Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Wonderful Barbara Parker

James O. Born

I’m sure many of you have heard that Barbara Parker passed away last weekend. I’ve seen a number of articles and blogs about her and her outstanding books. I have to write about her in this blog because, in addition to a great writer, Barbara was a friend of mine.

Barbara was a great writer, which no one can dispute. Published by Dutton and nominated for the Edgar award for her first novel, the evidence of her writing ability is obvious.

I posted this on the MWA president’s message board:

The chapter here is truly saddened. She was nothing but all kinds of great. That visit to NY was a perfect example. Funny, fun and helpful she never complained, never had self pity and never let on.If ever there was an example in the organization for us to follow it's Barbara.She's left a wonderful legacy of family, friends and good books. We should all aspire to such goals.

Me, Carole Baron, Jon King and Barbara at the 2004 Miami Bookfair.

She really was a hoot. A fun, funny person who never complained, whined or belittled anyone. Her bright smile could transform an event and her lovely voice with a hint of a Carolina accent made every story interesting.

I once travelled to Orlando with her and Chris Kling for a trade show. I told Chris it was like travelling with our aunt. She made the trip fun. Barbara would point out sights and people along the way and make us take notice. I will never forget, and it is a testament to Barbara that I recount this, on our way home on a Sunday morning, I had been up late and had a vicious hang …, I mean headache. All I wanted to do was sleep in the back seat. Barbara always wanted to include you in things. It was a beautiful trait. She started listening to an audio book and would turn around to make sure I could hear it. She’d ask my opinion of the writing and narration. She made me feel at ease. All the while wanting vomit and go to sleep. Chris chuckled quietly at Barbara’s concern about leaving me out of the conversation. Even today, almost three years later, after all that’s happened and Barbara’s untimely death, I smile thinking about the longest three hour ride of my life.

I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat just to be around someone as nice as Barbara.
Judy Bobolick, Christine Kling and Barbara

Feel free to share any thoughts about our friend, Barbara Parker.

Chris Jackson, me and Barbara during my first book tour in Plantation, Florida.


  1. I really wish I'd met her.

  2. A wonderful tribute, Jim, beautifully written - but, heck, you're only kidding about the hangover, a gentleman like you, aren't you?

  3. I shook her hand once. Said hello. That's my complete history with Barbara. My loss.

    I know so many people that knew her, and not once did I ever hear anything but how wonderful she was.

  4. The South Florida writing community is close knit, and Barbara was a strong thread that tied it together.

  5. What Dusty said.

  6. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.