C. J. Barry
J. Barry, an earthbound wife and mother of two, lives with her family
and cat in a small town in Upstate New York. While her imagination ranges
far into the universe to conjure wondrous worlds and miraculous gadgets,
she is foremost a storyteller whose tales chart the infinitely fascinating
workings of very human emotions and relationships.
works as an Information Technology Manager and is an active member of
the Romance Writers of America, the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal
chapter, and Vice President of the Central New York Romance Writers.
An Interview with C. J. Barry
What influenced you to become a writer? To choose the romance genre,
and science fiction in particular. What kind of book do you enjoy?
J. B.: I've
had stories running through my head like movies for as long as I can
remember. I can't tell you how many times I was told as a child, "stop
daydreaming!" But I never did. I grew up reading science fiction
because it took me into a realm of infinite possibilities. I guess I'm
an explorer at heart and if I couldn't leave Earth, at least I could
dream about it.
discover romances until much later and my first was a futuristic--SWEET
STARFIRE by Jayne Ann Krentz. I was hooked and quickly ran out of futuristics
to read. That's when I decided to write my own.
Most of my reading these days is for research but when I do get a chance
to read, it's something humorous or history-based. Jennifer Crusie,
Susan Elizabeth Phillips, JAK and Clive Cussler are some of my favorites.
you feel the romance industry has become more receptive to science fiction
and futuristic storylines?
J. B.: Dorchester
has always been interested in futuristics but I see the industry as
a whole becoming more open and willing to branch out into the subgenres.
I think readers have had much to do with that. We really have them to
talk about your upcoming release UNEARTHED. The story begins on present
day Earth. The heroine is Tess McKenzie a struggling singer. For Tess
singing is an integral part of who she is, yet at 29 she is just getting
her career off the ground. Tell a bit about Tess's life before she meets
J. B.: Tess
was the youngest of three children in a family the owned and operated
a small family business. She watched her siblings leave home and go
on with their lives but when it came time for her to leave, she couldn't
abandon her parents alone with the business. She knew how hard they
worked and how much they needed her there. So she basically gave up
her promising career and her love of singing to support them. The deaths
of her parents freed her to pursue her own dreams and she's just begun
to get her career on track.
Tess leaves a late night engagement, she is accosted by a mugger. Common
sense would indicate that she hand over her paycheck. What does Tess
do and why?
J. B.: Tess
really needs that money and it is more than just cash to her. It’s
the last payment on her first CD and symbolic of her determination to
re-establish herself and her desperation not to fail. Besides, she really
doesn't believe "Keg-on-Legs" will shoot her. He may be a
mugger but he's not a killer.
uses the hairspray in her bag because it's handy. It also fits into
her personality of reacting with her emotions without really thinking
the consequences through-a character flaw that gets her in trouble more
than once and one that she eventually comes to grips with at the end
of the story.
response sets the stage for her response to our hero and his mission.
What is Tess's first reaction to her would be rescuer, alien adventurer
J. B.: (a)
He's gorgeous and (b) he's trouble, LOL. At first she is thrilled to
have another person there who she feels will discourage her first mugger.
And like any red-blooded woman she notices his good looks. But when
his robot incapacitates Keg-on-Legs, she finds herself facing a danger
far bigger than a common mugger.
has come specifically for Tess. What is his mission and why does he
J. B.: Cohl's
mission is to retrieve the Amulet for the Traka-Nor. They believe that
this Amulet had the ability to "control" people and could
be used as a weapon to win the war between the two brothers. Cohl is
an Indiana Jones type character and difficult acquisitions are his specialty
and his challenge. He initially refused their offer, knowing the legend
of the Amulet and wishing to have nothing to do with their war. So in
order to coerce him to help, the Traka-Nor kidnap his father and hold
him for ransom. The Amulet was hidden away by the Demisians before their
final collapse and is housed in a chamber with several traps including
the final one-encased in a crystal case that can only be shattered by
sound waves and a specific voice and song. Cohl has the specifications
for the voice and it must be human. He finds Tess's match via radio
waves over Earth and unearths her. And he thought that was the tough
is his first reaction to the woman behind the voice? How does he respond
to her refusal to cooperate with his plans?
J. B.: Cohl
had some time to listen to Tess's unique voice and visualized a very
delicate, ethereal creature as the singer. Wrong! So he is really taken
aback by the fighter he found instead.
As you can imagine, she's not exactly happy to be put in this situation.
Besides the whole kidnapping thing, she's trapped in space with an alien
on a treacherous mission while her career does another crash and burn.
And Cohl isn’t very pleased with her resistance. He needs her
and he’s going to get her help one way or another, even if she
drives him crazy in the process.
Okay, Cohl is intrigued by Tess's contradictions, and not about to give
up on his mission. He makes a decision to take her to his home world
to give her a better understanding of what is at stake. Why is returning
home a difficult decision for Cohl.
J. B.: His
decision to take her to his home planet is two-fold: to find a safe
place to repair his ship, which has just been attacked, and to see if
his mother can guilt Tess into helping him. He knows Tess's history
and her sense of duty and he's betting that she'll fold if she can see
his planet firsthand.
