Actually, my interest in writing started very, very early. My mother encouraged reading and writing and spent a lot of time reading to my brothers and I. Then, I spent 10 years in the Canadian federal government writing financial policy. My three books have given me an opportunity to write something that hopefully, people will want to read, unlike financial policy. However, the policy writing did hone my writing skills and I did try to write it in a language people would understand.
Tell us about a favourite character from a book.
Marcie Kane, who helps Mason Seaforth look for his wife in my new book, The Vanishing Wife, is a unique character. She is brash and direct, yet loving and kind to those she believes in. She is tough as nails, but dresses like a fashionista. She is highly critical about people with whom she doesn’t agree and yet, she will go to the wall for someone she cares about. In short, she is the kind of person that most people would like to have in their corner.
Does travel play in the writing of your books?
Travel plays a huge part in my books. My first book was written as a result of my climb of Mount Kilimanjaro with my son and there is a lot of Africa in it. My second book revolves around travel to various locales around the world with my in-laws. Many stories arose during othose trips that anyone who has travelled should be able to relate to and relive in a humorous way. My latest book starts in Gulfport. Florida and ends up in Ottawa, Canada. I think it adds a certain level of interest if the venue changes.
Tell us about your current release.
The Vanishing Wife is my first foray into fiction. I really wanted to try writing a fiction book because frankly, I wasn’t sure I could do it. With my first two books I wrote what I lived so using my imagination has not been part of my writing history. However, I’m very proud of the result. I had often thought how desperate one would be if a loved one simply vanished. Add to that some secrets from the past and some criminals bent on destroying you and your family for some reason and it leads to a pretty dire situation. I tried to bring out the emotions that I think I would feel in the story, although I never want to find out how I would really react.
What was the scariest moment of your life?
We were flying in Canada from Winnipeg to Ottawa with our two boys who were young at the time. About a half hour from Ottawa an announcement came over the intercom that we were going to go on to Montreal because we had a situation on the airplane and there weren’t enough fire trucks to deal with it at the Ottawa airport. It was a very frightening few minutes as we continued flying. Apparently, there was an issue with the landing gear. As we were coming in for a landing in Montreal, we could see the lights flashing on the interior of the airplane from the fire trucks lined up on the runway. We landed without incident and bussed from Montreal to Ottawa. I’m not sure we would have wanted to get back on an airplane right away anyway.
What are you passionate about these days?
My big passion for the last five years or so has been fundraising to help the kids of Tanzania, Africa. While I get tremendous satisfaction out of writing and hope that others enjoy what I have written, my greatest satisfaction is in knowing that I have in a small way positively impacted some lives. We have raised about $150,000 over the last five years, which we have donated to Plan Canada. They have directed the money to projects to build a classroom, drill a well and help some young women start small businesses. Our latest project is to improve sanitation in the country. The Canadian federal government is matching whatever we raise 8:1 so a little goes a long way. We went back to Africa in 2011 to see some of our completed projects and the gratitude they expressed while we were there certainly made us realize that we are really accomplishing something and confirmed that what we are doing is worthwhile.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
My first suggestion is to do it. If you have an idea, by all means get it down on paper. There is huge satisfaction in seeing your words in print and hearing that others have enjoyed it. The second suggestion is to hire an editor. It doesn’t matter how great an author’s skills are at grammar and spelling. After reading a manuscript many times, it is inevitable that you will start to read what you think should be there, not what is actually on the paper. A good editor will challenge you as an author and potentially identify things you hadn’t thought of, redundancies, etc. My final suggestion is that if you want to be a commercial success, you have to be prepared to work hard to market your book. Writing it means the battle is only beginning. Making your book stick out among the millions of competitors is the tricky part. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep pushing.
Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.
Well, I find it easier to remember the one or two bad ones I have had, but I think that is just human nature. There is one that has stuck with me though. A reader I don’t know, said, "Barry Finlay's first book changed our lives. After being so impressed by his determination, I just could not keep going the same old way." The accolades are a by-product of writing and not the main reason that any of us write. But it is certainly nice to get some praise occasionally so we know that people appreciate what we do.
The Vanishing Wife
by Barry Finlay
How far will a man go when his family is threatened? Mason Seaforth is about to find out. He is a mild mannered accountant living a quiet, idyllic life in the quiet community of Gulfport, Florida with his wife, Samantha. At least, it’s quiet and idyllic until Sami, as she’s known to her friends, vanishes the night of their 20th anniversary.
Mason is thrown into a life that is meant for other people as he and their brash friend, Marcie Kane, try everything to find out what has happened to Sami. A search of Sami’s computer uncovers notes describing a past that Sami has buried for more than 20 years. Then come the threatening phone calls: to Sami, to their daughter Jennifer at university in Miami, and to Mason.
Mason and Marcie are thrust into a race against a sadistic killer to discover what has happened to Mason’s wife. He reluctantly exchanges his spreadsheets for a Glock 17 and he and Marcie follow a trail left behind by Sami which leads them to a potential confrontation with some very dangerous men in Canada. Mason is required to make decisions that he could never imagine himself making and each one has deadlier consequences than the last. The wrong one could result in the death of his entire family.
Sami never went anywhere without her cell phone, and if she had gone out for a walk, she would certainly have taken the phone with her. He reached for his own phone and dialed Sami’s number. The number rang. And rang, and rang again. Mason held his breath. “Please, Sami, please, pick up,” he whispered. On the sixth ring, he heard Sami’s confident voice message. “You have reached Samantha Seaforth. Please leave a message, and I will call you back.”
In a shaking voice, Mason heard himself doing as she asked. “Sweetie, it’s Mason, I’m leaving a message. Where are you? Please call me back right away.”
It had been two hours since he first noticed Sami was gone.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
In 2009, Barry Finlay went up a mountain as an accountant and came down as a philanthropist. After over thirty years in various financial roles with the Canadian federal government, he took his life in a different direction and climbed Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro at age sixty with his son Chris. The climb and their fundraising efforts to help kids in Tanzania led to the award-winning book, Kilimanjaro and Beyond: A Life-Changing Journey. He followed that up with the hilarious travel memoir, I Guess We Missed The Boat, which was named Best Travel Book of 2013 by Reader Views. Now, he has completed his debut fiction book, The Vanishing Wife. Barry was named to the Authors Show’s list of “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” in 2012. In 2013, he received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal for his philanthropic work in Africa. He lives in Ottawa, Canada with his wife Evelyn.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBarryFinlay
Barry will be awarding a medium or large t-shirt with the author's "Keep On Climbing" logo on the front to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (US/CANADA ONLY), and a $10 Amazon or B&N GC to a randomly drawn host.
a Rafflecopter giveaway