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Author Interview img

The Author Interview

Ronald S. Barrios
Latest Book Title
Masks & Malice
Available at

Website: www.reybooks.com

Tell us about your latest effort, (Title, genre, etc.)
Masks & Malice - a Rey mystery
What draws you to your genre(s)? Why is this type of story compelling to you?

I’ve always loved mystery novels since Jupiter Jones and Scooby Doo. I love putting the pieces of the puzzle together and solving the crime. I loved Simon and Simon and Magnum P.I. I read Sherlock Holmes at an early age and knew I wanted to be a writer.

What is your writing process like? Do you map the whole thing out, or do you just let it unfold?
I write five pages a day Mon-Fri and I never do an outline. I just write the first chapter and the second comes out of the first and the third out of the second and so on. I tried to do an outline once when I first started writing because I was told that I had to and it was a disaster. I ended up writing so much of an outline that the story got lost in the details so I never did it again.
How much of YOU makes it into your characters?
I’d say that a lot of me is in my main character, Rey. He grew up in Oakland California and has ties to the community. Of course he can only say and do what I tell him to so he handles things the way I would if I were in his place and his core values and beliefs are a reflection of my own but in a way I’m most of the characters that I write. Just different aspects of me. Take Chris Nathan for example. He is the part of me that sees things more black and white. If someone is a bad person Chris has no problem just shooting them. He doesn’t look at things the way Rey does. Chris is sort of a loner even though he is in a committed relationship with a woman. Rey is sort of a loner too but he needs Ashley to balance him. I guess Chris represents the more shadowy side of my personality.
How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?

I tend to write only in the mornings and sometimes in the afternoon. I mostly write about 5:00 am to about 7:00 am and if I have time I’ll write after lunch. If I have family stuff to do I’ll skip writing for the day and not worry about it.

What breaks you out of a creative slump?
This is a funny question to me because I’ve actually never had a creative slump, or ‘Writer’s Block’ as some call it. That’s why I always say my writing is a gift from God because whenever I sit in front of the computer I can write for as long as I need to and never have a problem.
Do you ever censor your writing to avoid offending or displeasing people?
No. It’s one of the reasons I chose to go independent. I don’t want to have to change what I write to fit someone else’s idea of how things should be. I think it’s one of the things that Readers like about my novels is the fact that I do not compromise. I give stories to the Readers in its purest form. I’m not going to write something that I would never say in person so I’m secure in what I put out as a writer. I think that’s how some writers get into trouble, they use their art as a way to say what they wouldn’t say in person then try to hide behind creative license. If I wouldn’t say it in person I’m not going to write about it.
Is there a story you want to tell but avoid because it would be too controversial?
No. I write whatever I feel needs to be told but as I said earlier I don’t write things I wouldn’t say in real life.
How can you write an honest autobiography without offending people who recognize themselves?
My characters aren’t based entirely on any one person. Each one is a mixture of people I know, have met or seen on TV, in movies or read about. I don’t think anyone could say for certain that any one character is based on them. Now having said that, Rey is based on myself but I’m not going to complain. lol
How do YOU build or create an effective platform to reach your audience?

That’s a good question. I’m still working on that. I learn every day and grow with each learning process. I just try to be 100% me and go from there. For example, I’m on Facebook and Twitter, both under Rey Books, and I just interact with people but I don’t do it just to reach a bigger audience, I mean of course I want to get my name out there and I let people know what’s going on with Rey Books, but for the most part I’m just having fun and meeting new people that I may not have otherwise had the chance to meet. I use my website for building a platform for Readers.

What would be the top five, (or 3 or 1 or however many) things you would tell aspiring authors?

1. Read. If you want to write in the mystery genre read everything you can. Read other writers who are doing it. Find out what you like and what you don’t like and apply what you need to what you do.
2. Learn the business side of writing no matter if you choose to go Independent or sign to a traditional publishing house. You need to know about the business side of writing because no one is going to hold your hand and walk you through the struggle and there will be struggles. You need to equip yourself the same way you would if you wanted to become a doctor. You would get the proper education before you set foot in an operating room.
3. Write every day. Train yourself to get into a routine of writing even if you don’t use anything you write. Learn to develop storylines and work on dialog. Dialog is so important because its what gives dimension to your characters and makes a Reader want to care about them.
4. Don’t write as if you just got a thesaurus for Christmas. In real life you’re not likely to talk that way so why would you want to write that way? If a reader has to look up ever other word eventually they will tire of it and stop reading your novels. And while we’re on the topic, never go overboard with description. Don’t use five words when three will do. Don’t describe every detail of a room that is not germane to the story and in all likelyhood will never be mentioned again.
5. This one is personal for me. Trust God. He’s in control anyway so why worry and try to do His job. Writing is like singing, it’s a God given talent. Lots of people say things like ‘Singing is a gift’ but won’t acknowledge where the gift came from. I do.


Interview with Jeff Davis

Interview with Tom Doganglu

Interview with Dawn Batterbee Miller

Interview with Karl Beckstrand

Interview with Colleen H. Robley Blake

Interview with Richard Denning

Interview with Ronald S. Barrios

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