This is a special interview. I want you to read this one carefully and then read “The Tarnished Shooter.” I’m not going to sit around telling you what I think about it. Just read the synopsis and make up your own mind. I think this book will be one you will be buying soon.
Charles James weaves a story that will leave you shocked to the core with “The Tarnished Shooter.” The story begins in 1971. Frank Henry Barker is a troubled young man left in emotional turmoil after years of his father’s abuse. He joins the Marines after getting into more trouble than he can handle—just to escape a probation officer desperate to send him to a reformatory.
This harrowing true life story will have you reeling with the punches as we follow Frank as he battles the demons that haunt him. His anger and rage only compound the problems he has with relationships and society. This book will reveal the thoughts and actions of a person who has been brought up with violence and trained to solve disputes with his fists.
“The Tarnished Shooter” —a compelling five star story of adversity, adventure and the consequences of choices one makes—is based on actual events. This is a story you won’t forget for a long, long time…
Q) Your book “The Tarnished Shooter” isn’t really a book that fits into one category. How would you describe it?
A) I would describe the book as true crime. I don’t know what else to call this because it is basically about crimes that really happened. I have been writing for about three years. The book took three years to write. I wrote the book because I felt it was a story worth telling as it deals with so many issues. I wanted to describe what it was like to suffer from child abuse and harassment from the law. I also wanted to express my thoughts about how little by little our rights get eroded by do-gooders and law makers. We need laws but some are just plain foolish. The writing was also a great therapeutic experience. I held so much hatred and rage it had to come out, and writing about those issues softened the edginess I constantly felt.
Q) How closely does “The Tarnished Shooter” resemble your actual story, Charles?
A) Frank Henry Barker is me. Frank Henry Barker is the main character, and I modeled him after myself. My best friend Clem Jones is like me but didn’t get abused by his parents. He is a classic sociopath, or at least has sociopathic tendencies. My father, Les Barker, was a complex man whom I tried to portray exactly the way I saw him.
Q) Can you summarize your book in 140 characters or less (Tweet size)?
A) Emotional and truthful. This book explains how innocent boys are turned into killers.
Q) How did you choose the title?
A) I had three other titles. One day, I sat and brainstormed until I had the title I thought fit the story. To my surprise the title hadn’t been used yet so I grabbed it. I searched the Internet when I came up with something. If the title or the words were already being used, I discarded the idea and kept brainstorming. Then “The Tarnished Shooter” came crashing into my mind.
Q) What did you learn that surprised you while writing your book? What was the most difficult part?
A) The most difficult part was reliving the experiences from my past. Many times the emotion was still there. I could feel the adrenaline or experience the tears again.
Q) What was your base concept for this book? How did you want this book to appear to readers?
A) My book was supposed to read like a radical manifesto written by a boy who could see through the masks worn by others at very young age. Frank Henry Barker was beyond his age in wisdom.
Q) I would think that “The Tarnished Shooter” hasn’t been popular with all readers. It is a very hard hitting read, and I am sure many people have had many opinions. What has been the worst thing someone has said in comparison to the best things people have been saying?
A) Some said it couldn’t be true. Family didn’t like it because it touched sensitive areas in their own lives. At the same time, some identified with it, and some loved it because they had not been exposed to the kind of lifestyle the main character lived.
Q) Do any of your characters have secrets you can share with our readers?
A) There are many secrets I didn’t reveal about Frank or others in the book. I think it is up to the reader to paint his/her portrait of those characters from the descriptions I provided. I wanted the reader to wonder when or if Frank would finally break down and follow the voices in his head.
Q) Can you describe your writing process? Do you outline, create rough synopses? How did you approach writing a book like this?
A) I started writing when I wrote the first word in this book. I have never been schooled or trained in typewriting, so I peck away at the keys, and it takes me longer to write. Many ideas I get while walking or riding my bike. It takes me a while to figure out exactly how I want to say something. Language and grammar weren’t important subjects to me when I was in school.
Q) Where do you do most of your writing, anyway?
A) I wrote the entire book while traveling the US and living in my 40-foot RV, a Bluebird Wanderlodge. Most do not know I am a writer. I have traveled to many states in the US. I haven’t been out of the country. Traveling the US has opened my eyes to many things and living on the road for the last three years has also made me realize there are many places I could live and be happy.