Delighted to be joined today by a local author to me, Andrew (Andy) Barrett.
Don’t hold it against me, but I write crime fiction. My name is Andrew (Andy) Barrett and I’m just the wrong side of fifty; I can feel the slope growing steeper and more slippery. I began writing in the 80s but turned to writing crime fiction in 1996 after landing a job as a CSI. It was a match made in heaven that combined by love of writing and my new-found love of messing about in crime scenes. How lucky am I?
Under my belt are a trilogy and a series. The trilogy features a Scenes of Crime Officer (SOCO – that’s what we used to be called), Roger Conniston. The series, which is still growing, features CSI Eddie Collins. Those who know me say I’m a bit like him, only watered down. He’s a sarcastic, abrasive man who’s not afraid of putting across his point of view with a bit of added violence if need be. I’m not at all like that – but only because I’m a coward!
Aside from an Eddie Collins short story – The Lift – and a novella due out later this year – The Note (both written in first person), I have written a few other short stories.
I wrote Beth’s Story for a very dear friend of mine. It’s an Eddie Collins story, but Beth is the lead character.
Any Old Iron was something I cobbled together a few years ago about a rag and bone man in the early 1900s. He pays the price for his father, who was rather unscrupulous when it came to getting the ‘bootie’ from his clients.
Shelley Mandrake was a little foray into experimental fiction where I play with time and point of view in a seemingly haphazard way. It’s not haphazard at all though; it’s very logical, but you only know that when you get to the end of the story. Funnily enough, that story was inspired by a little wooden heart I keep on my desk here in The Writing Pad.
The only kids short story I wrote was Charlotte and the Troll. Another peek into 1900s Yorkshire, where there lives beneath a canal bridge a troll who smells of Germolene. Nearby is the school attended by Charlotte. Charlotte meets the troll and… well, I won’t spoil it.
If ever I find the time, I intend to finish a non-crime story I began about five years ago. It started out as horror, but I think it might end up being more supernatural. It’s all about a girl, and her adult self, who enters a disused cinema house in Castleford when she’s actually at home asleep in bed. And there she witnesses a killing.
No idea what happens next! Haven’t written any more of Sara’s Story yet.
And where am I heading? I don’t honestly know. As I said, there’s a new Eddie short due out in a few months, and I shall begin working in earnest on a new Eddie novel soon too. If I ever let myself into the secret of where I’m heading, I’ll be sure and let you know!
You can keep up to date with Andrew Barrett and his books on the following sites:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AndrewBarrett.author/
Eddie FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/EddieCollinsCSI/
Amazon Author Page:
Andrew Barrett Book Links
Favourite book as a child?
Although I enjoyed Charlotte’s Web, my favourite book as a child was The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. That something so ordinary as a wardrobe could be the entrance to a new and enchanted world had me spellbound. I remember making up my own stories about worlds beyond the doors of my own wardrobe (a massive dark wooden thing that I found intimidating (and the same one that Roger searches through in his house in Stealing Elgar – how weird!)). I recall drawing a new kind of teacup that people there would use. I know, but I was only four years old!
Favourite book as a teenager?
I read all kinds of books as a teenager. Everything from biographies of Sitting Bull to stuff by Richard Layman. I read Time Life Books about The Cell, Matter, and Light and Vision through to the Dictionary for Dreamers by Tom Chetwynd (I still have all these books). As for my favourite, I don’t think I had one. I remember reading stuff by Isaac Asimov, but eventually got hooked on Stephen King.
My favourite character is Stu Redman, the ‘normal’ guy in Stephen King’s The Stand; he’s the one who has to pull out all the stops to keep the remaining life on earth safe from evil. But, I also have a very soft spot for a chap called Derfel. He’s the lead in Bernard Cornwell’s timeless The Winter King trilogy, and Arthurian book that I couldn’t read fast enough.
Favourite book to movie adaption?
I adore Andy Weir’s The Martian. It’s a stunning piece of cinematography – very easy to become totally absorbed it. The book is a little heavy on science (even for me), but the film is nothing short of magnificent.
Favourite drink or snack while reading?
I never snack while reading because the sound of it drives me crazy! I only ever eat when there’s sufficient noise in the room to cancel it out. Inside my head I scream at people who dare rustle confectionery bags or crisp packets while in the cinema. Yes, I’m weird! I do drink the odd coffee though; about 10 or 12 mugs of it a day. Nescafe Espresso is my fave quick coffee, and if I’m feeling posh I’ll reach for an Americano pod.
Favourite highlight of your writing career?
I’m still smallfry, so my highlights might appear insignificant to the big fish out there. When A Long Time Dead hit 100 reviews I almost fell off my chair. When I appeared in The Yorkshire Post a few weeks ago, that was pretty amazing too.
But I think the highlights of my writing career are the people I’ve met along the way. Yes, I know how crass that might sound, but of all the things that pass before my eyes, it’s the people who engage with me that stay in focus the most.
My first encounter was way back in 2012 when I formed an efriendship (I just made that word up!) with Kath Middleton. Not a day has gone by since that we don’t think of each other or mail each other. She’s pretty special to me. More recently has been a friendship forged with David Gilchrist and his daughter, Caroline, of the UK Crime Book Club. These are people who I met thanks to the power of books, and they’re people who are so selfless that it makes me gasp.
When we clubbed together to release Ledston Luck, another group of people I came into contact with were the bloggers. I’m still astounded by how much time and effort they donate to authors (and to readers). I’d like to think that several of those kind people are among my friends today.
I’m not going to mention each of the readers who I have lots of contact with here, because it would take far too long; but they are people who are literally on my doorstep, and people who are on the other side of the world, but they’re much more than ‘just’ readers, they’re true friends.
And I can’t let this pass by without mentioning a few authors who I’ve formed efriendships with too: Mike Smail, Robin Roughley, Kerry Richardson, Angie Smith, Leigh Russell, Oliver Tidy, and others – all people I could happily drink time and whisky with of an evening.
I am indeed very lucky.