Ambrosia by David-Matthew Barnes - Contemporary Romance/Chick Lit
Interview with David-Matthew Barnes
Welcome to JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder, Tell us about your newest book.
Hello. My newest book is a contemporary romance novel called Ambrosia. The novel is set in Chicago, which is my favorite city. In the book, a woman named Tina Duncan is dumped by her musician boyfriend on the night of her 30th birthday and is left with nothing. From that moment on, Tina becomes determined to improve the quality of her life. Along the way she falls in love with a wonderful man named Oliver.
Writing isn’t easy. What was the most difficult thing you dealt with when writing Ambrosia.?
Like many writers, my greatest challenge is finding enough time to write. It’s a constant struggle.
Tell us a little bit about your writing career.
I published my first short story when I was 15 and have been writing ever since. Today, I am the author of twelve novels, five produced screenplays, three collections of poetry, seven short stories, and more than sixty stage plays.
They say Hind-sight is 20/20. If you could give advice to the writer you were the first time you sat down to write, what would it be?
You are the only one who can tell your story. It belongs to you and only you, so own it. Believe in your ability to tell a great story. Don’t let anyone deter you from writing.
What was your most difficult scene to write?
In Ambrosia, the scenes that take place in the department store were by far the most challenging to write. I really wanted to capture the awful stress of working in retail during the holiday season. I rewrote those scenes more than any other scenes in the novel.
Are themes a big part of your stories, or not so much?
Absolutely. I love writing about ordinary people experiencing extraordinary circumstances in their life, and how those circumstances change them forever.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently finishing the final draft of a holiday-themed romance called The Everlasting Gift. After that, I’ll be working on a dance-themed romance called Dance Break.
Is there a release date planned?
There isn’t a release date planned yet for either of those novels. However, my new adult romance suspense novel Mind Fields will be released on May 18th and my summer romance novel Back Strokes will be released on June 15th. I wrote both of those books under a pen name about a decade ago. They’ve since gone out of print, so I’m very happy they’re getting a new literary life. I hope they both connect with new readers.
Who is your favorite character from your own stories, and why?
My two favorite characters are Tina from this novel and Leah from my young adult novel Marijuana Mermaid. They were both a lot of fun to write.
Most writers were readers as children. What was your favorite book in grade school?
I read everything written by Judy Blume, Lois Duncan, and Norma Fox Mazer when I was in grade school. Collectively, those three authors influenced my work more than any other writers. They still do.
What are your plans for future projects?
I plan to continue writing and publishing my work and sharing it with my wonderful readers.
Is there anything you would like to add before we finish?
I love hearing from readers and from fellow writers. Please reach out to me if you’d like to connect.
Good luck with Ambrosia, and thank you for being with us today.
Thank you! This has been a lot of fun.
Excerpt:Sex was an evil, dirty thing and because I had so much of it with Geoffrey the Waiter, I knew I was going straight to hell. To make matters worse, Geoffrey was only nineteen, a sophomore at DePaul University (a Catholic school at that) and lived in a dorm room, which is where the immoral act took place. Of course I didn't know any of this when I left work and jumped on a bus taking me south on Michigan Avenue.
As promised, I met Geoffrey at five o'clock. He walked out of the restaurant through the revolving door. To his misfortune, he saw me standing on the corner beneath the yellow blast of a street lamp. I stood there, surrounded by a buzzing swarm of hungry and overstuffed Christmas shoppers who continued to flow in and out of the restaurant like cattle. Despite the fact he was wearing a thick winter parka, a cow-patterned scarf, a knitted black hat, and matching gloves, he was still sexier than I’d remembered. He stood there for a second, just staring. It was at that moment I realized I was still wearing the ridiculous Santa hat.
"Merry Christmas." I felt my chest tighten. I sounded way too enthusiastic. My loathing self-critic began its usual mantra in my head: Oh God, he thinks I'm desperate.
He took a long deep breath, as if he were standing on the edge of a pool and had no idea how to swim. He moved toward me slowly through the crowd. I could see his hesitation. There was dreaded fear in each step. His cheeks were flushed pink from the cold. His hazel eyes held reflections of streetlights and neon signs.
"I didn't think you'd show up," he said.
"Sorry to disappoint you."
He offered me a soft smile. "No, I didn't mean it like that."
Nervous, I looked away. A woman with blonde hair was dragging her crying child down the street by the arm, swearing profusely. I turned back to Geoffrey and strands of my hair flew into my mouth, nearly gagging me. I brushed them away and tried to smile. "I made a horrible first impression on you and I'm sorry."
"It's okay,” he decided. “I forgive you." He smiled again. His dimples practically radiated, warming a frozen spot inside of me. He brushed at a few flakes of snow that had fallen on my cheek, stuck there like wet pieces of tissue paper. He wiped them away with his left index finger. I shivered when the knitted fingertip of his glove made contact with my almost frostbitten skin. "You're cute."
I knew I was blushing. “You don't have to lie."
"Why would I? I hardly even know you."
"We don’t have to do this. I mean, if you want out...” I shifted in my heavy black snow boots. I shoved my hands into the pockets of my old winter coat that was missing a button.
He looked at the top of my head. "Nice hat."
"I was forced to wear this and I'm having a bad hair day."
"Where do you wanna go?"
I shrugged. Then, like an idiot, I giggled. "I don't know."
"Are you hungry?"
"You want to get a drink?"
"I'd settle for some hot chocolate."
"I think I can arrange that. I have some hot chocolate back at my place." He reached for my hand, which was numb from the cold, and he held it in his. The softness of his glove rubbed against my palm.
He signaled for a cab. We were on the curb, directly across the street from the massive Art Institute. Beyond that I could see the cold, silver surface of Lake Michigan. "You have beautiful eyes," he said. His words and breath fell onto my lips in a small blast of warm air.
"Thanks," I replied. My teeth began to chatter but I knew it wasn't due to the temperature. I was filled with a sudden flash of anticipation.