Have you ever read a novel where the hero is barefoot for a while but in the end is “saved” by some fortuitous footwear? As a daily rail commuter I do a lot of reading and in the late 90s became so frustrated by stories like these I decided to write my own!
Being a science fiction buff, it was only natural to put my barefoot characters into such an environment, in what started as a short story exploring some of my ponderings about the nature of space and time. Over the ensuing months and years I kept adding more, taking it forward through several generations of barefooters until it finally reached such a size that my thoughts turned to the possibility of having it published as a novel. After much perseverance that dream became reality, with Barefoot Times released in 2004 under the Zeus Publications imprint.
Of course the writing bug, having caught me, couldn’t be lightly turned aside, so in the following years came more barefoot adventures in Call of the Delphinidae and The Mind of the Dolphins. My latest work, Cry of the Bunyips, continues the series and is currently in the publisher’s production queue awaiting release later this year.
My aim in writing is to make the barefooting an integral part of the whole, an additional way for the characters to experience and interact with their environment. While the shod might see, hear, taste and smell the worlds around them, the barefooters feel them too through the soles of their feet, be it hot sand, gritty rock or the delightful coolness of dew-laden grass. Using their toes as an extra set of fingers provides additional traction when the going gets tough, and they even occasionally find themselves in situations where being barefoot is perhaps unwise but survive nonetheless.
A radio interviewer once asked me if all my hero characters were barefoot and all the villains shod, but real life is never that simple and neither are my books. Not only are there evil barefooters and good shoe-wearers, but the distinction between hero and villain can be just as nebulous. Expect the unexpected and you won’t be disappointed.
If I’ve whet your appetite, visit http://www.barefoottimes.net/ to find out more about the series and see some of the feedback I’ve received. The three published books are available as either physical trade paperbacks or PDF eBooks, with links on each book’s home page to the publisher’s on-line bookshop.