Entertaining Angels: Emerald Barnes

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I’m thrilled to have author Emerald Barnes back to discuss her new novel, Entertaining Angels. The novel deals with some heartfelt issues, and I was especially interested in asking Emerald about that. Join me in welcoming Emerald Barnes!


Silverberry: You drew a lot on your own experience in writing Entertaining Angels. Would you be willing to share some of them?


Barnes: I did, yes, and I think that’s what makes the story so relatable. I was picked on for being overweight. It wasn’t to the same extreme that Madison is, but I knew how that felt. So, I pulled from it and used it as inner thoughts and feelings for her. My best friends were skinner than I was in high school, and it was always so hard to see the guys want them and never want me, especially when it was someone I had a crush on. I loved my best friends, but they never really understood what I was feeling. I didn’t have anyone but my sister and cousin who were also a bit overweight. So, we’d talk and hang out, but when others don’t realize what we go through, it hurts. I used every bit of those feelings and directed them towards Madison. That’s why I think that my own experiences at being overweight really brings in my readers being able to relate to the feeling that Madison has, or if they can’t relate personally, they’ll understand what it feels like to be an overweight teen/adult.


Silverberry: What do you think it says about society as a whole that we focus on “skin deep”?


Barnes: I’m not sure exactly what it says about our society, but I do know that it’s not right. Beauty isn’t skin deep. There is so much more to beauty than being a size 0 and tan. I’m neither, but I also realize that I’m beautiful. I may not be a magazine’s standard of beauty, but when it boils down to it, nor are the models. They’re photoshopped, and we have this askew version that we need to look like that. I just want people to see that no matter what they look like, they’re beautiful. I want them to embrace themselves and love themselves. It doesn’t matter what others think. I can never change a society, but if the message gets across somehow, maybe we can start taking that “skin deep” attitude and start seeing beneath the skin, start looking at souls and realize that we’re all beautiful.


Silverberry: As I work on my current novel, I’ve begun to realize that just as my characters have an arc, I’m also having one, that I’m on a path toward greater wholeness. I wondered if writing the book provided something like that for you, a healing or catharsis.


Barnes: It did. Entertaining Angels was a way for me to heal as much as it was for me to bare my soul. I have spent many years damaged because of how being fat is seen as being a bad, grotesque thing when it’s not. I’m not going to get on the healthy vs. non-healthy debate about being overweight. What I am going to say is that, no matter how it happened, being fat doesn’t make one grotesque or different or ugly, and I’ve been a victim of feeling like that because others have made me feel that way. So, it’s been more, I guess, of a way for me to heal by sharing my feelings, but mostly, it’s been about me trying to help others get past their feelings of inadequacy.


Silverberry: How did you go about creating the story’s characters? How much did you draw from real experiences and people you’ve encountered?


Barnes: As far as creating my story’s characters, I sat back, and I thought about what the most extreme thing was that could happen for an overweight teen, and I made it scarier. I needed it to be scary because people need to see how dangerous it is to hate yourself. I drew a lot from real life experiences. As I mentioned in some previous questions, this is basically my life’s story you’re reading minus a few details. So, I took what I knew from my life and what I’ve seen and the people I know, and I wrote a story that would touch those who have been victims of bullies and know what it feels like because this happens more than what we realize.


Silverberry: What does your heroine, Madison, yearn for?


Barnes: Madison yearns for a normal life. She thinks that she’s not good enough, pretty enough, or skinny enough, and she wants to do everything that she can to become a “normal” teen, but she also craves love. She wants to be loved more than anything else in her life.


Silverberry: Your titles are always so intriguing. Where did this one come from?


Barnes: Thank you! Most of them are always so hard for me to think of! There’s a Bible verse, Hebrews 13:2, that says, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” As I was reading that and thinking about my novel as a whole, the “entertained angels unawares” became Entertaining Angels.


Silverberry: That biblical connection is absolutely beautiful. What did you learn from writing this particular book that might help other writers?


Barnes: Don’t be scared to lay your emotions on the line. It’s the scariest thing you’ll ever do, but the raw emotions are what make it so relatable. People have told me that they could relate to Mads because they went through the same thing. I just urge writers not to be scared to write something they want to write because it hurts. Hurting is probably one of the strongest motivators there is to help you share your story.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Emerald! Readers can learn more about you and purchase Entertaining Angels with the links below! But first, here’s the Synopsis!


Madison Andrews can’t face her reflection in the mirror.  All she sees is a big, fat nobody.  Yet, deep inside she longs for something more, something that’s not skin deep.

Along comes Zach, the new guy in school.  He’s smoking hot and totally out of her league.  She somehow catches his eye, and he makes her feel beautiful for once.  But just as she gets close to Zach, her nerdy best friend, Chase, won’t let Madison doubt her true beauty, no matter how many meals she skips.

Even as Madison begins to realize that she is more than what she thinks, darker forces are at work, darker than the lies and mocking from her peers, stopping her from amounting to her full potential.  Can Madison find true happiness in her own skin?

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Emerald BarnesEmerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women.  She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it.  She mainly writes suspense/thrillers in the YA genre, but she dabbles in other genres and her books are enjoyed by all ages!

She’s constantly working on new novels and has more ideas than she knows what to do with.  She is a crazy grammar nazi who also proofreads novels! She’s an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews.  She’s a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person.  God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.

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Website: www.emeraldbarnes.us

Blog: http://ebarnes23.wordpress.com and http://emeraldbarnes.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fanpageforemeraldbarnes

Twitter: www.twitter.com/emeraldbarnes

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/emerald_barnes

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/emeraldbarnes

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