About the Author
Rick Barry is the author of The Methuselah Project, Gunner's Run, Kiriath's Quest, plus over 200 published articles and fiction stories. In addition to being a World War II buff, he is the director of church planting ministries at BIEM, a Christian ministry operating in Eastern Europe. He holds a degree in foreign languages, speaks Russian, and has visited Europe more than fifty times. Rick and his wife Pam live near Indianapolis, Indiana.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
My path into writing for publication began as a whim. During Spring Break of my sophomore year in college, I noticed an ad for a writing contest in a magazine. I’d always enjoyed writing college papers. Something about arranging words and linking them together in fresh, new ways had always appealed to me. So I decided to write an article and entered the contest. I didn’t win. But imagine the pleasant surprise when the editor wrote back and wanted to buy rights to print my piece anyway. It was only $35, but for a college guy in the 1970s, earning my first byline was still a big deal.
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
I’ll limit my reply to published books, since I have a few manuscripts languishing in a file drawer. (Many novelists need a practice novel or two in order to get a feel for how to write one.) My first novel was Kiriath’s Quest. That’s a YA fantasy. Novel #2 is Gunner’s Run, which is historical fiction starring a young American airman in World War II. My third and newest release is The Methuselah Project, which is adult suspense with a good dose of romance in the mix. (The protagonist is a P-47 pilot in WWII.)
3. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
Contrary to some fine writing advice, in addition to novels, I continue to write short pieces for Focus on the Family and for a few other places. Novelists are supposed to specialize, but it’s truly fun whipping out short fiction of only 1,800 or 2,000 words instead of a 90,000-word tome. Clubhouse magazine just bought my story of a sixth-grade boy who finds a metal box under the roots of a fallen tree. In the box is an invisibility cloak. But going back to novels, my current novel manuscript is a sequel to The Methuselah Project. I purposely left plenty of loose ends to continue the story.
4. What does your writing process look like?
It looks like lots of short spurts strung over many months. I’ve had unpublished writers eye my published works and conclude, “You must have big blocks of writing time.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t have time for writing, so I keep adding to each project in spurts of 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there. Sometimes in the morning before heading to the office, often during the last half of my lunch break. In time, those spurts amass to hundreds of pages, but it takes persistence.
5. Where is your favorite place to write?
Because of my answer to Question #4, I have written in more places than I can count, including in my car and on airplanes. But at home, my favorite place is my small home office. It has a Medieval décor. Definitely different, but it suits me. (If anyone has a suit of armor just gathering dust, I’d be happy to give it a new home!)
6. How important are the names in your novels? How do you choose names for your characters? Do you have any name resources you would suggest?
Interesting that you ask, especially since most interviewers don’t. Years ago at a writers conference, Dr. Dennis E. Hensley encouraged students in his workshop not to pull random names from a telephone book. Instead, he discussed names as literature and encouraged us to select names that are symbolic or contain a hidden meaning. I often do that.
For instance, my new release The Methuselah Project stars Captain Roger Greene of the U.S. Army Air Corps in WWII. In the Bible, Methuselah is the man who lived the longest. In my book, Roger lives a long time too (although not as long as Methuselah). Because in literature the color green symbolizes life, I added an “e” to the end and made Roger’s family name “Greene.” Probably some readers have figured out the connection, but no doubt others don’t.
Another character is a German scientist, Sophie Gottschalk. She helps Roger to escape. Because her aid is an answer to Roger’s prayer, I chose the surname Gottschalk, which means “God’s servant.”
7. What authors/novels that you enjoy would you recommend?
I’ve read a wide variety of authors, including John Grisham, Robin Cook, and Clive Cussler, and Michael Crichton. I especially appreciate books by Angela Hunt and Alton Gansky, since they develop interesting themes and unique story lines that incorporate a faith element.
8. Where is your favorite place to read and why?
There’s nothing like ending the day in bed with a great book. My wife Pam and I both enjoy reading in bed.
9. What period of history interests you the most?
Definitely the 1940s. World War II caused an upheaval all around the globe. Normal men and women—soldiers and civilians—were literally thrown into a wide range of experiences. Plus, there were fast advances in aircraft designs, shipbuilding, new weapons, and other innovations.
10. If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character?
Hmm.... Some authors will clip faces out of magazines to represent their characters as they write. I didn’t do this. Yet, as I reflect on the question, one face that comes to mind for my character Roger Greene is Keith Harkin, a member of the Celtic Thunder singing group. Of course, Mr. Harkin has an Irish accent, which would require major explaining if he played Roger, who was raised in Indianapolis!
11. What inspired the idea for The Methuselah Project?
Although I’m not a huge fan of time-travel stories, during my reading of WWII biographies, the idea kept returning of taking a character—maybe a pilot?—from the past and transplanting him into our present day. However, I didn’t want to create a strictly science-fiction yarn that leaned on space ships or a time machine or suspended animation. What my imagination concocted was a secret Nazi project that never ended after the war. So, although The Methuselah Project is tinged by science, it’s primarily a suspense novel with a generous helping of romance.
12. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I like antiques, especially from the 1940s that I mentioned above. I can’t afford even a fraction of the antiques that appeal to me, but when I do acquire one, it goes into one room of our house decorated all in 1940s furniture, etc. I’m not sure that it qualifies as a hobby, but it’s been a fun project.
Check my review of THE METHUSELAH PROJECT.
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