Interview with T. H. Barker

What is your writing process?
I think it's best to say that for inspiration, my eye lights upon something or someone and I develop a scene for it in my head. Then it begins... Oddly, I'm not prone to massive revisions -- I start typing and the vast majority of edits are typographical, not word choice or moving things around. After I've written a few chapters, I go back and outline what I have and hyperlink the scenes so I can reference them quickly and ensure continuity and I make character thumbnails for the characters that appeared under my fingers as I typed. I don't develop characters first and I don't outline -- my characters surface in the story and I flesh them out as I go. I let them do what they're going to do and they tell me the story and I write it down. When I sit down to write a story, I never know how it will end -- I just know that it will flow from the original situation in some manner.
What do your fans mean to you?
They validate me. They let me know that I'm providing entertainment -- pleasure and laughter and maybe an opportunity for thought -- and occasionally, one of them tells me I'm screwing up. I take THAT seriously, too. People who take the time to write me an email generally get an answer, even -- ESPECIALLY -- critics! Sometimes, the limitation appears to be theirs -- I write about just about EVERY sexual practice and I can squick people -- but a lot of times, they have something important to say, even then. You can't create totally in a vacuum.
Reviewers are a lot of fun. I love getting reviews, but a review from someone who is looking for something other than what I write can KILL a book! The very first review I ever got was from someone looking for a stroke story who decided my stuff was too romantic. That drove me to put out more hard-edged stuff -- which may or may not have been a good thing. Recently, I got a review on a title I consider to be relatively innocuous, if odd -- 'The Date.' I got NO stars -- the reviewer HATED it -- but she READ it and she apparently couldn't put it down and she said GOOD things about it! To quote the review:
" And yet I couldn't stop reading. One minute I thought the story was cruising in one direction, just to be immediately jarred onto an entirely different course. Did not anticipate AT ALL what I got with this one. From the characters to the dialogue to the themes, certainly the most singular erotic title I've read in a long time. Much to be said for that."
I dunno. To me, that's a good review. I must've done something right.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Absolutely! In fact, it was a novel! When I was a kid in school, I HATED to write -- my work was generally technically excellent, but English teachers sometimes let their prejudices impact a student's efforts. Besides, I'm a lefty and I have TERRIBLE handwriting! But in 2002 or so, I discovered my first adult story site -- and some of the content was, well, pitiful. I decided I could do better. I was in a poor situation at home and I needed the escape, so I sat down and threw myself into 'Second Best.' Word processors being a LOT better than my handwriting, I wasn't hampered -- and I cranked out 136 chapters! You can find it out there, under my original pseudonym, Thinking Horndog, if you go looking for it. It was a runner-up for an annual site award, so it was pretty clear that I was right all along...
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I know the first story that actually had an impact, anyway. That was 'Have Space Suit, Will Travel,' by Robert Heinlein. I was, jeez, thirteen, maybe? I could have been a bit younger. Maybe I was. My folks had broken up and I needed protection -- and Oscar the Space Suit resounded with me. He wrapped himself around the main character and protected him from harm. I needed that. Then I found 'Starman Jones.' Heinlein turned me on to Science Fiction in a big way -- I read it voraciously for decades -- and still do. Sadly, a lot of recent stuff just isn't as good... One thing he taught me is that your characters don't have to be Superman. They can be real people -- and they NEED to be. Donald Hamilton did that well in his Matt Helm series. Ignore the movies and read the books -- they're GREAT!
How do you approach cover design?
I do my own covers. You could call me cheap, but collecting 3-D content for DAZ Studio is NOT cheap -- it probably costs more than hiring some artistic genius to do it for me. I THOUGHT it would be cheap... Rumor has it that you really needn't depict a scene from the book -- but I tend to at least allude to one. The cover for 'Fishing in a Different Pond' is an exercise in how to screw up a book cover; it's one thing to READ about a fat, ugly woman and to feel sorry for her in print, and ANOTHER to SEE her on the book cover! Sales of that book suck, despite what I consider to be some pretty hot content -- because we're visually oriented, and people look at that cover and are turned off. That's actually the second revision -- I shrank the woman some -- but the results haven't been all that effective. As a result, I write about thick women and I add some poundage to the ones on the book covers to avoid making them look like fashion models -- but I try to keep them interesting.

