Interview with Richard Baris

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in working class neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey. I think it is fair to say that this background followed me throughout academia. I have a tendency to throw in a raw, real-world statement in the middle of an otherwise attempt to be scholastic and credible. However, I always found clear-cut academics to be brutally boring. While I respect the burden of proving an argument, the evidence must be conveyed in a language that makes sense to anyone. I am often criticized for either not being professional enough, or being to difficult for my own father. That probably means I am right where I want to be to convey the truth.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is about human relationships, and their impact on politics. American political history, at its core, tells a story about the natural power of close, intimate human relationships. We have been far too superficial in our attempts to weigh the impact of government on these human relationships. As a result, we have overshadowed the true danger posed to Americans from big government; its strong, innate ability to destroy the human connection, which is threatening to “fundamentally transform” American citizens into a people that the Constitution was never designed to govern. There is no better story to tell, and never a better time to tell it.
Will I still want to read "Our Virtuous Republic" if I have different or no political leanings at all?
I hope that those who are not inclined to agree with my politics are the ones who read "Our Virtuous Republic" in greater numbers. I wrote the book with the precondition that I would offer up an argument that preached to no choir. It is a book about all of us; Republicans and Democrats; rightists and leftists. In reality, it is a book about all of us; Americans and others. We are all human and we all have the same fears, desires, motivations, successes and failures. The more we can learn about ourselves, then the more we can improve the whole of society. Besides, you just may come to realize that each party presupposes certain aspects to human behavior that you are not, at all, in agreement with. That is the intellectual transformation that will make writing the book worth while.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have been fortunate to have a syndicated political column that amassed a small following, which I was able to leverage on social media. The power of social media has become so diluted due to the explosion of Indie authors, such as myself, so it certainly helped to have loyal readers to help with the hype. Those who get to know you through your work either love you or hate you. In a sense, they have already judged a book by its cover and, if they like you, then you will be blessed with their loyalty, reviews and referrals.
Describe your desk
A mess. It scares my wife to death. Next question please.
When did you first start writing?
I have always loved to write, but I didn't enter into serious writing until I had to in order to complete my studies. When I returned home from military service in my late twenties, I could only find a voice for the many messages I wanted get out, through my writing. I haven't stopped writing for years.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I am an independently driven person, so it only makes sense that I chose this path. The money, as well, is much more attractive, but you can be true to yourself and your convictions. If I had published "Our Virtuous Republic" through the university, then I never would have had the ability to tell the story that I wanted to tell. That, itself, would have been a dishonest exercise.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has the ability to consolidate your time as an independent author, which means Indie authors have more time to concentrate on what really matters; your work. This inevitably leads to more quality content. Also, they have multiple social network vehicles to help drive discussion of your work, which otherwise would not have reached a good deal of the readers it must to be successful.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Everyone has, and should use, their God-given reason to contribute something of worth to their fellow-man ( or woman). For me, writing is just a natural tool for me to offer up what I hope will be a small contribution to the human story.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are everything. Nothing gives a writer more gratification than opening his or her email to see a message from a fan who truly appreciates the work you have done, and understands it wholly. There is a connection between a fan and an author that I believe many authors of status are missing out on, and that's a real shame. When you forget what it is you hope to do as a writer, which is impossible without them, you are merely writing for the purpose of self-gratification.
What are you working on next?
Perhaps one of the most common criticisms I have received regarding "Our Virtuous Republic" was that it was light on modern electoral politics. I was trying to get people back to the basics and, at the same time, beyond the superficial partisanship. However, because I write political columns that are often wonky and surround polling and strategy, many people expected a book along those lines. To them, I can now say, "fear not." It is on the way. "21st Century Conservatism" will be ripe with strategy.
Published 2013-10-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract
Price: $3.49 USD. Words: 63,490. Language: English. Published: May 24, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Social Science » Political science, Nonfiction » Politics and Current Affairs » US Constitution
America was founded as a republic, a collective nation of tightly knit families and autonomous communities, who relied upon each other to fulfill their needs and achieve their dreams. As never before, Baris provides a comprehensive explanation to how and why our nation – once held together only by an empowering national identity – has now become increasingly dependent on a centralized government.