Exclusive Interview with
Anthony Rocha Newton
When did you start writing?
I've always written stories - ever since primary (elementary) school - I've always wanted to tell stories & entertain people.
What makes writing your passion?
I am not really sure - something about the written word - whether as text only or accompanied by illustrations - just seems magical to me. That, coupled with my cartooning ability means I can tell & show people the stories I want to tell.
How long have you been writing?
Pretty much all my life.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
My 1st real book was a collaborative comic back in 2003 & that was exciting. However when I got back to it after a sabbatical, the 1st outing with my entirely new characters was just amazing - I sold out! It invigorated me to write even more!
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My characters are meant to illicit the feel & look of the books we read & oloved as kids but in a completely adult way - they are pure joy to write & I am told to read. I wanted something new... something fresh & Barry fit the bill admirably. The alcoholic exploits of the characters always ends badly (because alcohol) - but the stories are always fun to read.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
For me in Australia, a real lack of direction for my kind of book as it is not a novel, or a comic, but falls somewhere in between & sadly I am sliding through the cracks of a publishing world.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I focus on something else entirely. Eventually - ideas start coming back - they pretty much never stop.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I love writing & if myt stories amuse even a single person - then I am happy. Advice? Never give up. If you want to tell a story do so - & do it for the love of it. The moment you do it JUST for $$, then you will never really enjoy the process again. If you do it to make YOU happy, then you will never 'work' a day in your life.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
1st I would give him the exact times & dates & places to meet my friends, wife & when to conceive my beautiful son. Then give him all the info to create the characters I love to write & draw. Then tell him to be confident & take the art path I missed the 1st time around. After that - invest in a little thing called Microsoft or Apple :)
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
TBH I have never had one before, so I cant really answer
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
See above - althought I assume it would feel great!
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Some of my earlier comics incorporated dreams I had - but the Barry books are just ridiculous fun with no basis in real life.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
In my comics - Lightning Force the superhero. And he was never MEANT to be me, but the writing & gentle 'ribbing' he got was basically me.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
It can be yes. If the cover is not engaging, it will not grab someone's attention.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I do - I love chatting with the mums & dads who buy Barry books. It's always a blast
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I always feel villified when the work is appreciated. Its a great feeling. Thus far I have NOT been recognised as a random public writer person.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Tolkein. I grew up on the Hobbit - made me want to read so much more.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Not too big... just enough to get by. If I could get Barry into proper publication & maybe even 1 season of an animated series & some merch... i would be deleriously happy.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
Yes. Just the superhero & pop culture books. In case I get bigger they may step on toes - so I would need to re-do them with my own characters - but the stories would stay the same.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
That's tough. None come to mind.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
Nothing. Zero. Trolls are made to be baited so if you say nothing, you beat them.
What would you say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy the books folks - they were fun to make so I hope they are fun to read.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live in suburban Sydney with my wife I met on eHarmony. We have a beautiful 3 year old boy with Down Syndrome & we are a part of a small charity called the Right Start Foundation trying to spread education about it.
What is your day job if you have one?
Desk jockey for a legal I.T firm... nothing fancy.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I make short films, I play with my son, I watch Netflix (etc), I love bowling, I enjoy music festivals & dance &, whenI can, I love to travel.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Sort of. Dad was a hard arse but mum was always kind. I was bullied a lot at school but had decent nerd mates.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Not really. I kind of just... did.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
So far 2 last books in the Barry Beer series & one unrelated I have had bugging me for 25 years & I can't get a handle on it but it wont leave me alone. It is the story of how Gilligan's Island was a training ground for secret spies & involves TV characters from across the decades. Cant get past the damn intro.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Art. We need more art. And inclusion - we desperately need to teach kids about how to include people of different backgrounds, race, religion & ability in life. Oh & how to balance a budget!
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
1 - Have a few million to set myself & my family up
2 - to have super powers (esp flight)
3 - to ensure I live a long life for my son (I am a late stage dad & dont want to leave him too early)
What is your favorite music?
All kinds - seriously. From j-pop to metal to classical to rock to country to blues to Brazilian folk music & beyond. If it's good - I listen
Share a secret with us 🙂
I appeared in the 2003 "Superman Returns" as the main doctor in Metropolis Hospital watching Superman roll past me & "my team".