This novel is the intersection of several interests of mine. My father became a pilot as a teenager, so we always had a single engine airplane in our family. World War 2 has fascinated me since I saw the movie The Great Escape in 7th grade. I also enjoy a romantic twist in a story, so that was a third thread of interest. I tied those three together with the question “What if…?” That’s how The Methuselah Project was born.
What started you on your writing journey?
In part, it began with a childhood full of reading books, which laid a literary foundation. More specifically, my own writing journey began in my sophomore year of college. During Spring Break, I noticed an ad for a writing contest in a magazine. I decided to submit an article. I didn’t win, but the editor sent me a check and published my piece as an Honorable Mention. That was my first clue that I just might be able to write for publication.
What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Camp ministry. Every summer I travel to Eastern Europe to assist churches in children’s camps and teen camps. The countries I visit are Ukraine, Russia, and once to Belarus. These are fantastic ministries, and even though I have taken my laptop with me, I simply can’t be creative in camp. The days are long, the kids are great, and by bedtime there’s no energy. Second, I would confess Facebook. I simply can’t have it open in the background, or each new post will snare my attention.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Actually my tastes are eclectic. I swing back and forth from educational reading to reading for entertainment. Here are some recent books in the first category: On Writing Well by William Zinsser, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas, The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier, When Helping Hurts by Corbett & Fikkert. My entertainment reading has included Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, the novels of Angela Hunt and Alton Gansky, John Grisham’s legal thrillers, and various true accounts by people who experienced World War II in various ways and places.
Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
Without a doubt, the star of the book, Captain Roger Greene. All his life, Roger never knew exactly where he came from. He knew he’d grown up in an orphanage, and he’d always felt he was born to fly, but could never find answers about his past. Women find him attractive, yet he’s not aware of that. He has three main goals in life: to fly fast airplanes, to serve his country, and to find the perfect woman to love. Yet, those goals get ripped away—seemingly forever—when his captors decide to use him as a guinea pig in a classified experiment.
If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?
Leonardo da Vinci. He’s an intriguing man who, in many ways, was ahead of his time. Study him, and you’ll find not merely the artist behind “The Last Supper” and “Mona Lisa.” He was mathematician, inventor and scientist too.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
To date, I have applied for the SURVIVOR reality show 30 times. CBS might never accept me, but they can’t say I’m not persistent! Not only would I love the adventure of competing in a remote location, but I have some favorite charities that could use the prize money.
What is your favorite season of the year?
Summer. I jokingly say I’m solar-powered, and summer brings the most sunlight per day. If it’s 85° outside and sunny, that is highly motivating. I’m a runner, and that kind of weather fires me up!
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
In various ways the theme of trusting in God has emerged from my writing, even when I don’t specifically point it out. The hero of Gunner’s Run has to learn to trust God as he tries to stay one step ahead of pursuing Nazi soldiers across Europe. Roger Greene learns a similar truth in The Methuselah Project, although the plots are totally different.
Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?
For me, that’s not a place so much as a time. It’s not unusual for me to rise at 4:30 or 5:00 am to start some coffee and spend time in the Word of God and prayer. At that early hour, no one telephones or sends me text messages. It’s peaceful, and I cherish that private time.
Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
A favorite verse I keep going back to is what Jesus says in Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness….” People seek all sorts of things—education, money, fame, a good job, a spouse, etc. But when you seek God first, everything else in life tends to fall into place.
How about hobbies? Do you have any?
Probably my main hobby would be “The War Room.” This is a guest room in our home. Because I like to write about the WW 2 years, I’ve decorated this room with 1940s furniture and memorabilia from those years. I keep my eyes open for antiques.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Although The Methuselah Project concludes with a satisfying, heart-warming ending, the story intentionally leaves a number of threads hanging. Readers will naturally want to know what happens next to Roger. That sequel is in the works.
Thanks for sharing!
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Rick Barry is giving away a copy of The Methuselah Project. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.