Author you need to read: Rick C. Barry

Dear Friends, A new writer has come across my path, though he is not new, he is new to me. And I would like you all to meet him. Rick Barry writes a variety of things, but I will let him explain it all to you. I just think you might want to look him up and give his books a try.

Rick Barry has climbed mountains, jumped from perfectly good airplanes, toured WW II battlefields, and visited Eastern Europe over 50 times in Christian ministry. He holds a degree in Foreign Language Education and speaks Russian. His fiction and non-fiction have been published by Kregel Books, Focus on the Family, JourneyForth Books, Answers in Genesis, and others. His novels are Kiriath's Quest, Gunner's Run, The Methuselah Project, Methuselah Project S.O.S., and The Next Fithian: An Ordinary Teen on a Strange, New World. His favorite theme in writing fiction is "Ordinary People in Extraordinary Circumstances."

Rick, tell my readers what you write? What is the subject matter.

I began writing for publication in my sophomore year of university. I entered a writing contest I had noticed in a Christian magazine. I didn't win, but they liked my 1,000-word article enough that they bought it and printed it! After that, I began studying the craft of writing. Over the years I have written articles, devotional pieces, short stories for both adults and children, plus 5 novels. Two of my novels are for adult fans of suspense. The other 3 are geared for teens/young adults (although many adults read them too).

What about the variety you write?

Some common advice for writers is to specialize in one genre that interests them. It's good advice. However, I have a wide variety of interests! So, even though I have written inspirational suspense novels with a touch of romance in them, whenever the editor of Focus on the Family's Clubhouse magazine invites me to write a short story for middle-grade kids, I always agree. I enjoy the variety. It provides a fun change of pace.

What is your inspiration?

I truly admire a well-told story. So, I try to write things that make the reader think and to deliver them in a fresh way. I love it when reviewers write things like, "I quit trying to guess what would happen next, because I was always wrong!"

How did you become fascinated with World War 2?

During the Christmas break of my 7th-grade year, my family visited relatives in Detroit. I wandered into the living room where the men were watching a movie, The Great Escape. It's a story of Allied Airmen's mass escape from a German POW camp. The prisoners' creativity in escaping intrigued me. In the end, the movie credits included a dedication to the 50 men who had died in the escape, and I thought, "Wait, this really happened?" From then on, I started reading more books about what ordinary men experienced in that worldwide conflict.

understand you speak several languages. How did that come about? And how have you used that as time went on? What cultures have you been most fascinated with and which ones have you felt you could contribute to and which ones really added to your story?

When I was young, my dad was a ham radio hobbyist. I'd sit and listen as he made contact with people in far-off lands. Early on, I decided that someday I would travel outside the U.S. and visit some of those places. In 9th grade, I signed up for French. I liked it so much that in 10th grade I took both French AND Spanish. The next year I took French, Spanish, and added German 1... In college, I majored in French Education to teach it but also got interested in Russian. This is the language I have used most (outside of English). I've been to Eastern Europe over 50 times and have assisted churches in summer camps for children and teens in Ukraine and Russia.

How many books have you written? When did you start writing seriously? Or have you always written just a little bit?

I now have 5 novels published. (There are also a couple of early manuscripts that were practice books. They aren't really good enough for publication.) I had written short stories and articles for years before turning my attention to books. My first published book is Gunner's Run, a World War II story about a young airman who ends up on foot, alone, and on the run across Hitler's Europe.

When do you write? Seems to me some people pop out of bed and start in on it, while others burn the midnight oil...what about you?

I have written whenever I could find the time. Often that has been a little bit in the morning before work. Other times are during the last half of my lunch hour. Also in the evening, although my creativity seems to fade more and more as evening deepens!

What about the covers for your books? They are so interesting. Do you have any input on them?

When you publish with a traditional publishing house, the author typically has very little input on the covers. I suppose the thinking is that the graphics and marketing people have more experience than the author. With Gunner's Run and Kiriath's Quest, my editor simply sent me jpegs to show what the covers would be. But I liked them. With The Methuselah Project, I requested a chance to voice my opinion on the cover art before it was finalized, and that ended up being a good request since the Marketing folks didn't quite grasp the nature of the book. With Methuselah Project S.O.S. and The Next Fithian, I worked hand in hand with the cover designer to arrive at the final concepts.

What would you say to someone just starting on a writing path? Something you wish someone had said to you?

Read widely, especially the types of writing you yourself would like to do. By reading a lot of professionally written and edited material, you will develop a "feel" for well-crafted sentences and smoothly flowing styles. Next, I would suggest that a new writer not fall in love with his/her own words. Everyone needs an editor, and you will only hurt yourself and your reputation among editors if you insist that your original manuscript was divinely inspired and must not be edited. Often, even my titles have been adjusted or replaced. That used to bug me, but publishing is a team effort. A good editor is a valuable ally and can often see more objectively than the author.

I understand you are a man of faith. Tell my readers a little about your faith. Have you read anything by William E. Jefferson? I think you might find his work fascinating...

I was 15 when I decided to place my personal faith in God. I read a little of the Bible each morning, followed by a time of prayer. I'm far from perfect, but I thank the Lord and His Word for working in and through me for good. My Christian worldview shines clearly through my writing. However, I try to apply it with finesse. That is, you don't read any three-page mini-sermons in my books. That's not skillful writing, and readers can soon tire of that approach, especially if they aren't on board with your faith. But as for William E. Jefferson, no, I haven't read any of his books yet. There are so many worthy books in the world, but not enough lifetime to read more than a fraction of them.