Interview: Young Adult Romance Novelist Barry Eva, Author of Across the Pond

Born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, Barry Eva, also known as “Storyheart”, left his beloved England in 2000, moving to the USA to be with the woman he'd met and fallen in love with on the Internet.

Better known for his short romance stories on the net and in his book “Stories from the Heart." Barry is popular for narrating his stories on local TV or as a guest on other media stations,where his whit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee.

At present, Barry is living in Connecticut, with his wife and two children.

You can visit Storyheart’s website at http://www.across-t-pond.com.











Welcome to The Writer's Life, Storyheart. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?


I was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England, and in 2000 I left my beloved England and moved to the USA to be with, and then marry, a woman I had met on the internet. My real name is Barry, though I write under the name Storyheart. I am, up to now, better known for my short romance stories, both on the net and in my book “Stories from the Heart”.

I have been writing or rather telling stories from my late teens, including some songs and a couple of small plays for children. This developed about 15 years ago, into writing short romance stories on the net.

Across the Pond is my first novel, while written as a young adult fiction, it is being enjoyed by people of all ages.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Across the Pond is about 15 year old, English born, Fred Squire who finds himself packed off to friends in the U.S.A when his parents win a trip to Australia, and he is not happy. Then he meets Brittany.

Struggling with his feelings for Brit and the language, Fred is further confused when he meets Brit's flirtatious friend, Angel. Escaping from a confrontation with Steve Harris, the neighborhood bully, Brit tells Fred her dark secret about Harris, and Fred's world is turned upside down.

Life continues to throw Fred a curve ball when he catches a baseball worth a small fortune. Further run-ins with Harris, a crazy family BBQ, and a chase through a mall all add to Fred's American adventure. "Brit and her Brit", know that their young love will be followed by heartache when Fred has to return to England. But not before some final twists in the tale.

Across the Pond is an enjoyable 117 pages that goes from through all aspects of young love. With believable characters, exciting events, humor, first love, education and a little sport thrown in for good measure. Across the Pond is a book for all ages, from the young to the young at heart.
They say write about what you know, and after moving “across the pond” myself I know all about the issues and differences one runs into both with the language and ones day to day life between England and America. I wanted to write something for a younger audience both with humor, and with romance and came up with this story.

What kind of research was involved in writing Across the Pond?

Having made the move myself, I had come across many of the differences at first hand, and added the romance side. You could say that I have lived certain parts of the book.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

I had an idea for the cover with the two flags and the baseball which I suggested to the publisher. They worked on my suggestions and sent me the design. A couple of small changes regarding colors and fonts and we had the finished article.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

It has been a far from sooth ride, more like a rollercoaster of emotion. I spent over a year after the manuscript was ready, going to classes, lectures, meetings, seminars trying to get to the next step in the publishing chain. Receiving many “knock backs” along the way. Publishers will not look at you unless you have an agent. Agents will not take you unless you have a publisher. In the end I basically lost heart and stopped writing. In 2007 the only thing I wrote was my normal Christmas short romance story. This in 2008, I started writing again, at first a couple of song paradise to do at my karaoke show, another of my hobbies. Then I started pushing to get the book published, this time with a Print on Demand Company. Xlibris took the book on, and within a few months everything was sorted and the book published. That was in October, since that time, I have had nothing but great reviews and comments. These make all the effort worth while.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

Xlibris took the book on, and within a few months everything was sorted and the book published. That was in October, since that time I have had nothing but great reviews and comments. It’s these feed backs that make all the effort worth while.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

No I do not have an agent. If you go with one of the large publishers they will not even look at you unless you have an agent. However many agents will not look at you unless you have a publisher. I recently went to a talk where an author compared the money one makes writing for a large publisher, doing print of demand and publishing the book yourself. It really made me think, and for my next book I might well go for “publish yourself”.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I have been asked this same question by several readers, several of them noticing that there are two possible areas which could lead to a follow up book. I hope to research and start this next book during 2009.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I’m a “when I get the feeling” writer. I can not sit down and force myself to write, but have to wait until the idea or muse hits me. This is fine with my short stories that I can dash down in an hour. However for this novel I had to basically teach myself to write all over again. Committing myself to write so many chapters a month, with time for rewrites of the rewrites. In the end and after several false starts and with a lot of help from my SCBWI group I managed to get into the novel writing mode. However with a full time job and a young family it was not that easy to get things done. In some ways my short story writing helped in writing in small chunks and making sure there was a good hook at the end of each chapter.
If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

A contract with Disney to make it into the next “High School Musical” film.

I think it would make a great film, “High School Musical- Across the Pond”. In fact a reviewer even suggested that Disney should look at the book. I would rather it be enjoyed by many than be advertised in New York Times etc. And of course films sell books.
How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

My first book was a bit of a disaster very badly edited, and not a good experience at all. I learnt a lot though about self promotion. Of course I have my site, http://across-t-pond.com where the book details are, but I have jazzed that up a little with some cartoon type introductions from the actual book characters. Then of course not counting the normal search engine and web advertising, there have been radio shows, school visits, virtual book tours and of course programs The Writer’s Life. There is much out there you can use, for little or no money. One thing I always try and bring with anything I do, a part from the book, and the knowledge that I am able to bring about the country differences, is to make sure there is some humor as well. We always hear about the bad things in this world, and for many reading is an escape to another place. I just want them to be there with a smile on their face.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Never give up. Listen, learn and have faith in yourself.

Thank you for coming, Storyheart. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book, Across the Pond?

Certainly, you can find out all about me and the book at
http://www.across-t-pond.com. The book is available at all the normal online stores, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders even Target. People might want to check the reviews at Amazon to see what people have already written about the book.

Thank you very much for having me as a guest on The Writer’s Life.
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