characters into a single individual. In my second novel: THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED (Not a Love Story), I originally was going to have my main character fall in love with her hitman.


What books have most influenced your life most?

April H.

A Widow For One Year, by John Irving.

Stay turned! We will also ask Kim Wong Keltner and Lisa Landolt more of your questions as well!

Revenge is a dish best served for dessert.
This Is How It Happened is a featured book in Fictions Readers, a group to discuss contemporary women’s fiction, books, women’s issues and much more. Click here to join the group.


Click here to buy the book.

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