Author Barry J. Hutchison
JV: Barry, tell me who would play you in a movie?
Easy. Adam West in his Batman days. Seriously, I wouldn’t even hold auditions, I’d just call him up and offer him the part. He’d have to learn to do a Scottish accent, but being arguably the greatest actor of his – or any other – generation, I’m sure he’d have no problem with it.
JV: Dayjobs before you went renegade?
I went through 14 ‘proper jobs’ in 8 years, getting fired from every single one of them. I’ve actually been a traditionally-published kids author for going on 10 years, before deciding to strike out on my own with some adult books. By which I mean “books for adults” not ADULT books.
JV: Do you have a muse?
Yes. I keep it chained up in the attic. In general, inspiration isn’t hard to find.
As I do this full-time and am the sole breadwinner in the house, I just remind myself that if I don’t write today, my family will end up homeless.
It’s surprising how effective that is against writer’s block.
JV: Write at night?
I used to always write at night, but once my kids came along my schedule had to change. Gone were the days of writing until 3am, because I’d have to get up at 7am to help get them ready for school. Last year, I started getting up at 5:30am so I could write early. I assumed I’d get used to it after a few weeks, but nope. I still wake up crying, then blindly stumble through to the kitchen to make all the coffee we have in one giant cup.
JV: Tell me about your current Book.
Space Team: The Search for Splurt is the third book in my Space Team series, about a small-time crook who is mistakenly abducted by aliens and thrown into a team of intergalactic criminal misfits. Tasked with delivering a package to a gangster made of living rock, they accidentally find themselves having to stop a genocide and save an alien god. You know, the usual.
JV: How would you classify it?
JV: Why the move from young readers?
I haven’t actually moved from young readers at all. I have 13 children’s books to write in 2017 for traditional publishers. Hence the 5:30am wake-ups.
I’ve had ideas for ‘grown-up books’ for years, but have never been able to face the idea of going through the whole “submit, wait six months, get rejected” process again, and when I saw how other authors were taking control and putting out their own work, I decided that was the direction for me.
JV: What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on a new kids series I’m ghostwriting, while frantically plotting Space Team 4, which is due to come out in April! Again, hence 5:30am.
JV: I see. Where is your favorite place to be when you write?
Inside my own head. On the good days, when the universe lines up correctly and I get completely immersed in the writing, the real world melts away and I’m right there in the story, watching it unfold around me. Most of the time, though, I’m sat in my increasingly-cluttered office at home, trying to find a route to my desk.
JV: What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?
That writing is largely a solo venture, but publishing isn’t. It’s important to build up a network of people you can trust to give feedback, who can help you promote your new book, and who can just be there when you need to moan about something. Every mistake that can be made has already been made by someone else. Learn from those so you can avoid making them yourself. So, yeah, basically make friends and network, either online or in the real world.
Give me your links:
JV: I used my Google-fu on you. Have you met Terry Pratchett?
I have indeed. I met him at a book-signing before I was published, and he gave me a lot of encouragement. I was appearing as one of the characters in a theatre production of his book, “Guards! Guards!” and we chatted about that for a while before someone from the bookshop moved me on. He came to see the play, too, if memory serves.
PS: This one is free on Barry’s site: