Everyone wants new followers … until they follow you home.
“Barber’s narrative, like social media itself, is as addictive as it is disturbing.”
“A cautionary tale about the perils of social media . . . keeps you guessing.”
What is your book about?
Follow Me (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster) is about a woman who shares every aspect of her life with her more than one million followers on Instagram, and unwittingly attracts the attention of someone more interested in following her offline than online.
Can you tell us about your path to publication?
Follow Me is my second novel, so its path to publication was much different than that of my first novel, Truth Be Told (now an Apple TV+ Series starring Octavia Spencer and originally published as Are You Sleeping). It was—like many first novels—the product of years of off-and-on work, followed by a grueling querying process. For Follow Me, my agent and I pitched the idea to my editor, and she then gave me a deadline. I wrote the book, and here we are!
Where were you when you heard your book tour and/or launch party was cancelled and what did you do?
Because Follow Me was released before things got really dire (or, perhaps more accurately, before we realized how dire things were), I was able to do attend some of my scheduled events. Turnout was low, as people were starting to worry about the virus and/or potentially spreading something themselves. I had just returned from some events in Illinois when I heard my further events were being canceled. It’s disappointing, of course, to not be able to fully celebrate the release of something I worked so hard on, but absolutely necessary to flatten the curve and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Are you and your publisher doing anything special/ different instead of a book tour to promote your novel?
I’m leaning into online promotion, but it’s difficult to get much done with my toddler suddenly home all day! He has yet to master the art of independent play.
What was the hardest thing you had to cut from your book, your favorite Dead Darling?
Follow Me is told through the perspectives of three separate narrators, one of whom is the man stalking the protagonist. His chapters were dark and unlike anything I had ever written, so I was sad to have to cut some of them. The edits definitely tightened the story, but I miss some of his unhinged ramblings!
Do you have any quirky writing rituals?
I love to write in coffee shops, which just isn’t possible right now, so when I get a chance to sit down and work, I’ve been listening to hipstersound.com. It lets you stream various café noises, so you can pretend you’re at work in your favorite coffee shop! (Confession: I’ve been known to listen to the hipstersound cafés even while I’m in my favorite coffee shop.)
Where can we buy your book?
My website has links to many online retailers (https://kathleenbarber.com/follow-me), or I would encourage you to call your favorite independent bookseller—many are still delivering!