Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nigel Barto: Using His Gift With Words To Feed His Love Of Life

by Cyrus Webb

If you know nothing else about Nigel Barto you should be aware of this: the man can write. I have read three of his works and with each one he has been able to take the reader on an adventure that makes you want to share it with someone else.

His latest work FEED ME is on Conversations Top 150 Books of 2011 with good reason. Each story has a sliver of life anybody would be able to relate to, and that is one of the reasons why Nigel has been able to keep garnering readers for himself. Another reason is the evolution he has gone through as a storyteller and an individual recognizing the gift he has.

In this conversation we talk about how he has grown with each book, how he stays connected with all of us through social media and what he hopes you take away from what he puts on the page. 

Nigel, thanks for your time. When did you first realize that you had a gift with words?
In elementary school I began writing poems. In high school and college I acted in a few plays. I didn't know I would be someone who wrote many words for others to read or say. I wrote mostly for me - the outsider looking inward and often looking around me. It was my form of expression. I didn't realize it was a gift. But now I know this is what I was meant to do - crafting words together to tell about our lives.
You have shared three books with the world so far. What has surprised you the most about the response?
That readers want more. They want my stories to continue. They want to know what happens next in the lives of my characters. They hope for them. I think they can relate to the characters, and ultimately they hope for themselves. I am grateful for the readers, and thankful my work is openly received.
Each of your books, even your book of short stories FEED ME seem to have a message. How much does what's going on in the world influence what you write?
The rhythm of people, culture and lifestyle greatly influence my work. I watch the world, and after I boil away the extraneous matter, the boxes - country, city, profession, money, education, surname, ethnicity, gender, orientation, age, etc, I see love trying to blossom, wounds that want to heal, life that longs to breathe, and a survival spirit that emerges. Love and how we relate are ever evolving. What does it look like for you, and for your neighbor?
I think we are all our worse critics. Do you think you have grown with each book?
I am one of the worse when it comes to that. Yes, I think I have grown with my work. My voice is stronger, my passion is greater, and I am willing to take more risks.
Social media has really changed the way we not only communicate with each other but also market ourselves and our brand. How have sites like Twitter and Facebook helped you in this regard?
I am on both sites and they are great resources for me. I meet cool, uber talented people from all walks of life, and I learn all the time. You know, writing stories and the business of writing are not the same thing. I am not just a chicken pecking in a coop in a barn far away. Social media helps give this bird better wings to fly faster. I think back to sitting in my room, flipping through hundreds of pages of a Writer's Digest, putting stamps on envelopes, and mailing copies of my short stories to various publications. Then anxiously waiting for a hopeful, kind, accepting letter to arrive in the mailbox. This is not a totally dead process, but thankfully, the digital age has made it possible for me and a lot more people to directly share our stories and life's work.
If you had to sum up what you hope people take away from your work, Nigel, what would it be?
I want to tell stories that entertain you. If they move you, provoke, make you question, that is fantastic. If they move you to take positive action in your life and the lives around you or to think about the world a little differently, that is even better. At the least, I hope you enjoy it.
Can you give our readers an idea of what they should be expecting from you next?
Nicholas Colby Johnson from "Nick, Dontae, Gus & Jack" will return, and maybe his friends will too. I also have a sneaky suspicion that Jordy Blackwell from "Private Sessions" gets happy.
Continued success to you, Nigel. How can our readers stay in contact with you and get copies of your books?
Thank you, Cyrus. It is always a pleasure to chat with you. Your readers may join my page to keep in touch. For copies of my books, you may order from any local bookstore. Also, a quick way to get a copy is from an online book retailer like Amazon.

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