I continue to do my own covers -- and I hope I'm getting better at it. Looking at them, though, I'm unhappy with some. I never claimed to be an artist...
What are your five favorite books, and why?
'Dune' by Frank Herbert. Superb, intricate plotting and great characters.
'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' by Robert Heinlein. Just generally captivating.
'The Hunt for Red October' by Tom Clancy. I love the wealth of technical detail on military systems.
'Summer Camp, Book 1:Susan' by Nick Scipio. Nick continues to slowly add to the 'Summer Camp' series. It showed me that you COULD write good erotica if you tried... You can only find this on online.
'The Warlock in Spite of Himself' by Christopher Stasheff. Yeah, I can do fantasy -- ESPECIALLY if you back it with SciFi... You have to love the characters...
What do you read for pleasure?
Science Fiction and good erotica. By the way, 'Fifty Shades' is NOT good erotica IMHO. Sorry!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My desktop, oddly, enough. I relax in my home office over dinner and read on the big monitor. I don't own a tablet, but I have a big-screen phone -- almost 7" tablet-sized. That works when I'm out. I write on my laptop, but so many wifi sites have content filters that getting to erotica in particular is difficult, so I seldom read on it.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I cross-pollinate from my free site: http://www.asstr.org/~Thinkers_tales/ I have a following from my other pseudonym on the couple of free sites that I post stories on. I can't publish all of my works as e-books -- the TOS for various publishers of e-books tends to shy away from what was once my main genre -- coming of age stories for teens in high school. It's galling, as the limitation doesn't reflect the real world -- most kids nowadays do NOT make it to eighteen in anything resembling a virginal state -- but I'm not allowed to publish written works about it, First Amendment or no First Amendment. I've been thinking about putting up a Facebook page, but there seem to be so many dangers inherent in sharing your personal information, let alone the fact that if I have to use my limited free time for something, I would rather be writing...
Describe your desk
It's a mess. I'm a computer geek by trade, so it is fair to say that it is a workstation, not a desk. I have my work laptop, my personal laptop, my main workstation that I compose book covers and do the bulk of my authoring work on, then I have a couple of OTHER computers for various purposes. Papers and bills are scattered all over -- but the bills get paid and the papers are work stuff, not authoring. Virtually EVERYTHING I do as an author is on electronic media.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I started out a farm kid in the Midwest, then when my parents divorced and my mother remarried, I became a military brat. We traveled here and there, but settled in West Texas. That's where I was a teen and that's where I consider my home to be. That's where the formative events of my life occurred, in general. We took some hard knocks -- my mother's second marriage ended with the death of my stepfather, for instance, and that isolated me some, and made it difficult for me to betray much emotion to anyone. I know all about loneliness and not being popular and stupid things like being poor at sports -- and having to be responsible beyond what should be required for a young teen. I know ALL about being ignored... The results show up in my writing.
When did you first start writing?
2003. If you'd told me when I was a kid in high school that I would be an author, I'd have laughed in your face! But I don't have to do it longhand and as I indicated elsewhere, I was reading some pretty poor stuff online, so on a whim, I decided to write a 'short story' -- which somehow bloomed to 136 chapters! And once I started, well, frankly, I CAN'T STOP!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've been publishing on free sites -- but they don't have any market penetration, for lack of a better word. I wanted my stuff to be available to more people, using a more mainstream distribution process. Money doesn't REALLY enter into it -- I hope to make enough to pay for book cover content, replacement laptops, and the occasional beer...
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
They've provided a venue. I think they're GREAT!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The joy of creation. Second would be the occasional email that says I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I would write without it.
Some of your stuff is sort of, well, rough. Why?
