What does it really take to land on a best-seller list?
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Interview With Author David Barker
Bio: I live in Berkshire, UK with my wife and daughter. My debut novel, Blue Gold, was published in May 2017 by Urbane and the sequel, Rose Gold, is due out in May 2018. I attended the Faber Academy novel writing course in 2014 whilst working in the financial industry and recently gave up my economist’s job to become a full-time writer. I am passionate about our planet and love playing sports. Please see for more info: www.davidbarkerauthor.co.uk
1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
My previous job as an economist forced me to think about the future and to research new trends that were likely to develop in the next few years and decades. When I was researching commodity markets and resource constraints, it was clear that water had the potential to become a precious resource and possible source of future conflict. It triggered an idea for a novel that stuck in my head. I have always read a lot of fiction and been interested in writing creatively. Around this time our daughter became old enough to request bedtime stories, and would often ask me to make up a story. So, the creative juices were starting to flow and over a span of 6-7 years I just stuck at it.
2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
Blue Gold is an adventure story about two British agents who get sent on a mission to track down some terrorists. While on their trail, the agents team up with the CIA and uncover a nefarious plot hatched by a world power that threatens nuclear Armageddon. The team has to venture deep into enemy territory and uncover the truth. The setting for this novel is the near future, when freshwater shortages are causing tensions and outright conflict between countries, triggering W3, the world war for water. I think the book will appeal to readers who like page-turning action, but also those who like intelligent thrillers where pieces of a jigsaw seem un-connected at first, but start to fall into place as the novel builds to a climatic ending.
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
I am told by readers that my characters are very memorable and that they are keen to find out what happens to them in the sequel (for those that survive book one!). That feedback was great to hear because I believe that action stories can be full of great plot but still need appealing characters to connect with readers. Of course, I hope that readers will also develop a new appreciation of the importance of freshwater and how it is already a precious commodity in some parts of the world. There’s also a message about how we can all make a difference, not matter how big the problems we face.
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Keep going! It is a tough slog to get a novel written. Nearly everybody ends up writing their first novel while working at least part-time because bills need to get paid somehow. Finding an hour or two each evening to craft together a couple of pages of fiction is never easy when you’re tired and maybe just want to kick back with a drink and some TV. The first draft of a novel can seem like wading through treacle at times. And once you’ve done that, you will need to look at the whole book with fresh eyes and see what is working and what is not. Most first drafts suck – don’t be ashamed to admit that – but use it as a springboard to a really awesome version of your story.
5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
I am really pleased to see that the latest sales figures show that the rise of digital books has levelled out and that physical book sales are now holding their own. Everybody has their own preference when it comes to digital versus physical copies of books. I personally much prefer an actual book I can hold and feel. And just as important, I love going into bookstores to browse, to see what’s new and to ask the staff – who are normally brilliant – what they recommend. I attend a monthly book club at my nearest store and get a lot out of that community aspect.
6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
I had to do a lot of research, not just about water shortages, but also about the numerous locations around the globe that are used as a setting for my story. Equally hard was making sure that the research did not dominate the narrative. We writers are often tempted to show off how much research we’ve done, but for the reader that just distracts from the story. It was a challenge too to find the time to write while working. And then after the book was finished, there’s the not insignificant challenge of finding a publisher!
7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
Blue Gold is full of great characters, terrific action sequences and innovative settings. There’s lots of dystopian fiction out there, but most of those stories deal in the far future after something bad has happened. Few of them are like Blue Gold, set while the bad thing is actually happening. I think that makes the story fairly unique and far more thought provoking.
Study this exclusive author media training video from T J Walker
What does it really take to land on a best-seller list?
Can you sell 10 copies of your book every day?
Great book PR lessons from kids, clergy, women, contractors & sportscasters
How do authors get on TV?
Here’s the 2017 Author Book PR & Marketing Toolkit
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs