Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

Hello.  Thank you for making me part of your blog, Author Interviews. I’m Daniel J. Barrett, known as Dan.  I turn 70 tomorrow, April 16, 2018.

Fiona: Where are you from?

I was born in Rutland, Vermont and raised in Troy, New York.  We have lived in the greater Troy area my entire life, now living in the Town of Brunswick adjacent to Troy on the east side.   Troy is about 10 miles north east of Albany, New York, the state capital along the Hudson River.  We are actually only 20 miles from Bennington, Vermont.  We are located about 150 miles north of New York City, half way between NYC and Montreal.

 Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

My BIO:

Daniel J. Barrett was born in Rutland, Vermont and has lived his entire life in Troy, New York, ten miles north of Albany. He is a graduate of both Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. with a BS in Finance, and of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y, with an MBA in Management. He has had a varied career, first as a commercial banker, then as the chief accountant and manager of financial and strategic planning for a large division of a major international corporation. He has had extensive international experience, traveling worldwide.

Barrett has also served as the first executive director for economic development for a county in New York State, and as the first lay director for a Catholic shrine in Massachusetts. For the last thirty years, he has served as a financial, strategic planning, and educational consultant to corporations, non-profit organizations, colleges and universities, and government agencies.

Currently, he serves as a grant writing and development and strategic planning consultant for several non-profit organizations in the Capital Region of New York State and in Vermont. Barrett continues to live in the Troy area and has been married to his wife, Sandy, for 48 years this July 2018.

An avid reader, and inspired by numerous authors, Barrett has read over 2,250 books in the last nine years.  Reading has helped him prepare to write.  Currently, he has five novels published including Conch Town Girl, Can’t Sing or Dance, Taking Care of Your Own, Never Say Never, and the newest, Death But No Taxes published by Black Opal Books on August 19, 2017. Black Opal Books, a national publisher, is located in Parkdale, Oregon. Dan continues to work, as a consultant, serving those most at risk in the Capital Region and now in the state of Vermont as well as publishing books in his Conch Town Girl series and now starting to develop stand alone books as well.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

My newest book, You Don’t Know Jack, will be released this June 2018.  It is my first stand-alone book but has a number of characters that appear in the Conch Town Girl series.
Meta Description:

Fired at age 50. Dumped by his wife and grown college-age children. Ex-wife moved her lover UPS deliveryman into her house as soon as Jack left. Humbled beyond words.  Six months later, down and out, living in a rented room in the Burgh, cooking meals for his 80-year-old landlady while walking to work at the corner convenience store.  No car. The only job he could get at $12.00 an hour for the night shift, 6 days a week. 

 He bought a ticket using the birthdays for all the people whom now hated him. Woke up, turned on the news and found out that he just split $990 million dollars with two others across the country. After the cash discount, he would net $198 million. What would he do now that he was rich with no support payments or any family who cared about him?  So he thought.  He was sure he would make a lot of friends real soon. But, like a lot of folks, he divvied up his winnings a long time ago in his daydreams when he was bored. This could be very interesting.

 Funny, poignant, truthful, a ride we all want to take but fear the unknown.  Changing lives, payback through kindness not regret, helping those who want to help themselves. Can it work? Can a lot of money make a difference?  Find out.

 Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started reading books for pleasure about nine years ago.  I read books in high school and college but we come from a die-hard sports family.  WE have three grown children and while growing up, we must have attended 5,000 games across a wide variety of sports, even through their college years.  While I was at Northeast Parent and Child Society, Inc. in Schenectady, New York, I picked up a book that was lying around and started reading it at lunch.  The first book was by Carl Hiaasen, Flush, a kids’ book.  I really liked it and started reading more and more.  I turned off the TV and enjoyed reading more.  After about 800 books, I got the bug and thought I could write a book.  As a grant writer, it wasn’t that far removed from what I have been doing for years.  I finished my first book, Death But No Taxes, one week before my 65th birthday.  It took me months to correct it and then I started to send it out. I received hundreds of rejections and instead of giving up, I started another book named, Conch Town Girl.  That book was picked up by Black Opal Books and started my series for me.  Amazon decided to call it book 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc.of the Conch Town Girl series.  I didn’t name it anything.  I saved my first book, Death But No Taxes, and after four straight books in the series, it was published as the Prequel to the Conch Town Girl series.  I’ve been walking around with stories in my head for years.  We’re an Irish family and most of what I write (called fiction) comes from reality growing up Irish.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I really don’t consider my self a writer.  I consider myself a storyteller and I am told- a good one.  My books are very direct and linear. You know where you’re headed but there are lot of plot twists and surprises that you may never see until the end.  I write exactly what I like to read.  Straightforward mysteries without a lot of prose and plush descriptions.  That’s not me.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

