Sunday, March 08, 2020

Author Interview, Kaye Wilkinson Barley

I have several sisters of the heart, women I love who I can laugh with and travel with. Kaye Wilkinson Barley and I knew each other for years before we ever met. I always cheered on her rants at DorothyL. We finally met when we roomed together at Bouchercon in Raleigh, and again in New Orleans. Then, we went to Paris together, and Kaye discovered a passion for that city. She went back several times with her husband, Donald Barley, and the two photographers have a new book coming out any day now, Carousels of Paris. If you haven't met my friend, Kaye, I'll introduce you. If you have, please welcome a sister to the blog. Thank you, Kaye.

Kaye and I in Paris in the 1920s

Kaye, Many of my readers may be familiar with you, but please re-introduce yourself, and tell us a little about your co-photographer, Donald Barley.
Hey, dear one!  Thank you for having me.  I think I’ve been reading your blog since the very beginning – even when it had a different name.  
I’m a retired person who was probably born to be a retired person since I’d always much rather stay home with a good book and a cup of coffee than go out to earn a living.  I’m also a bit of an introvert, so another reason being at home is in my top 2 or 3 places to be.
I’m a reader who does a little bit of writing and have tried my hand at every kind of craft that has crossed my path.  But I have always had a camera in my hand. Always.
And I’m a blogger.  My Meanderings and Muses - used to be a prime place for author spotlights and you can still find some old interviews and articles by a lot of authors whose names you’ll recognize, and some you’ve never heard of, but are still darn good writers.  It has evolved into the place where I now go to share my feelings, my opinions and whatever news I might want to share; along with photos of everything from our trips to our flowers to our friends to our dog.
My partner in crime of the past 36 years (almost 34 as my husband) is also retired and is an avid photographer.  He’s won a few prizes for his photos and is quite good. He’s also always up for an adventure. He’s fun to be married to and still manages to make me laugh on a daily basis.  If he’s not off exploring the mountains on his motorcycle, he can be found stirring up trouble on FB with his political views, or off walking in our woods with Annabelle the Princess Corgi. 

The photographers, Kaye & Donald Barley, under the dome in Gallery Lafayette

Let’s talk carousels. What fascinates you about them, and how did you fall in love with them?
I’ve been in love with carousels for as long as I can remember, and it started with Trimper’s carousel on the Ocean City, MD Boardwalk. It was purchased in 1912 from the Herschell-Spillman Company in North Tonawanda, NY and is still in use today.  It is a beauty. And, it’s haunted. You can, if you’re lucky, catch a whiff of the perfume Mrs. Trimper was known to wear. Sadly, I have not had the privilege. Maybe next time.

I rode it when I was a little girl, and still ride it whenever we get back to Ocean City.  
Donald and I have some pretty amazing photos of this carousel that we’ve taken over time. 
Now, Paris! Tell us about Paris and carousels.
Since you and I are very much alike when it comes to researching a trip, I know you understand this, Lesa.  
Before my first trip to Paris (and wasn’t it a fun one!?!  For those of you who read Lesa’s blog you probably know we had a fabulous trip together to Paris along with two other girlfriends, Vickie Smith and Lisa Aiken) I did loads of research and learned that there are several carousels around the city.  They’re tucked in small out of the way parks and gardens, and they’re in the larger more well-known gardens such as Luxembourg Gardens and Tuileries, and sometimes they’re in the street at a Metro entrance.  
And they all have their own personality and magic.  The carousel in Luxembourg Gardens is the oldest in the city.  Its wooden animals are a little worn and most of the horses have lost their tails.  It has an attendant who hands children a “jousting stick” so they can try to catch a brass ring.  I love this carousel.
The carousel in the Jardin des Plantes is made up of extinct, or perhaps soon to be extinct, animals.  It was closed and covered over when we got there, but that didn’t stop two adventurous retirees armed with cameras and on a mission.  We sneaked under the cover and got a few pix, and I am very proud of that. I would not have done, however, that if I hadn’t been with Donald Barley – he is such a rebel.  
I love Paris.  I Iove everything about it.  And I love the people, the cafes, the tiny shops, the gardens, the museums, the cemeteries.  The carousels, to me, are part of the magic of Paris.
I know people say it’s a city for lovers, and while that may be true, it is also, very much, a city for children.  The French love their children and many that I talked with were quick to remind me of all the small pocket gardens in neighborhoods scattered around, most of which have playgrounds.   Perfect spots for parents to take their children. Watching the little ones sail their boats in the Luxembourg Gardens fountain is like watching moments out of time.
Lord, I could talk about Paris for days.
It’s time to talk about The Carousels of Paris. Tell us about your latest book. 
 Well, for one thing, I haven’t seen it yet!!!! 
But I THINK we’ll have some in hand early next week. 
I’ve been fascinated by carousels since I was a little girl and I loved learning that the French are also lovers of carousels, as witnessed by the many seen in parks and even on street corners.

I fell in love with Parisian carousels during my first visit and returned to the U.S. eager to learn more about them. Research revealed that there is a conspicuous gap in readily available information.

And thus began my trip down the carousel research rabbit hole (and I thank you, Lesa, for going down there with me), enjoying every second of the journey.
After the first trip, I came home already planning to go back specifically to photograph some of those carousels.  Donald and I have, during two trips, managed to capture images of several, but intend to go back as often as it takes to photograph all of the carousels in Paris, including those that move around the city, and those that disappear for a time only to reappear at a later time.

The book captures, I hope, the colorful motion of everyday life in the City of Light while chronicling the history and characteristics of these unique attractions.

