Interview with Debut Author, Maribeth Barber (Stop #9 on the Operation Lionhearted Blog Tour!)

Hello and happy Saturday, everyone!

I’m ecstatic to be participating in the blog tour for a beautiful new sci-fi release: Operation Lionhearted! I had the huge honor to read this novel earlier this year, and I am thrilled that it’s so close to being out in the world! Today, I’m going to be chatting with the lovely author herself, Maribeth Barber.

Before we get into the interview, though, I’m going to share just a bit about this wonderful novel. (And there’s a giveaway, so stay tuned!)

AHHHHH, the cover is SO GORGEOUS, and I can’t stop staring at it!

Her planet’s future is at stake…but her past is on the line.

Lindy Tremaine is proud of her work with the Meridian Intelligence Department. Clever, courageous, and armed with an uncanny intuition, she is determined to protect the planets of the Kellan Star System villains and schemers, even if it means going undercover as a fashion journalist.

Tragedy, however, lies beneath Lindy’s self-possessed demeanor. She is an empath, a native of the war-torn Valya, and the man responsible for her mother’s death—the former prince Rael Navorre—still rules her home planet with an iron hand. Haunted by fragmented memories of bloodshed, Lindy refuses to revisit Valya or embrace her heritage, preferring to invest in her career and her adopted family.

But now Lindy and her best friend, Jo Camrin, have received the most daunting assignment of their MID careers: they must protect Valya’s exiled royal family during peace negotiations with Rael. Committed to this mission despite her fears, Lindy soon uncovers a web of lies and technological horrors…as well as the best-kept secret in the Star System.

-Synopsis for Operation Lionhearted by Maribeth Barber

If you’re intrigued, head on over to Amazon to preorder the book! Operation Lionhearted is currently at a discounted preorder price of $2.99, which will rise to $5.99 on October 14, so be sure to snag a copy early! The paperback version will be available on Operation Lionhearted‘s official release day, October 13.

Also, Maribeth is giving away a paperback copy of Operation Lionhearted; the giveaway runs until October 12. Enter HERE!

And now, without further ado, my interview with Maribeth!

Amelie: When and how did you first get the idea for Operation Lionhearted?

Maribeth: I got the idea in October 2016 right after a romantic heartbreak. In my sadness, I had no more interest in working on the fantasy concept I’d shared with my ex-boyfriend. But then I had a thought: “What if I just wrote whatever I wanted to write, no matter how crazy it might be?” Within moments, images of a fierce, beautiful heroine, her spunky grandmother, and a science fiction universe popped into my head, and the next morning I wrote the opening scenes of Operation Lionhearted. 

-How many drafts did it take to polish up Operation Lionhearted? And did the manuscript end up shorter or longer than the very first draft?

The first draft clocked in at a whopping 150,000 words—way too long even for science fiction! By the time I finished my final, seventh draft five years later, I’d whittled it down to 110,000 words.

(A collage I made. All pictures are from Pinterest.)

-Can you share a little bit about your writing process?

I’m neither a plotter nor a pantser. If I over-plot, I lose all my passion for a story; if I fly too much by the seat of my pants, I lose my way. So I try to give myself both a little room and a little structure to write by, which is why I call myself a “plantser.” I still “cast” my characters and define their personalities really well before I start writing, though. I listen to instrumental music while I write, and I use Scrivener (though Operation Lionhearted’s first drafts were written on Apple Pages). 

-What has been your favorite part of the indie publishing process?

This may sound terrible, but I genuinely like being in control. I didn’t change my story to suit any trends, and I’ve assumed the responsibility for marketing it. I did query agents and publishers for a full year, and while I may have had a worldwide pandemic working against me (ahem), I quickly realized that my book fit neither the “Christian” nor the “secular” publishing standards. Self-publishing, on the other hand, gives me and other novelists like myself the power and independence to print the stories we want to tell and get them out into the world. Personally, I think that decentralization of the industry a good thing. 

-Do you plan to stay on the indie path, or do you aspire to traditionally publish as well?

It depends. I’ll likely do the same thing I did with Operation Lionhearted and give agents and publishers a chance before I take any other steps. But what will the political, economic, and social landscape look like by the time I finish another novel, and how will that affect the traditional publishing world? I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. 

-Who has inspired you the most in your writing journey?

I can think of so many people, real and fictional, who’ve inspired me in so many different ways. Jo March (especially in the 2019 adaptation of Little Women) and Juliet Ashton of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society are my two fictional storyteller ideals. Julia Cameron, Madeleine L’Engle, and Andrew Peterson, meanwhile, all boost my confidence and courage through their respective books (The Right to Write, Walking on Water, and Adoring the Dark). Last but not least, my mom and my dear friend Rachel have encouraged me every step of my writing journey—which is why Operation Lionhearted is dedicated to them.    

-Are there any other places people can read your writing or connect with you?
Yes! I chat about storytelling twice a month on my blog, “A Writer’s Tale” (, and you can sign up for my monthly newsletter there as well. I also have a Twitter ( and an Instagram ( where I share blog updates and lovely quotes from other writers.

Thank you so much for sharing a little more about your novel and your writing process, Maribeth, and thank you for having me on your launch team! And a huge congratulations on getting to this point with your debut novel. I can’t wait for the rest of the world to read it. ❤

Don’t forget to visit the other lovely bloggers participating in this tour! Here’s a beautiful graphic with a list of all the other blog tour stops (clicking on the image will take you to Maribeth’s post where all the links reside):

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend, everyone!

Have you read Operation Lionhearted? (If not, you absolutely must!) Let’s talk in the comments!


9 thoughts on “Interview with Debut Author, Maribeth Barber (Stop #9 on the Operation Lionhearted Blog Tour!)

  1. Pingback: The Operation Lionhearted Blog Tour Begins (+ a Giveaway)! – A Writer's Tale

  2. Amelie, this Author Q&A was so much fun!! Thank you for your wonderful questions, especially the ones on indie publishing. They gave me a great opportunity to not just ponder my experience thus far, but to consider my own hopes (and concerns!) for the future. I’m so glad you joined the blog tour, and forever grateful for your incredible notes while beta reading ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • My absolute pleasure, Maribeth!! Thank YOU for bringing me along on this great adventure of publishing Operation Lionhearted! I’m so happy for you and so thankful for the wonderful, beautiful person you are. ❤


  3. Hello Amelie! I found your blog to be pretty awesome, after all, I am a huge bookworm. In all my 12 months of blogging, I have never taken an author interview. The concept seems to be quite new and fun. Though I have been lucky enough to bag some review copies 🙂
    Reading the author’s answers helped me get more insights into my writing journey!
    ~ Arnav

    Liked by 1 person

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