Hello everyone! For your reading pleasure today, I'm happy to catch up with longtime friend and writing mentor, Rick Barry.
DARREN: Rick, thank you for taking time to "e-join" us to bring everyone up-to-date on your life events and writing journey.
RICK: Thanks for the opportunity, Darren!
DARREN: Where in the world are you now and what have you been up to?
RICK: For the past 2+ years, I’ve been in northern Alabama, where I’m a caregiver for my mother. Since I can’t really fulfill this role of caregiving while holding a full-time job, I live in her home and do freelance writing, editing, and translating to earn income.
DARREN: I know you've recently published a follow-up novel to The Methuselah Project, can you tell us a little bit about that novel?
RICK: The follow-up book is titled Methuselah Project S.O.S. Although it’s a sequel, I purposely crafted the story in such a way that readers can understand and enjoy it even if they never saw the first book. The action takes place a few years after the original story. Now, Roger Greene is a pilot in the modern Air Force. But when the CIA taps him for duty on a covert mission involving the Heritage Organization (which he once escaped), this pilot lands in more than danger than he ever imagined. It includes a touch of romance, too.
DARREN: Who is your primary audience for these suspense novels?
RICK: Interesting question. As I wrote these Methuselah novels, I wrote in a such a way to appeal to both male and female fans of suspense. But when I check the statistics of readers who follow my Facebook author page, I see that nearly half of them are women, ages 35 to 65. Of course, there are male and female followers who are younger and older, but this is my largest block of readers. (And it’s so fun when reviewers write something like, “I don’t usually read this kind of novel, but I gave it a try and loved it!”)
DARREN: What has been your experience on the self-pub journey? Software used, platforms, etc. Can you compare the journey in self-pub vs. your prior novels being published traditionally?
RICK: With more and more terrific authors diving into self-publishing with good results, I’d been wanting to give it a try for some time. I had a couple different manuscripts as options but ended up choosing Methuselah Project S.O.S. I confess that working with traditional publishers is much easier. They provide the editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and they resolve all of the technicalities of the actual printing process.
A self-pubber must be ready to learn many new skills and be prepared to solve one problem after another in prepping the manuscript for publication: Hiring experienced editors & proofreader, cover designer, formatting the polished manuscript and using Scrivener or Vellum or other software. The designer’s cover art might need adjusting from RGB color scheme to CMYK for professional printing procedures. You might need to convert the final formatted PDF into a different type of PDF, too. (I had no idea how many different types of PDFs exist until I self-pubbed.)
Furthermore, the self-pubber needs to learn the disadvantages and advantages of various companies to partner with in order to produce and market paperback versions and ebook versions. (Examples are Amazon KDP, IngramSpark, and Draft2Digital.) There is so much more to learn before you can self-pub. New questions and problems constantly confronted me.
DARREN: What is your greatest struggle as a writer?
RICK: The time barrier. There are only so many hours in a day, and as a caregiver not all of those hours are mine to use as I would like. Still, I press forward with what time I have.
DARREN: How has "the Covid life" affected your writing, or has it?
RICK: It hasn’t affected my writing much at all. I was already confined to working alone, at home, long before Covid-19. When other people started complaining that they had to work from home instead of in an office with colleagues, I thought, “Join the club!”
DARREN: What is your next writing venture? What’s next in the Rick Barry Universe?
RICK: I’m now heating up a fun project that has been on the back burner for a long time. It began as a series of 3 short science fiction stories that I wrote for Focus on the Family years ago. I’ve taken the original premise and expanded and continued the story into a YA sci-fi tale revolving around a 17-year-old Christian guy who winds up in a bizarre adventure that I call The Next Fithian. I contracted speculative-fiction author Sharon Hinck to do the substantive edit. Imagine my excitement when this seasoned writer declared the story “great” and “wonderful”! To be sure, she found many passages that needed polish, but her enthusiasm has been extremely encouraging.
DARREN: Can you give some advice on writing to non-fulltime writers who can only write during "spare" time?
But a person who truly has a God-given yen to write absolutely MUST overcome all of the excuses and find a way, or it will never happen. If we give excuses the upper hand, then they will keep us from writing all the way to the grave. Can’t you find time to sit and compose just one double-spaced page (250 words) a day? (It’s totally okay if each page is garbage that needs a ton of editing. Just get it down.) What, you seriously can’t carve out enough time to type just one page? Okay, then, sit down and type just one paragraph each day. Or even one measly sentence per day.
If you can consistently add something—anything—to your manuscript 5 or 6 days per week, then in time that steady persistence will grow full novels. I’ve seen such simple stick-to-it-iveness work for busy homeschool moms with many kids. I’ve seen it work for a secretary who composed her very first novel one letter at a time on her cellphone (incredible!) each day during her lunch break. It’s not easy, but nobody ever said writing is easy.DARREN: Well, thank you for taking time to chat today. If we want to learn more about you, where can we go and where can we find your books?
RICK: The best place to go is my website, rickcbarry.com. It includes more about me, plus a page dedicated to all of my published novels. The books themselves are available on Amazon and anywhere books are sold.
DARREN: Thank you again for taking the time to interview and I'm really excited to see what comes next for you!
RICK: Thank you very much!