You can learn more about it and follow some news as it happens at my webpage -

What has been the most exciting moment of your publishing career?
Having my first essay accepted for inclusion in a Western North Carolina women writers anthology.  Clothes Lines edited by Celia Miles and Nan Dillingham, two women who have done amazing things for women writers in North Carolina.
Next?  Typing “The End” when I finished WHIMSEY.  Lots of people say they’re going to write a novel.  I had said it for years. It’s HARDER than most can imagine which is why so many people never do it.  I will forever be proud that I did.
Next?  Whenever/wherever I spot WHIMSEY on a shelf in a bookstore, including WHSmith in Paris.

Kaye with Whimsey at WHSmith in Paris
One more?  Having a short story in the Anthony Award winning anthology Blood on the Bayou.
I’m veering back to the subject of Paris. You’ve been there twice now. Name your top 3 favorite sites, and why.
THREE times!  One girl’s trip and twice with Donald.
Favorite places?
Giverny which isn’t really in Paris but is too special to miss!

Donald in Giverny

The Puces de VanvesA Paris Flea Market  

The gardens – all the gardens

What have you missed that you still want to see in Paris?
We haven’t found all the carousels yet, so we have to go back!  And Mont St. Michel in Normandy, and whatever little surprise we happen to bump into, which is the most wonderful thing of wandering the streets of Paris.
Here’s a tough one for you because I’ve seen your lists of books. List your 5 favorite books about Paris.
You are such a devil.
I’m going to cheat and name two series – one by Mark Pryor and one by Wendy Hornsby.
And the four Paris books written by Juliet Blackwell.
And - Non-fiction - A Paris All Your Own - Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light edited by Eleanor Brown
But I hope everyone will find their own favorite at my Paris Reading List cause if you ask me this question tomorrow I might have different answers!  SO many good ones
Here’s a question I would only ask you. Tell us about Harley and Annabelle.
There’s a quote about “we all think we have the best dog  - - - and we’re all right.”
Or something like that.
Harley and Annabelle.  Oh my. Two of the best, two of the funniest, two of the dearest.  But SO different.
Harley was patient to a fault and would let me dress him in hats and scarves and would allow pictures to be taken.  In some he kept up a good front, in many he clearly showed his discontent.

Annabelle, however, can not be coaxed by any means to wear a hat for a picture.  She can, occasionally, be tricked into it. And then Donald and I both are hysterical and exhausted and in need of naps.
Harley was a bit of an introvert like his mom and dad.
Annabelle has been nicknamed Miss Congeniality at Woof Pack, her play day place.  They utilize her talents to help other dogs socialize and also help those that might suffer a little from separation anxiety.  She’s a little doggie therapy dog, maybe.  

We miss Harley every day. Wish he could here to rock and roll with Annabelle.
Last question. What books are on your nightstand (or Kindle or iPad) right now?
Three books of essays have a permanent nightstand status  - Pat Conroy’s Cookbook (it’s way more than recipes!), Rick Bragg’s My Southern Journey, and Neil Gaiman’s View From the Cheap Seats.
Reading on my Kindle: The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O’Neal (an advance copy – due to be released in July).  
A book on my nightstand.
HOW could I forget this ARC that arrived in the mail!!!
The Paris Hours by Alex George and next in my queue.

Lesa, Thank you for this.  You are and will always be a sister of my heart.
Love you!

Kaye Barley at Cafe St. Regis, Paris

Love you back, my sister.

Carousels of Paris by Kaye Wilkinson Barley is for sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other book sites.  

Carousels of Paris by Kaye Wilkinson Barley, Donald Barley (Photographer). Aakenbaaken & Kent, 2020. ISBN 9780578600451 (hardcover), 198p., $29.99.


Jeff Meyerson said...

Thanks, Lesa and Kaye. That was great!

And congratulations on the new book.

Lesa said...

I always have fun with Kaye, Jeff.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Thank you, Jeff.

And thank YOU, dear Lesa. We do have fun, don't we?

Mason Canyon said...

Kaye and Lesa, love the photo of the two of you. Kaye huge congratulations on the release of your upcoming book. It sounds fascinating.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Thank you, Mason!!!

Lesa said...

Mason, Kaye & I had so much fun posing. I don't think Kaye ever wanted to come back from Paris in the 1920s.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

It's where I belong! LOL!

Vicki Lane said...

What a delightful chat between you two!

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Rhanks, Vicki - Lesa asks fun questions

Kathy Reel said...

Love this interview so much! You two ladies are so special in my life. I have The Carousels of Paris on order, and the latest arrival date I was notified of is March 18th. I'm hoping it will get here sooner, as I am so excited to be able to hold it in my hands. Pride of place doesn't begin to cover what this book will receive in my home. xoxo

Bonnie K. said...

Loved this! I especially like the photo of the two of you in 1920s Paris. So cool.

Lesa said...

Thanks, Vicki, and Kathy, and Bonnie. It's always fun when I get the chance to chat with Kaye. And, this one was special.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

This was such fun! Thanks to everyone who stopped by and Thank YOU Lesa!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great reading list on Paris and adorable pictures of Annabelle! :) I saw the carousel in Luxembourg when I was there last summer with my family, but I didn't give it proper attention...wish I'd spent more time looking at it (my daughter and I had gotten turned around at the time and we were looking for the park exit!)

Lesa said...

And, I think Kaye owns all those books on Paris, Elizabeth!

Celia Miles said...

Great interview, Kaye. I loved your enthusiasm and joy in being and doing and admire your tenacity and pleasure in getting the book done.I'm ordering it, of course. Thanks for mentioning Nancy and me. Meeting writers like you made putting the anthologies together just plain fun.