I’m pleased to introduce you, today, to Ronald S. Barak a member of the Independent Author Network (IAN). His page on the network is http://bit.ly/e0AVhG I’ll let him tell you more about himself and his new book.
T: Hello Ronald, please give us a bit of biography to start.
R: I graduated from the University of Southern California Law School with honors and have practiced commercial law, mediation and arbitration for some 40 plus years. I reside in Pacific Palisades, California with my wife, Barbie, our cat, Maccabee, our dog, Ryder, and my golf clubs, where I’m hard at work on my law practice, my next novel and my golf game, although not necessarily in that order. For anyone who would like to know more, please visit http://ronaldsbarak.com.
T: When did you start writing?
R: Hmm, it must have been around the first or second grade. Actually, I was a little slow; it could have been the third grade. Oh, Tom, did you mean when did I start writing…books? Ignoring several professional treatises that I penned in the 1980s and 1990s, I started on my first novel, a season for redemption, at the beginning of 2009. This was not planned. I was dared by a “friend” in front of several other friends to show what I could do. I couldn’t back down, although, truth be told, there was probably an underlying itch to do it. I “finished” a first draft in October, 2009, which I thoroughly enjoyed doing, shared it with those friends in on the dare, and more, for holiday gifts at the end of 2009. I really thought I was done. However, I received a lot of very positive feedback (albeit it some of it fairly critical too), I did one rewrite and the book was published/released in August, 2010.
T: Was there a favorite writing teacher or mentor?
R: I was a physics major and an athlete in college. I didn’t write, unless you called the formulas I had to learn writing. I then went to law school and practiced law. I did lots of writing as a lawyer, but that was “just” that kind of “legalese” stuff. However, it was hard to stray very far from that kind of language. It was not uncommon for someone meeting me for the first time to say, after exchanging a few words, “Oh, you sound like a lawyer.” When I accepted the dare to write a novel, I just started writing. No teachers. No mentors. Just a one page outline of where I was starting and where I thought I was going to finish. When I finished my first draft of a season for redemption, a couple of golfing buddies who happen to be very successful professional writers, Michael Brandt and James Hirsch, were kind enough to read my first draft and to offer me some very helpful suggestions that I incorporated into my published rewrite. In terms of writing experience, I was so “green” that when Michael graciously sat down with me for several hours to go through a notepad he had filled (and I mean filled) while reading my first draft, I turned “green” when he referred to my nine months of writing as a “vomit” draft—until he explained that’s just what the writing profession calls a first draft, and not what he thought of the draft. Since then, I have had the privilege of meeting and becoming acquainted with Joseph Finder, whose books I have been reading for years. Joe has been very generous with his time in mentoring me a bit on the business side of the writing profession.
T: Please tell us about your current book, A Season for Redemption.
R: A Season for Redemption takes place in current Washington, D.C. A serial killer on the loose is murdering prominent politicians for abandoning their public trust and bringing the country to its economic knees. Someone is arrested and tried for the murders in a courtroom drama that takes the country by storm. Was the accused guilty? The trial plays out; the jury deliberates the guilt and innocence of the accused—and our political system. Across the country, “we the people” and the media do the same. As matters turn out…we’ll, you’ll have to read the book, or at least the ending, to get the finish of that sentence:) Oh yeah, the killer left a homemade DVD video at the scene of one of his—or her—murders as a clue to what was behind the murders. Someone leaked the video to YouTube. You can see it for yourself, if you visit http://aseasonforredemption.com and click on the “killer video” link in the lower right of the home page.
T: Do you have a sequel in mind or in progress?
R: The answer is yes…and yes. In a season for redemption, there are brief appearances of “The National Organization for Political Integrity,” NoPoli for short (which also happens to stand for “no politicians”), a fictitious organization committed to rooting out “deserving” corrupt politicians. Blurring the lines of fantasy and reality—and perhaps one kind of sequel, although probably not what you had in mind—your readers can now visit http://NoPoli.org for a daily dose of real time, real world political misdeeds in need of attention. As for what you no doubt meant, yes I am writing as we “speak” a partial sequel to a season for redemption. I say “partial” because this pending new novel is both a sequel of a season for redemption and also a new headline grabbing political thriller storyline as well. I’d tell you and your readers what the title is except…I don’t yet have a title.
T: What are your ideas about the future of digital publishing?
A: To me, that’s pretty simple. The future of publishing is…digital publishing. Gone will be traditional print on paper books. Gone will be traditional print on paper book publishers. Gone will be traditional print on paper brick and mortar bookstores. Think I haven’t got it write…oh, I meant right? If you had your last hundred dollars to invest, would you invest it in the bookstore down there on the corner…or would you invest it in Amazon.com? If you need more proof, take my wife, Barbie (not really, she’s a keeper): An avid reader (like two or three books a week), I could never get her to read digital. Try my Kindle? Pshaw! Barbie had to touch and feel and smell the pages. Finally, I got her to try one book on Kindle. She and Kindle—her Kindle—are now connected at the hip. She nurtures it. She cradles it in her arms. It’s almost as precious as our cat and dog. Not at all far behind. If I wasn’t happy to read on my iPad and my iPhone, I’d have to go out and buy another Kindle. So, I’m a writer, a mystery writer. (Has a much nicer sound than saying I’m a lawyer, doesn’t it?) The only mystery here is when, not if. Traditional print on paper is not yet dead, just terminal. Digital sales are dramatically increasing. Print sales are dramatically declining. In another couple of years, those lines will cross. The only mystery here is not “if,” but “when.”
T: Anything else you’d like to share, Ron?
R: For me, starting down the path of being a…writer…was a happenstance, not a plan. Having one novel under my belt, and the next on the way, I can only say that…I just love writing. What fun! The only thing better than writing is the thought that there are those out there who are…reading what I write. How exciting is that! What is not fun is having to market what you write. However, until you have landed—perhaps I should more accurately say branded—anyone thinking about being a writer, better think about having to market. And market. And market. Marketing is the underbelly of the writing profession. No fun, but no one out there is going to do it for us, not any more. But it’s worth it.