About P.I. Barrington:
After a decade-long detour through the entertainment industry, P.I. Barrington has returned to writing fiction. Among her experience are journalism, on-air radio talent and music industry. She lives in Southern California and co-authors with her sister Loni Emmert who also works in the music industry.
What inspires you to write?
When you grow up around Los Angeles, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll work in entertainment which I did. So what I write is always ready for any adaptation such as film or television. But I don’t kid myself, I’m not trying to change the world, I’m just trying to give my readers an enjoyable time–put a great story into their heads and make them like it! I want to take them on a journey like my favorite authors did with me. That’s my inspiration: can I enthrall readers from page one to the end? If a reader likes a line enough to remember years later, I’ve done my job.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am a total “pantser” from page one! I’ll get an idea for a place, setting, time, or character and go from there. Most of the time, a character’s name will come first and then the next names as they’re needed or belong to the story. I’ve tried software, using index cards, writing out a character on a personality sheet, but none of that works for me (although I do like filling them out, it’s fun). I’ll generally have an idea of the characters’ personalities and use that to start the story or create it. For me–an don’t roll your eyes–I write linear. Linear can be done two ways: vertical where you open up a document and start at the top of the page and write down it until you can’t write any longer or need to percolate the story for a bit. The other way to write linear is horizontally. That means writing along a time line with all the characters jumping over each other to get to the end of the story; I use the concept of the crease in the middle of a checker board. That’s the time line and the squares are characters trying to leapfrog over each other to achieve their agendas. The genre decides it as well. Horizontal works best for crime thrillers and vertical is best for science fiction for me at least. I’ve only known one other writer who writes like that and we actually did a presentation together–my very first presentation! So I guess I’m not completely alone in writing those styles. It sounds very structured when I explain it but it isn’t in reality. That’s why some of us are called “pantsers”, because we write by the seat of our pants, lol. What I love about writing is when I put in the beginning of a story something that is unrelated but becomes a massive component in the plot. I firmly believe in the power of the subconscious to work things out successfully. I love when my brain surprises me! I guess the best way to describe the process is to say that I’m writing that movie that’s playing out in my head.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I HAVE to listen to them. They won’t let me do anything else. They tell me who they are and what makes them who they are and why they do things as they do. They can be very insistent and stubborn most of the time but if I try to force them to behave as I want, it becomes a battle of wills with me on the losing end. Most of the time I let them run away with the story and they’re nearly always right on the mark, even when I can’t figure out where they should go and what they should do. They talk to me via their dialogue (internal & external), actions, motivations, experiences. I’m following them around while they act out their movie. I see it in my head as it happens, like watching a film. Even I don’t know for certain how a story will end. There isn’t always a happy ending for my characters and many readers tell me they like that.
What advice would you give other writers?
I constantly tell new and aspiring authors this: don’t be easy on yourself. Be your own harshest critic so that others won’t have to be and that means readers and reviewers. Just because you’ve written the first line of your book and congratulate yourself on how great it is, doesn’t necessarily make it great. Don’t be indulgent with that. Make sure that what you write is the best you can do because a lot of other authors take themselves and their writing seriously and are your competition whether they know it or not. You have to be up to par on your ability to manipulate words, imagery, etc., because other authors will be on par with theirs. You have to be as good or better in this industry than the million other people who dreamed about being writers. It’s work. A lot of work. And if you want to be a real writer that’s what you have to do and should be something you’re serious enough about to bust your butt.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Well, when I first ever submitted anything to a publisher, it was a romance publisher which I didn’t read the submission call correctly, lol! The Editor asked me to write up a sample first chapter and signed me for that and then it became a trilogy! I’ve only self-published one book and hated the process. So, I’m more comfortable with smaller indie publishing houses and I support them wholeheartedly. They gave me my first real break in the business. Plus you learn so much that way–things I’d never have thought of learning if I hadn’t gone that way. Things like how to communicate with the cover artist and being able to work on the cover art info sheet which sounds easy but isn’t at all, especially if you move on to another publisher who wants the same thing. There’s always something to learn!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’ve said this for a long time. I always pictured digital publishing existing alongside print publishing peaceably and now I’m seeing that possibility although print books have made a reactionary comeback in the last few months. I keep hoping to see them side by side to give a choice to readers for their format preferences. It’s hard for people like me who use technology to get my books out there but prefer that time tested feel of a paperback or hard cover book to read. I’ve also said this, that it may take a generation or two to exit print books altogether and use only electronic readers. It may be after I’ve gone to that great bookstore in the sky that the new generation has weeded out all the oldies who hang on like grim death to the lesser, more simple reading methods. Who knows?
What do you use?: Co-writer, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Futuristic crime thrillers, science fiction romance, science fiction adventure
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.