To paraphrase Forrest Gump (and his momma), “Twisted is as twisted does,” so get free copy of Twisted Tales, a Readers’ Choice selection of short fiction from Readers’ Circle of Avenue Park. Literary lies, epic yarns – it’s an eclectic collection of stories by authors from around the globe.
In today’s Meet the Authors series I’m delighted to welcome to the blog Glen Barrera, a former partner in a real estate appraisal company, who now writes. Over the years he’s edited a company newsletter, written short stories and poetry. It wasn’t until he divorced a few years ago, however, that he finally found time to take a writing course while working on his first novel, The Assassin Who Couldn’t Dance. His second book, A Capable and Wide Revenge, is recently published.
Your story “The Burglar” appears in the Readers Circle of Avenue Park’s recent anthology Twisted Tales. What made you decide on that story?
The idea struck me during the housing crash in 2008. At that time, I was a certified real estate appraiser with access to properties and the homeowners weathering the upheaval: lost jobs, properties with “under water” mortgages, the desperation of those caught in the crunch. It was during one of my appraisals that I came upon an old, Victorian-style home needing repair and thought it would be interesting to use in a story. Everything built from that point.
Did you find writing a short story easier or harder to write than what you’ve written in the past?
My writing began with short stories in the later-1980s. In fact, I still have two or three pieces from those days tucked in a drawer somewhere. But whether writing novels or short stories, I’ve found the writing format is the same – beginning, middle and end. Although, with novels, there is obviously a lot more information to keep track of and account for.
Who has been an important influence on your journey as a writer?
I began reading at an early age. By eleven or twelve I was reading my mother’s Agatha Christie books. It was in college, however, that I began reading Tolstoy, Dostoevski and other classical writers. Dostoevski was the biggest influence. His “The Brothers Karamazov” still ranks as one of the best books I’ve read. As far as current writers go, I don’t believe any one individual has been an influence. I like Child, Baldacci and a few others, but not to the extent that I would want to emulate them in any way.
What’s your next project?
I’m currently working on “Sweet Peach” (yep, that’s her name). It takes place in Tennessee and is a story about a girl who has led a very tough life. She is in the process of finding herself, and with a college degree and a good job believes she has come full circle. But then, it’s a novel. So we know that ain’t gonna happen. Right? Anyway, some of the same characters from the first two books will be back, helping her as she is caught between the mob and a small, dangerous town that makes its own rules.
Please share a little more of your writing background.
As I’ve mentioned, I begin by writing short stories with the intention of eventually writing a novel. But life (marriage, two children, and long work hours) dampened that dream. It wasn’t until my son and daughter were out of college and on their own, and my wife and I divorced, that I found time to take a two-year writing course and begin my first novel. “The Assassin Who Couldn’t Dance” was my first, followed, using the same characters, by “A Capable and Wide Revenge.” I hope to finish “Sweet Peach” by the end of the year.
Where can readers reach you?
e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
webpage – http://authorglenbarrera.wordpress.com
Facebook – http://facebook.com/glen.barrera2
Twitter – @glen_barrera
Stay tuned for more Meet the Author interviews. If you like what you read in Twisted Tales you’re invited to leave a review on Amazon. Thanks!
Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Kurt Wallander and Japan Noir and you have a new series set in the heart of Tokyo. Click for your copy of The Gangster’s Son and The Thief’s Mistake – and sign up for my monthly newsletter at josephmarkbrewer.com