Wednesday, May 4, 2011

7 Questions: David Barber

Interview by David Cranmer

How is your new editor job at Flash Fiction Offensive going?

The editor job at FFO is going great. Better than I could have imagined, really. It all came about after a brief email to a great writer, Glenn Gray. I was being nosey and asking if he'd written any new stories, etc, as he doesn't have a blog. A couple of emails later and he tells me he's passed my name to Matt Louis (owner of FFO and Out of the Gutter Magazine) and, if I fancied giving it a try, would I be interested in running the mag. Discussions with my wife ensued and her final response was, "Go for it. What's the worst that could happen?"

So, big thanks go out to Glenn for the initial contact, Matt for giving me the opportunity, and my wife, Lisa, for backing me and having confidence in me.

I've only been doing it for about 3 months now but it seems to be going from strength to strength, so much so I've had to close submissions for a month.

I'm really enjoying it and I've learnt quite a lot in the time I've been running it. I try to be an understanding editor and offer advice where I can and I'm more than willing to discuss stories with contributors. I think communication is an important part of being an editor too, and I regularly give updates to writers as to when their stories are being published, etc.

I'd like to think that I'm in this for the long run, so you can expect me to be around for some time.

What are the chances of a story being featured in the FFO finding its way to the Out of the Gutter print mag?

Ultimately, it's totally up to Matt which of the stories I publish make it into the print magazine. In the submission guidelines it explains that if a story is good enough there is a chance it could make the mag.

At the end of the day, if you send me something that I think is a great story that's well written and has had some love and care shown to it, then I'm going to publish it. If Matt then likes it, then there's a great chance he could use it. I would see that as a double bonus: what a great achievement for the writer and (not taking anything whatsoever away from the writer) by myself in that I'd accepted another great story.

What are the guidelines for submitting?

Guidelines for submitting to us are pretty simple. You write a good story, polish it up well and get the editing sorted. Then there are a couple of ways to send your story in: as a .doc attachment or within the body of an email. The latter is preferable as formatting can get a bit out of control when copying from an attachment. But here’s the thing that could make or break it for you. I find it hard to open a story that doesn’t have a covering letter. Would a writer send the first few chapters of their novel to an agent without a query letter? I don’t think so. Those first few chapters would end up in the shredder. Therefore, writers should show the same respect to online magazines. We are, in essence, the stepping stones to the bigger picture. This issue will be one of the new guidelines, so writers should bear this in mind when submitting stories. I’m not asking for a query letter, but a simple “Hello, would you consider the following…” would be appreciated. Manners, after all, are a free commodity in a world where prices for things are going out of control.

What is David Barber’s day job?

I'm a self-employed tiler during the day, a job that pays pretty well but takes its toll on your knees and back. I've always been in physical employment from the day I left school, and never been out of work since that day.

Before I worked for myself, I was a firefighter for ten years but was finished due to an injury and management politics. Long story for another time.

With all the world-wide catastrophes and wars going on, it does look like this is the end, doesn't it?

No, far from it. In my opinion, wars and natural disasters have been happening for years and years and they always will. I think the media [and becoming an adult] has a lot to answer for when it comes to the way people think. When I was a kid I never knew there were wars going on or thousands of people were killed by freak floods. News programs were only on once a day and they were late on at night, plus our parents never spoke about atrocities and such. We were protected from the news. In those days, paedophiles were never even heard of. The news and media now are glorifying everything to sell their products and the news is on every TV channel as well as being on 24 hours a day on their own stations.

What do you think of American football?

American Football? I do actually watch it now and again but I haven’t got a clue what’s going on. I’m a football [soccer] man myself although I played rugby for a couple of years when I fell out with football. The strong urge to go back to diving at opponent’s feet and flinging myself across frozen goal mouths was too strong though. Yes, I was a goalkeeper, and that may have something to do with my tired and broken joints.

Do you own a kilt?

Do I own a kilt? No, but on my Dad's side there is Scottish blood in the family so I suppose I could if I wanted to. I hired the full works last year which I wore to my friend's wedding, although I wasn't traditional and didn't go "commando". I don't think many do anymore - or I was just a coward! I've wore a dress before but that's a whole other story for another time! Ha!


  1. Smashing stuff! Dave's doing great work at FFO. Some cracking stories there.

  2. I've got to spend more time at these mags, man. Why aren't the days about 20 hours longer?

  3. Nice interview. David is a great guy, and I'm happy to see him involved with FFO. Though, finding out he's a goalkeeper gives me pause to reconsider my high praise of what is clearly revealed to be a man of questionable character (I'm a lifelong striker, myself).

  4. Yup. David's doing a stellar job over at the FFO. Place has kicked back to life as if some high voltage paddles were pressed to its chest. Cheers!

  5. Dave is doing a badass job at FFO. Some ridiculously good stories up there lately. And now I've seen him in a kilt. So I can die a happy man.

  6. I must say you pulled off the kilt very well.

  7. Dave is a doing a hell of a job at FFO. Great selection of stories. Of course, we could use some more stories from Dave himself.

  8. Great interview - and congrats on the sterling work you're doing at FFO. Good stuff!

  9. Ah, great interview David. So glad you're involved with something you love and have such a talent for. A great writer and editor that I'm proud to be friends with.

