Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Barbara Linn Probst hits all the right notes...plus a book giveaway

Today we welcome Barbara Linn Probst to CLC. We're celebrating the publication of her sophomore novel, The Sound Between The Notes, with an interview. We enjoyed what she had to say and hope you will too. Barbara has one signed copy for a lucky reader!

Barbara Linn Probst is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, living on an historic dirt road in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her debut novel, Queen of the Owls, (April 2020) is the story of a woman’s search for wholeness, framed around the art and life of iconic American painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Queen of the Owls won the bronze medal for popular fiction from the Independent Publishers Association, placed first runner-up in general fiction for the Eric Hoffer Award, was short-listed for the First Horizon and the $2500 Grand Prize, and is currently a finalist for the Sarton Award for Women’s Fiction.

Barbara’s second novel The Sound Between the Notes, recipient of starred Kirkus Review for work “of remarkable merit,” launches in April 2021.

Barbara has a PhD in clinical social work and blogs for several award-winning sites for writers. To learn more about Barbara and her work, visit her website.

Visit Barbara online:
Website * Instagram

What if you had a second chance at the very thing you thought you’d renounced forever?  How steep a price would you be willing to pay?
Susannah’s career as a pianist has been on hold for sixteen years, ever since her son was born. An adoptee who’s never forgiven her birth mother for not putting her first, Susannah vowed to put her own child first, no matter what. And she did. But now, suddenly, she has a chance to vault into that elite tier of “chosen” musicians. There’s just one problem: somewhere along the way, she lost the power and the magic that used to be hers at the keyboard. 

She needs to get them back. Now. 

If only it was that simple.

As her now-or-never concert draws near, Susannah is catapulted back to memories she’s never been able to purge—and forward, to choices she never thought she’d have to make. Blindsided by escalating stakes, Susannah struggles to fulfill her artistic passion while reconciling past and present and doing right by those she loves.

“Family ties can bind or blind us—even with relatives we've never met. In The Sound Between the Notes, trails of music connect generations separated by adoption—while the same notes threaten a family believed sewn with steel threads. In this spellbinding novel, Barbara Linn Probst examines how the truth of love transcends genetics, even as strands of biology grip us. Once you begin this story, suffused with the majesty of music and the reveries of creation, the 'gotta know' will carry you all the way to the final note.”
—Randy Susan Meyers, international best-selling author of Waisted and The Comfort of Lies

“Beautifully told, The Sound Between the Notes, is the story of tragedy and triumph, of the push and pull of family, of the responsibility we feel to ourselves and those we love. Once I started the book, I couldn't put it down until I reached the last, gorgeously written note.”
—Loretta Nyhan, author of The Other Family and Amazon best-seller Digging In

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?
I’d like to share two, if I may, because each meant so much to me for different reasons…

One is the starred review The Sound Between the Notes just received from Kirkus, the notoriously hard-to-please trade reviewer—a rating given out quite rarely and only (in their words) “to books of remarkable merit.”  

The other is an email I received from a reader, who wrote: “I have just finished reading Queen of the Owls. It is one of the best novels I have ever read, and I've read thousands. It's difficult to believe this is a debut novel, it is just stunningly wonderful.”

What is something you learned from writing Queen of the Owls that you applied to The Sound Between the Notes?
I actually wrote The Sound Between the Notes before I wrote Queen of the Owls

It was going to be published first, in fact, but I knew it wasn’t quite right so I pulled it, one of the best writing decisions I ever made.  That’s another story—how I had to understand music more deeply before I could make Susannah, the protagonist, into the person she needed to be. When I returned to The Sound Between the Notes, a year later, I was ready … 

What I learned that year, as I opened to the piano in a new way, was that I needed to love my characters more, to find the part of every single character, no matter how minor, that’s worthy of love and respect. There are no villains in The Sound Between the Notes. As Susannah comes to understand, each person is doing the best they can. I think that sense of humanity brought the book to a whole other level. It’s a great story— a twisty plot, “a tour de force steeped in suspense”—but it’s also about the struggle to fulfill yourself while doing right by the people you love.

If The Sound Between the Notes were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
That would be a dream come true, wouldn’t it?  Well, if I get to dream, I would cast the brilliant Amy Adams as the adult Susannah. Her teenage-early 20s self is a bit harder to cast, since actresses who might be perfect for the part (like Shailene Woodley) tend to grow up too quickly!  George Clooney is too old (sadly), so I think Christian Bale could do a great job playing Aaron, Susannah’s husband. Helen Mirren would be amazing as Vera, Susannah’s piano teacher. And I’m totally seeing Sissy Spacek as Beryl, her Texas grandmother.

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?
That’s a tough question, because I enjoy books for different reasons!  Right now, what feels most meaningful to me are books that show something noble and fine about the human spirit, so I’m going to pick Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano because, as Jodi Picoult writes, it’s a book “that leaves you profoundly altered for the better.”

What have you learned about yourself during this pandemic?
What a wonderful question, because I do think it’s been a time of reflection and re-evaluation for so many of us.  

As someone who’s remained in good health, with no children to home-school and a work-from-home profession to begin with, I’ve had it easier than so many. That’s given me the opportunity to take this as a time to slow down, value stillness, and appreciate the small things. As a high-energy multi-tasker, I didn’t know if I could do that, but I did. Before the pandemic, I was constantly running around, always at full throttle. I learned that I can find meaning, equally, in the small interactions—say, with the woman behind the counter at the post office—and that I can walk along the same dirt road by my house every day, and see something new each time.

What is the last thing you had a good laugh about?
I try to laugh as much as I can—especially at myself—because that helps me keep a light heart and stay close to the tender, crazy, vulnerable, and ever-surprising experience of being human. I shared a wonderful laugh with three friends yesterday during our biweekly Zoom gathering when we had one of those, “Wow, you too?” moments. It brought us together in such a natural and uplifting way!

Thanks to Barbara for visiting with us and for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends April 12th at midnight EST.


Jane said...

Thanks for the chance. Book looks great.

traveler said...

I have played the guitar many years ago but was average at it.

Kelley said...

I do not play an instrument. I think guitar would be fun.

Diane Markowitz said...

I used to play the clarinet. Thank you for the chance.

maggi said...

This books sounds fascinating!

Bernice Kennedy said...

The synopsis has me interested. I do not play a musical instrument but if I did it would probably be the piano. Thanks for the chance!

Anonymous said...

Karen B
I played the piano many-many-many years ago - and not very well! Book sounds fascinating!

Nancy P said...

Love to learn guitar, piano & drums.

Mary C said...

I used to play the violin.

diannekc said...

I don't play an instrument, if I did it would probably be the piano.

jodi marinich said...

i always want to play drums

Mary Preston said...

I had piano lessons as a child, but no, I can't play.

Mary Patricia Bird said...

My father was in the music business (publisher). He had made a deal with a local piano teacher to give her a deal on sheet music in turn for his children getting piano lessons from her. We were obligated to take the lessons for one year and could quit after that... which I did. To this day I regret making the decision to quit.

bn100 said...


Nancy said...

I took some piano lessons as a child.I was not a success story as a pianist.

allibrary (at) aol (dot) com