Friday, 6 April 2012

The One-Link Lowdown on...Barbara Ehrentreu

My guest today is Barbara Ehrentreu. A retired teacher with a Masters degree in Reading and Writing K-12 and seventeen years of teaching experience, Barbara lives with her family in Stamford, Connecticut. Also a Literature Examiner and a radio writing show host, she's well qualified as the successful published writer she's fast becoming. Her recently published YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, was described by one Amazon reviewer as 'one of the best novels about teenagers I've read.' Welcome, Barbara!

If you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?

I’d want my Nancy Drew books. I’m sure someone stole them from me!

Those books of our childhood mean so much, don't they? I'm so glad my daughter is reading many of my favourites now! Tell me this - what’s the worst job you've ever had?

I worked in a middle school in the Bronx where the principal did nothing and the kids were so rowdy the security staff was there more than the teachers.

Wow - that must have been pretty rough! And the best job...?

Working as a fourth grade teacher in a magnet school in Buffalo, NY. What a class!

Tell us three surprising things about yourself, one of which is a fib - and we'll try to guess the fib!

I love all things Betty Boop.
I have lived in New York, California and Connecticut.
My favorite color is blue.

Hmmm. The fib could be any of those! Barbara, Let me think about that one while you tell me about your perfect day.

I would be in the Caribbean somewhere near a beach. When I wake up the smell of the flowers wafts in on the warm breeze. I have breakfast on my terrace overlooking the aqua water and afterward I go out to the beach and sunbathe, interrupting it for swimming and/or snorkelling. I would be sipping delicious cocktails and having lunch at the beachside restaurant attached to the hotel. Maybe I’d take in a little sightseeing or shopping and at night dress up and go to the restaurant again for a delicious meal and more rum drinks. Then later, I’d write all about my day.

What’s your favourite piece of music?

“Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Ah, we are soul sisters - that's one of my all-time favourites ever, too. Ok, on to matters of the stomach! What your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it?

Corned beef and pastrami on rye bread with coleslaw and mustard. Probably the best place to eat this is either The Carnegie Deli in Manhattan or The Second Avenue Deli in Manhattan. The Second Avenue Deli is where they filmed “When Harry Met Sally”. I can only eat a quarter of it, though, because they are huge!!!

Which animal do you think you’re most like, and why?

I’m like a lion, which is my birth sign. If you leave me alone I’m placid and content and I’m lazy. However, bother me in any way and my claws come out and I will be vicious. Especially if you bother anyone in my family and I think an injustice has been done.

You really are the Lion Mother! What’s the best review you've ever had?

That’s a hard one to answer, since I’ve gotten so many great reviews! I think it was one of the first ones where the reviewer said it was a “break out YA novel” and an “important and thoroughly enjoyable read”.

Wonderful! When you're not writing, what's your guilty pleasure?

I love to do jigsaw puzzles on my iPad. This really relaxes me.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I guess I would want to be less stubborn. I tend to stick to my own ideas a little too much and I don’t like to change things much.

Aside from writing achievements, family, etc - what are you most proud of?

What else is there? Oh, there is one thing. I’m proud I was able to meet President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton in person, talk with both of them and have photos with them.

Wouldn't we love to see those photos one day! And I'd love to have been a fly-on-the-wall at that meeting, it must have been fascinating. Friends, Barbara's One-Link today is this one to her novel If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, where you'll also be able to find out more about both Barbara and the eponymous Jennifer, and read a superb extract.

Barbara, thanks so much for being my guest today. You told me your fib was the one about your favourite colour being blue, but here's the truth just as you told me - My favorite color is red! I once wrote a poem about it, but I can't find it. I just love red, because it makes me smile and it gives me energy. It's bright and also commands attention. Need I say more?

Nothing more to be said - I think red just about sums you up! I've really enjoyed our time together today. Good luck with all that you do!


  1. Okay, Barbara, instant friendship explained! Anyone whose favorite color is red -- we have like personalities! Yes, darlin', red's my favorite too. I would love to eat corned beef on Rye with you in a Manhattan deli!

  2. Great interview - and a superb book!

  3. Love Nancy Drew - I think she helped foster my interest in mysteries and suspense. I can't say I'd love the corn beef and rye, but I'd be right there with you on the Caribbean. Your book cover is beautiful, too. Congrats!

    Stacy Green (

  4. Jane, thank you so much for having me on your beautiful blog! I really enjoyed myself answering your very unusual questions.:)

    Gail, sweetie, I told you if we got together it would be the longest experience ever! I would love to eat a sandwich with you in NYC. Come up north, honey!!! And yes, we have the same favorite color too!!

    Thank you, Rosemary!! So nice to see you here!

    Hi Stacy! Having a taste for deli from NY has to be acquired from birth. However, I'm sure there are many people right now discovering the joys of a good corned beef and pastrami sandwich:) Thank you about the book cover. Kaytalin Platt did it and it won an award too, both for the cover and #2 in Preditors & Editors for Best Young Adult Book of 2011.

  5. Hi Barbara - it was a pleasure having you over!

    Hello everyone who's come over to see Barbara - great to see you all. I have to agree about the cover for Jennifer Taylor, it is quite gorgeous!

    Jane x

  6. Barbara, every time I read about you I find we have more and more in common. I still have my Nancy Drew books. The first movie my husband took me to was "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and Moon River became "our song."

    Thanks, Jane. Your questions are great.

  7. Thank you, Cheryl. Glad you liked it. I had a lot of fun with Jane's questions.:)

    BarbaraB, so happy to see you here! We do have a lot in common besides the name of course.:) I saw "Breakfast at Tiffany's" my freshman year of college and a few days later I went out with my husband-to-be. The song, "Moon River" stuck with me and even though we wrote to each other for 3 years I knew we would be together eventually. Every time I heard "Moon River" I thought of him, so it became our song too! So amazing we have this in common too!!

    Thank you Jane for letting me find out one more thing about my friends!

  8. Oh my goodness. Moon River reminds me that my girls quartet sang that song for our junior prom banquet...and such off-key warbling I have never heard again. Needless to say we disbanded the quartet after THAT performance. Still like the song though. Now I get the connection for the lionmother title. Growllll or ROAR! Loved the interview. Jane comes up with the best questions. So happy for your success with the YA story.

  9. JQ, thank you so much! I can see why you wouldn't want the quartet to sing after the awful harmony on Moon River. I think the best performance is the unadorned voice of Audrey Hepburn singing it accompanied by the guitar and sitting in the window on the fire escape.

    Yes, I am a lion and it comes from my birth sign and a story about my 40th birthday. I once wrote an answer to someone. Here it is: I wear a gold lion's head around my neck. I got it when I turned 40, because I wouldn't get out of bed. But my mother said she would get me anything at all at Fortunoff's, which is now out of business. So I went with her and I found the lion's head. After I put it on I felt stronger and began to collect lions too.:) I don't have nearly as many of those as Betty Boops.

  10. Thanka again to everyone who came along to see Barbara!

    Jane x