Interview with A. Keith Barton
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: James Deaver, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Stuart Woods, Robin Cook, James Patterson,
Jonathan Kellerman, Greg Rucka, Tess Gerritsen
Q: The Protocol was published in China. How did that come about?
A: My agent, Barbara Harris' son goes to school in China.
My novel , The Protocol,
was part of a five-book deal with Harris Literary Agency
and China. The Chinese are interested in anything American
and especially enjoy suspense thrillers, involving espionage,
terrorists, and good vs. evil. With the recent trade agreement
with China, you will see a lot more exporting of American
art forms to three billion people.
Q: Were there any changes you had to make to the Chinese version
so that it conforms to Chinese law?
A: None, that I'm aware; the Baijia Publishing House in Shanghai, China
did the translation; everything is in Chinese except for the title and my
name. They have the rights for six years to publish in Chinese language
Q: How does your work as a clinical psychologist impact your writing?
A: My ideas for getting inside the antagonist's heads come
from my clinical imagination. The
Protocol draws from
my experiences working in psychiatric facilities. Interesting
enough, The Protocol was my third book, because
I was determined not to be stereotyped as a psychological
Camouflage draws from
my two years living in Bermuda while my father was stationed
there in the navy in 1955. I wanted to concentrate on the
island and sensual visual scenery as a backdrop for a mystery
The Reunion was taken
from my own experiences in high school, college, ROTC. Many
of my ROTC buddies flew F-4s in Nam; however, I was unable
to go due to a knee injury.
High Rise is a good
old fashion detective story and is the most complicated
plot of my four books. Scenes were drawn from my college
days in Austin.
Q: Do you have a writing schedule?
A: Yes, whenever I have time when I'm not working 40 hours a week as a clinical
psychologist in private practice. Typically I write 4-8 pages a day. All are
Q: If you could trade lives with one of your characters, which one would it be
A: Steve Kerns, the protagonist in Camouflage;
he is a family man who does the right thing and puts family
before job. Of course, I used literary privilege to explore
his affair with the Governor's wife. That is definitely
Q: You were at UT during the Whitman shooting? How did that affect you?
A: I was a returning sophomore and arrived on campus two weeks after the shooting. The campus
was mourning the deaths of twenty-three students and the press was full of stories about
Whitman and his psychological profile. For the first time in my life, I felt vulnerable to
random shootings, which is more common today. I felt sadness for the families of those killed
and when they closed the observation tower at UT.
Q: When did you first know you wanted to write?
A: At 50, having read fiction all my life, I figured I had
something to say. I quickly wrote four books in eighteen
months plus an autobiography.
Writing is my therapy and I enjoy it immensely.