Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Secret Life of Copernicus H. Stringfellow by Lorin Barber: Guest Post, Interview, Excerpt



Copernicus H. Stringfellow, a.k.a. Nick, is not your run-of-the-mill genius. His mind is so powerful it can stop a speeding automobile or stem internal bleeding. As Nick goes about quietly doing good, he discovers that his powers are greatly enhanced by the nutrients present in Twinkies. Follow Nick on his amazing adventures in this humorous and exciting action-packed book for all ages.



Suddenly, but shaking like the palsy Joe pulled his hand out of the bag and what Nick was sure was only the kid’s latest mistake commenced. Nick anticipated the scene as the black nose of the pistol gradually cleared the canvas. Joe grasped the weapon as if an iron lifeline.
“Pull over Mister! Give me your wallet! Get out of the car! Leave the keys!” The kid barked trying to sound confident.
Nick pulled off at the exit and stopped the car.
“Give me your wallet! Get out of the car! Leave the keys!”
“I’m not going to do that.” Nick answered calmly.
“Give me your wallet or I’ll shoot,” Joe blurted nervously. He had braced himself hard against the door pushing his feet against the transition hump in the floor. The gun wobbled in his hand as it opened and shut spasmodically. His elbow was pulled back against his gut, His lips were quivering.
“You don’t want to do that,” Nick said. He also pressed against the door wanting to put distance between himself and Joe.
“I’ll do it,” Joe assured him.
“Give me the gun kid,” Nick said sternly, slowly extending his left hand across his body. He had no desire to spook the youngster.
“You’re making me do this!” Joe squealed, his pitch rose with tension. The beads of sweat glistened on his forehead. His eyes squinted in taut agitation.
“Nobody’s making you do anything. Give me the gun.” Nick repeated in a marshmallowy tone, inching his hand somnolently forward. Nick’s heightened concentration slowed the action as if it were a football instant replay.
“Don’t!” the kid yelled. He squashed the trigger with a nervous twitch.
Focusing on the finger Nick anticipated the pinch and projected an alternative outcome.
As Joe began to pull, the barrel bucked downward as if yanked by an unseen force, sending the bullet tearing through the thigh of his own left leg. The searing projectile bolted as lightning through the sinew. He shrieked in pain as he shed the gun, which instead of falling zipped immediately to Nick’s outstretched hand. Joe was writhing like a snake with a stomach ache and didn’t notice.
Blood gushed as an inverted geyser from the exit wound on the bottom of Joe’s leg. The bullet had continued down through the upholstery of Nick’s front seat and twanged against the frame of the car. The pulsating wound throbbed as a muscular migraine knowing no bounds.
“Now you’ve ruined my car,” Nick said suppressing a grin and trying to look concerned. I told you not to shoot.”
“You’re insane Mister. I’m going to bleed to death.”
“You’ll be fine,” Nick assured him reaching over to remove Joe’s hands from his punctured pants and examine the wound. “See, the bleeding has stopped.”
It had stopped. The holes on both sides of the leg had scabbed over. “How did you do that?” Joe asked.
“I didn’t do anything,” Nick insisted. “You’re a quick healer. Now get out,” he said. Leaning across Joe he thrust open the passenger door. Joe slid out hopping storkedly on his good leg.
“That’ll be OK in a few days,” Nick assured him. “Here kid,” he said reaching into his pocket and pulling out a $100 bill, “go home, and never use a gun again. Next time you might not be so lucky.”
“You call this lucky?” Joe asked snatching the bill. “Who are you mister?”
“A better friend than you know,” Nick answered and pulled back onto the freeway.
Still hopping, Joe’s foot slipped, as if pulled off the edge of the shoulder and he fell, face first onto the gravel embankment.
“Sorry mom,” Nick said as he smiled to himself.
 He reached to the backseat and grabbed the smaller of his two suitcases pulling it to the front. Unzipping it revealed a dozen ten packs of Hostess Twinkies and a small shopping bag stuffed with $100 bills. He opened a box and pulled out a few of the flavor filled fillets, re-zipped it and re-stowed it in the back. He stuffed the cakes whole into his mouth and gulped them down. He breathed a soupish sigh and within a few minutes felt relaxed and refreshed. A little further down the road at the Vantage Bridge he opened his window and with perfect timing and a left-handed hook shot, flung the pistol between the girders into the Columbia River.

