Local author earns bestseller status

Katie Tower
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Phinney is a big believer in second chances

Midgic, N.B. resident writes book based on Cape d'Or, makes USA Today Best Seller List.

Midgic, N.B. resident Barbara Phinney has written a book based on Cape d'Or, makes USA Today Best Seller List.

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Barbara Phinney is a big believer in second chances.  Because that’s how, after more than 20 years of writing romance and suspense novels, she was able to garner bestseller status.

The Midgic resident, along with 10 other award-winning authors from throughout North America, recently hit the USA Today’s bestseller list with their anthology of romance books – after just missing out on making the list “by a hair” last year.

"Last fall, I was invited to participate in an anthology, independently published, with the hope of hitting the USA Today's bestseller list," Phinney explains. "But our Romance Super Bundle, an anthology of 10 books, just didn't quite make it.”

Phinney said that didn’t discourage them from making another attempt, however.

"A few months back, we decided to try it again. This time, the book I chose was a novella entitled Cape of Secrets, a murder mystery inspired by Nova Scotia's Cap D'Or and its remote setting,” she says.

Cape of Secrets is one of 11 books included as part of the latest anthology, aptly titled Romance Super Bundle II: Second Chances.

"Well, our second chance worked, when, on Thursday, July 24, we hit the list at #136," Phinney adds. “We were pretty excited about that.”

USA Today's Best-Selling Books list ranks the 150 top-selling titles each week based on an analysis of sales from US booksellers. Contributors represent a variety of outlets, including bookstore chains, independent bookstores, mass merchandisers and online retailers.

Phinney says the honour came two weeks after the book launch party, with the anthology selling between 10,000 to 15,000 copies in the days following the launch.

“It took a lot of hard work and a lot of advertising at the right time . . . and we did it,” says Phinney, noting the efforts in particular of their coordinator Amy Gamet.

She says marketing is key when trying to get the word out about a new novel or novels.

“You can write a really good book but unless you let people know about it, it’s just going to sit there.”

Phinney says Cape of Secrets, which is a more sensual romance than she typically writes under her own name, was one of several books she has had published under her pen name Georgina Lee (a name that was derived from the town she grew up in in Ontario and her maiden name).

The story is based in Cape D’Or, an idea that was sparked after she and her husband made a visit to the small Nova Scotian community last year.

“We were walking around and I just thought ‘this is marvelous, I’ve got to write about this place,” says Phinney of the setting that features a foghorn, a lighthouse and incredible vistas.

When she returned home, she began putting pen to paper. She began editing the story in the fall and got back to it again this spring. Cape of Secrets is one of Phinney’s five independently published novels. She has had 10 books also published by Harlequin.

Phinney, who is retired from the military after a career as a vehicle mechanic, began writing romance and suspense in 1994. In 2001, about the same time her husband retired from his career in the military and moved back to his hometown and they were in the midst of building their new home in Midgic, she sold her first book to Harlequin.

She says it’s not always easy being a writer, particularly if you’re trying to get published. Basically, she explains, you have to check your ego at the door because people will tell you what they think, whether you want to hear it or not.

“You have to work hard. You have to write and edit, and write and edit . . . and you have to set aside any preconceived notions that your writing is perfect. Everything can be polished.”

Despite earning bestseller status, Phinney isn’t letting that slow her down any. She is currently doing some final author alterations on her third book in the Warrior series for Harlequin and is also editing two more books in the Bay of Fundy romantic suspense series. She is also updating her website.

“There’s always lots to keep you busy.”

Organizations: USA Today, Cap D'Or, Best-Selling Books

Geographic location: Midgic, North America, Nova Scotia US Ontario Cape D’Or Nova Scotian Bay of Fundy

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