Interview With Author Jack Barrie
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Hellooooo, I’m Jack, I’m 26 as I’m writing this, and i’ve just published my first book.
I love DnD, cooking, all music just about, good beer, books, and… yeah books more than the rest. I live in Bristol at the minute. I love it here. I’d also love to chat with anyone that has taken the time to start reading this.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My first and latest book is called ‘Sundown: An Other World Fairytale’.
It started with a daydream. I was listening to a song (BTSTU by Jai Paul), and that song begins with a harmonic hum of distant retro-recorded voices. An image entered my mind of an ethereal woman, guarding two children, in a forest that almost breathed with her. It was a stunning image and I immediately needed to know more about it. I was working on a Netflix film at the time. We were shooting in a very old building that we had dressed like the houses of parliament. Anyway, I snuck off and called my writing partner, Leon, and described the image to him, and we got to formulating a world. We made a massive document of all things we wanted to be included in this world – a surreal world that we wanted to read about, then set off to make it as a feature film.
Soon though, we realised it wouldn’t work in that form, but I just couldn’t put the world to bed. So i opened microsoft word and here we are three years later.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m always more productive when i can talk things out with a friend, or a collaborator. That’s not unusual, though. Maybe, roleplaying scenes as characters and seeing what they would say is unusual, but then i see others doing that too.
For sundown, my writing partner and I would sneak into our old university and use any of their many unused classrooms or lecture halls, pretend we were students and that the book was a school project we were to be graded on.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I love all of the modern classics of fantasy, books by Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, David Gemmel. I also love cosmic horror. I started on Lovecraft, but love seeing it in less direct forms, like in Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy.
I’m also really into Emerson’s essay work, that has influenced me maybe not as a writer but as a person, and John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows really stuck with me. I always have it out in my living room and skim through from time to time for a little dose of ‘we’re all feeling sad in such unique ways and don’t know how to say it to each other’.
What are you working on now?
I’m chilling at the minute. Working a lot on real life things. But I have three projects in the pipeline that I want to see realised.
The first being an uncanny short story collection by underrepresented writers from the midlands.
the second being a GoT style epic based on a DnD campaign i was a part of for three years, beginning just before lockdown.
And finally a novella similar to Stephen King’s misery, but less break your leg with a hammer, and more, shower you in luxury until your dopamine receptors melt and i can suck your soul out of your ear with a straw, kinda vibe.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m pretty new to it all, but Bookbub seems like a really useful spot to promote. Instagram also.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Read. Read everything you can, even the stuff you think you won’t like – you’ll find new voices in works that’re out of your comfort zone.
Obviously write as much as you can, develop the ability to make music with words, and dance to them.
And do what I did. Self-publish your first. It won’t be your last book, it won’t lessen your chances of publishing traditional. It’ll scratch the itch, and then you can decide whether a career doing this is what you really want, having done it already.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I think it was from Matt Stone and Trey Parker, writers of south park. They came up with this really simple rule to help momentum and development in a story: Each beat of your story MUST be able to be followed by the words ‘But’ or ‘Therefore’. If they don’t fit between your beats, then you undoubtedly have an ‘and then’, which is death. I’d recommend everyone give their work the ‘But Therefore’ treatment to keep it exciting.
What are you reading now?
Right now i’m reading the folk of the air series by Holly Black. Spiderwick was such a massive inspiration for my first book Sundown, that I am now obligated to read everything she puts out, and i could not be happier to oblige, i’m on book two and already in love with the series. I’m also on the sixth tome of the berserk manga, and gee wizz, i mean, if you know… you know.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’ve not long set up a curation company, Ravenstone Press, with the intention of helping creators establish a platform and experiment without having to worry too much about the bureaucracy of the publishing world. We’re working on a short story competition for uncanny or surreal stories, and hope to get that up and running in the summer, and then plan to publish the winning shorts in a bi-annual paperback.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Ooooooft, I’d have to bring The Lord of the Rings, because i feel like they’d take me ages to read so i wouldn’t go insane as quickly, (i’m counting them as one), then any Enid Blyton book, to keep me calm take me back to the good old days, maybe the Far Away Tree, and finally… errrrrr mmmm fffffffff, i guess a big thick one like then necronomicon, partially to speed up the insanity, and partially for keeping the fire going.
Author Websites and Profiles