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Interview with Internationally Bestselling Author Linwood Barclay




Linwood Barclay photo

Linwood Barclay is a former columnist for the Toronto Star. He is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including Too Close to Home and No Time for Goodbye, a #1 bestseller in Britain. He lives near Toronto with his wife and has two grown children. His website is


Welcome to Beyond the Books, Linwood Barclay!  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I have had several books out prior to Fear the Worst.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

I don’t think I’ll count those I wrote when I was in my teens. My first real book was Father Knows Zilch, a book of tongue-in-cheek advice for dads. I was determined that none of it actually be helpful. This was in the mid-90s and wasn’t at all like the kind of thing I do now.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I was fortunate. The first publisher I approached took the proposal.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows? Fear the Worst cover

Okay, let’s go back to when I was in my teens and early twenties, when everything I wrote was rejected. It was a reality check. I wasn’t good enough, didn’t have enough life experience. So I decided to get a different kind of job where I could get paid to write every day: Newspapers. A good decision.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

It was Stoddart, a Canadian publisher that no longer exists. They had published other humor books similar to mine, so it made sense to approach them.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It felt wonderful, very hard to believe. It hadn’t really occurred to me to do anything special, but my wife quietly arranged for a huge balloon-o-gram to be sent to the door.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

Next to nothing. My book was not a high priority for this publisher.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

I wouldn’t do a thing differently. It was all part of the learning curve.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I had three more books published just in Canada, but my first novel, Bad Move, was published in 2004. Since then there have been six more books, including my most recent one, Fear the Worst.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I sometimes wish I had started writing crime fiction – the thing I am known for now – earlier. But at the same time, I was busy writing three columns a week for the Toronto Star, and I had an outlet for that creative bent.

book-notimeWhat has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

In 2008, my novel No Time for Goodbye was the single bestselling novel in the United Kingdom.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

My other profession was journalist. But if I couldn’t be an author, or a journalist, well, cutting lawns in kind of satisfying.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I’m right where I want to be.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

With any luck, still doing a novel a year, but getting better at it.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Stick with it. Keep writing, even if the only one who reads your stuff is you. And read. Reading a variety of authors is the best way to learn. And don’t give up. All I wanted when I was in my teens was to write crime novels. It finally happened at age 48. Some things are worth waiting for, even that long.

Check during the month of August to see where Linwood Barclay’s virtual book tour stops next.


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