“The Secret Life of Copernicus H. Stringfellow” is the story of a brain so powerful it can stop a speeding vehicle or heal internal bleeding.
“Orphaned at the age of two when his father shot his mother, Copernicus H. (Nick) Stringfellow is a genius of unprecedented capacities. Educated in Medicine, Engineering and almost every other scholarly discipline at America’s leading Universities, Nick goes quietly about the country performing miraculous feats. He devotes his life to saving others and combating evil while striving to remain conspicuously anonymous.”
Barber’s novel brings Copernicus to Seattle where opportunities for changing lives, including his own are abundant. He makes family of friends and friends of acquaintances as all learn that when it comes to his activities you “just don’t ask”.
“As the story unfolds Nick is held at gunpoint by a grungy teenage hitchhiker he has picked up. Nonchalantly letting his mind wander to happier hitchhiking adventures Nick is threatened with death by the greasy youth. As the trigger is pulled the kid finds himself shot in the leg and the weapon moved to Nick’s hand. Expelled from the car with his wound healing, a $100 bill in hand and an admonition to “never use a gun again” the adolescent sees Nick calmly drive away leaving him a lonely walk back to civilization.
In his disguise as a ‘Nurse at Large’ Nick enters the society of Harborview Hospital in Seattle. The mini civilization of the Institution includes patients to be healed, coworkers to elevate and protect, and arrogant doctors to be put in their place. Nick embarks on his errand using telekinesis, mental marvels and common sense, all the while munching on the Twinkies that seem to impart supernatural skills to his already impressive intellect.

How did you start your writing career?

I had to spend a year in Wisconsin without my family. The winters are very cold in Wisconsin. After watching Die Hard reruns about 17 times I decided I could write a book instead.



Where do you dream of traveling to and why?



        I’d like to go everywhere. I’ve already been to 19 countries and 45 states.

Tell us about your next release.


        I’m working on a sequel and plan at least 4 more in the Copernicus series.


Who is your favorite author?
       

      I believe the most talented author in use of the English language is Dean Koontz. Dan Brown is a genius and J.K. Rowling is awesome.

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?

      I’m not a morning person so I start late morning and can work into the night. I can go 10 – 12 hours when I get on a roll.

Where do you research for your books?


        Without the web I don’t know how books ever go written.




Does your significant other read your stuff?

My wife is my first critic.

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?


 
    One of my daughters has a Masters in English Lit. She has helped immensely.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

        I need absolute quiet to write.

What is your favorite meal?

        Strawberry Shortcake

What group did you hang out with in high school?

        The In Crowd accepted me but I didn’t really hang with them. I had a few friends and we were semi-nerds.

Do you play any sports?
Basketball


What do you do to unwind and relax?

I go gold panning.



How do you react to a bad review of your book?



        I get depressed for an hour or two then I realize that most of what they said is true and also that most of my reviews have been very satisfying.


Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?

When I came up with the name Copernicus H. Stringfellow it really defined the story in my mind. I try to make the other names fit the personality of the character. It makes writing come more naturally.

Beatles or Monkees? Why?
I like some of the Monkees songs, but they where created from air. The Beatles are the real deal. Paul McCartney is the Beethoven of our day.

New York or LA? Why?
 
 
        No large cities thank you.

Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.

The first was the best. I could hardly believe someone would write me an un-solicited email.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

        I spent two years is Japan and have a book in the Copernicus series planned for there. I’ll go back to the place where I personally saw a dead woman wash up on the beach and build a mystery around it.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

        If you are a nerd, have ever loved a nerd or enjoyed watching a nerd you would enjoy this book. If you’re a stick-in-the-mud, go find some real literature.

Entice us, what future projects are you considering?

        My goal is to achieve enough notoriety that Billy Joel will join me in creating the music for my Broadway Play.

Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself?

        That would be boring.
Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?

        “Outside of a dog a book is man’s best friend.
        Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
                                        Groucho Marx



Lorin Barber has an MBA from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in Japanese Language. He has had a successful career in Manufacturing Management, travelled the world in business assignments and run his own company. He has six children and so far eight grandchildren. He lives in a small town outside of Seattle with his wife of 38 years. In his spare time you might find him panning for gold in the wilds of Washington State.
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