How Long is a Piece of Rope: Ruby Barnes

Peril by Ruby Barnes is available for UK Kindle for 70p

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Ruby Barnes 
I’ve pedalled the pushbike of life through the Shires’ rolling hills, along the folded rocks of Scotland’s lochs and out west to the fractured reaches of North Wales. Love found me in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks of Ireland. The Swiss Alps cured me of obsessive compulsion and yielded progeny.
Misfits, rogues and psychopaths take form in PERIL, THE BAPTIST and other works. Their voices, they speak to me. I plead with them, but the demons are real. I’ve carried them on my back across Scandinavia, through the Mid-West, Eastern Seaboard and Deep South of the USA and to the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. We teetered together on the brink of the Iguassu Falls and came back.
My writing is dedicated to the memory of my late grandfather Robert ‘Ruby’ Barnes.
PERIL blurb:

Gerard Mayes is in a bind. He’s committed most of the seven deadly sins and is trying to avoid paying the price.

I balance on the precipice of life.

Friends and family have turned their backs on me and walked into the shadowland.

Police and thieves are shouting Jump, Ger. Do it.

Ladies, don’t let your man read this book. You don’t want him getting ideas on how to misbehave.

Fellas, keep your copy well hidden.
PERIL is the story of Gerard Mayes, an anti-hero. Men want to be him, women want to redeem him. Ger’s story is fiction, but his origins are real – everyday folk living and working in a Dublin city center wracked with organized begging, drug addicts, and violent crime. It’s not all leprechauns and shillelaghs in Ireland.

Ger is a slacker. A consumer. He thinks life owes him, takes what he can and goes with the flow. His perspective on life, like that of another famous slacker The Big Lebowski, is sometimes humorous, but the story takes a noir turn when Ger kills a mugger and is held to account for it. All things move toward their end, of that you can be sure.

Contains occasional strong language and PERIL.

 So, what does Ruby have to say about the burning issues?

1. PERIL is way better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick but one day I’d really like to be as good as Ken Bruen or Colin Bateman. As a fan of the macabre I’d also aspire to emulate Patrick McGrath (The Grotesque) and Patrick McCabe (Winterwood and The Butcher Boy) or anyone else named Patrick.
2. You will just love my book if you enjoyed the Colin Bateman crime novel with the giant dildo swindle (can’t remember the title) but if you’re a fan of Cecelia Ahern or Sheila Flanagan or harmless chick lit in general then steer well clear.
3. Judgement comes from the barrel of a gun. An admonishing blow comes from the butt.
4. How do you see the role of food in the contemporary thriller and where does PERIL fit into the spectrum?
Food and drink are essential aspects of modern consumer society and… okay, I use alcohol for seduction and the food to minimise the hangover. PERIL is best served medium rare, avec son jus, on a bed of crushed, peppered victims, asparagus on the side, sprinkled with Warfarin-laced cocaine. And a good Rioja Reserva to wash it down.
5. How would it affect the direction PERIL takes if the action were moved wholesale to the set of Glee in chapter 7?
Chapter 7 of PERIL is more like The Office and sets the scene for the anti-hero’s work situation. But it would work very well as a cheesy dance musical. I feel a rewrite coming on but I don’t think I could sustain glee throughout PERIL as the victims start to topple.
6. When you’re writing, would you rather look out at the sea, or in at your thoughts?
I’d rather listen to the sea and experience the emotions of my characters as their words crash and foam on the sands of PERIL.
7. When writing, do you start at the beginning and keep going, or start at the end and work back?
Are those the only two choices? I usually have the beginning and the end in mind. I work linearly from the start to the end, letting the bit in between develop organically. There are always surprises along the way and the preconceived end has to adapt.
8. A great villain or a great hero?
I’m a fan of flawed heroes and PERIL is based around such a character. I like the bitter sweetness of personal tragedy, bad choices, misfortune and a modicum of triumph. Great villains run the risk of melodrama or unintentional humour.

9. PERIL will change the way a reader looks at bare feet and organised begging gangs.
10. How long is a piece of rope?
Chapter 9 of PERIL contains the answer. Don’t try this at home. The length of a piece of rope is less important than the quality of the knot at the business end.



~ by danholloway on May 31, 2011.

6 Responses to “How Long is a Piece of Rope: Ruby Barnes”

  1. Darned good interview. Ruby Barnes is a very accomplished writer, and I consider myself lucky to have him as a friend.

    Tom Winton–Author of Beyond Nostalgia

  2. Tom, I know him from Authonomy and am a big fan of the man and the work. Very best with Beyond Nostalgia!

  3. Tom, thanks for your vote of confidence! Much appreciated.

  4. Dan, a pleasure and an honour to play with your rope!

  5. Nearly missed this, Mark! Excellent interview, Dan. Ruby Barnes’ Peril is a book I’ve admired since Authonomy days. An excellent writer with a striking subject, and very funny as well.

  6. @Gerry, thanks for that. Authonomy seems such a looooong time ago!

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