As I said, I read about 800 books by the time I started writing my own.  I started because being self-taught, I thought I could write a book as good as the ones I was reading.  I believed that my stories that I had carried around for years were as good as if not better than many that I read.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The first book, Death But No Taxes, was pretty much about my life writing grant proposals and dealing with non-profit organizations and what really went on behind the scenes. The title was also a pun. The saying is,” You can always count on death and taxes” but my book could only count on death and no taxes because non-profits don’t pay any taxes. Conch Town Girl came about as I was writing about Florida, which is considered “The Conch Republic” by Jimmy Buffet.  Conch Town Girl seemed to have a ring because my character, Julie Chapman, was a born in Florida Keys Conch Girl.  Her parents were direct descendants from the British who fled to Bermuda after the Revolutionary War.  They gravitated to Florida over many generations and are the original Conch people.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

I write in the third person, which is the most accepted format for mysteries.  My style is very direct and chock full of facts that support some of the characters investigations while in the Coast Guard. One of the reviewers stated, “The book has a ring of truth that tells me the author has either been in the Coast Guard, or did a tremendous amount of research. Either way, he seems to know what he’s talking about. ~ Regan Murphy, Reviewer

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I believe that fiction is 90% true facts, tied together with 10% fiction but it is known as fiction.  All my stories, and my series are drawn from real life from my friends, family, work associates, neighbors, and community.  I also take a stab and what’s immediately in the news. My books are current with today’s problems and issues.  My main character, Joe Traynor, is actually the name of a great uncle, born in Ireland in the late 1880s who emigrated to the United States and settled in Rutland, Vermont. I simply like the name.  It’s short and sweet- it’s Irish and it’s my family. Also, there are a lot of really good “Joe’s” in a lot of good books.  Jack may be over used at this point.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

I have either been blessed or cursed with a kind of photographic memory so when I go some place I seem to remember everything about it.  I am also very computer literate, writing grants for 30 years.  I know how to do deep research.  When I wanted to find a house for Julie Chapman and her grandmother, Tillie Carpenter, I went to Google Earth and searched house in Key Largo where I wanted them to be placed.  I followed the roads in and out, took a picture of houses in the neighbourhood and what the town actually looked like.  Then, I did a complete description of Key Largo through Julie’s eyes before I began my story,.  It works for me.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Going to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute back in the old days, I sold Yellow Page advertising to help the family get through.  I drew my own ads after reviewing hundreds of phone books.  Now, I find art for my covers online in the areas where my books take place (Key Largo, Troy, New York, Miami, Orlando etc.) and then I use those photos for my covers.  Our Black Opal in-house art director places the print where I suggest to add to the pictures front and back.  The print has the same them throughout and the pictures are of a high color nighttime scene.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, I really do.  All my characters are good people-sort of religious but not over the top.  Perhaps more moral than religious. I believe in loyally which comes out with Joe and his friends.  They have each other’s backs and good things happen.  Bad guys don’t get away with it.  I hate bad endings and I want readers to feel good at the end.  At least I hope they do.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?

I actually keep track of all the books and authors I read.  So far, after 9 years, I have read 2,250 books and 667 authors.  I have perhaps 30-40 authors that I read every book.  My favourite book is Straight Man by Richard Russo who actually came from this area in Gloversville, New York.  It is said that it is the funniest non-funny book every written.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

When I was at Northeast Parent and Child Society, Inc. in Schenectady, I had a lot of friends supporting my first effort. I think it was more disbelief that I was writing a book.  However, they all wanted to see it when it was completed.  Remember, I did this late in life, never telling anyone nof my desire to write a novel.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I am a writer but I am a grant writer first.  I have won in excess of $200 million dollars for non-profits, schools and other organizations all in support of kids getting out of poverty and getting a good education.  That is so much more to me than a book but you can do both.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

In all my 6 books, I wrote the entire novel from beginning to end including all the edits, corrections and information.  I then sent it to Black Opal, under contract, to complete with a final edit and to publication. I can honestly say, good, bad or indifferent, each book is solely mine flaws and all.  No, I wouldn’t change a thing.  First you to please yourself and know you did the best you could.  Then, it’s out of your hands.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

Every book I write, I learn something.  My books have a lot of history, data and information that I had to research in order to make it fit within my book’s constraints.  I learned a lot from each effort.  I also learned that I had the ability to complete each book even though I never thought I would have the patience to do so.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

At first, I pictured Death But No Taxes having as it leading man, Joe Traynor to be played by Casey Affleck, especially after reading the book and seeing the movie, Gone Baby Gone, by Dennis Lehane.  Unfortunately, after Manchester BY the Sea, it has come out that Mr. Affleck may be a sexual abuser and I would have no part of him if true.  Currently, I have a media agent in Hollywood shopping You Don’t Know Jack, the new standalone book to be released by Black Opal Books in June 2018.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

There was blog by my good friend and author, Jenny Milchman, who interviewed Lee Child.  He said keep on writing.  He didn’t become popular until his 12th book.  He bought up the last 8,000 paperbacks of  Killing Floor and had students hand the paperbacks out to people in the New York City subway system for free.  People caught on and he took off.  So just keep writing.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Just thank you for buying my books.  You have no idea how much it means to me, especially since today is my 70th birthday.  It’s something they can never take away from you.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I read four to five books a week. Go to www.fantasticfiction.com and pick out your favourite authors.  I then go directly to our public library and order books on line, first edition.  I always have 10 to 20 books ordered at all times.  I will attach my reading list for Fiona and she can see the wide array of books I read. Still, Richard Russo is my favourite.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

From the beginning of this article, the first book was by Carl Hiaasen called Flush.  That was almost 10 years ago and I’m still reading the same amount in addition to writing books and working with grants.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

There’s no crying in baseball and if you’re Irish, it’s when Irish Eyes are Smiling….

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Other than the Lord, but not quite yet….

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Baseball, baseball, baseball-the rest I can take or leave along with reading books. I enjoy our four grandchildren and their sports even though they don’t live close.  WE go to them and have a lot of fun. Being married for 48 years is a hobby unto itself.  WE do everything together.

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

The Yankees, and a few TV shows including the Voice.  We watch movies on Amazon Prime.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Italian, pizza, seafood, and sterak/beef.  Have to cut back though due to health reasons. Blue only.  We’re from the 1960s graduating from Siena College on 1970.  The music from that era is my favourite but I do like new music.  Love the VOICE.

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

I’m having trouble with my eyes so I can envision some day not being able to see well enough to write but I take one day at a time.  You will too when you get up in age. : > )

Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?

Sleep in.  : > )Have a really nice breakfast.  Take a walk.  Cook out on the grill and enjoy our new condo even if it was the last day.  Say goodbye to everyone knowing that I have lived every minute of every day and tried to help those less fortunate.  That’s the best you can do and then let go.

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?

We knew exactly where he stood. Nobody can say they didn’t know what he meant.  Smiley face.

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

I find that my best advertising efforts are on Facebook.  I had a website but it was difficult keeping up a Facebook page and then a website.  I can be reached at:

I would appreciate it if you would “LIKE” my Daniel J. Barrett Author page. It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. The Facebook address is below.

Facebook: Daniel J. Barrett Author page:

https://www.facebook.com/DanBarrettAuthor/

https://blackopalbooks.com/daniel-j-barrett/

Authors Amazon Page

https://www.amazon.com/Daniel-J.-Barrett/e/B00OX9M7SW/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Daniel J. Barrett

Book 1:    Death But No Taxes (Prequel to Conch Town Girl)

After 10 years in the Coast Guard, graduation from the Academy and receiving his MBA, Joe Traynor takes his first real job at a small nonprofit welfare agency in Albany. Did Joe bite off more than he could chew? Will his education, training and experience in the Coast Guard, the only job he ever had, prepare him for what was now happening? Can he and his Coast Guard friends stop a national rip off and money-laundering scheme? How did Joe meet Julie Chapman?

Book 2:    Conch Town Girl

Julie Chapman grew up in Key Largo, a tenth-generation Conch, raised in the Florida Keys by her grandmother, Tillie, since Julie’s parents were deceased. Then one night Tillie has a car accident and ends up in a coma, leaving Julie and her best friend Joe to wonder if it really was an accident. As Julie and Joe start digging for the truth, they uncover some dark and desperate secrets that can not only cause them a good deal of trouble, but also cost them their lives.

