Chris Barili – Author

jbCM Magazine

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Creative Spotlight

Chris Barili is a local author, with no one specific genre, but a focus in fantasy. He most recently published a book titled, ‘Shadowblade’, and will be dedicating more time to writing once he retires from the Army.

jbCM: Tell us a little about yourself.
Chris: I am Chris Barili, I am a fiction author. My most recent book is Shadowblade, a fantasy published through Wordfire Press.

jbCM: Tell us a little more about what you do, Chris.
Chris: I write in various genres; western, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romance, and crime. I am an author part time while I currently work for the Army. As I approach retirement I am trying to transition to writing full time.

jbCM: Of those genres, which one is you’re favorite?
Chris: I don’t really have a favorite, but I do write fantasy the most because it’s what I tend to read more of. I got my Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing out at Western State, and they taught us not to shoehorn a story into a genre. Let the characters create the genre that they need to make the story work.

jbCM: When you say “fantasy”, what does that mean to you?
Chris: Fantasy has expanded so much in recent years. You have urban fantasy which is set in modern times, portal fantasy which is transferring from one world to another, and dark fantasy with demons and vampires and so on. fantasy is pretty much any story involving the supernatural.

jbCM: What authors do you admire?
Chris: I have always admired Terry Brooks and David Eddings. In fact, after I read ‘The Lord of the Rings’, I loved it but I felt Tolken was a little heavy-handed. I’ve loved David Eddings for many years because he told a just as equally grandiose fantasy story but, he did it in simple language. I love Jim Butcher, Terry Goodkind, as well as my friend Barb Nicholas who writes a mean mystery story.

jbCM: Any advice for aspiring authors?
Chris: I’ve been writing for about 30 years, and interestingly I didn’t even sell my first fiction until about 5 years ago. My advice to you is to read, a lot. The more you read, the better your writing becomes. Be prepared to learn the new world of self-publishing, it’s a great way to establish a base of readers. You need to be a marketer, graphic designer, and self-editor if you don’t want to branch out.

jbCM: What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
Chris: I need to finish the series of books that I’m writing for Wordfire Press, and have a successful series with them. I will probably be retired in 5 years, and then I will be able to dedicate more time to writing and hopefully advance my career.

jbCM: Tell us a little about your current book.
Chris: Shadowblade, published by Wordfire Press, is a dark/contemporary fantasy. It originally started as an assignment from my Masters of Fine Arts studies. We were supposed to find a word that associates with our most commonly written genre and then write a scene. I looked up the word assassin, which comes from the Arabic word Hashshashin, which was an order of assassins ran by “the old man on the mountain” as they called him, who used heroine to keep his assassins loyal. He said he was the only person who could show them heaven. I took that idea in a different direction. The head of the order in my book uses magic, which is addictive, to keep his assassins loyal. If they stray from the word, he’ll take their magic and they go through withdraw. The assassin in this book, Ashai, is sent to a bordering country and is told to kill the king and his daughter. He works his way into the royal family circle, and ends up falling in love with princess and can’t kill her. He gets his magic taken away and he has to protect her while also going through withdraw. He essentially goes through a crisis of faith and has to choose between his love and his God.

jbCM: How do you keep track of all the characters?
Chris: The writing world has pantsers and plotters. Plotters do a detailed outline and character sketches, and pantsers just let it flow organically. I’m a plotter, so I do an outline and go through every beat a story needs to succeed. I’ll do about 15 pages on my main character builds, and a little less on my sub-characters.

jbCM: Do you base your characters on anyone? How do you create them?
Chris: The official answer is that I don’t create them on anyone. You have to be careful because if you portray someone wrongly, they can sue you. So what I do, is focus on the personality of the character because that’s what I need to advance my story. I describe the general look and physical build of the character as well.

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