Thursday, 12 July 2012

Author Interview with Steve Bareham

We had author Steve Bareham on our blog today!

Steve Bareham is the author of multiple books. 
You can find the complete list on Goodreads.

Romance, action, adventure, corporate intrigue, intense danger and an incident-laden plot weave through the 213,000 words of the PROGENETER 2-book set. Dr. Helen Murray journeys to the canyon retreat of the mysterious Mavas u Ch'an and there meets Mekel, leader of the Bacob, an ancient order of warrior monks. The stage is set for a collision of ideas, values, and desire. "This is unlike anything you've ever read."

What would you do, and how much would you pay, for a drug that extends your lifespan to 250 years? PROGENETER explores this issue in this saga that spans centuries. The story starts in 1540 A.D. on the Yucatan Peninsula where Mayan monks, protecting a mysterious crystal skull, are captured and forced into slavery with the doomed expedition of a Spanish conquistador to the Grand Canyon.

The monks orchestrate an escape, and for 469 years the small tribe lives in isolation, protecting the skull and a life-extension formula that holds the promise of incredible advancements, but also the potential to decimate life on earth once the secret is discovered by a multinational drug company.

Fast forward to 2012 when the Bacob monks must pit ancient martial arts skills, and marvellously ingenious tactics, against the avarice of a modern, violent world where power, money, and influence will go to any length for a potion that triples lifespans.

While PROGENETER is fiction, it meshes facts and creatively to treat readers to realities that promise to worsen quite soon. Humans number 7 billion today and are expected to total 10 billion by 2050 according to the United Nations. Even now, billions face starvation, pollution, and socio-economic strife. New drugs, medical advances, and the dramatic lowering of infant mortality rates, mean that our numbers may total 15 billion by 2100.

PROGENETER presents the classic good and evil dualism of human nature in the genre of educational fiction that enlightens while it entertains. If you’re curious about a new philosophy of life and enjoy learning while you explore romance, action, building suspense, and mystery, PROGENETER is a rare read that delivers full value to enlighten and entertain.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
My first recollection of actually writing something longer than a page or two, was a short story about an Indian boy called Red Wing when I was about 12. We lived on a farm in southern Alberta, Canada, and in 1962 we didn’t have TV yet, so at night I used to read a lot and that reading developed into writing. Then, a teacher in Grade 6, Mrs. Doyle (to whom I owe an eternal debt of gratitude), read one of my essays to the rest of the class as an example of “good writing.” That was it; I was hooked. When you give a kid praise like that at such an impressionable age, it sticks and it matters, so my energies from that day forward started to lean in favor of writing. We get good at what we focus on, and seven years later I landed my first job as a newspaper reporter at the Lethbridge Herald, age 19…never looked back, except that I moved from journalism into the college classroom where I now get to teach others how to improve their writing.   

Tell us a little bit about the Progeneter books.
These books really do offer something for everyone. They started from research I was conducting for my cross cultural communications course that I teach at Selkirk College. While dredging around for facts about immigrant migrations around the world, I came across an updated UN report that suggested world population would swell to 10 billion people by 2050. That is the equivalent of another China and another India, and it’s clear we don’t have the food, water, or space for that many more people without incredible upheavals economically, environmentally, socially, politically…you name it. So, I thought my class of college students should know what faced them about the time they would be 70 years of age and also their children who would be only 40-50 years old. They didn’t really seem to care; 38 years is very difficult to get whipped up about when you’re 20.

Believing the news was worth sharing, I considered writing a work of nonfiction, but I realized that only academics or masochists would read it, so I awoke at 3 a.m. on a dark, cold winter morning a few years ago and had the bright idea of putting the information into a work of fiction that more people may want to access. Then the challenge became how to work fact and fiction together so they would be both informative and entertaining. This led to a fictional Mayan tribe that discovered a secret life-extension formula hundreds of years ago that enabled them to live to 250 years of age. As the centuries passed, and fast forward to current day, the secret formula falls into the hands of a multinational drug company that wants to commercialize it. Imagine how much people would pay, or what they would do, to triple lifespans? The Mayans, and a sect of warrior monks that have protected the formula and a crystal skull for centuries, realize that widespread dissemination of the PROGENETER drug (progenetic enhancement & entropy termination) spells Armageddon for the planet, so they set about to stop the drug company.

