Monday, November 26, 2012

Please welcome Tom Barry!!!

Here are the questions I had for Tom Barry author of When the Siren Calls:

1. You spent many years working in the corporate world as a consultant, what made you want to write a romantic suspense thriller? It seems very far from your former career.

Even businessmen can occasionally be romantics !  But the original idea for the story was around a dark protagonist, Jay, who is a master persuader, adept at using his skills in the boardroom and the bedroom. The character of Jay did draw heavily on my corporate background. But the story quickly evolved into a love triangle in which the wealthy but neglected Isobel and the smouldering seductress Lucy were both set on the man of their dreams. Once I understood the story was about complex adult relationships, it was obvious that the prime audience was women, so it was right  to make Isobel or Lucy the lead, and I considered both options. I went with Isobel because she is the natural heroine, albeit a flawed one; she is the one in danger, she is the one struggling to live the life she wants.  And she is a complex and fascinating character, if a little self-absorbed. For the story to work it was clear Isobel was going to have to undergo massive growth and change, and it is that growth and change that the story is about.

2. What other genres could you see yourself writing? Why?

I enjoy thrillers like Grisham books and, like Grisham, I have a professional services background. So I could see myself writing thrillers against the background of the cut and thrust world of big, bad business, and several reviewers of When the Siren Calls comment that it has many of the characteristics of a thriller. When the Siren Calls is a very sensual story, with racy but tastefully written sex scenes. So it would be an easy step into the field of erotica, and I have written several erotic short stories under a pen name. But at the moment I'm happy to focus on human dramas where sex is an important component, but where it is not the reason to write the book, or to read it.

3. Jay and Isobel both get to narrate the story, but did you ever worry about writing a novel from the perspective of the opposite sex?

Yes, and if you look at the romance market, it is dominated by women writers. But there are any amount of male authors who have successfully written with a female protagonist and from her POV. The important thing about Isobel's dilemma is everyone over 15 can easily relate to it. We all, at some time, find ourselves in jobs, places, or relationships which aren't fulfilling, but we need to find the courage to change our own situation, despite the fact that may be difficult and may cause hurt to ourselves and others. So I could relate to Isobel's struggle and put myself in her shoes. Others will be the judge of how good a job I did, but the feedback so far has been encouraging. My wife, my editor, and my early review panel all brought the female perspective, and that was helpful.

4. When the Siren Calls is the first of trilogy. Do you know how everything will end?

No, because while I have the story for book three in outline, I do not plot my stories out methodically. I let the characters drive the story, and invariably they take me places I wasn't expecting to go. The trilogy will finish with Isobel in a very different place, emotionally, to where we find her at the end of Book 1. At the end of Book one she has escaped a workaholic husband and an unfulfilling marriage, and survived a dangerous affair with Jay. But she has yet to find happiness. In Book three I think we will see Isobel as a more free spirited character living life the way she wants to, but still finding herself in plenty of trouble. Will it all end happily ever after…we will have to wait and see.

5. In three words how would you describe your book?
(The) thinking woman's romance.

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