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My First Time...with David Barker

David Barker was born in Cheshire but now lives in Berkshire. He is married to the author of children’s picture books, with a daughter who loves stories. David spent 26 years working in the City as an economist, trying to predict the future. Blue Gold is his first novel, with Rose Gold due out next year. His writing ambitions received a major boost after he attended the Faber Academy six-month course in 2014 and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students. David appears on Radio Berkshire’s monthly show, Radio Reads, discussing books with host Bill Buckley and author Claire Dyer.

David Barker | The Riff Raff

Here's the blurb for Blue Gold...

The near future. Climate change and geopolitical tension have given rise to a new international threat – a world war for water. This most vital of resources has become a precious commodity and some will stop at nothing to control its flow. When a satellite disappears, Sim Atkins thinks he knows why. He is given the chance to join the hallowed Overseas Division and hunt for the terrorists responsible. But his new partner Freda Brightwell is aggrieved to be stuck with a rookie on such a deadly mission. The British agents uncover a web of deceit that threatens global war. Whom can they trust? As the world edges ever closer to destruction, Sim and Freda must put their lives on the line to prevent Armageddon – and protect the future of ‘blue gold’.

Describe the exact moment you decided to write your book.

About eight years ago, I was researching commodity markets and learning of the prospect for future water shortages when an idea sprang to mind. Suddenly I had the opening and the ending to a story.

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting to write it?

Get some guidance early on, whether that’s from an evening class, an online course or a book on writing. It won’t help you win the Booker Prize, but it will help avoid the rookie errors that many of us fall into.

What’s your go-to procrastination method?

Spotting that there’s a favourite old film that I’ve only watched five times on an obscure channel. Failing that, there’s always the DVD collection…

Blue Gold | The Riff Raff

What was the biggest tantrum you had while writing your book?

Finding out Clive Cussler had written a book with exactly the same title 16 years ago.

Best thing about writing your book?

I’m a geek, so I enjoyed the background research. A lot. But the best thing was around draft three or four, when the story really started to come together.

And the worst?

Working on draft eight or nine, by now wondering if the story was any good at all, while trying to spot the tiniest typos in sentences I had read countless times.

Go-to writing snacks?

Anything to hand! There’s a bag of peanut M&Ms on my desk as I write this…

Who or what inspires you?

My daughter, asking me to make-up bedtime stories for her when she was four or five years old.

The book that changed you?

Your pump up song?

'Thunder Road' by Bruce Springsteen.

If you could share a bottle of wine with one writer dead or alive, who would it be?

Douglas Adams. A polymath, a genius and sadly gone too soon.

One piece of advice you’d give first time writers hoping to get a book published?

Keep going – it’s a long slog no matter how talented you are. Be willing to listen to advice and accept compromise, but not too much. It’s your book and only you can write it. (Yes, I know that’s two for the price of one.)


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