An interview with Barry Willdorf

Barry Willdorf is a fairly new acquaintance of mine, and I haven’t read much of his work yet. But what I’ve seen is unique and very enjoyable. I hope you discover a new favorite author here!

PJ: How long have you been writing?

Barry: Pretty much since I was a teenager, which is a long time ago. But I began to take it seriously about fifteen years ago.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

Barry: I am not sure I feel successful. I get good critical reviews but I am never satisfied by what I do. If sales  is the criteria, I am not successful. But if quality of writing is the standard, I think I am getting close. I’m a tough critic.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

Barry: I was a trial lawyer for over forty years. Writing was something I did in the evenings to be creative. The writing life for me is the creative part. Unfortunately, these days you’ve got to be in sales and PR. That’s not my strong suit. That’s why I hired PJ.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

Barry:  I couldn’t live on my writing income. I know a lot of authors. Most of them can’t either. A few years back, I got a royalty check on an old book for $0.00. They spent more on the stamp and accounting. I was going to frame it, but it got creased.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

Barry:  No. I still want to make everything I write publishable on its own account and not because I’ve had four books published. I have a number of writer friends who have had books published, some by big publishers. They still have trouble getting books published, especially if the last one didn’t pay for the advance. In the publishing business, it’s “what have you done for me lately.”

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

Barry: All told, ten years.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

Barry:  I would have started seriously writing fiction for publication in the 1970s, when it was a whole lot easier, not counting the e-book explosion, that is. Back then, my fiction tended to be short narratives for legal issue exam questions, like car crashes and barroom fights.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

Barry:  I sit down at my desk and look at my to do list and decide what I can cope with at the moment. It’s good to have a lot of projects in progress, and that includes promo, blogging, writing queries, proofing, plotting, research, writing first drafts.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

Barry:  Seeing my novel The Flight of the Sorceress in print.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

Barry:  Having my freshman English professor trash a short work that I was proud of.

PJ: Ouch! What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

Barry:  I was doing a book party in Brooklyn and two guest got into a fight provoked by what I wrote.

PJ: Wow, I haven’t heard that one before! Hope it ended well. With more books being released each  month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

Barry: I am trying to write thematically about big issues in ways that reflect what real people think, or don’t think. I have written about the consequences of mixing church and state, of how people see the world based upon their class, how people make a lot of big decisions based upon race, even though they don’t know it, how family values include a lot of bad stuff along with the good stuff. In my world, good guys can do bad things and bad guys can be victims. I don’t see a lot of that kind of writing.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Barry:  Publishing is a business and it is cutthroat. Maybe your writing is good technically, but agents, editors and publishers don’t think they can sell it. Maybe they’re afraid to sell it because they haven’t sold anything like it before. A lot of people in the non-creative end of the book business are looking for the easy, quick sale and that makes it tough for newbies, unless they are writing more of the same. Plus there are just a slew of us writers out there. If you write, do it because you like to, not because you want to be a star. If you want to make a lot of money, you have a better chance by becoming a bond trader or real estate developer.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

Barry:  Don’t take this as gospel, because I am probably the world’s worst self-promoter, but the thing that works best for me is in-person readings with a Q&A. I was a trial lawyer. I like to engage people.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Barry:  Figuring out an elevator speech. I put a lot in my books and it feels like dumbing down to try to encapsulate a big picture into a few quick words.

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

Barry:  Yes. I have a wonderful relationship with Bird & Beckett, 653 Chenery Street  San Francisco, CA 94131     (415) 586-3733

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

 Bring The War Home!


The Flight of the Sorceress,


Burning Questions,


A Shot In the Arm,


See You In Court,


The Fourth Conspirator

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

The lives and marriage of country lawyer, Nate Lewis and his wife, winery exec Christina Lima, are at risk when Nate takes the case of a winery employee charged with murder for shooting a thief raiding a pot garden and Christina agrees to mediate a dispute between her cousins over control of the winery.

Where can we buy it?

Print, in a pre-publication sale from me at  Scroll down to the Paypal button on the home page for a special pre-publication price of $15.00 shipping and handling included. After 9/17 you will also be able to buy it from Amazon and from my publisher at http://whiskeycreekpress.

The E-book will be available on 9/17 on the Amazon KDP program.

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

A lot of the stories and plot lines I use are inspired by actual cases I had and personal experiences in my life. To find out more about me, check out  and my blogs:

http://flightof the

Thank you Barry, for sharing with us. Folks, here’s another author who’s worth a second look! I’m so sure of it that if you’ll leave a comment, I’ll put your name in a hat for a drawing for a free copy of one of his books! Comments, anyone?

2 thoughts on “An interview with Barry Willdorf

  1. Pat Reid says:

    Interesting interview. Thanks!

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