Today, we’d like to welcome author Rick Barry to the Quid Pro Quills!
Rick is the author of Gunner’s Run, Kiriath’s Quest, and The Methuselah Project as well as over 200 other article and fiction stories. He holds a degree in foreign languages, speaks Russian, and is Director of Church Planting Ministries at BIEM. He lives near Indianapolis with his wife Pam.
Welcome, Rick! Tell us about your writing journey.
That goes all the way back to grade school. Dublin Elementary in Union Lake, Michigan, participated in the Young Authors contest. Kids in each grade would write a short story, create a cover out of cardboard, and submit them. In fifth grade I ripped off the Apollo space program and crafted a story about 3 astronauts. I placed in our regional competition for my grade.
Encouraged, I sat down and tried to write a Hardy Boys type mystery. Two paragraphs, my pencil stopped. I had no clue what do say next. So I concluded I’m not a real writer after all remained only a reader until college. It was in my sophomore year of college that I entered a magazine’s article-writing context just for fun. I didn’t win, but they bought my article anyway. That became of the first of hundreds of published articles and short stories.
Let’s talk about your newest release. The Methuselah Project has such an interesting and unique plotline. How did you arrive at the idea?
First, thank you for thinking so. I much prefer “interesting and unique” to “weird”! My first 2 novels were YA stories. For my next project, I wanted to tackle an adult suspense, but I was searching for a fresh angle, something that hasn’t been done over and over. Something that would engage my interest in WWII, but would naturally include romance, and…? The “and” I hit upon was to add a very light sprinkling of sci-fi. Not space ships, androids, or anything like that. Rather, I added a touch of science that did not exist in 1943. The fact that Nazi scientists really did engage in all kinds of scientific experiments lends believability to The Methuselah Project.
What was the biggest challenge you faced writing The Methuselah Project?
Alternating chapters bounce back and forth between Captain Roger Greene, who starts out in 1943, and Katherine Mueller, who lives in our own time. Each chapter also begins with a heading that provides the geographic place and the date so the reader is never confused. Those twin timelines became a challenge, especially during the revision stage. If too much happens in one realistic day, you have make that character get some shuteye before continuing. That extra night suddenly skews all the following dates. Or the same in reverse whenever I need to condense a lengthy passage. I frequently had past and present calendars open on my computer.
The book cover is so engaging. I hear there’s a special story behind it. Will you share it with us?
The cover went through several versions before the publisher sent me a complimentary peek at their final concept. (And I sincerely thank the folks at Kregel for that. Not all publishers allow author input.) Immediately I spotted a problem. In the story I make a big deal of Roger’s WWII era aviator’s jacket (called an A-2); yet, their cover showed him in a very modern-looking jacket. When I pointed this out, I was told there was no time for such a change. The cover deadline loomed, and they didn’t even have access to such a vintage jacket. My stomach sank. The jacket is crucial. I own a modern replica and offered to send it. Instead, the publisher suggested I find a quality photographer, pose in the jacket myself, and email them jpegs to see if they could Photoshop them. That’s what I did. So the good-looking guy in the photo and all the background with the girl is the original picture, but that leather jacket and gray sweater he’s wearing? That’s me! The graphic artist expertly cropped that portion of my photos and slid the jacket onto the model. I’m impressed with how seamless it looks!
Will The Methuselah Project be the first book in a series?
Right from the proposal stage, I’ve had ideas for a sequel. Working title, Methuselah Flies Again for now. But I’d held off on developing it because this story truly is different from the typical novels in the Christian market. I didn’t want to spend a year writing if there wouldn’t be a market for a sequel. But here we are, only a couple weeks after the book was released ahead of schedule, and already it’s earning 5-star reviews and wonderful attention. I can’t count how many readers have told me, “This would make a great movie!” I thank the Lord for these positive responses.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of writing?
I like antiques. After my first WWII story came out, I told my wife Pam I’d like to decorate our guest room all in 1940s furniture and antiques. She gave the green light, so whenever I travel, I stop at antique malls in search of items for our own “War Room.” It’s been fun.
I also still run and work out. Captain Roger Greene might stay young-looking in my book, but I’m not so blessed. I need to stay active!
Congratulations on your release of The Methuselah Project! Thanks so much for joining us today, Rick.
Thank you for having me!
~Interviewed by Candice Sue Patterson. For her review of The Methuselah Project visit her blog by clicking here.