Thursday, December 1, 2022

Ava Barry

Ava Barry was a script reader for Bold Films and Intrigue Entertainment, and an editorial assistant for Zoetrope: All-Story, Francis Ford Coppola’s literary magazine. She is the author of Windhall, also available from Pegasus Books. She lives in Australia.

Double Exposure is Barry's new novel.

My Q&A with the author:

What's in a name?

Los Angeles has enough interesting locations that I didn’t need to invent too many new ones, but one — Edendale Academy — was named after the original name of the Los Feliz/Echo Park area.

Marcus Loew’s name is a tribute to the man who founded the Loew’s Theatre chain in Los Angeles — as well as Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios!

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

Definitely surprised! When I was younger I was baffled by mystery authors — how was it possible? I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of keeping a reader in suspense. Now, I realise that you write a mystery much like you write any other novel, but maybe in a slightly different order.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

Beginnings have always been very difficult for me to write. It used to be such a problem that I would put off writing because I was convinced that you needed to start right at the beginning, but of course, that isn’t true. Now, when I’m starting a new project, I just start writing at whatever point feels natural, and try to wrangle that into the storyline later.

While I have a general idea of how a story is going to end, I like to catch myself by surprise, so I leave some of it open to change. I feel like in order to surprise a reader, you have to be able to surprise yourself, because so many modern readers have already seen everything.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

There’s a tiny bit of me in each of my characters. That might sound a bit cheesy, but I think it’s impossible to write a fully-fleshed out character unless you can relate to at least some aspect of them.

I thought my correlations were subtle, but after my best friend read the book, she called me with a list of things that I had pulled from my real life, and she was right about every single one of them. Whoops!

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

I have a long history of working in restaurants, and while the majority of my customers have been either pleasant or forgettable, you get some real nightmares — anyone who has worked hospitality or retail can probably relate. Without being too specific, there are a few former customers who have made their way into my books — not that these people have enough self-awareness to recognise their literary counterparts!
Visit Ava Barry's website.

--Marshal Zeringue