Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest fiction author P.I. Barrington whose work includes The Brede Chronicles, Book One, Future Imperfect Trilogy (Crucifying Angel, Miraculous Deception, Final Deceit) , Inamorata Crossing/Borealis 1: A Space Opera, Isadora DayStar, and The Button Hollow Chronicles: The Leaf Peeper Murders.
Norm: Good day P.I. And thanks for participating in our interview.
How did you get started in writing? What keeps you going? As a follow up, how do you approach the work of writing?
P.I. I always tell people that writing chased me, I didn’t chase it! Other authors get upset if they’ve been working to get published for years but I really did run away from it because I wanted to work in the music industry which I did. From third grade when I won my first writing award, I knew it was something that I could always fall back on, especially when I changed my major to journalism, ended up as Executive Editor for my college newspaper and then hired by my own city’s newspaper with my own beat of three soon to be or just incorporated cities.
No matter what I did I always ended up writing, even as I went into radio. Finally I gave up fighting and decided that I was through with news and started on fiction.
Luckily, I had a great education in Literature in high school as well so I kind of absorbed writing technique and voice and structure, etc. In about 2008 I started submitting short stories to online/print magazines and they were accepted. By 2009 I had a contract with a brand new indie pub house (Desert Breeze Publishing) for a futuristic crime thriller, Future Imperfect. Through them, I learned about the process of actually being published from editing to working with cover artists.
What keeps me going? Once
I finished that first trilogy, I wondered how I could have been so
stupid not to have taken writing seriously earlier. The stories, the
characters take on a life of their own and it’s their movie I see
in my head as I’m writing. I’m one of the “pantsers” I rarely
outline or use character charts unless it’s a generator for names
or places or planets (I usually write sci-fi). I usually pick a name
of a character then the name and maybe a vague title. From that point
on, I just start writing.
One of the things that is rewarding for me is when I put some tiny little detail in for some unknown reason and that turns into the crux of the story! I’m like “It works! Sometimes I can write!”
Norm: In past few years have you seen any changes in the way publishers publish and/or distribute books? Are there any emerging trends developing?
P.I. From what I’ve seen
in publishing, independent promotion companies (small ones) and
editing services (individuals & independent editors) have become
a huge cottage industry since 2009.
From authors doing or setting up a series of book reviews/book blog guest posts or interviews themselves many of those blogs are now set up via indie promotion companies that were once blogs. That’s the big trend I’m seeing now.
Norm: How long does it take you to write a typical novel, including research, writing and editing time?
P.I. How long? It varies I think. Future Imperfect’s three books took about four to six months to write, if that, because I was slamming those books out without a real break. DBP has their own editors so editing those wasn’t too hard since we all worked together so well Most of my books since then usually take about six months if I’m not tied up with other things in life. I can usually write faster if I’m obsessed with a character or a story.
Norm: What do you think most characterizes your writing and are you a plot or character writer?
P.I. I think it’s my voice that distinguishes me. I can write something dark and affective in graphic detail but without too much gore or violence or sex. As for plot and character, I hate to say it, but I’m definitely a character writer. It’s all about back story and how it makes characters interact with each other in the present; what their conflict is or how they’ve been treated or what they’ve done that makes them what and who they are now.
I can plot if the story calls for it especially in crime thrillers but then I’ve got multiple characters doing multiple things and rushing toward the end conflict simultaneously. I just like my characters better than my plots, lol!
Norm: What do you want your work to do? Amuse people? Provoke thinking?
P.I. I don’t necessarily want to change the world. I don’t harbor any literary goals. Mainly what I want is to entertain readers and make them feel that they’ve been somewhere else. If they remember a particular sentence or place or phrase for a long, long time that makes me happy. It makes me feel as if I’ve done my job. That’s how the books I’ve read stay with me—even just a phrase or scene—will stay with me for decades and sometimes mean enough to me to guide me through life.
Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave had a sentence that helped me get to my goals of working in the entertainment industry: The gods only go with you if you put yourself in their path. I did that and met Paul and Linda McCartney before she passed. That was the biggest goal in my life meeting him and I don’t think I would have understood how to do that if I hadn’t read that sentence and worked at Capitol Records. That one sentence made me brave enough to try for things that seemed impossible to achieve, to literally put myself in the path of the gods.
