Monday, October 10, 2011

Richard Barnes: Bad Medicine

Richard Barnes is visiting today. Richare, thanks for dropping by. Please tell us about your latest release, Bad Medicine.

Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?

            Bad Medicine, a murder mystery, is my fourth novel, set on a remote (for most readers) island in Northern Ontario, where my family vacations. The island’s proximity to the US border prompted smuggling as a motive for evil doings there. For this book I chose as my protagonist a 43-year-old divorced woman, having never written from a woman’s point of view. The story involves her returning to her family home on the island from her job as a police investigator after being wounded on the job.

She finds her girlhood boyfriend embroiled in a murder, and gets caught up in the investigation. Counterfeit drug smuggling and White supremacy are the principal themes of the plot.  

What books or authors have influenced you?

            That’s a tough question for me. My education was technology, and I missed out on the liberal arts. While I read my share of books, my tastes were eclectic. I like to write as tightly as I can, so I’d say that guys like Stephen King and Elmore Leonard are those I like to emulate.

What has been your most rewarding experience during the writing process?

            Like all struggling writers, getting published. More specifically, my novel The Corydon Snow being nominated for Best Work of Fiction for 2011 (winners to be announced in October) by the Military Writers Society of America was a big thrill.

Were any of your books more challenging to write than the others?

            They all had different challenges, but the research that went into Snow was extraordinary. The story takes place on a merchant vessel during WWII, and follows the course of the Pacific battles to the letter. .I learned a lot writing that manuscript. The book is still dear to my heart.

How do you develop characters?

            I’ve learned, through many rewrites how not to develop them. If I could describe it in a few words, I’d say I’m patient in their development. If I try to paint a picture too soon , I wind up ‘telling’, rather than ‘showing.’ I like to make them human with real foibles and fears.

How do you choose your setting?

            Again, it depends on the story. In The Faircloth Reaction, I needed a university setting. My protagonist was a grad student in Chemical Engineering. NC State, in Raleigh, was close enough for me to visit for a day to do some research.

            For Brink, I wanted a high tech area of the country and chose San Jose, CA, in Silicon Valley.

            For Bad Medicine, it was the setting first and the story later. I thought St. Joseph Island such a unique and interesting place, there should be a story to go with it. Its proximity to Michigan did the trick.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

There is no doubt that my chemical education and background in chemical marketing has colored my writing in Faircloth and Brink. My military experience certainly aided me in Corydon Snow, even though I was Army as opposed to Navy.  

I’ll say this: Having spent a career traveling around the world for business, and experiencing many varied cultures, has enriched my writing, a gift to which I am most grateful.

We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?

I’ve got to admit, I could and should give this subject more attention. I have an Author’s Page on Facebook, and I try to keep my website active, and attractive. Beyond that I’ll send press releases out on my new books, and have been moderately successful with local newspaper coverage. Unfortunately, the big market papers are not giving much attention to writers for independent publishers.

I’ve had moderate to good success with my two book signings, and have an interview in the works with an Ontario newspaper about my last book. Does it result in mega sales? No. At this point, after four books, I work on establishing my brand with the thought to someday get a retainer from one of the major houses. If that day never comes, I will consider my writing worth every minute of the hard work it demands.                               

Well, we wish you continued success and many more signings, Richard! I hope to see you at Cape Fear Crime Festival in Wilmington in February.

No comments: