james barney
james barney
james barney


Is this interview for real?
A: No. I'm making it up as I go along.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.
A: Okay . . . I'm afraid of clowns.

That's really not that interesting. Sad, but not interesting. Do you have anything else?
A: Sure. I once defended a man in court who was accused of first degree murder.

Now that sounds interesting. Tell us about that experience.
A: It was a pro bono case—one of my first trials. My client was accused of shooting his roommate with a sawed off, double barrel shotgun in a housing project in Southeast Washington, DC.

Sounds gruesome. Did you have to view autopsy photos and all that?
A: Yes. I learned a lot about shotgun wounds in that case. I also made several visits to the crime scene in search of witnesses and evidence.

How did the case turn out?
A: Hung jury—nine to acquit, three to convict. Legal Times wrote an interesting article about it. He was later retried and convicted (but I wasn't involved).

Did this experience have any impact on The Genesis Key?
A: All of my life experiences had an impact, to some extent, on the book. This particular experience shows up a bit in chapter 42.

How long did it take you to write The Genesis Key?
A: All told, about three years.

What's it about?
A: It's a science thriller with a religious twist. The protagonist, Dr. Kathleen Sainsbury, is an ex-NIH scientist struggling to keep her young biotech company afloat. When she learns some disturbing information about the deaths of her parents some three decades earlier, she suddenly finds herself at the center of a swirling mystery involving the U.S. government, the Book of Genesis, and a shadowy organization called the "Olam Foundation." To solve this puzzle, Kathleen must confront the truth about her parents' secret research. Meanwhile, powerful forces are trying to stop her at all costs. It's a race against time, and the future of all humanity hangs in the balance.

Sounds like you've rehearsed that pitch.
A: Yeah, a few times.

What makes The Genesis Key different from other thrillers?
A: The science is real. The characters are also intended to be believable rather than "superheroes," which is what you sometimes find in thrillers of this genre. Kathleen, for instance, is a busy scientist and businesswoman who, through no fault of her own, finds herself in the middle of a struggle between two powerful, unseen forces that are trying to seize control of her technological achievements for unknown purposes. She copes with these circumstances as best she can.

Who do you think would like The Genesis Key?
A: Anyone who likes a realistic, action packed, science based thriller with a religious twist will like The Genesis Key. If you've enjoyed reading books by Michael Crichton, James Rollins, Steve Berry, Robin Cook, Lincoln Child, or Dan Brown, I think you will also enjoy The Genesis Key.

Tell us something embarrassing about yourself.
A: No thanks.

Okay, we'll come back to that one. What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I like spending time with my family. I love to sail. I like listening to music of all types, and, when nobody but the dog is listening, I like to play blues guitar.

Aren't you forgetting something?
A: Man, it's spooky how you can read my mind like that. Yes, I also like to brew my own beer at home. My wife says it makes the house smell like a brewery. I keep telling her, "that's the point!"

Right. So back to The Genesis Key. Where does it take place?
A: Kathleen's company is in Rockville, Maryland. Many scenes in the book take place in and around Washington, DC. Several chapters take place in southern Iraq, near Babylon. Other locations include Annapolis, Maryland and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Does it have a surprise ending?
A: Absolutely. You won't see it coming.

Would it be good a good beach read this summer?
A: Yes, sir. It's a quick read—fast paced action with an intriguing plot that steadily unfolds from the first page to the last. Perfect for the beach.

Okay, we're just about done here. How about that embarrassing story you promised?
A: Hey, I never promised—Oh, whatever. I once drove all the way across Portugal in a two-seat Fiat with no air conditioning to get my girlfriend to the train station in Madrid, only to discover at the border that I'd left my passport back in Lisbon.

Ouch. How was the car ride back to Lisbon?
A: Quiet. Very quiet.

What happened to that girlfriend?
A: She married me. Go figure.

Thanks for your time.
A: My pleasure.