Welcome to my blog site, hope you enjoy your visit and enjoy getting to know author Glen Barrera, these interviews are a great way of getting to know about authors and their books.
Hi Glen thank you for dropping by for a chat, I enjoyed your book, ‘The Assassin Who Couldn’t Dance’, I didn’t know if it was my type of book but I was wrong, I got whipped up in the story in no time at all, and I was glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to experience and new read. It is also very exciting that you will have your next book out very soon, I am looking forward to that as well.
Tell me how the book came to life?
Strangely, it began when I was putting up my Christmas tree and the tin top of a round, red ornament came off. I looked inside the empty chamber and pondered whether I could put something in there, replace the top and hang it back on the tree. A piece of paper, rolled around a thin object and inserted in the opening seemed like a good idea. The idea for the Assassin grew from that ornament (well, I did say it was strange!).
Did you plan to be an author? Can you explain your experience?
I’ve wanted to write a novel since I was in college. But life (marriage, two children, and long work hours) can sometimes dampen dreams. It wasn’t until my son and daughter were out of college and on their own, and my wife and I divorced, that I found time to take a two-year writing course and begin my first novel. Actually, being an author never entered my mind until my second novel was almost completed. My goal was to write novels, and I was quite happy doing just that. It was my writers group who encouraged me to publish. And it is through that process that I find myself an author.
Did you have to think about the title of your book, and how did you come to choose the name?
Assassin had a different title until the book was in the second draft. At that time, I decided I wanted something more out of the title, something that would give an inkling to the character of Hector, the assassin. As I went through the book again, I came across a paragraph I wrote. Hector was reflecting on how different his life might be if his family had moved to the U.S. sixteen years before. Part of his thought process questioned, “….would he have a girlfriend now? Would he have learned how to dance?” It sounded so innocent…
What location (s) did you decide to use for your story and what were your reasons?
Of course, Iraq, where the story begins. In the U.S. I used Wisconsin as the main stage. While married, we would often travel from the Chicago suburbs to Door County, Wisconsin where my in-laws had a summer home (Morgan and Russ’ farm house is a larger representation of that very house). During the many trips I became fascinated with the big farms south of Green Bay, even then considering them a good place to set a story. I also use the city of Milwaukee. In the book, I describe a fictional two-story mall with connecting skywalks from block to block and apartments at the western end, where Denny Leary and Gail live. It is based on a real mall. And a close friend of mine lived in one of those apartments.
Tell us what your book is about
I’ll give the short version: The story is about Hector (his current name). Since the age of seven, after his father and older brother are murdered by corrupt U.S. army officers, he has been home taught by Teacher, a close friend of Hector’s father. As the oldest male in the family it is his duty to avenge the deaths. So along with rigorous academic studies, Hector is taught to kill. By the age of twenty-three, Hector can speak five languages, kill a man a hundred different ways, but has learned almost nothing about life and love. The story, then, is about Hector’s quest for vengeance, but along the way, and maybe more important, his quest to discover who he really is, and where he belongs. (Please see link below for a longer version)
What is the main theme running through your book and what does this theme mean to you. Is it a passion in your life?
I began with the general theme – Relationships within conflict. But by the time the story was completed, I realized that depending on what level the book is read, it might include the underlying theme – Love and acceptance. For not only was Hector looking for that missing part of his life, Lucy, the woman he loves, Gill Scott and Morgan Kelly are searching for the same thing. For the second part of your question: Yes. The need for love and acceptance is universal.
What do you think makes a great writer? Do you need to be taught to write?
I could spout-out a string of clichés for the first part of your question (perseverance, practice, etc.). But, to me, the key to becoming a great writer is the overwhelming desire to be become one. To your second question: Everyone knows how to write, but not everyone knows how to structure words into a meaningful sentence. And it’s not just the sentence or paragraph – novels, no matter what genre, also have a structure. In that respect, some kind of instruction, whether from how-to books on writing and novels, internet courses, or a local writing class or group, could save a lot of time and frustration.
Do you have a message you want to convey with your books?
Family and friends stick together, no matter the odds against them.
Do you have plans to write another book(s) with the same theme(s)?
I’m glad you asked! In fact, my next book – A Capable and Wide Revenge (title from Shakespeare’s Othello) – will be out within the next ten days. Hector, Lucy and the ex-recon team are back, along with a few surprises. And yes, the themes will remain the same.
How do you feel when you see the numbers of books on the market today and the number of self-published authors increasing and everyone trying to get attention? How do you keep motivated?
Honestly, I don’t pay much attention to the numbers. As I mentioned at the beginning, I think of myself as a writer, not so much an author or a sales and marketing expert. So I do the best I can in the marketing department, promoting on Twitter and Facebook, and work on my third novel with the working title, Sweet Peach.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to add a big – Thank You – to those who have read Assassin. I’ve had some wonderful reviews and comments. Your words are truly appreciated. I’d also like to give a shout-out to the terrific friends I’ve made on Facebook author groups. I am grateful to be associated with such a supportive and caring collection of talented writers. I’ve learned so much from you. And finally, thank you, Sharyn for having me as guest.
For more information about Glen’s Books and social media links:
The Assassin Who Couldn’t Dance: amazon.com/dp/B00ZVEMVW0