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?
My name is E. A. Barker and my age is a well kept secret. On paper I would be considered middle-aged, but I embraced a Peter Pan complex long ago which helps keep me feeling, acting, and some say looking younger than my years.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada but have been living outside Ottawa for the last decade or so.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am a non-credentialed researcher in human behavioral studies. My self-characterized “diverse” formal education ended decades ago when I realized I could not live with these words: “We are paid to search for answers . . . not to find them.” I live modestly－which could also be described as minimalist－in order to allow me to pick up and move with ease when my vagabond heart has had enough of my present surroundings. I am single with no desire to change that . . . sort of a been there, done that, wrote a book about it, kind of thing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
It seems that my inner being, a.k.a. writer; evil spirit; demon; is determined to force me to write a new book whether I want to or not. Every time I have a moment to myself, I am bombarded with outlines, chapter headings, plot lines, character back-stories, etcetera, etcetera. Ms. Creant took me three solid years to produce and I just do not want to invest that amount of life in doing it again. My inner response to this rationalization, argument, whatever. . . is: Write fiction this time. The voice in my head insists: It will be so much faster and easier to produce. Just start by making a few notes. That can’t hurt, can it? This is exactly how the last one got started. . . and so my inner struggle continues.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
We all begin writing in school. I began writing out of desperation. The first time I pushed some quality fiction out of myself was in grade twelve when I had to write, and score well on, an essay to pass an exam, and my year. So, no pressure. I believe the subject was King Lear by William Shakespeare; a book I had not read. Just prior to the exam time, I browsed cheat notes in preparation for the test. I received an A for my tangential nonsense on the plunge into madness. It would be some eight years later when I would attempt narrative nonfiction in earnest for the first time. I was young, naive, and full of misplaced trust and activism when I replied to the Government of Canada’s request to have citizens write in to voice their concerns about the issues of the day. I had much to say; never imagining that the Prime Minister’s speech writing staff would help themselves to my words to put forth the idea that he was capable of an original thought. I was nauseated and started to awaken, ever so slightly, when my words came out of his mouth in a televised press conference.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Do we ever? I became a “professional” writer about twenty years ago; meaning I was paid for a five year period by a magazine as one of their regular contributing writers. This did not make me a writer in my mind, and when I look back on what I wrote, there is not much to be proud of. For me it will be when something I have written is favorably compared to one of the greats by a respected literary critic. My bar is pretty high.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Outrage over the antics of Ms. Creant 22 and the misbegotten idea I could save future generations from many of life’s trappings.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Miscreant became Ms. Creant to change the names of the not so innocent women I wrote about.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I am told I have a style, but it is a natural thing. I write the way I speak for the most part.
The challenge of writing nonfiction in the areas of life, philosophy, relationships, parenting. . . is you must be offering up supporting research to back up your thesis if you are to be taken seriously; otherwise you are just another op-ed writer. This is laborious work.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All of it. Ms. Creant is a narrative nonfiction work which most definitely could have been a memoir as the “case studies” accurately recount real life events.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I wish but no. Does the library count?
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
For better or worse, I did. I snapped the photo of the double rainbow and thought “the pot of gold” symbolism might work.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are many woven through the book, but if I had to pick just one it would be: We must rethink how we are raising our children if we are ever to free ourselves from the destructive patriarchy that has been ruling us for most of recorded history. We continually shelter our kids from the few truths of the world we know. We are not protecting their innocence; instead we are actually helping the powers that be to program these blank slates. Awareness is not dangerous to innocence; ignorance is.
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?
There are many new authors, especially in the indie book world, who have written wonderful books. I will not name names for fear of a social media backlash, but I do have some advice for your readers: Read the reviews. If a book interests you and its reviews are CONSISTENTLY good, you most likely have a winner on your hands.
If I had to pick just one it would be Frank Herbert. His Dune series took me away to worlds I was incapable of creating.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I suppose I am fortunate to have had several people who, even unknowingly, encouraged me to pursue this. I remember a friend of a friend who said he enjoyed my old articles. His words were relayed to me just as I was questioning whether or not to continue working on the book. It’s people and moments like that which keep you going.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I think for 99% of us, writing augments a career. A public speaker with a new book is more desirable than one whose book is out of print. We live in a: “What have you done lately?” world where new and shiny is exciting.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
There is a formatting error in the Reference section, but other than that Ms. Creant represents who I was, and what I was capable of at the time.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned great deal, and not much of it is good. Readership is on the decline, and those who do read are not looking for full-length books (100,000 words and up). As digital book publishing emerged, a huge group of charlatans appeared to exploit the unknowing writer in every conceivable step of publishing and book marketing. Sadly, the major publishers have gone Hollywood; wanting only more of the same old escapist fair; walling themselves off to all but the agents who bring them their next pretty face; passing on anything thought provoking, controversial, or books that shine a light on the darkness blanketing our world; all the while exerting pressure on bookstores to keep indie books off of “their” shelves.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Ms. Creant’s stories span from the teenage years to midlife so we will probably need more than one actor. Is tall, dark, and handsome still a thing? If so, get those guys.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t write a book unless you have an incredibly resilient liver. Learn to write well before diving into the submissions game. ALWAYS use a qualified editor. Keep your day job. If you spend more time sending e-mails than you do on social media, you will succeed.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you, and I am sorry I couldn’t get Ingram to include a free paper bag inside the cover for when the hyperventilation happened.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am looking forward to starting Earth In Upheaval by Immanuel Velikovsky. It’s at the top of my reading list.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I’ll take a stab at Curious George.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh easily and it is usually slightly inappropriate humour which tickles me. I can be moved to tears by extraordinary human achievement or a killer happily-ever-after like Field of Dreams gave us.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I really struggled with this question. You would not want to blow an opportunity like this. I am seeking answers to some really big questions these days, and I am not sure how far back in time I would have to go to find those answers; nor am I certain who would give me a straight answer. If there was no language barrier, the Chief Historian at the Library of Alexandrea might work.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I’m a starving writer so I cannot afford horses. 😀 I do enjoy a game of Snooker occasionally.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I am hooked on Silicon Valley and Game of Thrones.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Home-cooked meals in any home other than my own.
Classic Rock thru the 90’s; jazz and classical, but I rarely make time for music listening these days.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
And I thought I was getting dark a few questions back. There would be cocktails. I would spend a little time helping my Executrix understand my will as well as saying some important goodbyes; and then I would sit at a shoreline reminiscing and contemplating.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
He really lived!
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I have a website and blog dedicated to Ms. Creant the book at: http://mscreant.eabarker.com
I also have a random thought blog called E. A. Barker’s Blog Madness on WordPress at: https://eabarker.wordpress.com
Additionally, readers can glimpse my professional side on twitter: @EABarkerAuthor or https://twitter.com/eabarkerauthor
However on facebook, they will see my inner wild child if they shoot me a friend request. FYI: My facebook friends are carefully screened so if any of your readers wish to pass the gatekeeper, they should message me first unless we have at least 100 friends in common. https://www.facebook.com/eabarkerauthor
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Available through fine book stores around the globe from Ingram Spark.