Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
It’s one of the few things you can do in life that is easy, fun, and produces something you can point to and say, “I did that.”
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
It is all it’s cracked up to be. It’s an incredible amount of fun. Writing offers a certain freedom where you can do anything you want. Luckily, having an attitude of doing whatever you want usually produces the best work.
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
The deal with self-publishing is that there’s a hell of a lot of books being published and a lot of them aren’t very good. If one isn’t selling something verifiably terrific no one pays attention. Because I’m not marketing my book no one knows about it yet. However, I’ve gotten a five star review from Readers Favorite and a lot of others on Amazon so people may start to take notice.
What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)
I’ve researched what authors who are self-published say about traditional vs. self-publishing. In traditional publishing you usually get an advance for your book and if it’s not a bestseller that’s about it. Many authors can make more money self-publishing if their work is good. That’s about as snarky as I’m willing to get.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
They’re happy about it. Once they could hold the book in their hands and see the achievement it was they realized I wasn’t kidding when I told them all those times that I was going to spend the whole day writing.
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
Trying to make a book cover without spending money turned out to be a silly idea. When I first started making my book presentable I thought I wasn’t going to spend money without making an equal return. It wasn’t long before I realized that I didn’t have anything else in my life I’d rather spend money on and I set about making my book look good. I still haven’t made an equal return but it’s been fun anyways.
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
I haven’t used any of them yet except Pump Up Your Book.
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
Most of my sales have been from people I know. I haven’t done any really effective marketing yet.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
“My book is great. I’m not lying. Read it!” To which anyone would respond, “Let me hear it from someone else.” That’s the main thing I’ve learned so far.
Can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
To be able to have a completed book by my bedside, and to read it every once in a while feeling the weight of the accomplishment makes it all worth it. However, I had a great time writing the book too. It has definitely been a worthwhile endeavor. Check out the book description, reviews, cover, etc. at Amazon.com.
Inside the Book:
Title: The Avocadonine and Spring Stone
Author: Patrick Barnes
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 26, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Praised by many as one of the best YA fiction books you’ll ever read.
Rey Naresh, a likeable kid worth rooting for, is going into the ninth grade at Pemota High. He’s not sure what to expect being fresh off a visit with a gypsy who may or may not have been psychic, but he’s hoping in ninth grade he’ll get to meet his crush, the pretty green eyed, Christy Lane. He’s wanted her to notice him since sixth grade and keeps a letter to her in his backpack. The school bully, Huxley Core, and his friends, who call themselves Nadine’s Puppies, threaten to publish something about Rey in their libelous newsletter. As Rey looks up at the stars one night he realizes he will have to confront Huxley and be man enough to make Christy fall for him.
One day, on the bus, fellow ninth grader, Ryan O’toole, says to Rey that there’s something wrong with something the students are drinking and that electronics are making a humming sound when he’s near them. It sounds to Rey like looney toons, but are other students having a similar problem? Rey and Christy unite and embark on a quest that seems to have to do with mind control by an evil administration and provides a quandary for philosophical thought. A mystery seems to have taken hold of Pemota High, one that may stretch back generations to a malicious woman and a story of her relationship with a student named Spring Stone.
Rey got Isabel to make the call to Jocelyn Stone. Her caretaker picked up. Isabel explained that they had some information about Jocelyn’s late daughter Spring, and Rey and Christy wanted to speak to Jocelyn. As it turned out, Jocelyn had had a stroke and was unable to speak. Her chances of recovery were small and the caretaker didn’t want anyone to say anything to her that might upset her. Isabel said that she understood and she’d tell Rey. Rey said they were going to make the trip to see her anyway. It was a forty-five minute drive.
The BMW 3 Series Compact had a sun roof open and it was freezing. Tristan had explained to them what happened yesterday with the three lemon trees. He told the two of them that he and Roach had brought garbage bags and a chainsaw to the trees. Holly North had been outside the school. She told them she planned on screaming to everyone coming out of the school that the Nadine’s Puppies article wasn’t true as they handed out Hochus Mochus and Mountain Springs. By the time she was through, only twenty-five people made the walk to the trees. They all ended up finding the trees cut down and the lemons missing.
Tristan had a lot of questions and Rey told him they would explain things to him on the ride down. It was 9:45 a.m. and Christy told Brianna that it might be a day-long excursion so Brianna decided not to accompany them. Brianna said she had something to do before work anyway. When Christy asked her “what,” Brianna said she had to visit a friend.
The expressway was smooth and after Tristan closed the sun roof the drive was enjoyable. When they arrived at Sea Eagle Watch they saw the high-end homes, all clad with porches and well-kept lawns. They turned into Jocelyn’s driveway thankful for Tristan’s Mom’s car’s GPS, and sat in the car nervously waiting, trying to think of how best to proceed. Tristan said they should just be honest and explain things to her. Rey had brought the article Aba Brule had sent, “Track Star Doesn’t Go to State Championships,” and the letter sent from Aba Brule as well. If worst came to worst, Rey said, they would just ask the caretaker if Jocelyn had any of Spring’s old possessions and look for clues.
They walked up the steps and rang the doorbell.
The door opened and Miss Shumana stood there frowning, as if the last person on earth she wanted to see right now was Brianna Lane. Brianna felt they were on a first name basis.
“Hello Evelyn. It’s been a long time.”
Evelyn Shumana looked from right to left as if someone was hidden in the shrubs. Then her eyes came to rest on her recently purchased Mercedes E Class Sedan in the driveway. She looked down for a few moments. Then said, “Come in.”
She closed the door and revealed her living room -- a stark contrast with the run-down exterior of the green Cape Cod home. Brianna sat down on one of her top-of-the-line leather sofas.
“What do you want?” Evelyn said. “Don’t tell me you missed me.” She took out a box of cigarettes, and lit one up. Then she removed her red hair -- it was a wig. She shook her blond hair free, then took off her black glasses, and sat across from Brianna.
“I have the non-prescription ones also,” Brianna said. “Although I think while I’m reading my diploma, you’re going to be driving up past the Canadian border in that practically stolen Mercedes.”
Evelyn breathed out a stream of smoke. “You’re not exactly an angel yourself, Brianna. I think I saw you more during your senior year than any other student. Only girl I ever caught having sex in the janitor’s closet. I take it you’re still a drug abusing slut. Or did Leander turn you into an Amish princess?”
“A Queen, really.”
“Oh. Still at Lots for Littles? Using Skywarriors to get students to rebel against authority figures? I sure know you don’t buy them. Could get you fired pretty easily.”
“Perhaps, we can reach an understanding.”
“We’ll be in school for another week.” Evelyn dropped some ashes into a tray. “Every parent of practically every student has been taken care of. We’re paying them a million dollars to help further the development towards the archetypes. If anything goes wrong, Alexa has a helicopter waiting for us to be taken away to wherever we want to go. The chemical has a psychic property. It’s Spring, but it’s also whatever you believe it is. So if the meaning changes for Pemota High, it changes for everyone. So now that we understand one another, what would it take for you to,” she took another drag off her cigarette, “help us with something that looks great on a college app.” She put the cigarette out and raised her eyebrows.
“Well, we think she needs to see us,” Rey said. “See, the entire ninth grade at Pemota High is going to want to know what happened between Jocelyn and Spring. Just give us five minutes and if she doesn’t want to talk to us, we’ll leave.”
The caretaker, Marie, looked back into the home wrestling with this. “She can’t talk. She has damage to the left side of her brain. Spring was a long time ago. Jocelyn has had three kids since. I think it would be best if you left.”
A thumping sound from down the hall caused Marie to run back inside. They stepped into the foyer and closed the door behind them. They stood on the oriental carpet listening to Marie’s hushed whispers from down the hall. Christy took her shoes off and gave Rey and Tristan a look. They both reluctantly removed their shoes and Rey placed his backpack beside his.
Marie returned. “Come with me.” Marie walked down the hallway and they followed. “This is her second stroke,” Marie said. “Jocelyn is lucky enough to have the means to afford in-home care. Her chances of recovering are better that way.” They stopped in front of a door. “She can’t talk. And she usually doesn’t understand language. But you can try.”
Jocelyn lay in bed, white sheets covering her, and surrounded by equipment. She had short blond hair, and dim blue eyes in an exorbitantly wrinkled face. She saw them and a fearful look came into her eyes.
“Hi, Miss Stone,” Christy said. “My name’s Christy. This is Rey and Tristan.”
Rey withdrew the article from his pocket and the letter from Aba Brule. He handed them to Jocelyn. “Miss Stone,” Rey said. “We need to talk to you about your daughter, Spring.”
Jocelyn looked at the article then tossed it aside. Then she looked at the letter from Aba Brule. She let it drop on the bed sheet.
“She can’t understand it,” Marie said. “She can’t read or write.”
“How faraway is she?” Rey asked.
“A part of her brain has been compromised. Sometimes people make full recoveries,” Marie said. “But I think all you’re doing is upsetting her.”
“I have the syringe in my backpack,” Rey said. “We could just put the chemical in some water. It’s worth a try.”
“If it kills her, it’s murder,” Tristan said.
“There’s a chemical,” Rey said. “It doesn’t kill anyone who ingests it. It’s just lemon juice and purple dye. But it has an effect on brain chemistry. I just want to give her a little of it.”
Then something extraordinary happened. Jocelyn turned to them and spoke. “I want you to do it.”
Marie was stunned. “Miss Stone?”
“Is it okay?” Rey asked.
“Miss Stone?” Marie said again, now at her bedside. They all stared at her. She was silent. “It’s okay,” Marie said to Rey.
Rey went and got the vile of purple fluid. Jocelyn had a glass of water by her bedside and Rey poured a small amount of the fluid into the glass. Jocelyn picked up the water glass and drank it. They waited for almost a full minute for a reaction. Then Jocelyn turned to them and her eyes seemed to come to life.
Marie brought in two more chairs and they all sat and stared at each other. “Tell her about what’s going on,” Christy said to Rey.
Rey told Jocelyn the whole story -- everything that had happened, from Aba Brule to Inez Castel. “We want to know about Spring,” Rey said.
Jocelyn seemed to become aware that she was uncomfortable. She tried to lift her pillow up. Tristan stood up and helped her. She sat up. Then she spoke. She was clear, lucid even. “I knew this would happen. I always knew I’d hear about this again.”
“Tell us,” Christy said.
“I’ve read that article. Many times. The story starts the year Alexa became principal at Pemota Regional High School. In 1975.”
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Meet the Author
Patrick Barnes lives in Charleston, South Carolina. The Avocadonine and Spring Stone is his second book. It has been awarded a five star review from Readers Favorite, and a four and a half star average among critics on Amazon.com. He has a Bachelors Degree in Film and Writing from the University of Massachusetts and a Masters in Library Science from the University of South Carolina. He has won first place in Arts and Entertainment Writing at the Yankee Penn Journalism Conference, and has worked as a Librarian at the Folly Beach Public Library. When he’s not writing, he likes to walk on the beach with his dog, and watch movies.
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