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An Interview with Michael Barrington

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Michael Barrington, MA., M.Ed., Ph.D., has written ten books, typically historical fiction: Let the Peacock Sing, The Ethiopian Affair, Becoming Anya, The Baron of Bengal Street, No Room for Heroes. The Bishop Wears No Drawers recounts ten years as a missionary in Africa. Passage to Murder is a mystery novel set in San Francisco. Magic at Stonehenge is a collection of 42 short stories. His memoir, Grandma’s Priest, will be published in April 2024. He writes a monthly column for the Diablo Gazette and blogs on his website at

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I have always been a writer since I was in middle school. I knew than I could write as the teacher regularly had me read my essay to my embarrassment had me read it in front of the class. My mother helped me get my first library card when I was nine since she was an avid reader herself. My reading it fed my imagination. I wrote academic papers but it was much later that I decided to write about my African experiences. It took me five years as I was working full-time. I love history and that influenced my writing. Many of my books are historical novels set in the 20th century. I was brought up on the classics and so enjoy a literary style of writing where the characters jump off the page. Jane Austen was always a favorite but also Walter Scott and Hemingway. E.M. Forster. Passage to India greatly influenced my writing style.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I have been fascinated by World War II for years and especially France. I am married to a French lady and I lived and studied there. My father-in-law was in the French Resistance and I knew I would write about it. I had already written one book, which was a best seller, Let the Peacock Sing. After visiting the Vercors in Eastern France and many of the villages where battles took place, the novel was already forming itself in my head, No Room for Heroes was the result.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

I didn’t know what I would call the book almost right up to publication. It was while discussing the book with my two beta readers that one of them mentioned the word ‘heroes’ and I knew immediately that word had to be in the title. It was my wife who completed it since she reads every word I write and in addition to producing my book covers, always offers great feedback.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

“Le Chant des Partisans”

“I Will Wait” sung by Rina Ketty

“We’ll Meet Again” – Vera Lynn

“I’ll Be Seeing You” – Bing Crosby.

“Django” played by The Modern Jazz Quartet

Describe your dream book cover.

The picture of a Resistance fighter in black with black beret and colored arm band with Cross of Lorraine and Sten gun slung over shoulder. Pictured from the back. He is looking up at a snow-covered mountains.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I was the CEO of Health Care Corporation and for many years a university professor. I was a missionary priest in Africa for ten years, three of them during a civil war when I was stood up to be shot. I have lived in seven countries, visited more than fifty, and speak six languages.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

I speak, read, and write French, so I have a library of books in English and French. I was able to access archives and scholarly papers in both countries. I met one of the last living resistants of the battle of the Vercors and I have his inscribed book, Temoignages sur le Vercors, 1999. There have only been three books written in English on this subject, one written in 1979, Tears of Glory by Michael Pearson, and thirty-five years later, The Cruel Victory, by Paddy Ashdown, 2014.

My book is the only novel that addresses this important event in French history.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

Nothing has been written in novel form about the Resistance in Eastern France so readers will be exposed to a great deal of new material. It should be an educational and informative experience as well defined and believable characters take the reader on a thrilling journey.

Any reader interested in the history of World War II and France will enjoy this book.

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