Welcome to Author Paul
Paul A. Barra is a decorated war veteran, a teacher and a freelance journalist. He previously was a reporter for local newspapers and won numerous awards from the South Carolina Press Association. He was the senior staff writer for the Diocese of Charleston and won numerous awards from the Catholic Press Association, a national organization. Earlier publications include four independent science readers (Houghton Mifflin), a novel (“Crimson Ring,” Eagle Press) and a nonfiction book about the formation and success of a Catholic high school, despite diocesan opposition (“St. Joe’s Remarkable Journey,” Tumblar House). He is under contract for the publication of a historical novel called “Murder in the Charleston Cathedral.”(Chesterton Press).
His latest book is the children’s/middle grade novel, The Secret of Maggie’s Swamp.
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Jesus of Nazareth, the pope, Martin Luther, Mohamed, Moses
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
A machete, matches and The Complete Works of G. K. Chesterton
What is one book everyone should read?
“The Red Badge of Courage”
If you were a superhero what would your name be?
The Mouth of the South
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
speaking in tongues
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Night owl, or early bird?
One food you would never eat?
fermented baluts in P.I.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
It’s dramatic and parents are not denigrated by the child characters.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Besides my current children’s novel, “The Secret of Maggie’s Swamp,” I have an historical mystery (adult) due out this Spring from Chesterton Press and another middle-grade novel is almost finished. I hope to finish one manuscript every two years for the next ten years, at least.
What inspired you to want to become a writer?
I have always been a big reader and think that authors have the best possible careers. I like to let my imagination roam free.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Hearing fourth graders tell me how exciting they found my book to be and talking about the characters by name, as if they were real to them.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
the Black Stallion series.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Consider being a novelist as a second career when you have a bit of age on you. That way you can raise your family in peace, without the stress of trying to shoehorn in some writing and blaming life for making you frustrated when you don’t have a bestseller before you’re thirty.
How did you know you should become an author?
When the first Letter to the Editor commented on one of my feature pieces, I was hooked on writing. I cannot imagine anything more gratifying than having people read what you write.
How do you react to a bad review?
It depends entirely on how bad the review is. Once I received a review that was so over-the-top hateful that it was easy to dismiss. Some bad reviews can help me write better, I guess, but most just hurt and demoralize me – for a time. It’s like reading James Lee Burke: he is so talented that I feel incompetent after I read him
The Secret of Maggie’s Swamp
In this middle-grade mystery-adventure, a twelve-year-old girl discovers a grave injustice in the 1980s South when a neighbor is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Penny must find the courage to use her unique gift – her uncanny ability to foresee the future – to thwart a crazed desperado and find a treasure that will prove her neighbor’s innocence.
Poor Penelope Andrews. Her neighbor is being hunted, her friend is comatose after encountering a rogue alligator in a black-water swamp, and her mother has formed the wild impression that Penny has some sort of special gift from God! What else could go wrong? Oh yes: the FBI wants to speak with her. And, a dangerous criminal is stalking her.
The Secret of Maggie’s Swamp tells the story of young Penny and the courage she shows in dealing with these dynamic issues.
It is an exciting read for children ages 8 through 12. It’s a pro-family story that will absorb young readers. Available in bookstores, on Amazon.com and from Brownridge Publishing.
1 copy of The Secret of Maggie’s Swamp
Open to US only