Monday, March 25, 2013

Author Interview: Barbara Austin

Today, I'm interviewing Barbara Austin, the talented writer who contributed Doing Time to "The Temporal Element."  Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed, Barbara.

MTI:  How about a little introduction?  Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

AUSTIN:  I’m originally from Texas, but I’ve spent most of my adult life in Holland and England.  I work in the finance at an international company.  I love my job, but writing is my passion.

MTI:  What compelled you to start writing fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?

AUSTIN:  I started telling stories to my sisters when we were little. I’ve always been an avid reader, and writing fiction sort of grew out of that.  I love to create characters and put them into harrowing situations that involve a serious crime.  Even though my stories often involve murder, they aren’t particularly violent.  The motives and the puzzle are the aspects that I find intriguing about crime fiction.

MTI:  If you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?

AUSTIN:  It’s a tie:  P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, and Patricia Highsmith.

MTI:  As you know, The Temporal Element is a Martinus Publishing anthology devoted entirely to time travel adventures.  These fictional accounts are fascinating, of course, but do you ever believe that humanity will discover a viable way to travel backwards and forwards through time?

AUSTIN:  Based on my limited understanding of physics, traveling back and forward in time is theoretically possible.  If it ever becomes a physical reality, deciding on the rules and ethical considerations to govern time travel will be mindboggling!

MTI:  If were given the chance to visit any point in history, when would you visit?

AUSTIN:  I would like to watch the Pyramid of Giza being built, though not all twenty years.  Just long enough to witness how they did it.

MTI:  The building of the pyramids is a choice time destination for many Temporal Element contributors.  Thinking forward now, what piece of futuristic technology would you like to own, or have for your personal use?

AUSTIN:  The fountain of youth.

MTI:  Another contributor favorite, indeed.  Let's get back to your writing.  Can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?

AUSTIN:  Last week, I signed a contract with an agent for my first novel.  I’m busy with revisions she requested, and I’m working on a new novel.

MTI:  Exciting news!  Other than the appearance of Doing Time in The Temporal Element (and that forthcoming novel), do you have any other stories slated for publication in the near future?

AUSTIN:  No, I don’t write short stories often, though I enjoy reading them.

MTI:  You've certainly moved around in your life, from Texas, to the UK, and now Amsterdam.  Of all the places you've lived or visited over the years, which is your favorite locale?

AUSTIN:  Definitely Amsterdam.  The architecture is charming—the converted warehouses in the harbor area, the grachten houses along the ring canals, and the Amsterdam School architecture (a style from the early twentieth century).  Public transportation makes it easy to get around.  The culture is diverse.  And it has a strong creative impulse.  It’s interesting how the architecture and layout of a city can influence the way of life of its inhabitants.  I even like the weather after growing up in sun-scorched Texas.

MTI:  On the lighter side, what sort of television programs do you favor, if any?

AUSTIN:  This might be the darker side.  I love the Danish and Swedish crime series like The Killing, The Bridge, Wallander, Those Who Kill, Beck, and The Protectors.

MTI:  What sort of music do you enjoy the most?

AUSTIN:  I grew up listening to blues, and I still enjoy it most.

MTI:  My late-Uncle Stephen was quite the Blues man.  Nearing the end of our interview, is there anything special you'd like to say to your fellow writers, or to potential readers?

AUSTIN:  Dear potential readers, I hope you keep turning the pages!

MTI:  People are understandably curious about your work.  As we close out our interview, do you happen to have a few paragraphs of story you'd like to share, something new that nobody else has seen before?

AUSTIN:  Sorry, I don’t.  Can I take a rain check?

MTI:  Of course.  I'm sure you're busy with those novel revisions.  Though, if anyone wants to check out your work, they can always visit the Martinus Publishing website, and sample your short story, Doing Time, which was our Hit of the Month for February 2013, or they can always pick up a copy of The Temporal Element.  Thank you, Barbara, for this insightful interview.

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