Interview with Noah Barfield
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest novel is an action/fantasy work entitled “Legend Land”, which is aimed to hit stores around the Christmas season. It’s actually a bit difficult to describe, for me anyway, because no matter what synopsis or description I give, it really just doesn’t do the novel justice. To me, it’s one of those works that you have to read to know what it’s about. However, I’ll give it my best shot.
As I’ve said, Legend Land is an action/fantasy novel; it’s not specifically for young adults, nor adults, but rather for anyone who has a love of reading. Now, in the novel, there is a world ruled by Death called “Legend Land”, where legends and mythical creatures go to die. Several entities want the power in Legend Land and the power of its inhabitants; this marks the beginning of a grand cosmic game for Legend Land that mostly happens in the background throughout the novel. The story is told in the first person narrative from three different points of view, which allows me to keep the story flowing quickly and gives the novel a more dynamic, easily shifting and twisting style. In Legend Land I put my own twisted spin on various fairy tale characters, legends and mythical creatures, as well as having a huge host of my own, completely unique characters. Which isn’t to say that you’ll recognize many of these myths and legends; I’ve done my best to change them heavily while still at the same time remaining true to their original form, but it will take a more attentive eye to catch these various “Easter egg” characters.
|Noah with Edgar Allan Poe|
Who are your favourite authors?
It’s a bit difficult to pick a favorite, as I read on such a regular basis and so many things. I absolutely love J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series; I finished the entire series once I was nine years old. It’s always fuelled my creativity and sense of magic. I owe a huge amount of my love of fantasy to Christopher Paolini, author of the Inheritance series, and enjoy a good deal of classic authors such as Edgar A. Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Oscar Wilde (if for nothing else than “The Picture of Dorian Gray”), Mary Shelley etc. etc. There are many authors I really enjoy, and it hurts a bit that I can’t mention them all here, but those are some of who I would consider my “favorites”.
What advice do you have for other writers?
I guess my advice is something of the following. To writers of all ages, I just have to say: never give up. You’re going to be in that place where you’ve drank all your coffee, you’re curled into the fetal position, pages of your manuscript strewn about, just not knowing what to do. I’ll let you in on a secret: none of us do. No matter how many times you’ve written a novel or how long you do it, it’s my firm belief that every time you begin a new story (part of a series or not), you’re going in blind. You have to create something from nothing, and no amount of practice is going to change that fact. Just tell yourself though, “People do this all the time; I’m a pretty fantastic person myself. There are authors I don’t like, and if they can do it, so can I!” Besides, hey, if a 17 year old kid like me can do it, you definitely can.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
You mean besides not having to leave your house for work? Or being able to work in your pajamas? What’s the best thing about being a writer besides not having to be “social”? I suppose in addition to all of those things, I love being a writer because I can create something from nothing. From nothing I can make people, creatures no one has ever even heard of or an entire world; the possibilities when you write are nearly limitless. I think that’s the biggest appeal to me; the limitless creative possibilities possible. And working in your pajamas.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
There are plenty of places people can find out more about me, or my writing. There’s my official website, Ark-Storm.com, where you can find frequent updates on all that I do as well as some free short stories, to get a taste of my writing style. You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook, or check out my YouTube channel for updates on, and snippets from, Legend Land, as well as guest speakers and author interviews, writing tips and discussion, exploring the ever growing field of writing hybrids and techniques, and just nerding out about this whole “writing thing” in general.
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
I think readers are going to enjoy my book for a few reasons. One, it’s not a light read; Legend Land is not a piece of “fluff literature”. When you read Legend Land, you are going to follow a shifting, ever changing storyline and complex characters. I really feel my characters are going to draw readers in, in great part due to the genuine feel that you will get when reading about their emotions. The emotions my characters feel are genuine, and I know that because I felt those emotions while I was writing. That isn’t to say I felt like going on a murderous rampage while a character was doing that exact same thing in the book, but was I angry when I was writing that piece? Yes. When my characters are happy, sad, filled with vehement rage, deep anxiety or never ending confusion, I felt those emotions. Even though my characters vary from cold to humorous and sarcastic, many characters not even being human, they all have human emotions that I feel the reader will easily relate to and enjoy my book even more because of it.
How do you research your books?
Since I still am in school, I do a lot of research for my schoolwork and projects in general; if I’m interested in something, I research it. That being said, I did a lot of research for Legend Land specifically. I mainly use this wonderful, vast thing we have called the internet, ranging from forums or obscure pages devoted to the progeny of one Greek god, to skimming through Wikipedia for what I’m searching for. With Legend Land in particular, I did a lot of reading; I read the fairy tales, the folk lore, legends and all the stories that I wanted to include in my book. For other stories, I will use medical or scientific websites, or I’ll take an online course on it to get a basic, comprehensive understanding. Unless I’m doing research on a particular writing style, book, series or author, I will commonly use the internet, triple and quadruple checking my sources just to be safe.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always wanted to be an author; originally, in Kindergarten, when we were doing “writing time”, we didn’t have to do difficult things like math. I think my love of writing and wanting to be a writer grew from that. I’ve always really liked books, and all the stories I’ve read, all the joy I’ve received from books have fuelled me; eventually, I just wanted to contribute to the literary world that has been a companion of mine for my entire life. I wanted to be able to make people feel the whirlwind of emotions that I would feel when reading, or make something so amazing that people want to put on their shelves and read over and over again. After reading Christopher Paolini’s debut novel, “Eragon”, I began actively working at making writing a full-time career and lifelong profession. Admittedly, this was, at least in part, because I read he was a New York Times Bestselling Author at age 19, and I wanted to get published before him. However, the books I’ve read have always inspired me, and my family has always supported my dream; I think the overwhelming amount of support I’ve received from everyone, especially while my Kickstarter was going on, has really inspired me to take writing as seriously as I possibly can, because it is something I want to do for the rest of my life.
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
J.K. Rowling, Orson Scott Card, Christopher Paolini, Derek Landy, Mary Shelley, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar A. Poe and Jenny Nimmo, and their works, were all, and continue to be, influential to me and my writing. Frank Beddor’s “Looking Glass Wars” series has heavily influenced me; his style and illustrations inspired me like nothing else at the time. There are many things besides books and authors that have influenced my life and writing style; I heavily draw off of many anime I’ve seen (for those of you who don’t know, “anime” is a style of Japanese cartoon), movies, TV shows and life around me.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I’m not writing, I tend to enjoy the heavily sought after, much elusive “sleep”; having my head hit a soft pillow at the end of the day is bliss, and it’s something I love doing. I also enjoy indulging in several different media forms: anime (commonly action, dark/suspense, sci-fi and fantasy), television shows (same), video games (of the RPG variety commonly), western cartoons and movies (I’m a sucker for a decent feel good film). I enjoy playing board and card games with my two younger brothers, and inventing my own. Since my family and I travel full time, I also really enjoy getting out of the house; hiking, visiting museums or interesting places. Music plays a big part in my writing; I can’t play any instruments to any level of appreciable skill, but I enjoy listening to music often. And, I will admit, engaging in “social interaction” with others has its merits as well, and is something I like to do. Of course, I think it goes without saying I just love to read; if it’s a good book, I will lay my hands on it and not let go until it has been thoroughly read.