This goes back to the first story I published as an e-book -- 'The Pickup.' Some turkey looking for something REALLY violent or for pure stroke wrote a review that described the book as 'a boring love story.' It stung me some, and I went out and wrote some stuff with rougher edges. If you've been on my free site, you know that I don't always go in those directions. In any case, in general, the books are less nasty than the titles suggest -- I just can't take it to the wall. Frankly, it just doesn't happen in real life. Nobody -- NOBODY -- is just totally evil, and nobody -- NOBODY -- gets EVERYTHING right. Opportunities come and go -- and you pass them up or you don't recognize them or whatever. The evil genius who continues to abuse his or her victims until they're just protoplasm doesn't REALLY exist, so I can't pretend that he or she does. ALL of my stories are love stories, one way or another...
Published 2013-11-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Inheritance
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 24,800. Language: American English. Published: March 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Couples Erotica
ADULT CONTENT! Cynthia and Jeff were high school sweethearts who got married and started a family. Frank, Jeff's widowed father, helped the young couple out where he could. But fate changed the game, intervening to disrupt their plans, bringing first hardship and then disaster, and leaving the survivors wondering whether it was more important to be loved and happy or to please others?
Are You Gonna Do My Mom?
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 101,190. Language: English. Published: December 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Contemporary
Todd Mason's mother decided to check out online dating -- but she was nowhere near as savvy as her son about the internet. Instead of a genuine online dating site, she stumbled onto the back end of a 'meat-market' site. Coincidentally, it was one that Todd's friend Nick Wallace was surfing! Nick decided to take things to the wall -- and Todd didn't like it, but crossing Nick was DANGEROUS!
The King of the Camp Followers
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 87,800. Language: English. Published: November 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Sci-Fi Erotica
ADULT CONTENT! Tulagi and Zelaz are mercenaries -- soldiers for hire, used by star nations to augment their armed forces. It's a rough, violent life, the rewards of which include pillage and rapine on a regular basis. Tulagi has his little ways -- such as the physical, mental, and sexual domination of almost everyone in his orbit. Tulagi sees potential in Zelaz and takes him under his wing...
"Once You Go Black..."
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 51,680. Language: English. Published: April 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Interracial
ADULT! Okay, I know the picture that came to mind when you read this title -- but if I gave you that the tale would be kind of predictable, wouldn't it? Instead, I present something a little different... This is a tale about consequences, about perpetuating a legend when you aren't legendary. It's about blackmail and revenge and the dirty little secrets you don't even tell your partner.
Cuck Club
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 189,090. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Contemporary
ADULT CONTENT! Ned's wife Diane put John in an embarrassing position by coming on to him, but when John approached Ned about it, he discovered that Ned had his own reasons for encouraging John -- and so did Diane. Things moved rapidly in directions that none of them expected -- and they kept escalating. Soon Ned and Diane were telling others about John's talents -- and John was branching out...
Augie and Terry
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 37,510. Language: English. Published: October 14, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Contemporary
ADULT CONTENT! Augie and Terry were married and in love - but they had a problem - or maybe more than one.The basic issue was sexual compatibility - which eventually prompted Terry to push for outings to dark places where sex was plentiful, but anonymous. Augie wasn't thrilled, but he went along with it. But was this JUST Terry's problem or was it Augie's, too? Was there more to it?
"There Are Dogs, And..."
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 83,030. Language: American English. Published: September 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM, Fiction » Erotica » General
ADULT CONTENT! Monica, Jerry's new wife, was a bitch. Jerry wanted out, but he was a nice guy and Monica would take him to the cleaners! So he went to Bob -- and Bob had this inspiration... What if he could fix it such that Monica had a boyfriend -- one whose identity had to be kept secret? It might open several doors... Besides, Monica was a bitch, right?
The Date
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 40,440. Language: English. Published: December 28, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Couples Erotica
WARNING! ADULT CONTENT! Zeb wasn't a whiz at meeting women -- he was entirely too 'average.' Frustration caused him to develop an off-the-wall method of getting past the initial issues involved -- but it would take a particular type of woman to make it work...
Bad Men III: Throwing Christians to the Lions
Series: Bad Men, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 84,270. Language: English. Published: November 20, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » General, Fiction » Erotica » Interracial
Hard Mike the bookie's new ventures were doing well. He had some new wrestlers in training and he was adding young princes -- teen gigolos -- to his staff to go with his princesses. But the the new wrestlers weren't quite cooked and a pimp colleague that he owed a favor came looking for something special -- something that Mike could provide by drawing on 'talent' from his collection of debtors.
