by Marilyn Meredith
Marilyn Meredith interviews mystery/sci-fi author P.I. Barrington from Riverside, California, and reviews three of her books. At the end of this post is a chance to win all three of these novels.
Marilyn: Tell me something about your background?
P.I.: Like many authors, I started as a journalist for my local newspaper. I covered both the hard news and local features and then got into radio, which for the most part was a joy for me: easy hours, little difficult work, as much music as I could stand and egomania running rampant, lol! From there I entered the music and entertainment industries, since that was where my heart truly lay.
Marilyn: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
P. I.: I never really wanted to write, it was just something I did and was a little talented at. Most of the jobs I had were in writing, journalism, news, publicity, promotion. But what I wanted to do was work in and around music in whatever capacity I could—I just loved and love it; it’s still my life.
When I finally left the industry, I had all this time on my hands and my family kept asking me, “Why don’t you write? It’s what you’ve always done.” When I was in my early teens I’d write fiction, fantasy, romance, a little sci-fi but I really lacked the discipline that it takes to complete a novel. It’s a completely different discipline than journalism where your deadlines are daily and there is a set technique and style that’s rarely deviated from.
With a novel, you have to set your own deadlines and then force yourself to adhere to them. You don’t have an editor asking for that news story in an hour and then that deadline is over. Basically you have to be your own taskmaster and that is what is so difficult in fiction writing. It’s easy to get distracted, i.e. the Internet, but then you have to deal with the dreaded “writers’ block” which is real and you have to learn and teach yourself how to deal with it. There are many blogs and resources offer differing methods to get over the blocking though and most of them are not only helpful but well thought out.
Marilyn: I was fascinated by the fact that your three books are really a trilogy that should be read one right after the other. What made you decide to do it that way?
P. I: There were several factors in that. One was that for the first Future Imperfect book Crucifying Angel, my Editor asked for a cliff hanger ending. (That worked out so well that readers started telling me they almost threw their e-readers across the room in frustration, LOL!) Once I had that first cliff hanger-ending, Book Two: Miraculous Deception was easy to pick up almost right from the last page. I knew where my characters were and where they would logically be in Miraculous Deception after Crucifying Angel. And third, I didn’t listen to my own advice to have them stand alone as novels.
So each one picks up almost immediately where the last book left off because I’ve designed the endings as hangers where the reader is waiting to find out usually who lives and who dies, and I like to both keep them waiting and surprise them. I love that shock factor. I like to stick in twists and turns and veil what’s really happening to make it all the more unanticipated. I’m mean.
Marilyn: And of course, since they are set in Las Vegas, I have the feeling that you are very well-acquainted with that city. What made you decide to use that setting?
P.I.: I am. At one point I even thought about relocating there before the housing crisis. Almost all of my experiences there have been positive and fun. Plus the city lends itself to creating a dystopian society and one could easily imagine an environment devastated by pollution. And the city has such a dichotomy between day and night. At night Las Vegas just throbs with life and excitement; people are energized and there’s like this beat to the Strip. Music’s playing, car horns honk, and the lights are unbelievable. People move up and down the street’s sidewalks in huge throngs and you can hear a lot of their conversation. Everybody’s excited, everybody’s there for the same thing: to let go, blow off steam and just party. Needless to say that’s a foundation for vice to thrive if not in the city proper, then on the outskirts of town.
My mom’s idol is Bugsy Siegel, who saw the potential of Las Vegas and who, she says, understood human psychology better than any psychiatrist, LOL! Too bad he didn’t see it fully realized. And that is what I like to call the “Mafia Mystique.” Under all that glam and showmanship there’s this undercurrent of power to the town. It was developed by that Mafia power and it hangs like a shroud over the city even though the Mafia left decades ago. It can be used for good or bad, depending on your story.
And if all that isn’t enough, in the daylight, the entire town looks dun-colored and tacky and drab. But even as I say this, it also kind of fits psychologically. People are hung over the next morning and want to go home and are kind of wrung out at that point, financially as well as emotionally.