The CEO of the company is a bit of a whack job who wants the drug for a number of reasons: money, power, sex, etc. so he sends mercenaries to find the fleeing monks and a beautiful female drug company researcher who quit the company and who is now on the run as well. She, of course, becomes the love interest of the head warrior monk. Anyway, it’s a bit of a saga in a two-book set, 700 paperback page equivalent, so there’s lot of time for character development, facts, action, romance, intrigue and all the things that make for a good summer read.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Absolutely, that’s why I wrote them. The message is that population growth is a juggernaut that is picking up speed, but few people know that. Africa’s population is expected to quadruple to 3.6 billion by the end of this century and the world population to 15 billion. We simply cannot accommodate that many people, so unless we stop growth in intelligent ways, we’re headed for some very, very bad times. Two things account for the unfettered growth: people all over the world live much longer than they used to, and infant mortality is much lower. This means far too many old people and more babies surviving even in developing countries who then turn into old people. If I was under 50 years of age, I’d be very concerned about what’s coming down the pipe. The books offer solutions at the end about how we might be able to forestall disaster. I didn’t write the books to be gloomy, and they aren’t pessimistic in the main, but the message about too many people on the planet is certainly in there among the Mayan mysticism and chase scenes.

What do you see as the influences on your writing?
I was a print journalist for years so that clearly influences my writing style. And, since journalists deal everyday with facts, I also have a penchant for acquiring knowledge, i.e. I like to learn something when I read. Sure, I like to be entertained, too, but if one can learn at the same time, why not. So, I’ve always been attracted to writers who teach me something, the likes of Leon Uris, who wrote Trinity. I also like writers who can produce interesting turns of phrase, like John Irving in books such as The World According to Garp. Maybe I’m weird, but I laugh like hell reading Irving.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
First, of course, it has to be interesting, something I call the BIIQ formula and that I teach to my students. BIIQ is an acronym for benefits, interest and impact quotient. By this, I mean that when you write something, if you want people to keep reading, it has to do at least one of those things and preferably all three. It has to benefit the reader, interest the reader, or have some impact on the reader. In the PROGENETER books, I’ve tried to ensure that all three occur and so far, the reviews suggest that they have.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
We live on Kootenay Lake, just outside of Nelson, B.C., Canada, so looking after the house and a little cabin, plus a large yard, forces me to take breaks from research and writing and keeps my heart working, but I’m 61 years old, and I have another dozen books I want to get out, so writing is my focus when I’m not teaching.

What books are you working on now?
PROGENETER gave me the idea of writing something I’ve started to call faction: facts, action, and fiction. That led to a new series I’m working on now called Newton’s Law: Retribution. Each book in the Newton’s Law series will focus on important social issues that need to be addressed because people are being hurt and too little is being done to stop it. 

The first one, due out by fall, is called Oral Hazard; it deals with a global food industry that mass produces foods and drinks that contribute to bad health, cancer, heart disease, obesity, etc. all in the chase for profits. In the story line, a billionaire industrialist John Isaac Newton, contracts cancer himself and thus begins his research into the causes of many cancers. He discovers that most cancers are caused by lifestyle, and foods being part of that. So he tries to convince the makers of bad foods (too much sugar, salt, trans fat) to back off and to be more responsible. They, of course, tell him to get lost, so he assembles a team of specialists who can sets in motion plans and actions to teach wrongdoers lessons that will force action. 

The original 17th century Sir Isaac Newton invented Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” so the modern John Isaac Newton uses that approach to exact retribution on people who hurt others. He doesn’t do it in mindless, violent ways for the most part, rather in Mission Impossible approaches that are more clever than blunt. 

This series will see books written on the sex trade industry that harms so many young people around the world, on the tobacco industry, industries that hurt and abuse animals, the gun industry, petro-chemical industry, and a half dozen more. Each book will focus on some industry and on the unthinking, or uncaring, people in them who need to be made to think and to change their actions. If I do it well, maybe something good will come—that’s all a writer can hope for. 

Thank you Steve for stopping stopping by today and sharing your work with us!

About the Author
Steve Bareham has written 11 books (9 nonfiction and two fiction), through publishers such as Harper Collins, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, and EduServ. He teaches human resources, marketing, business communication, critical thinking, and cross cultural communication courses to management students at Selkirk College in Canada.

Contact Information:
GoodReads author:





  1. Interesting. Not sure I really want a lecture on what needs to change in the world when I read a book, but it depends on how it's done.

  2. That is a very interesting interview.