When did your work first appear in the magazine, Don?
I started being published in the magazines in 2000, with the story ‘The cows who fought back.'
Since then, many of your Barry Pratley stories have appeared, in all parts of the mag from Countdown through to Touchdown. Where did Barry come from?
When I was teaching, I had a kid in my class who was always late, and whenever we had news, the news was always about him and his adventures. He always had a strange story to tell that had happened to him or to him and his mates. Over time, Barry Pratley evolved from that student, I suppose. Barry's a sort of old-fashioned kid. He gets on with all sorts of people, including girls, and he has a genuine interest in things and life in general. He's certainly not cool; a bit of a geek. But a true thinker. An original thinker with a real sense of wonder about him.
In Touchdown 1, 2012 we're publishing your story ‘Montgomery's moose juice.' It's full of your trademark humour and larger-than-life scenarios. Where did Montgomery the moose emerge from?
I don't really know! I've always liked mooses; I used to watch the cartoon show Rocky and Bullwinkle, and I like the fact that a moose is very powerful. This story just felt right when I wrote it. It worked. I'm putting together another story about Montgomery, the poetic moose, as a matter of fact.
Do you enjoy being published in the mags?
I love it. I'm retired from teaching now, and I always look forward to writing—it's a great and precious experience for me, and one of the most important things in my life. It's really special for me to have the opportunity to send my work in to the magazine; it's one of the few places that accepts unsolicited manuscripts, and that's to my advantage as I don't work through an agent.
Versions of Barry:
|Barry by Craig Phillips|
Barry by Tohby Riddle
Barry by Peter Sheehan
Barry by Tom Jellett