Not surprisingly, Hollywood has already taken notice and the TV rights for Japantown have just been optioned by none other than J.J. Abrams' production company, Bad Robot. Expect to hear a lot more from Barry, who's already writing subsequent Jim Brodie volumes. So for now, get to know more about Barry below and grab a copy of Japantown, which, last I checked, was already in its 4th printing!
You can learn more about Barry and Japantown on his website and can contact him there, on Facebook, or Twitter.
I’m usually reading three or four books at once. Close at hand is The Lineup, edited by Otto Penzler. It’s a collection of pieces by well-known mystery and thriller writers discussing their main characters. Also on the non-fiction side is People Who Eat Darkness, an extremely well written account of the unfortunate murder of a British woman in Tokyo. I’ve finally found time to start in on James Lee Burke’s Tin Roof Blowdown. It tackles Hurricane Katrina and the devastation in New Orleans. After the earthquake/tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, this has additional resonance for me. Casting a wider net, I’m eyeballing a couple of books under the radar, including a Southern mystery with a great first line, The Hand of God by Tony Acree.
2. What caused you to move to Japan and how did you assimilate?
I went to Japan out of curiosity, and knowing absolutely nothing about the place. Not even how to say hello. I’d planned a trip to London and Paris to search for a publishing job. When a new Japanese acquaintance suggested I visit Tokyo, I said, “Why not? I’ll go the long way around to Europe.” I meant it as a joke, but in the end that’s exactly what happened.
How did I assimilate? By paying attention to detail. After one too many embarrassing faux pas, I thought, Enough! I dove into the language and the culture. I never “turned Japanese,” as some people are prone to do, but I appreciate the finer points of the country and the people, as well as the aesthetics.
3. How does the publishing world in Asia differ from the publishing world in the West?
I can’t speak to the rest of Asia, but in Japan the major difference is that publishers make books without announcing the schedule, so there is none of the pre-selling to bookstores and other outlets. They publish the books and simply pass them over to the distributors, who set them in the stores. The struggle then is how much clout the publisher has with the distributors.
4. Any advice for an unpublished or struggling author?
More than you have space for! As a former editor, I advised authors for years. Two things to start: keep plugging away and do something on your book every single day. This last is the most important of all. For what it’s worth, in the Writers’ Corner on my website, I wrote a piece about how to do just that, and a second article on finding an agent. Time permitting, I’ll add to this section.
5. What's next for you?
The second and third Jim Brodie books, after Japantown. I’m putting the final touches on Book 2 and starting to map out Book 3. All of which pushes me creatively. It’s a tremendous amount of fun. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.