Author Interview: Richard Barnes

DebE —  September 18, 2012 — 3 Comments

It’s SpecFicNZ‘s Blog Week, and for my part, I interviewed New Zealand writer, Richard Barnes. Richard writes speculative fiction short stories, with plans to write a novel in the near future. You can visit his blog, and check out some of his work at:
Oh, and Richard interviewed me in return … here.

Cover: The Royal Wedding From Hell (Richard Barnes)

Here’s the interview …

Light or dark chocolate?
Dark, most definitely. Light isn’t real chocolate, surely? Does Juliet Binoche touch a spec of light chocolate in Chocolat? I think not.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Hmm, I would probably say choc ice cream wins, but only just…there are times when I’ve chosen vanilla over choc.
Favourite colour?
Don’t really have one. I tried to chat a girl up one time by asking this question – she said “brown” because she was so close to the Earth. I went on to express my enthusiasm for all things environmental and got absolutely nowhere. I wonder where she is now? Probably Finland.
Dogs or cats?
Cats – I’ll admit that dogs can have personality, but cats have attitude. And either way, neither will ever live in my house.
Tea, coffee or other?
Being English, I have to say tea. To understand this truly, I recommend Also, Douglas Adams wrote a piece explaining how to make the perfect cup of tea, so it’s a spec fic thing really.
Light side or dark side?
Light – let’s face it, Anakin (dark side) is a whiny teenager who never grows up, while Luke (light side) is a cool guy from day one and is even cooler when he chucks his lightsabre aside and tells the Emperor that he’s failed. It doesn’t help him when he’s getting pummelled to death by lightning but, it is still cool.
What is your writing environment like? Desk? Floor? Outside? Do you prefer pen/paper or computer?
Cheap MDF desk, slowly perishing swivel chair, beloved XP PC (9 years old and still running fine since it is not connected to the Internet), wedged in corner of bedroom and needing to close curtains in summer. JK Rowling used to write in cafes. She must have been rich.
Computer is much better than pen/paper – it has the advantage that I can actually read what I write, and I can go way faster.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Too much bad TV, too much meaningless websurfing, lots of meaningful playing with my kids. I find that I am “not writing” a lot.
Do you have a day job as well?
Yes – alas my 6 sales of  “The Royal Wedding from Hell” is not letting me retire quite yet. Maybe when I reach 8. Buy it here – and maybe I can write full time.
Where do most of your ideas come from?
Often the first spark may be from some submission guidelines (my story “The Girl in the Cabin” was first written for a Western Horror anthology) but once I get stuck in, I have no idea where some of the stuff comes from. “The Girl in the Cabin” was originally about a weird, abusive father and his terrified daughter. She turned out to be a bit more than that, but I can’t say it was a conscious decision on my part.
“The Royal Wedding from Hell” came from my disgust at things like “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” – if you want to read the classics, grow some balls and read them. If you want a pulp zombie story, go find one and don’t feel you have to be ironic or ashamed. Just enjoy it, I say. So in an act of incredible hypocrisy, I had the idea of throwing monsters and magic at Kate and Wills.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you combat it?
Not really, merely writer’s colossal laziness.
Outliner or pantster?
Mainly pantster – I’ve found then when I try to plan it out, either I’ll never get to the actual writing bit, or when I do, it all changes direction anyway (see The Girl in the Cabin above). Sadly, the one thing I have learned is that it is all about the re-write. Go at it like gangbusters, then step back and figure out what it’s all about. The tricky bit for me is that I’m finding it very hard to commit myself to writing a full length novel as I know that once those 100,000 words are done, I will have to go all the way back to the start and re-write them all….
Is there a particular author or book who/that influenced you, either growing up or as an adult?
Roald Dahl was the first author I really latched onto – as a kid, and then discovering his short stories as a teenager. Douglas Adams will always be an inspiration. If I had to mention a particular book, it would Alan Moore/ Ian Gibson’s “The Ballad of Halo Jones” A superb comic with one of the truly great heroines of our age. Where did she go? Out. What did she do? Everything. I was working in a bank with a lot of people that saw no further than the new housing estate. I’m still working on the Everything, but I have gone Out. 
Don’t forget to visit Richard’s BLOG!



Deb E was born in New Zealand’s North Island, but her parents corrected that within months, moving south to Dunedin and staying there. Childhood nights were spent falling asleep to cover versions of Cliff Richard and the Shadows and other Rock ’n Roll classics played by her father’s band, and days were spent dancing to 45 LPs. Many of her first writing experiences were copying down song lyrics. She graduated to scientific reports when she studied a nematophagus fungus in the Zoology department of the University of Otago, trading all traces of popularity for usefulness… then traded both for fiction. Mum of one human & four fur-babies.

3 responses to Author Interview: Richard Barnes


    Very enjoyable interview, thank you.


      Thanks for stopping by, Kura! This Blogging Week is a great idea. I would never have been brave enough to approach other authors for interviews … then again … you wanna do one?? Huh? Huh?

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  1. Help! My novel is running away with me! « Write on the World - September 22, 2012

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