Brian Barrie is set to formally release his fourth book, The L.I.E, at the Ginger Press in downtown Owen Sound (848 2nd Avenue East) on Saturday, July 20, at 2:00 pm.
GreyBruce Now reached out to Brian to discuss his transition from life as a lawyer to that of an author and get insights into what motivates him to craft his stories.
Interview with Brian Barrie:
GBN: For those not familiar with your work, what can you say about your transition from law to wordsmith? How long did it take for you to approach your craft as a writer as a serious endeavor and not a hobby?
Brian Barrie: The transition from law to writing was seamless. Prior to entering law school , I had obtained my Masters degree from the University of New Brunswick, focusing on Canadian Literature.
I have always enjoyed reading and writing but pursued law – a trial practice, because I was granted the privilege of living someone else’s drama. This was reading in three dimensions.
I could walk among real lives, in crisis and touch the characters and shape, with them, their legal outcomes.
What an opportunity – to be granted the chance to learn, first hand, about the human condition and get paid for the experience.
To advocate your client’s position, you had to live inside your client’s skin and empathize with his or her plight.
The practice of trial law requires the written presentation of your client’s position and state of mind and thus the ability to know, then tell, your client’s story is informed by the same instincts and skills shared by novelists, poets and writers of short stories.
GBN: When John Grisham became an author, he wrote novels about subject matter related to his field. As a former lawyer, you went in a very different direction – what inspired the themes of the books you write?
Brian Barrie: The high demands of a trial practice and raising a young family, made it difficult for me to pursue my interest in creative writing and songwriting but I did not feel deprived or robbed.
I got to participate in the raising and growth of three wonderful children, who allowed me to see life through their lives and eyes.
I rediscovered innocence, was regenerated by their joyous energy and bravery – the notion that all is achievable.
Like most parents, I would read them bedtime stories but eventually received requests that I make up stories that they had never heard before.
I obliged, with pleasure, and these stories found their own storylines over many sleeps.
And as our children grew and had children of their own, they clamored for their retelling to their own children, leading me to publishing a number of them, over the years.
GBN: Your first book was a self-published effort – what was that experience like and what challenges did you face with this undertaking?
Brian Barrie: In 2007, I published The Neighbour That Wasn’t – a ghost story centered around the old American Consulate, on 3rd Ave. West in Owen Sound – then abandoned, but now a restored heritage building.
In 2009, I published The Lady of The Cat, a creation myth to explain how stars and the Northern Lights found their way into the never ending dark night sky.
In 2011, I published Est: The Story of a Bear, Twice Told, to explain how the mean-est, ornier-est, scari -est bear that had ever lived, prompted 2 adventurous children to invent skiing.
GBN: What can readers expect from The L.I.E that sets it clearly apart from your other books?
Brian Barrie: The latest book, The L.I.E., was inspired by the boundless energy of children and youth and wish to share in it, even to steal it, if necessary.
And so, its chief character, Marta Magot, was cast as an orphan – cut off from humanity but skilled in science, who devised a plan to steal the energy of village children and sell it to the old and infirm, as revenge.
It is only through the intervention of a young village girl that Marta is rescued and offered redemption and a second chance.
With my retirement comes new writing challenges and opportunities.
I am currently writing a novel based on my second murder trial conducted in 1988, entitled: ‘Who Killed Jimmy Strutton’.
The freedom to write is liberating and joyous. I feel that I am a lucky man to have been instructed how to live by so many of the people whose lives I have touched and who have touched me back, with their life lessons.
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