another new week and I’m kicking this one off by chatting with Clayton Barnett, the
author of the science fiction novel The
Clayton does his virtual book tour, he’ll be giving away a $30 Amazon or Barnes
and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be
entered for a chance to win, use the
form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his
other tour stops and enter there, too!
design engineer; some-time pharmacy technician. Full-time father and husband. Born
in Houston but raised in the Mountain West. Currently misplaced in central Ohio
with his wife and two daughters. Took up writing on whim to make an 80k+ word
visual novel. Decided to give traditional novels as try, too.
Welcome, Clayton. Please tell us about
your current release.
years from now, in central Texas. It presumes a collapse of the US currency and
Federal government some six years before the story opens. Things are just
beginning to return to “normal,” and only in some locations.
Barrett is 23-years old. A nurse apprentice at a local hospital and a live-in
aide at a Catholic orphanage in Waxahachie, Texas. Her family is sundered and
she is largely alone. Six months ago, online, she met a curious young woman
about her own age, who calls herself Ai. They cautiously become friends.
book commences with first Ai, and later Lily, opening themselves and their
families to one another as they learn to trust and love as friends. Ai
eventually goes so far as to come to visit Lily, only to have the attention she
attracts to her friend redound with deadly consequences.
What inspired you to write this book?
Novel Writing Month or, NaNoWriMo.org. A friend mentioned it to me in passing
three day in on November 3rd. Dangling that kind of irrational deadline
in front of me was irresistible! A few ideas in my unconscious mind came
together, and I sat down and started typing out what I saw.
Airport, in the queue to get a taxi. Her short hair was pulled back in a little
ponytail, and given the heat and humidity, she was profoundly glad to be
wearing a tee shirt and shorts. Looking at her dad, she saw he was already
sweating in his short-sleeved shirt and slacks.
mother and I at picking up Japanese!” He said, the pride in his
that you really were going to send me here for three months, I’d no choice!”
forward in line, “get us a cab to the Kodokan Dojo, so we can get you settled
window, Lily found herself both excited and nervous. Three months away from
home, in a foreign country, and training under some of the best masters of her
school… sure, she had earned her black belt, but as her Master in Ohio told
her, “That simply means ‘this monkey is trainable.’”
but still nice neighborhood. While her father paid the driver, she pulled her
single piece of luggage behind her as she walked to the main entrance. A young
man, maybe in his mid-twenties, greeted her as she came in.
I help you?
I…er… I’m Lily Barrett, from America. I’ll be staying and training here
for the summer!” She thought she
got that out correctly. It would seem so, as he started flipping through some
forms. Her father came up beside her.
Here you are. I can show you to what will be your room. The manager
is leading a class right now, but you can meet him in about thirty
minutes. Is that alright?”
sure, that’s fine!” She heard her father chuckle at her little mistake. At this, the
young man turned to him.
are her father? Please be assured that we shall take the best care of
just nodded politely. The fellow turned back to Lily.
name is Isi, also a boarder here. It is my turn today to watch the door;
we all help out around the dojo. Do you understand?”
much, Isi-san. I look forwards to working with you!” Or, was I supposed to say, ‘I’m in your care?’ Whatever.
seem to surround the central training area. He showed them to a small, but
clean room, and indicated that the toilets were at the end of the hall. Bowing,
he left them alone.
I bet there’s a futon folded up in this cabinet… yep! I’ve about twenty
minutes until my meeting, so I’ll unpack a bit.”
window. Without looking at her, he spoke.
mean, the other side of the planet, a mixed dorm…”
worried about! What a dad! She took a few steps and gave his back a hug.
find Mom before she spends all our money, and I’ll be home in late August. Don’t
worry about me! This is Okinawa; the crime rate is almost zero, your little
girl’s a black belt, and,” she returned to her luggage, pulled out her Ka-Bar
Marine knife that he’d got her for Christmas some years back, and placed it
onto the desk, “you know what a careful person I am!”