Bad Men II: Hard Mike’s Princesses and Gladiators
Series: Bad Men, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 87,070. Language: American English. Published: August 14, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Contemporary
ADULT! Hard Mike's business ventures were panning out. The test marketing of his female gladiators performing their combination of wrestling and sex was highly successful, and his little princesses, his barely-legal courtesans, were highly popular. Mike needed two things -- to ensure that Katie's parents didn't cause problems and to acquire a third wrestler. It was time to visit the Montoyas...
Bad Men I: Hard Mike's New Business Ventures
Series: Bad Men, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 78,170. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Action/Adventure, Fiction » Horror » Crime
Adults Only! Hard Mike was a bookie -- and he was doing fairly well... But Hard Mike was ambitious -- and he had more bad debts than normal. Beating the shit out of losers didn't fix the problem, because they tended to be too broke to be able to come up with anything, even after the abuse. But they DID have SOME assets -- their self-respect, their women, their kids -- so Mike took THEM to use...
Nick and Tawnya
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 19,480. Language: English. Published: May 2, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Interracial
Adults Only! Nick was a player. He could smell a slut for black cock at fifty feet across a crowded dance floor! Chicks lined up to try out his monster meat in every hole... Now, the problem with this was that Nick was married -- to Tawnya. As long as she didn't KNOW what he was doing, she could look the other way -- but one day, he slipped up. It was time to pay...
Slavery in Black and White, Episode III: The Problem Child
Series: Slavery in Black and White. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 52,250. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
Adults Only! Explicit Sex! A couple of years have passed and Honey and her son Rudy have settled in and are comfortable with their owners -- but Rudy is a young man, and he's GOING to have a sex life with girls his age, especially since he is more mature and experienced. His situation requires him to keep things cool, but when he runs into a young woman who won't be put off, the fireworks start!
Slavery In Black And White, Episode II: The Complete Domestic
Series: Slavery in Black and White. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 42,320. Language: English. Published: February 15, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
Adults Only! Explicit Sex! Desperate for work, Louise Harmon sat through an embarrassing web conferenced interview with a firm that promised her a domestic placement upon acceptance. Louise thought it was probably a scam and dismissed it afterwards -- but they DID call back and they DID want her! Little did she know that the slaver, Grouper Jenkins, had plans for Louise AND her teenage son!
Slavery in Black and White, Episode 1:
Series: Slavery in Black and White. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 31,940. Language: English. Published: February 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM, Fiction » Erotica » Interracial
Adults Only! Explicit Sex! Kendra Thompson was in the wrong place at the right time. Patrolling the grounds of a nightclub looking for her errant boyfriend, she made life inconvenient for Grouper Jenkins, a white slaver on the prowl. His usual product was young blonde coeds, who he kidnapped, trained and sold -- but the silly black slip kept wandering though his ambush site...
The Rescue
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 25,000. Language: English. Published: February 4, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Romance
Adults Only! Pam was going under for the last time. Empty nest syndrome left her divorced and alone, without support, and a single misfortune caused her to be gradually stripped of virtually all of her possessions. The end was coming... soon. Jasper Jernigan couldn't allow that to occur -- but it wasn't up to him. Would Pam's stubborn pride destroy her in spite of his efforts to save her?
Fishing in a Different Pond
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,620. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Contemporary
Adults Only! Have you ever wondered what goes on in an adult theater? Okay, maybe 'What?' isn't the question. Maybe the questions are 'How?' and 'Why?' Maybe even 'Who?' Robin had no idea what went on -- just dark imaginings. but her issues led to desperation -- and what she learned will no doubt surprise YOU as much as it did her! It's hot, explicit action involving real characters!
The Pickup
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 25,210. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM
Margot was a twenty-something girl on her own. She had some bad habits, made some mistakes, and a run of bad luck brought it all home to roost. Soaking wet, next to a broken-down car containing all of her worldly goods, she figured that she'd hit bottom -- but when she climbed into Ed's pickup she learned that there was some distance to go yet. It's a fine mix of slavery, romance and hot sex...