If he doesn't secure the Amulet, he'll not only lose his father, he'll
leave his planet with no ruler or successor. Cohl doesn't want the job.
He grew up royalty and lived a very restricted lifestyle ruled by obligation.
He wanted out partly because to chart his own life but mostly because
he never felt he could be a successful ruler like his father or the
other great rulers of Yre Gault. So he left and this will be the first
time he's returned in ten years. The memories are painful but so it
the reminder that his planet could be doomed if he fails.
planned this is a turning point for Tess, but not for the reasons Cohl
might expect. What does she see in him that he doesn't see in himself?
J. B.: Well,
he can't fool her. <g> She knows he feels a strong sense of responsibility
to his world. She sees how much he cares about his people. He might
say he doesn't but it's pretty obvious in his eyes and his actions.
Eventually she will find out why he doesn't want to rule, even though
she doesn't fully understand it. She's never run away from her own responsibility.
As the story progresses, she becomes Cohl's conscience.
focus of this story is mostly on Tess and Cohl's romance and
their journeys of self discovery. But there is also a strong element
intrigue. Cohl, his father, Tess, and the kidnappers, are mere pawns
larger game perpetrated by a mysterious puppet master. Yet this master
player does not do this for sinister purposes. How do you reconcile
the readers when lives, and in fact an entire planet, are at stake?
J. B.: Yes,
Nish is the puppet master. He is an old man and a descendent of the
doomed Demisie planet, where the Amulet is hidden away. He has heard
the stories of the downfall of Demisie and believes that this is the
fate for his own home planet of Trakas. He sees an opportunity to save
Trakas and hatches a plan to get the brothers face-to-face to solve
their battle instead of using their people as shields and weapons. However,
it was beyond his ability to see Cohl’s initial refusal, the kidnapping
of Cohl's father Tess or the amount of danger that his plan has placed
both Cohl and Tess in.
knows that if he fails, he will be executed and Trakas will be destroyed
by war. Taking all those issues into account as well as his genuine
love for Trakas, I think gives Nish virtue and even sympathy. He was
a fascinating character to develop.
I understand that UNEARTHED is the first book of a series. We got a
glimpse of two other adventurers, Rayce and Zain, friends of Cohl’s
cameo appearances at critical moments. UNRAVELED will be released in
October. This is Rayce's story? Is his heroine also an Earth woman?
J. B.: Yes,
this is a series and UNRAVELED is Rayce's story. I didn’t choose
an Earth woman with his book because I wanted a very specific society
that I couldn't find on our planet although it could happen, I suppose.
Tru is part of an isolated intellectual repository. She's determined
to stay there by hiring Rayce to help her locate a vast treasure collection
and thereby earn her place permanently.
knee-deep in the investment of his life and running seriously low on
funds. He stands to lose everything. So he takes Tru’s offer but
he's not happy about it. She belongs to a group that he despises. But
when she goes toe-to-toe with him on every level, he knows he's in serious
trouble. They are really great together.
story will be next, tentatively titled UNLEASHED and I'm writing that
one now. That will bring in a sassy Earth woman who he accidentally
strands with him on a dangerous planet that houses a deadly secret and
a whole lot of aliens running interference.
is next for C. J. Barry?
J. B.: I'm
writing as fast I can, LOL! Dorchester recently bought UNRAVELED as
well as two more books in the UN series. So for the first time, I'm
under deadlines. Scary but exhilarating. After that, I hope to continue
the series and maybe try some Earth-based futuristics. I’m just
thrilled to have the privilege to write the genre that I love. I mean,
how lucky can an Earth girl get
know, its been a long time since anyone told me to stop daydreaming.
C. J. Barry
May 6, 2003
- Tess MacKenzie was a successful singer/songwriter. Then Cohl Travers
picked her up.
course, it wasn't exactly how she was used to being "picked up."
Cohl dropped down from outer space with his robot Pitz and zapped
her--so that they could save his father by acquiring a magical amulet,
he said. All Tess had to do--supposedly--was sing some strange song
on some ancient mystical planet they still had to find. But her abductor
was hiding something else, something besides the gorgeous body beneath
his space suit.
pretty darn bizarre was going on, and Tess vowed that she'd uncover
everything. Very soon, it wouldn't be just her or an ancient artifact
but some powerful feelings: By the end of this crazy ride, everything
was going to be...UNEARTHED.
More Paranormal Novels
ebook - Dec. 2002
- July 2002
October 7, 2003
continue her father's life's quest, Tru Van Dye had to leave the insular
colony of Majj scientists where she was raised. She had to find Rayce
Coburne. Yet the virtual-reality program she acquired to gird herself
against the man's touch, his innuendoes, his alien maleness was for
naught--his presence overwhelmed her. With Rayce, all Tru's clever
plans, her control, everything she knew was coming...
how Rayce Coburne felt. He'd tried to give up treasure acquisition.
It wasn't the danger that put him off; he despised dealing with icy
customers like the Majj. And Tru Van Dye was worse than the usual-a
prissy woman who would blackmail him with all his hopes and dreams.
Still, while she was smarter than he, there was a way he could fight
back: a kiss. A kiss a day was the perfect strategy. Unless the spinning
he felt inside was Tru unwrapping his heart.
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