Tuesday 19 June 2012

Author Interview with Barry James

I'd like to welcome author Barry James to our blog today! Read on to find out more about Barry's novel, Dreams of Darkness...

Jordan Hanson was having a bad day. His girlfriend was acting distant, his cat had run off, his car was leaking oil, there was something screwy with the electrical system in his new house, and to top it all off he got caught in a storm. By the end of the day, though, Jordan would have given anything to get his old life back. Or any life at all, for that matter. Even an undead existence in which he was not about to be used as a tool to end the world would have been better than nothing....

Get your own copy of Dreams of Darkness on Amazon!

My review

To say that Jordan is having a bad day is a bit of an understatement, I think. Jordan is having an epically bad day to top all others. Without going into detail and giving anything exciting away, he loses his girlfriend, his cat, his house, oh yeah, and his life, all in one evening. Jordan is about to discover that his life (or death as the case may be) has much more purpose than he ever imagined.

I have been a fan of the horror genre for many years, and this book did not disappoint. The writing style was amazing with such attention to detail that it was easy to picture in your head what was going on. The descriptive language used by the author was equally amazing, describing in detail the creatures, surroundings, etc, and the dialogue was wonderfully written and not forced as can so often be the case.

The characters in the story were very well developed, from Jordan, who is the underdog but stronger than he ever realized, and an overall likeable guy, to Lord Ackerman who is the kind of guy you love to hate. Of course throughout the whole story you're rooting for Jordan not only because of the unimaginable that would happen if he lost, but also because he's exactly the kind of hero everyone wants in a story.

There was so much going on in this book with the plot, which, by the way, was different from anything I've read lately, and the author did a great job leaving you wondering what was going to happen next. I kept imaging I knew what was going to happen as I read, but it turned out I was always wrong, and the author's version was way better than anything I had come up with!

I would recommend this book for anyone who loves horror, and would even go so far as to recommend this book to any fans of Stephen King. I will be eagerly watching for more from this author.

Thank you Barry for agreeing to do an interview with us! When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you?
I began writing short stories in high school, when I took a creative writing class. I've always had strange, fantastical stories that just pop into my mind, and I wanted an outlet for them.

What about the horror genre in particular interests you?
I like to be scared in a way that is separate from reality--i.e., things that are scary but are unlikely to truly happen. I'm not a fan of serial killer stories, for example, because those things actually happen in the real world, whereas I'm not afraid that a zombie will really eat my brains (assuming he hasn't had bath salts).

What was the most difficult part of writing Dreams of Darkness?
The repeated editing process after the "writing" was done. The book was edited five times from the first to last page, and it is not a short book. This was all done with the assistance of my wife, who somehow managed to remain married to me despite this process. I am not the easiest person to edit with.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
As long as I can remember, I've always liked scary movies. I remember watching Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Bela Lugosi, and all the greats of the old scary movie era. That said, I was also a very fearful child and had a deep terror of the dark and the things I thought were in it. I had to have a nightlight in my room until I was about 12, and slept with the covers over my head. By the time I was a teenager, in order to break myself of my fear of the dark, I made myself sit in dark rooms for longer and longer periods of time until I was no longer scared.

My fascination with being genuinely afraid has allowed me to write about fear in a more honest fashion. I know what it's like to think the monsters under your bed are really there, and I try to write from that perspective. I think the best way to make horror feel real is to use things you're really afraid of and "help" other people learn to be afraid of those things as well.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I tend to be pretty high-strung, so I like to work out for an hour a day to help with that. I also spend a lot of time working on decorations and ideas for my annual Halloween party (80-120 people every year). I like gaming, especially MMOs and first-person shooters. Oh, and I have one of those pesky J-O-Bs (teaching world history).

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I'm currently working on the sequel to Dreams of Darkness (Realms of Shadow). Without giving away the ending of the first book, let's just say that the world has changed in a substantial way. The doorways to other worlds are open, and magic is accessible in a way it hasn't been in a long time. The beings who were considered mythical are now walking around in our world. Humanity is no longer on the top of the food chain--they just don't know it yet.

What draws people to horror novels? Why do we, as readers, like to be scared?
There are different kinds of fear. Fear for others is not fun, but fear for yourself (that you might see a ghost in a haunted house, or even a scary roller coaster ride) can be a hell of a rush. A good horror story (and every person's fears are different) gives you that excitement, exhilaration and trepidation but allows you to walk away from it when the story is done...at least until you turn off the lights.

What scares you?
My fear of the dark doesn't exist anymore--in fact, my wife hates it because I frequently leave all the lights off in the house when I'm on the computer writing or playing games, so she comes home to a dark house and doesn't know if I'm there or not. But there are still some things I find very disquieting. For instance, I don't like clowns: I always think they're hiding something behind the makeup. That goes double for mimes, which are nothing more than stealth clowns. I am also not a fan of dolls, especially those baby dolls that are ultra-"realistic"; those creep me out. And little teeny spiders--I really hate little teeny spiders. I've had a couple of instances where egg sacs opened up near me (once over my head). I don't care how many times you've seen Charlotte's Web--it is NOT cute.

Don't forget to stop by Barry James' contact pages!




  1. He conquered his fear on his own. That's pretty admirable.

  2. I should pick up his fear elimination techniques. I still fear the mythical vampires at 38 and that's a bad thing. ;(

  3. Th cover for this book attracted me right away! Good luck with the book.

  4. Great explanation of what led him to write horror and why horror is good for us:) Good interview.

  5. Great interview! I will be adding "Dreams of Darkness" to my reading list. I'm gonna have to read it after such a high recommendation from Sheri! I wish you the best of luck Barry!

    ~Solitaire Parke~