Norm: In fiction as well as in non-fiction, writers very often take liberties with their material to tell a good story or make a point. But how much is too much?
P.I. If I’m not the queen of this question then I’m certainly her handmaiden, lol! I love to write sci-fi that is low tech (another author came up with that wonderful description and I wish I remember her name to give her credit) because I can make up rules and laws and intergalactic travel. But I’ve read authors who are masters of historical realities within fiction plots and characters. I wish I could do that effectively.
Some of what I’ve read is simply perfection. I think that detail is necessary in any plot in any genre but too much exposition gets boring. I think that getting pedantic gets boring and can kill a plot. I think if an author learns when and how to put that bit of reality into the story makes it realistic, even if they’re writing about a real, historical character.
Norm: Can you explain some of your research techniques, and how you found sources for your books?
P.I. This kind of follows what I was talking about in the earlier question. I don’t do too much research unless it’s specifically a certain detail or color for the story. I researched spontaneous sex changes in animals/reptiles in Nevada for Crucifying Angel, book one of Future Imperfect. It was a real situation brought on by chemical changes and pollution. That detail related to the major bad guy.
The Brede Chronicles, I had to research the locations of the great
pyramids, Alexandria, the great mushroom rock formations in Egypt’s
white desert area. That was complex, even though I’ve been in love
with ancient Egypt since about age eight. I used aerial photos,
photos of the Khan El Kahlili souk to make the settings and plot
realistic as I could for about 100 years in the future. I wanted to
keep certain ancient traditions and society in that time since it’s
been around for literally thousands of years.
Everything else is both dystopian and/or alien related. Most of it I already knew except locations in relation to each other—distances—between them. I’d never thought about it before in terms of distance.
Norm: How have you used the Internet to boost your writing career?
When Crucifying Angel first released, I did a blitz of blog guest
posts, interviews and reviews in every blog or Examiner.com when they
had reviewers & reporters all across the country! I was all over
the place! I think DBP was surprised by that but that’s part of
what I learned at Capitol.
As more and more books and stories got published I had to slow down and lost a lot of it plus a lot of those blogs don’t exist any longer or indie promoters now do it for a fee.
Norm: Could you briefly tell us about your latest novel, The Brede Chronicles and what inspired you to write it?
P.I. I’d gotten a terrible review and that sent me into a downward spiral of insecurity and writer’s block—yes it does happen—and I didn’t write anything for over a year and a half. (Plus I’d gone to England and started remodeling my house.) I only recently found half-written stories unearthed during the remodel. But back then I doubted that I’d ever write again, let alone write something someone would publish! Finally, I started thinking about characters that I wanted to create and ran through all my old baby names until I found something that helped.
I saw the name Brede (which is also a saint name) and it meant Ice which worked out perfectly. I also looked for a first name that had or could be harsh sounding. Alekzander, spelled that way looked harsh and sounded harsh but recognizable. There he was my hero or my antihero! For my heroine, Elektra, that name just popped for me along with Tate as the last name. I wanted her to be a scamp but her life went another way completely. I rarely have a hero that people actually hated so I was happy when almost all reviewers hated him. I loved him though he was so bad, so cold like his name.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your novels?
P.I. I think Amazon is the best source right now because the rights to Future Imperfect will return to me in the next year or two but I think all or most of my books are there. I had to put my blog on the back burner this year.
Norm: What is next for P.I. Barrington?
In March of 2015 I suffered a full-on cardiac arrest and didn’t
really come out of a coma & then rehab until June or July so I’m
still recovering but all the doctors are shocked that I’m doing as
well as I am which is really well. I had over five thousand people
praying for me, people I didn’t even know so I guess God didn’t
want to be bothered any long & sent me back, lol! My family and
friends had it harder than I did I can tell you!
But I’m in the middle of TBC book two again & back to the remodel as well so things are going pretty well! At this point, I’m looking at the stories I started with an eye to fix them up and see about an agent. I’ve always been too intimidated to submit to one.
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
P.I. Wow. You’ve asked some great ones but I think maybe what books and genres I’ve studied/read over the years and which genres I don’t really care for & don’t read.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.
P.I. Thanks so much for interviewing me Norm!