Barbara is a BBC trained script and screenwriter, an author, composer and lyricist.
'Barbara's writing is bold, original and enormous fun. In her screenplay 'Cowboy Girls' she cleverly puts the female at the very epi-centre of the traditionally male genre of the Western.'

Anthony Minghella, Oscar winning
Screenwriter/Producer and Director

Eat the View – Synopsis

‘”Eat the View” reads like a thoroughbred Restoration Farce – pacey and racy, full of fun and ‘faux pas!’

Paul Valentine, Author and Poet

Eat the View book cover buy at Amazon

Alpha O’ Mara can’t write.  She is a first time novelist with a novel that just won’t come.  Troy, Alpha’s gay Australian agent in Brighton, is panicking.  But where to go if you are struggling to find the muse? Rural France, the deepest French countryside, ‘la France profonde.’  A place of beauty where Alpha imagines her literary heroines George Sand and Simone de Beauvoir would recline in their salons, preparing to create.  Alpha wants to revive the passion in her marriage to Will.  Will has withdrawn since his Architect’s practice went under.   France will revive everything! The ‘good life’, ‘la vie en rose’ begins.  A novel written and a husband hot, steaming and passionate.  Divine!

Sitting in the grounds of her French Manor House, attempting to write, Alpha finds many distractions: Will, Chief grounds man is feeling overwhelmed; Thomaz, her Au Pair is cultivating marijuana plants in their barn; Pip, her pooch, with genital complications  and Alpha’s children Dex (11) and Maisie (9) are given to noisy football and trampoline sessions.  Not easy to write either if you have entered the seething snake pit of the British Ex-Pat community.  Wife-swapping couples, builders and their wives ‘dogging’ in the local car park and Beth of Bath, a vicious Queen Bee, a bread-baking Christian who wages war on Alpha, an avowed Atheist.  The sign wars begin!  Beth tries to wreck Alpha’s marriage and when her own husband is arrested for selling stolen cars, Beth, a former ‘Madame’ of a brothel, sets fire to Alpha’s barns.  Finally, losing the plot, Beth ends up begging on the streets.

Charent rural FranceThe French are no better: xenophobic hissing builders at their gates, and a Dutch ‘wheeler-dealer’ Reiki Healer puts pressure on Alpha to buy the surrounding land.  If they don’t, the French builders will whack up pre-fabs – blocking their views and closing their business.  Pressure mounts!  When Maisie mistakes the marijuana that Thomaz is cultivating for tobacco and sells it to her classmates.  Madame Beaufrere, the school’s Head of Discipline, sends shock waves into the local French community.  Alpha and family are shunned.  Raymond, the ghost of Alpha’s father, a successful novelist, keeps popping up, chivvying her to write.  When Raymond falls in love with Marie-Elisabette, an 18th century ghost haunting ‘Le Manoir’, merry hell ensues!

There are romantic distractions too: Jean-Luc, the gorgeous ‘Maître D’ of the Château, whom Alpha wrongly assumes is heterosexual; Rik, the chisel-jawed Belgian oil painter deep in the woods and Lou-Lou, the hard-drinking local farmer, who becomes Alpha’s protector.  A secret Transsexual, Lou-Lou declares his passion for Alpha.  He is still a man underneath, if not on top!  Still in love with Will, but unable to inflame his passion, Alpha, lonely and frustrated, strays deep into the woods to find comfort with Rik.  In Rik’s bubbling hot tub, the flesh weakens …

Cornfields Charente region FranceWill returns to the UK to find work as the money runs out and bailiffs hover, Alpha stays behind, unable to leave her beloved French home.  To sell or to stay?   Alpha slips into fantasy, taking solace in the views of hills and sunflower fields.  Raymond warns: you can’t eat the view and when Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler drops by to offer advice, Raymond pulls Alpha back to reality.  Alpha wakes up, shocked by Beth’s fire and the risk to her children.  Writing around the clock, freezing, starving, Alpha finishes her novel.  Alpha sells her French dream home and returns to the UK, realising that beauty alone is not enough.  It can inspire you, but it won’t foot the bills.  Someone must pay.

Read an extract from ‘Eat the View’ – Chapter 1 – 3

‘Eat the View” is a raucous comedy that engages the reader from the word go.  Full of comical action, literary wit, great characters and emotional poignancy, the novel has huge commercial potential.  It combines farce, great British and French humour and keeps you hooked.  Hard to put down!’

Dr. Craig Batty, Senior Lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing.

‘Brimming with colourful characters and driven by a sharp mix of narrative and dialogue, in “Eat the View” Barbara Jane Mackie has created a witty Anglo-French entertainment to tickle the soul. “Eat the View” is warm and uplifting, literary Chic-lit perfect for holiday or bedtime.

Andrew Lucas, Award-winning Author.  ‘Cross Dressed to Kill.’