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An Interview with Author Patrick Barry

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Hello. My name is Patrick Barry and I have been writing novels and short stories for the last several years. As of now I have two completed novels, both unpublished, and three other books I have been bouncing around on. I hope to finish all three in one fell swoop and then continue on with something new. I have found writing and storytelling to be a lot of fun and I hope I can one day add to the collective consciousness of literature. In my own way. Or at the very least tell a good story.

I am thirty-six years old and grew up on the south side of Chicago. I now live in a town called Oak Lawn with my wife Sarah and our sixteen-month-old son George, who is a sweetie pie.

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

Before I ever wanted to write, I wanted to read. For me though, reading was like chipping a rock away with a hammer. Just a tool that would help me fall asleep at night. Then one day I heard Jim Dale read the Harry Potter books aloud. He was like a one-man play keeping me engaged and entertained. At the time I was working as a mailman and had discovered the world of audio books. I was walking around pushing envelopes and getting lost in new worlds. This in turn introduced me to many great reads and great narrators. It also helped me with my own personal reading. I began to pick up my pace and became captivated with the stories. Within this time frame I came across Stephen King’s book It. While reading, I thought to myself that this was something I could do. His book read so effortlessly like he was just a guy telling a story. An intricate story with a lot of different narratives. But the entire thing had spoken to me. So I tried writing a short story that had eventually turned into a novel. As these things happen. This first book I wrote is called The Monarch of The Madman. If you’ve ever watched wrestling growing up you may like this book. From this point I have continued reading and writing and trying to find my own voice as an author. It is a never-ending process that I hope will stay with me for my lifetime.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

The idea for this book started with a dream I had. It was a bizarre situation that had stayed with me. So to get it out of my head I decided to write it as a story. And from there I needed to explain how the characters found themselves in that set of circumstances. The story grew and once again what started out as a short story began to grow into a novel. For whatever my reasons were I stepped away from the entire project and started something new. If an idea feels stale I’ll just move on and come back to it. Which, eventually I did. But now the work had taken on a whole new perspective and the story turned into something new. The odd situation from my dream was still within it, but became only a minor detail to the picture at large. I found myself connecting plot lines like markers on a map. Intertwining ideas and connecting characters to a much bigger objective. June Bug is in every way a product of its own design. And I felt impelled once I came back to the work to finish the damn thing. Which I happily did…until an editor sees it.

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

The title of the book came about very early on in its creation. During the first go round, it was saved in my folder as June Bug and it still feels right. The title is only said once in the book as a pet name from one character to another. An odd term of endearment from a very odd personality.

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

This book absolutely does have a soundtrack. In fact, the book opens up with four quotes before the first chapter. The first quote isn’t a song though. It comes from Nathanial Hawthorne’s book, The House of the Seven Gables. I felt that the quote used, while rather lengthy, captures the true essence of the nature of June Bug. The next three quotes are from songs representing the three-act structure of storytelling. The first song quote for the first act is called “Welcome to the Machine” by Pink Floyd. The second song quote for the second act is from a song called “New Speedway Boogie” by the Grateful Dead. And the third and final quote is from a song titled “Moonshine” by the Bluefish Fellows. Each song is great and you can look them all up on Spotify or Youtube.

Describe your dream book cover.

It’s hard to say. I guess it would have to be something I could see and say yes to. I am very fortunate to know a great artist by the name of Jim Buckley. He had done all of the illustrations for my first book, The Monarch of The Madman. In those drawings I used one as the cover. So sometimes it just happens like that. And that’s the nature of art. You see it and either you like it or you don’t. I’ve always seemed to like all of his work. He is currently working on a few illustrations for June Bug and I’m guessing the right cover will be there. He is very talented. But if anyone had any thoughts on the subject I’m always opened to ideas.

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

As previously stated, I used to work as a mailman. For which I owe a lot of my love for literature too. That’s where my foundation for reading was built. Not school assigned reading, but voluntarily finding a book and seeing it through for myself. Sometimes you find a light in the most unusual places. I think the time spent alone outside and my reflections on the works at hand helped me have a thorough thought process on it all. Even now if I am stuck on a plot line in a story I’ll go outside for a walk. Just being in nature and moving helps me clear my head. And almost always a new idea will appear. That’s the best habit I have created for myself when it comes to writing. Other than that I had a whole slew of jobs. I worked as a gas jockey at a full service station. Pumping gas and checking oil levels. I worked at a gym for many years. I would transfer to a different location every now and then giving me the opportunity to meet a whole new community of people. Which I have always enjoyed. There are characters out there wherever you look. I worked at a fencing company getting paid under the table. I didn’t question its legitimacy at the time, I was just trying to pay my rent. I used to get paid to play music in dive bars with a band. Music being my first real passion. Here’s a good one, I delivered pizzas in a big old 1992 Lincoln Town Car. A six cylinder gas guzzler. I never shied away from any type of work. And I find a sense of achievement in everything I’ve done. Just because you’re doing one thing doesn’t mean you can’t do something else.

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

Throughout the process of writing June Bug I had read through a number of books of all genres. The further I continue with reading and writing the more curious I become in other authors. The many different styles of story telling. I like to read the classics and sit back and understand what made it that way. Some books become bigger than just a book and it takes going back and seeing where it started from to appreciate the finely tuned writing that it is. For the character of Benedict Zapata I tried to emulate Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. His boldness and eccentricities were traits I wanted my character to have. Throughout June Bug the reader will find many references to bulls. The book, Death in The Afternoon by Ernest Hemmingway helped me with writing about that particular animal. A beast of nature. I would also read a lot of Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King books, for I think I try to follow their writing styles the most. I just like the way they do it. Oh, and there is a strong Ancient Egypt motif in June Bug. I didn’t read any certain books on the subject but found myself down an internet rabbit hole about that particular time of history. It helps to continue reading while working because there is so much inspiration out there.

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

My goal is to write books for the reader and non-reader alike. A paperback novel you can stick in your back pocket and read effortlessly between errands or before bed. To be taken away from your own mind briefly into someone else’s point of view. Or something else’s. A nice easy read that takes you somewhere. With a good story. I guess that’s important too. Hopefully one day I will put out a few more so that someone can find the book that is for them. When I started writing I was always intimidated by the vastness of books that existed. Now, with a clearer perspective on the matter I feel more inspired by it. I want to join the ranks of old dusty paperbacks sitting on a shelf, waiting to be picked up.

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