Interview with author David Barnett, Part 2

Welcome back for the conclusion of our chat with author David Barnett about his latest book, Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon.

Read part 1 here.



AA: Have you done any book tours or conventions? What has the fan reaction been like?

DB: I’ve done a few events for the first book and gearing up for the second I have more to come. The reaction’s been great – people are generally so lovely. Haven’t been to America with the books yet, so if anyone out there wants to fly me over…


AA: What do you do to keep a balance between writing and the rest of your life?

DB: I have a family, so my wife and two children keep me utterly grounded, especially if I threaten to get to “authorish”. I also work full-time, so have no trouble filling my time. The hard part is finding time to write…


AA: Do you get to talk much with other writers and artists to compare notes, have constructive critique reviews, and brainstorm new ideas?

DB: I do like to meet other writers and have some great friends in the writing world – many of them people I admired greatly before I became a writer myself. Don’t do much constructive crit work with them though – mainly have a few beers.


AA: How have you and your work grown and changed over time?

DB: If I didn’t think my writing got better with each book I’d take a long hard look at myself and probably quit.


AA: How is the United Kingdom for writing? Does location matter for resources, access, publicity, etc.?

DB: Just hang on, it’s getting a bit dark so let me turn up the gas lamps and throw another log on the open fire. Now, where were we..? Nah, the best thing about the digital age is that writers can pretty much write anywhere, research easily on the net, etc. I imagine the UK is like any other first world country for writers.


AA: Most of the authors I’ve talked with have some type of day job and that writing is their other job. What has that situation been for you and how has it helped/hindered begin a published writer?

DB: I do work full time, as a journalist on a newspaper in Yorkshire. I suppose writing for my day job – though journalism and novel-writing are obviously two completely different disciplines – means I write fast, and succinctly, and hopefully quite sharp. As I said before, the worst thing is finding time to write the fiction – generally late at night is when I do it.


AA: Do people outside the regular reading, steampunk, and convention communities recognize you for Brass Dragon or Mechanical Girl? What kind of reactions have you received?

DB: It’s funny, some of the best reactions have been from people who picked up the book thanks to a review in a mainstream newspaper or website and have no other links to the SF or steampunk communities, and really loved it. I love getting messages that begin “I didn’t think this was going to be my thing but…”


AA: Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests and topics fill your time?

DB: Sleeping and finding the perfect rum.


AA: What other fandoms are you part of in some way? (as a fan or other participation)

DB: Not much, really. God, I sound really boring, don’t I! It’s just that between writing, work, family and questing for the perfect rum, there’s not a lot of time. I’d like to spend more time watching live sport, actually, but my hometown football (soccer to you guys) team is quite a way from where I live now.


AA: How do those interests influence your work?

DB: It’s a bit of a tightrope with the rum, to be honest. Too much and I can’t string a sentence together.


AA: Who are the people who inspire and motivate you as a writer?

DB: My wife, Claire (who, I feel I must point out, is NOT my editor Claire), who keeps my feet on the ground and tells me just to get on with it, and my kids who are secretly quite impressed that I have books out. I live to finally have my kids come up to me and say, wow, Dad, you’re actually quite cool.


AA: Three random questions – what is your favorite tv show, pre-2000 music group, and research topic?

DB: Favourite recent TV show has to be True Detective. That was a phenomenal piece of storytelling. Like a novel on screen. Oh, and Penny Dreadful is loads of fun. Favourite music group? Orbital, the progressive techno outfit. First saw them in 1994, I think, at the Glastonbury festival. That’s a bit of a cheat as they’re still going, I suppose. And still brilliant. Favourite research topic… how to make a 30ft tall steam-powered bamboo-framed mecha that shoots bullets from its wrists. But you’ll have to read Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon to see how that turned out…


AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers

DB: If you read the Gideon Smith books, I hope you’ll have as much fun with them as I had writing them. Drop me a line on twitter at @davidmbarnett or my website at I love to hear people’s thoughts on the books. Unless you hate them, of course. If you write as well as read, keep persevering. Remember – seven books before I got a bite. Seven. Keep at it, yeah?


Keep up with David on his website. You can support David and the steampunk community by getting your copy of both Mechanical Girl and Brass Dragon today.

Published in: on September 18, 2014 at 6:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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