Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, scriptwriters, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with action adventure sci-fi and thriller writer Brian Barber. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Brian. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Brian: Hello, my name is Brian Barber and I live in Opelika, AL (USA). I am a software engineer who has worked on government contracts for the last several years. I am a fan of technology and gadgets and recently published the first book in a science fiction trilogy called “LYCCYX” as well as a short story entitled “A Stormy Night” both available on Amazon Kindle and a number of eBook markets (Barnes and Noble, Apple iBooks, Sony, etc). LYCCYX: Episode 1 is also available in paperback.
I began writing as a means to share the story of LYCCYX which was originally an idea I had for a video game. A friend published a series on Kindle with great success and I decided to try it with LYCCYX.
Morgen: What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Brian: Currently, I have written science fiction (more action-adventure than pure scifi) and a psychological thriller. I have considered other genres but all of my writing seems to have a suspense or thriller aspect.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Brian: To date, I have published “LYCCYX: Episode 1 – The Declaration” and “A Stormy Night” under my own name.
Morgen: You’ve self-published, what lead to you going your own way?
Brian: The relative simplicity and speed with which I could get my story to a large market led me to self-publish. I am not opposed to traditional publishing but do wish to remain in control of my work.
Morgen: Me too. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Brian: The LYCCYX story is definitely my favourite. I would love to see it made into a film. As far as actors, I could see Christian Bale or Sam Worthington in the lead role as Xander and Tom Hardy or Gerard Butler as Stephan. Anyone who has read the story could probably visualize those actors in the roles pretty well.
Morgen: Which author(s) would you compare your writing to?
Brian: By the end of the trilogy, I would like for LYCCYX to be compared to some of the Nolan brother’s screenplays. My thriller writings could be compared to M. Night Shyamalan’s films.
Morgen: Did you have any say in the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Brian: I hope to complete Episode 2 of LYCCYX in time for the holiday season. I have an idea for a short story that could develop into something larger. I might also explore more of the main character’s sotry from “A Stormy Night”.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day, or ever suffer from writer’s block?
Brian: I have to set aside time for writing because I work full time as a programmer. I do write code everyday J
Morgen: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Brian: I had a general outline for LYCCYX but write short stories off the cuff.
Morgen: Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Brian: The main characters in my stories are usually created from my own experiences. I often base supporting characters on people I know as well.
Morgen: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Brian: I do a good bit of editing for minor things but the story is usually pretty well formed when I’m done with a first draft.
Morgen: Do you have to do much research?
Brian: Usually, I write about what I already know or am interested in so I don’t have to do a lot of research while I am writing.
Morgen: What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Brian: I have preferred third person but may experiment with other perspectives in the future.
Morgen: Do you write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Brian: Short stories, yes. Non-fiction, yes if you include technical writing. Poetry, I have years ago and may explore that again someday.
Morgen: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Brian: Not really, just works that need to be finished.
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Brian: I have found that some markets simply won’t support my book but focus on the ones that do.
Morgen: Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Brian: No, I do not. It will probably be something I will consider in the future if I continue to write more.
Morgen: How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Brian: I do all of the marketing except for a few author friends who help promote my work. I have several social network accounts set up to help build my brand as an author. I have been successful in building my brand as a software developer, mostly through LinkedIn.
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Brian: I enjoy it when I hear back from readers who have enjoyed my writing. It is hard to make time for writing while working a full-time career. I was surprised to make the Top 100 (Top 50, actually) in both science fiction and action-adventure on Kindle (LYCCYX: Episode 1)
Morgen: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Brian: Write what you enjoy, not what is selling right now. If you enjoy it, chances are someone else will too.
Morgen: Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful?
Brian: Goodreads.com is neat but I wish they allowed Amazon-published books. Bublish is interesting and seems like a great way to promote a book.
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Brian: I use Twitter mostly for promoting my writing, LinkedIn more for professional networking. I think Twitter is a great way to find people with common interests who you can communicate with quickly. I have found that authors tend to help each other a great deal on Twitter.
Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Brian: With eBooks and tablets on the rise, there is a growing demand for good content but competition is pretty stiff. There are a ton of good books out there and marketing and promotions are vital.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Brian: Check out the official blog for LYCCYX at http://lyccyx.us and follow LYCCYX on Twitter @lyccyx. My author page can be found on Amazon by searching for LYCCYX.
Morgen: Thank you, Brian.
I then invited Brian to include an extract of his writing and this is from “A Stormy Night”:
“I could barely see the pile of firewood now just a few yards outside my back door. I had a few pieces of hard oak left that might get me though another day if I was lucky. The lake had an eerie fog rising on it like smoke from Old Man Winter’s pipe. Today was a special day. Not sure if it was a good kind of special or bad but at least now I was alone. I could think now.
We had just wrapped up shooting for my last film and I was exhausted. I told my assistant that I was going to disappear for a week or so and not to bother me unless it was some kind of emergency. I looked at my smartphone, no signal here and the fiber connection was down. Good thing too, I might be tempted to try to connect with the outside world and this week was about staying as disconnected as possible.”
And reveal the inspiration behind his book…
As a software and systems engineer, I truly love technology; cutting edge technology and how it changes our lives for the good or bad.
The idea for the story behind LYCCYX came to me a few years ago and made me wonder what would happen to the world if we actually did run out of resources as the “experts” say will happen if we don’t develop more alternative energy sources.
As of today, all of mankind’s “clean energy” initiatives rely on fossil fuels in one form or another. With the population of Earth growing at an alarming rate and better medical technologies allowing us to live longer, it only stands to reason that we are going to run out of room someday.
Will we be able to get along as a species with less and less personal space and privacy? Most wars throughout history started over a disagreement between two parties who claim to own the same piece of land.
How will we humans deal with such issues 50 years from now? That is what we will explore in the LYCCYX series. As a programmer, I always endeavor to provide the people who use my software with the best experience possible that meets their needs and usually their wants.
Hopefully, I can accomplish this in the world of LYCCYX for you, the reader. It is a coming-of-age story of the human race. My goal is to give you a glimpse into the future, one I believe we are heading to – possibly much sooner than most people realize. Enjoy the ride.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on the main blog) is free.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have this blog, https://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com, on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
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