We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Barili and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, we’d love to hear more about your end-goal, professionally.
I am fortunate to have a military pension, and I hope to have a pension for my time as a DoD civilian employee, so my main goal for my writing career is that I can someday make writing my full-time occupation, and write books that help people escape from this crazy world in which we live. I’ve never much been motivated by awards or money, so doing something of value to someone else is what’s important to me.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been writing fiction since I was in my early teens, completing a fantasy novel as a high school junior. I served twenty years in the Air Force, which put a crimp on my creative efforts, but I resumed my writing in 1995 and have not stopped since. I earned a degree in English from University of Nebraska at Omaha, but didn’t sell any fiction until I enrolled in the MFA in Fine Arts program at Western State Colorado University. During our first summer residence, Professor Russell Davis snapped us out of our genre ruts and had each of us write something completely different from our normal writing. For me, that meant writing a western. That story, Titled “Yellow,” sold to an online western story site for a whopping $5. Since then, I have sold fiction in the genres of western, romance, fantasy, science fiction, and horror. I can;t say WHAT got me where I am today, but I can say who. It started with the teachers/mentors who not only told me I could, but showed me how and supported me. I’m also fortunate to be part of the incredible support network for writers that exists here in the Pikes Peak region. I hesitate to bring up names because I will almost certainly leave someone out. But the old saying “no man is an island” is just as true in the writing business as it is in life.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The Colorado Springs area has so much to offer. I would definitely tell them to check out our fantastic outdoor scene. Palmer Park. Ute Valley. Stratton Open Space. State parks, and national ones. If you’re not doing outdoor things in this state, you’re doing it wrong. For a week-long trip, I’d tell them to rent a cabin in Estes Park or a similar community and let nature heal you.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My fiancee Mireille Grega. She has overcome so much adversity, and yet remains a kind, caring person. In her fifties, she started her new career as an accountant and is impressive as her firm’s corporate tax expert. She sees me for who I am and loves me for it, never flinching at what my disease could mean for her and her life. I dedicate this shout-out to her the woman with whom I’ll spend the rest of my life.