Marilyn: What was your road to publication?
P.I.: Once I got serious about it, I hate to say this, but it was pretty short and sweet. And that’s mostly due to the Internet. People have unbelievable options for publication that were unheard of two decades ago. E-publishers are everywhere and they’re thriving because there’s no huge overhead with printing and distribution—it’s all online and there are direct sales to customers along with outlets like Amazon.
I tested the waters a little with sites like Writing.com and blogging intermittently until I finally decided to actually submit a story or two to online and print publishers. My stuff was terrible because I hadn’t picked up a pen in so many years—I hadn’t even been thinking creatively. When two stories of mine were accepted, from there I submitted to online publishers with short urban fantasy and sci-fi stories which got picked up right away.
Back then I was very tongue-in-cheek about it, my stories were snarky and sarcastic. It was hard for me to take myself seriously. Finally I decided to attempt submitting a manuscript to a publisher and got picked up and after writing up a sample chapter, Future Imperfect was born. At that point, I knew that this was going to be a serious effort.
Marilyn: Do you have any particular rituals when you write?
P. I.: No! I wish I did, maybe it would help creatively. I guess the closest I get would be obsessively checking my email in the morning, lol!
Marilyn: Any advice to up and coming writers?
P. I.: If it’s something you really love, keep at it. I’ve seen writers panned by critics who just turned it around and are now getting accolades and sales! But I also tell all writers to be their own harshest critic. If you don’t, someone else will. Besides, doing that will make your work shine and that’s what we all want.
Marilyn: And is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
P. I.: Read-read-read! And please read different genres. It really does help because you’ll pick up things and it will help with everything you’re writing. It helps with dialogue, prose, style, structure, regardless of what genre you write. Reading always helps.
And join free online writing groups—Yahoo has the best lists. I belonged to several and still belong to at least one. That’s where you’ll find help and encouragement as well as answers to your questions, no matter how inexperienced or experienced they are. That’s also where you find publishers’ calls for submissions. That’s how I found almost all of my publishers. Last, do your homework. Find out about publishers, agents, etc. Research online, through peers, blogs, etc.
Marilyn: Where can we buy your books?
P. I.: Oh! I forgot to mention, Book Three Future Imperfect: Final Deceit is available as of January 1 2011 along with Crucifying Angel and Miraculous Deception at sites listed below:
Review of Future Imperfect, Book One, Crucifying Angel, Book Two: Miraculous Deception & Book Three:Final Deceit
by P.I. Barrington
In a futuristic Las Vegas, a new partner is assigned to female Detective Payce Halligan. The handsome Gavin McAllister with his British accent both intrigues and irritates Payce as they investigate horrific murders of young women who are hung upside down in a horrible crucifixion. Their investigation leads them to a religious compound called The New Creation.
As the detectives follow the leads they become more and more attracted to one another and begin learn about each other’s pasts. Because this book ends with Payce’s life in jeopardy it is necessary to continue on to the next book, Miraculous Deception.
Since Crucifying Angel is continued in Miraculous Deception, I don’t want to give anything away, but I will tell you this much: Payce disappears from the hospital. Rivals for Payce’s affection, Gavin and Nick, are partnered to investigate two more murders that seem to be connected to The New Creation. April, the TV reporter snoops around The New Creation too, and a huge blast complicates everything and puts everyone’s life in danger.
Final Deceit is the third offering in the series and is full of thrilling moments as a rescue attempt of those trapped in the explosion is nearly halted because of lack of funds. I can’t say anything more for fear of spoiling all the twists and turns and surprises.
What I will say is that author Barrington has done a great job creating a Las Vegas of the future that is the result of pollution and years of a terrible economy. At the same time, this is science fiction at its finest with a wonderful touch of romantic suspense and non-stop action. If I were to give it a genre label it would have to be a science fiction romantic thriller. All three books are highly recommended, but with a caution: they must be read one after another.
To enter to win a copy of all three of these e-books by P.I. Barrington, simply email KRL at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Future”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen next Saturday.