you’re right. Let’s go see the manager then I’ll get out of your hair!”
horizon of central Texas. She closed her eyes.
father smile. Just a week later the Breakup began in the ‘States… and things
got… bad. For all of us.” Not hearing anything, she looked at her phone. Ai’s
image seemed downcast, staring towards the bottom of the screen, gently rocking
forwards and back.
then started again. “I like you, and want to know more about you—”
yell, then quickly stopped. No, I won’t have this argument again! “I… I’m
sorry, Ai, I’ve got to get back to work…”
looked at her, her rendered eyes piercing.
mentioned your father’s name. And you live in Texas. Are you really the
enough to startle the others on the rooftop. Barely resisting the urge to throw
her phone to the parking lot far below, she turned it completely off as she
staggered back into the building.
What exciting story are you working on
Civilization! That’s what I’ve taken to calling this series. The first sequel,
which opens seconds after the closing of The
Fourth Law, is “Echoes
of Family Lost,” already published (and I look forwards to our next book
tour!). I’ve written and contracted an illustrator for book #3, “Henge’s Big
Day!”, a children’s book I’ll have out when the art is complete. I’ve notes for
book #4… an espionage/thriller about Lily’s father’s chief assistant and the
role she plays in the domestic secret police force of ExComm, five years before
the events of “The Fourth Law” take place.
consider yourself a writer?
please.” He handed me the money, and I gave him a copy of OTChi Kocchi. Dear God! I thought. Someone
just gave me money for a story I wrote!
say it was somewhere around there.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
When I was giving a series
of presentations to the kids at my girls’ primary school about creative
writing and self-publishing, this question came up almost every time! As I told
them, unless you’ve a trust-fund or one of your books has been made into a
movie, you will have some kind of day job. Even luminaries such as Tolkien and
Lewis had their jobs at university; until “Hunt for Red October” was filmed and
released, Clancy was selling auto and home policies. My day job is actually a
night job: I’m a third shift pharmacy technician at a local hospital. Once upon
a time, BC (before children), I was a design engineer.
is no way to ‘find’ time to write. Neither I, nor anyone, else ever will. I
make time to write; and, more importantly, I make that time because I have SET
AN IRRATIONAL DEADLINE as to when a work must get done. It’s something I
stressed to those kids I spoke to: without a deadline – a harsh one – you will
never get anything completed. For my visual novel, we were presenting it at a
panel at an animecon in three months, for The
Fourth Law, it was the challenge of NaNoWriMo.
of Family Lost,” in February I decided it had to be complete by Easter. Without
these deadlines, I would have finished and published exactly NOTHING, which,
horribly, is about what 80% of people with great stories end up doing.
your interesting writing quirk?
do not consider myself a writer. I’m just transcribing these scenes that come
into my head. That makes me more of an editor, I suppose. If that’s a little
odd to read, consider that I found it odd to type; nonetheless, it’s true. Never
once have I “forced” some kind of scene out. I might go hours or even a day or
two with nothing, but I wait.
are not my stories… they’re theirs.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
very young, an astronaut. My parents were taken aback when, as a 2.5 year old
toddler, I wandered into the living room in the summer of 1969 and told them to
wake me up in the morning so I could watch the Moon landing. Later, I wanted to
be an engineer; I liked designing and making things. Still later, a Cold
Warrior. That last didn’t work out after 1991, so back to engineer. Ten years
later, I became a parent, and everything is subordinate to that. As you can
see, I’m still growing up.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
deadline!!! I wrote the 54k words of The
Fourth Law in twenty three days. It sucked, but I saw potential in it. I
decided to publish it. By Christmas, 26 days away. I had to learn editing,
line-editing, formatting, self-publishing (on three different platforms) all
while working my job, being a father, being a husband. Alone in my house around
2215 on Christmas Eve, I hit the ‘enter’ key and published my first traditional
novel. If a middle-age drunk such as I can do it, I know you can, too. Get to