What’s your writing background? When did you begin writing and what inspired you?
I wasn’t from a writing background. In fact, I didn’t write a word really until I wrote my first book in 2003/4. I was in the security industry for many years, starting off as a bouncer on the doors of pubs and clubs across the UK, then I went into nightclub management. After a few years doing this, I went on a close protection (bodyguard) course, and ended up travelling the world, both on operations and training other bodyguards.
In the year 2000, I sold my small security company and around that same time I accidentally met the publisher of a book of a notorious football hooligan and gangster in Manchester, where I was living at that time. I knew the gangster! Anyway, I talked to him a bit about my life, he said it would make a good book and asked me to write the first three chapters. I did this, he liked it and commissioned me to write the rest. Doing the Doors is now a cult book within this specific sub-culture, and is still a must-read for bouncers everywhere.
Because that sold well, I was asked to write another, and another, and have written for major publishers such as Random House and Constable Robinson. I have now written five books within this genre, one biography and one travel anthology. On top of this, I have created and then sold two security industry trade magazines, have self-published a number of industry specific manuals and trade directories, have published two coffee-table photographic portfolios, and have recently been privately commissioned to produce a specific tribute title for the late Chairman of one of the biggest Arab merchant families in the Middle East.
When I sold my business, I had no intention of being a full-time writer, but that’s all I do now; write and publish.
How often do you write? And how do you manage to fit in writing among other commitments?
To be honest, at the moment I am being a bit lazy and only write / work a few hours a day. I am currently living in Spain and the temptation to just sit outside in the sun, reading a good book, with the wonderful views all around me and a nice glass of red, is just too much! I like to think I am structured and strong-willed when it comes to writing and work, but I am not! I am one of those people that put off, and put off… and put off what I have to do until the last minute and then work manically all hours getting it done in time!
In which genre do you most enjoy writing?
I have developed a strong readership within my specific genre of true-crime and am publishing a new magazine within this genre too, so I suppose because I know this genre the best, I enjoy this the most. However, I also really loved doing the travel anthology too, and the commissioned book for the Arab family was wonderful as well as I got to meet and interview some truly amazing people. I have also written hundreds of articles for magazines and newspapers worldwide and across the whole spectrum of genres and subjects, from Bahraini artists to Norfolk pig farming, so I suppose I just enjoy writing period, whatever the genre!
What draws you to write in that genre?
Within my true-crime genre – where I have had the most books published – I am fascinated with people’s lives, not the ordinary but the extraordinary and different. Of course, I don’t always agree with how some people have led their lives, or what they have done, but I don’t ever judge; I am just interested in why. I love the quote: “You can either lead your life as a page-turning adventure, with twists and turns, and unforgettable experiences, or as a boring, dull read, easily forgotten.” I am interested in people who are unique and different, however that may manifest itself.
Can you tell me about your current project(s)?
I have just started publishing an online magazine called Tough Talk. Tough Talk is probably the only magazine in the world dedicated to articles and interviews with ‘tough’ people including; martial artists and combat specialists, bare-knuckle and cage fighters, bodyguards, boxers, wrestlers, cops worldwide and special forces, famous doormen, bodybuilders, actors, bikers, former gang leaders and gangsters, former convicts and prisoners, in fact any tough men (and women!) across the UK and worldwide. And not just ‘tough’ people in the traditional sense, but also people who have led tough lives. It is not a magazine about violence though! And so I am going to develop this project over the next few years and build up a strong readership and, with enough support, hopefully publish hardcopy as well. The first issue was downloaded over 2000 times in just three weeks, so it is a great start.
What are your writing plans for the future?
Aside from Tough Talk, I am also planning to develop my Tribute book series along the same lines as the commissioned book I did for the Arab family. I think there are many families that might like such a book. Also, I want to do more travel anthologies too. So I really must stop sitting in the sun and get down to some work!
Where can people find out more about you?
I am also on Facebook (is there anyone who isn’t?) http://www.facebook.com/robin.barratt1
Or email me: RobinBarratt@yahoo.com
Or just Google: Robin Barratt !!!!
- Robin Barratt’s ‘In the Booth with His Book: The Little Book of Good Energy’ interview can be read here.