  10. Dave has a great touch over at FFO, making it a sought after venue for some of the best noirists out there - as for the skirt, as Dave says a story for another day..

  11. Man, I love these type of Q&A features. Dave is a top notch guy and like everyone else mentioned, he has made FFO a must read for me. His take on catastrophes and wars is right on the money. Great questons and answers Dave & Dave!

  12. Paul - Thanks, mate. You've been an inspiration to all of us!

    Charles - Thanks. If there were 20 more hours in the day, David would have had these answers weeks ago. HA!

    Chris - Thank you! All goalkeepers are frustrated strikers. I just had two left feet so between the sticks was my best position.

    Glenn - A big thank you to you, sir. Appreciate you putting my name forward to Matt. Cheers!!

    Chris - Cheers, bud. I'm happy that you can now die a happy man! Now get a follow on my blog. :-)

    Patti - Why, thank you! T'was a wee bit draughty!

    Kent - Thanks, mate. I'm working on a few pieces at the mo so will be sending out soon. Expect one at your great new mag!

    Julie - Thanks for you kind words.

    Lily - Thanks you very much. The friendship goes both ways. You're an inspiration to so many and one of the nicest people I've met on this blogging thing. Respect to you!! x

    Michael - Thank you kind sir! The thing is with the skirt/dress thing, I pulled it off and got chatted up. Hilarious!! I'll tell you about one day.

    Sean - Thanks, mate. You're a stellar guy yourself and I'm honoured by your words. I glad I brought FFO into your world.

    Appreciate all your comments, kind words and support. Have a virtual beer on me. Cheers!!

  13. Great interview David(s)! FFO is great reading, and it's run by a good guy.
    Did you have a derringer under the kilt, though?

  14. Thomas - Thanks, mate. That wasn't a gun, my friend, I was just pleased to see you all!

  15. That's good because a Derringer is a very small gun

  16. David is always a spot of cheer. Keep going, buddy. Keep going.

  17. David - I think he was talking about the prototype.....which was huge! Haha!!

    Kieran - Thanks, mate. Appreciate your words and support.

  18. David, you crack me up...Anyway, I'm with Charles; gotta spend more time over at FFO.

  19. David and David,

    Great conversation between you two, enjoyed it very much. Terrific job with FFO David. Be careful where you go in that garb though, you could get kilt in some places wearin' that kinda thang!

  20. "Do I own a kilt? No, but on my Dad's side there is Scottish blood in the family so I suppose I could if I wanted to." Har! Knew that you had some redeeming qualities there, mate!

    Great interview guys.

  21. Good stuff. So proud my old pal has revitalized such a top ezine (I knew you would). Must rustle summat up to send you, Dave. If you reject it, there'll be trouble! :-)

  22. Very nice interview! I have to admit, I don't understand American football either. And I have no interest in learning...

  23. Nice interview. The key to understanding American football is imagining a world where Darwin's theory on the survival of the fittest got along just fine with Christian symbolism (Virgin birth=hiking the ball, crucifying (s.p.) the ball is worth three points, etc.) If that doesn't simplify it, think Manifest Destiny as a sport. I'm a football fan and, for a brief time I played semi-pro football and I was baptized in a Catholic church so I can make these jokes.

  24. You're a spark of fun and life, David, and you sure do bring it to FFO. I agree with your insight about natural catastrophes and wars. The pic of you and your wife is gorgeous. Great interview!

  25. David has taken FFO in a great new direction with incredible energy. And, as a contributor he is a joy to work with. If he ever gets to Oregon, i already owe him a steak. Maybe beers too...

  26. Great interview and insight.

    David's doing a terrific job at TFFO and us writers owe so much to him and all the other online editors. A hat-tip to them all!

    Kind regards.

  27. It's good to see there's another blue-collar fella in this writing gig. I feel you about your joints; the aches, the pains. But I think that's what gives your writing life; the bare-knuckle, blood-blistered, calloused hands scraping scars in plastic keys.

    Hmmm, come to think of it, I gotta get down to FFO more often and send some writing your way too.

  28. Ron - Thank you. It'd be good to see you stopping by for a read.

    Jim - Thanks, mate. Ha! I don't wear them for that reason.

    Alan - Cheers! See, I knew you'd see the good in me eventually! Ha!

    Col - Thanks a lot, mate. I'm grateful to you for getting me back into writing a couple of years ago. Send it over. "There may be trouble ahead....." Haha!

    Alyssa - Thanks. I never knew the rules to Rugby when I played that.

    Alec - Thank you. Religion gets everywhere. Ha!

    Jodi - Appreciate your comments. I'll tell my wife.

    Bill - Cheers, mate. I am going to hold you to that steak and because you mentioned it, a couple of beers too!

    Alan - Really appreciate your kind words. The contributors deserve a pat on the back as well. I've ben sent some great work!

    Angel - Than you, my friend! It would be great to read something from you. Send it over.

    Christopher - Check out the story and see for yourself. (It's a made up British word for great, a cracker, excellent etc, etc.)

    Sincere thanks to all for your kind words and continued support. I am humbled!

  29. Sorry, a little late to the comment section...

    Well done on the interview, David. It's hard sounding well-adjusted and normal.

  30. Kurt - Thanks, mate. I've certainly enjoyed your stories.