Today we celebrate the April 7 release of Barbara Linn Probst’s debut novel, Queen of Owls.
Thank you for joining us to answer a few questions regarding your novel, Barbara!
This just in, from Barbara Linn Probst, “BONUS: A fun-filled 7-minute video will go live right here on WU at 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, April 7 where Barbara talks about her journey and the lessons she’d like to share. Spoiler alert: there are no owls in the book.”
Be sure to join us!
Barbara Linn Probst is a writer, blogger, and former clinician living on a historic dirt road in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Her debut novel Queen of the Owls launches in April 2020 from the visionary, award-winning, female-run She Writes Press. The story of a woman’s search for wholeness framed around the art and life of Georgia O’Keeffe, Queen of the Owls has been selected as one of the twenty most anticipated books of 2020 by Working Mother and will be the May 2020 pick for the Pulpwood Queens, a network of nearly 800 book clubs across the U.S. Her second novel is slated for publication in April 2021.
Before switching to fiction, Barbara published two nonfiction books and more scholarly articles than she cares to remember. She’s proudest of When the Labels Don’t Fit (Random House, 2008), a book to help parents understand, raise, and nurture out-of-the-box children. An out-of-the-box child herself, Barbara has a PhD in Clinical Social Work and worked for many years counseling, teaching, doing qualitative research, and advocating for people with mental and emotional challenges. A travel junkie, she’s spent amazing chunks of time in places like Turkey, Iceland, Egypt, Spain, Israel, Scotland, and Italy. She’s also a serious amateur pianist.
“Queen of the Owls is the powerful story of a woman’s quest to claim her neglected sensuality and find her true self hidden behind the roles of wife, mother, sister, and colleague.”
Barbara tells us, “I was tempted to choose a quote from one of the best-selling authors who blurbed Queen of the Owls. But I’m going to share the reflections of Sandra Scofield, National Book Award finalist, author of The Last Draft, and writing teacher extraordinaire whose tough love pushed me beyond my comfort zone until Queen of the Owls was all it could be.”
Sandra Scofield wrote:
“Who doesn’t love Georgia O’Keeffe, not just for her paintings, but for the myth of a woman constructing a fiercely independent life? Barbara Linn Probst saw something else in the artist—a theme for a novel that has at its heart a contemporary woman’s struggle to be all things (wife, mother, academic, sister) when her life seems inauthentic. A photographer in her Tai Chi class looks at Elizabeth in a way no man ever has, and her life suddenly is all moving parts.
“Elizabeth bares her body for the camera’s eye and looks into her own soul. An exhibition of photographs of her upends the stasis of her marriage and threatens her career, but it also gives her a glimpse of the more complete self she’s been missing.
“A gifted storyteller, Barbara Linn Probst writes with precision, empathy, intelligence, and a deep understanding of the psychology of a woman’s search for self.”
Our featured debut novelist and WU Contributor shares extra-exciting news. “I’m thrilled that Queen of the Owls has been chosen as the May 2020 selection for the Pulpwood Queens, a network of nearly 800 book clubs across the U.S.”
Congrats, Barbara! We’re delighted you’re part of our WU Tribe and we get to share the excitement with you!
Q1: What’s the premise of your new book?
Elizabeth, the protagonist of Queen of the Owls, has always defined herself by her intellect—choosing the logical, responsible path instead of daring to release the sensuality that lies just below the surface. During the course of the story, she comes to know and embrace a fuller self: body—and beauty—as well as brain. There’s a price to pay, but Elizabeth knows she can’t go back to the “half-woman” she used to be.
The premise of the story, in short, is that embracing the parts of yourself you’ve denied leads to wholeness.
Q2: What would you like people to know about the story itself?