[Flag] Issue 1: May 1999
Rising Sun
"For the next Age of Magnamund..."

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Paul Barnett Interview
by Gavin Gallot

If you own any of the Legends novels, you will know this story:

John Grant [Paul Barnett's pseudonym] was born in 1949 in Aberdeen. He now lives in Exeter. Having studied maths, physics and astronomy at London University, it was only natural that he should opt for a career in the arts, dividing his time between acting as an editor or editorial director for various publishing companies and being one of the world's least successful rock singer-song-writers. In recent years he has concentrated his efforts on writing. His thirty-plus [now well over fifty] books include The Directory of Possibilities (with Colin Wilson), Dreamers, Sex Secrets of Ancient Atlantis, A Directory of Discarded Ideas, Earthdoom (with David Langford), Great Mysteries, An introduction to Viking Mythology and the Encyclopedia of Walt Disney Animated Characters. His two major fantasy novels, Albion and The World, were published in 1991 and 1992 respectively. He is Technical Editor of the new edition of the Clute-Nicholls Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and co-editor with John Clute of the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Fantasy.
(The Rotting Land, 1994)

Rising Sun wanted to know more. We recently spoke to Paul, to find out what he is up to nowadays:

GG: Thanks for doing this for us Paul, I really appreciate it, considering how busy you must be. I personally have wondered about your writing name, John Grant? Is it just something you thought up, or is there a story about how it came about?

PAUL: My first two books were anthologies I edited for the publishing company I was working in at the time, and so decided I needed a pseudonym--so that, if I left the company, someone else could take over those books still under the same pseudonym. A fellow-editor and I went to the pub for lunch to think up a good pseudonym. As we waited for our drinks, he ran his eyes along the whisky bottles and saw Johnnie Walkers and Grants. Hence the name. I didn't think much about it until, years later, I was made redundant by a different publishing company. It was then that I decided to earn at least part of my living by writing. It seemed to make sense to be John Grant, who had already published a couple of books, rather than Paul Barnett, who hadn't. Nowadays I wish I'd chosen differently.

GG: We have all seen the Interview you did for Julian at the Monastery in 1997. What have you been up to since then? Obviously you are moving to New York, what was the reason for this, do you plan to push into the Sci-fi/fantasy scene in the U.S. more? I also heard you are getting married?

PAUL: Yes, I'm marrying Pamela D. Scoville, director of the Animation Art Guild, in about four weeks' time. I met her because of my book Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated Characters. Pam's job doesn't really exist in Britain, whereas of course mine does in the USA--not just my writing but also my part-time job as Commissioning Editor of the Paper Tiger list of fantasy art books. So it was obvious that it made sense for me to move to NY, especially since I've long been hankering to see my books be properly published in the States.

I haven't been doing much of interest since Autumn 1997, which is why I've just fired my old agent and got a new one. As soon as I get to the States I'll be starting work on two new books: one on the great animators and the other a huge encyclopedia of animated movies, on which my assistants will be Gary Westfahl, Andrew Osmond and a certain Pamela D. Scoville.

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