Wednesday 20 October 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Robin Claire Barnes

Today I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Robin Claire Barnes.

RC Barnes’ writing debut occurred in the 4th grade with her comedy Clean Up the House! for Worthington Hooker Elementary School. It was a simple production involving three siblings who threw an unauthorized party and must remove the evidence before their parents return. The adults loved it. Her success continued in the 5th grade with a hip 70s version of A Christmas Carol.

A jack-of-all-trades in the entertainment business, RC (also known as Robin Claire) has been a playwright, actress, screenwriter, movie executive at Walt Disney Pictures, foley artist, and puppeteer. On a perfect day, you can find her curled up with a mystery, listening to the rain outside, nibbling chocolate, and sipping tea or wine (depending on the hour). She lives in Berkeley and is the mother of three very nice people.

What kind of books do you write?

I write young adult urban fantasy stories featuring POC. I focus on realistic situations in a teenager’s life and add an element of supernatural or magic. I enjoy setting my books in the San Francisco Bay Area because it is culturally rich and the backdrop with the rugged coastline, Golden Gate Bridge, creeping fog, CAL university, wine country, etc… offers an amazing playing field. And this is where I was a teenager, so it is easier for me to tap into the activities and thought processes of youth.

Can you describe your writing why?

I am one of those people who started writing when they were a kid and got approval from some amazing teachers. I also had to deal with a few negative teachers in my life and thankfully, I didn’t listen to them for long. My initial method of artistic expression was for the stage. I wrote plays and puppet shows that were performed at children’s birthday parties. (I have a little brother) 

I continued to write plays and crafted short stories in college. But then I moved into screenwriting. I worked in the entertainment industry for film and television for decades. I love the art of storytelling. 

But writing a novel was the elusive brass ring. It’s what I wanted to do but never seemed capable of completing the work. In fact, I had a hard time getting past page 60. But I finally did it and wrote the book that had been bouncing around my head for years. The story of a biracial girl and her complicated relationship with her high-spirited mother, and the girl has psychic abilities linked to tattoos.

I write the books I wish I could have found on the shelves as an avid reader and lover of fantasy and magic.

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most

I’m selecting a section from the book Ink For The Damned, which is the second book in my Tattoo Teller Series. I don’t know if “enjoyed” is the right word, but I learned a lot about my writing style with this book and there were more challenges to address. Writing the second book in a series is hard when you are still learning what readers embraced in the first one. I wanted to make sure I rewarded readers for continuing and, in addition, I needed to craft new obstacles for characters and chart their emotional growth. I hate it when a series continues and there are no repercussions from the previous story that carry over. It’s like someone hit the reset button. What I like in this story is that Bess’ impulsive actions place other people in danger. 

Here we go.

Hands patted her head and stroked her hair. “Here, honey, you’ve got to get over this hysteria, or you’re going to make yourself sick.”

They held a cup to her mouth with the rim shoved between her lips. She thought about resisting, but she didn’t have the strength to fight whoever was grasping her. With a feeling of utter hopelessness, she parted her lips and allowed the sweet, dense syrup to be poured into her mouth. Even as she swallowed, she sensed there was something in it that shouldn’t have been there. A few moments later, the impact of the potion hit her stomach, confirming her suspicions. Waves of dizziness struck her, and she clung to the man who was holding her up in his arms. She held on as if he were a lifeboat at sea while she was being tossed about by the waves. Her sobbing became less frenzied, and she pressed her face against his solid shoulder.

“It’s poisoned,” she protested. “It’s making me feel funny.”

“Shhhh,” he said. “All it’s doing is relaxing you. Give in.”

The world was spinning wildly. She couldn’t take it anymore. A thick, dark wave engulfed her, and she let go, falling into the blackness.

Tell us about your latest project

In the Tattoo Teller series, the main character, Bess Wynters, has a psychic ability connected to tattoos. She can touch a tattoo and know the story behind it, which is often a window to the person’s soul. In the first book, Ink For The Beloved, she deals with her mother’s untrustworthy and dangerous boyfriend.

In the book, Ink For The Beloved, Bess uses her tattoo telling skills to seek her biological father. She locates him in an alarming place and learns why he disappeared for years. This discovery places her in terrible danger, and she is not alone. Her best friend, Joanie, is also swept up into the jeopardy. This book is currently in the final editing stage.

Along with publishing Ink For The Damned, I am launching a side series in the Tattoo Teller universe, featuring Bess’ younger sister, Echo. The first book Cryptic Ink And Deadly Hijinks comes out at the end of October. Echo’s stories are supernatural YA mysteries with cursed talismans, haunted shipwrecks, and an unusual cat tattoo.

What is your favourite cake?

Flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce.

You can connect with Robin Claire Barnes here:

Twitter is @RCBarneswriter
Instagram is @rcinlala
Website is

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with M.K.Wiseman. 

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

You can also support my writing endeavours and buy me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find out more about her books on her website Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. Never miss out on future posts by following me.

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