Book 3:    Can’t Sing or Dance                (Sequel to Conch Town Girl)

Retired Chief Petty Officer Tom Jones was murdered in his apartment complex in Orlando in what appeared to be a “drug deal gone bad.” The police won’t even do an autopsy on a dead drug dealer. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Joe Traynor is asked by Tom’s daughter to look into his death. His investigation ultimately leads to the largest meth case on the southeastern seaboard. In the meantime, the Russian Mafia, unhappy with being ripped off by Julie Chapman’s father, seek revenge. Her father’s death, once again, comes back to haunt her and her grandmother, Tillie, placing their lives—and Joe’s—in danger.

Book 4:    Taking Care of Your Own         (Follow up to Can’t Sing or Dance)

 

The FBI called Rear Admiral Barnes, head of the Coast Guard’s 7th District in Miami to tell him that his own members have been rumored to be supplying the Columbians with bales of cocaine from the secured Coast Guard warehouse in Miami.  Joe Traynor and his team are brought in to investigate even though audits show that nothing was missing. Julie Chapman meets with a movie production team to discuss her book and the movie rights.  Kiki Lonell, niece of Trinity Hightower, a detective in Orlando and friend of Joe and Julie, had run away to Miami with her best friend, Glenda Davis. Will Joe and his team, Trinity, and Julie find these two 15-year-old girls before they are lost forever into the sex-trafficking trade of south Florida?

Book 5:    Never Say Never       (Follow up to Taking Care of Your Own)

Joe Traynor receives a call from Trinity Hightower that her old partner, Archie Higgins, was shot to death in the Orlando International Airport by a suspected terrorist on a watch list.  She and Chief Roberts asked Joe to come and help because they believed that two others, who were also killed by the police in the shootout with the terrorist, might be Russian.  They knew Joe was fluent in Russian and Spanish.  Once they were identified, after Joe arrived, the investigation took on a more dangerous potential terrorist attack.  They weren’t Russian but Chechen Muslims, now in Orlando.  During the investigation, Joe Traynor and Julie Chapman were married at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. When Joe gets back, will the case be solved or will it lead to a terrorist plot?  This is Joe’s last official investigation before taking a new position leading to a supposedly quieter life with Julie in the Florida Keys.

 Joe Traynor received a call from Trinity Hightower a detective from Orlando and friend. Archie Higgins, her old partner, was shot to death in the Orlando International Airport by a suspected terrorist on a watch list.  Trinity and Chief Roberts asked Joe to come and help because they believed that the terrorists might be Russian.  They knew Joe was fluent in Russian and Spanish. The investigation took on a more dangerous potential terrorist attack because Chechen Muslimswere now in Orlando. This wassupposed to be Joe’s last official investigation before taking a new position leading to a supposedly quieter life with Julie in the Florida Keys. Once again, Joe’s life has been placed in immediate danger, right in the middle of their pending wedding. Will Joe get to tie the knot with Julie?

Book 6:    You Don’t Know Jack             Stand Alone             To be released June 2018

Fired at age 50. Dumped by his wife and grown college-age children. Ex-wife moved her lover UPS deliveryman into her house as soon as Jack left. Humbled beyond words.  Six months later, down and out, living in a rented room in the Burgh, cooking meals for his 80-year-old landlady while walking to work at the corner convenience store.  No car. The only job he could get at $12.00 an hour for the night shift, 6 days a week.

He bought a ticket using the birthdays for all the people whom now hated him. Woke up, turned on the news and found out that he just split $990 million dollars with two others across the country. After the cash discount, he would net $198 million. What would he do now that he was rich with no support payments or any family who cared about him?  So he thought.  He was sure he would make a lot of friends real soon. But, like a lot of folks, he divvied up his winnings a long time ago in his daydreams when he was bored. This could be very interesting.

Funny, poignant, truthful, a ride we all want to take but fear the unknown.  Changing lives, payback through kindness not regret, helping those who want to help themselves. Can it work? Can a lot of money make a difference?  Find out.

FIONA:   Thank you for the opportunity to present my answers to you for your blog.  If you need anything else, please let me know.  Dan Barret

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