T.A. Barnes is an American author. He is third-generation in newspaper work, with a career behind him in community newspapers. He entered the business in the 1970s with his first reporting job at a Virginia weekly. He left the business about thirty years later, with the sale of his two Texas papers.
In moving from reporter to editor to publisher, he was a consistent award winner at various state and national newspaper writing competitions, including New Mexico’s E.H. Shaffer Award for Investigative Reporting and other first or runner-up awards for Editorials, Columns and News Writing there and in other states.
His education, following military prep school, is a checkerboard of self-assigned learnings driven by interest or need to know. It might be his attitude toward formal education could be summed up by the words of his former Latin teacher in military school, jotted on a failed quiz translation: “Mr. Barnes, you’re a pretty good poet, too, but here we’re reading Virgil.”
Not that he’d recommend this path, but the writer’s greatest lessons, it seems to him, have come from travels of all kinds here in the U.S., as well as Europe and Central America, which includes plenty of hitch-hiking, a couple of horseback trips running about a thousand miles each, and too many Greyhounds, trains, boats and planes to think about.
They’ve come, those lessons that matter, from the people he’s known and loved, and some he’s just observed because after all, it’s people who teach us about life—what works, what doesn’t.
There’s a lot to be learned from our labors, too, and there’s been a whole variety of that, especially in the young years. No doubt some of those lessons that matter came from those various worlds.
What it all adds up to aside from a lot of good times and more love than he probably ever deserved, is a tough call, but if a few books worth reading come out of it, that’s something.
The author’s first novel was written in his late twenties. His last one is a ways off, he hopes. Literary novels interest him the most. The intricacies of our inner struggles and the awfulness of the creative effort are two themes which seem to run consistently in his work.
Today, T.A. Barnes and his wife of twenty-eight years live in the Texas Hill Country, where he’s working on his next novel, since at this point, he’s about dropped the idea of trying to quit the writing. Like the old town drunk, he’s sworn off it many times since he first began pecking on an old Royal typewriter at about age 13.
Seems he just ends up finding himself at it again, lost in a precarious world of his own making, from which his only escape is to see the thing through.