Today we at The World According To Quinn have the pleasure of sitting with Ian Barnes, a junior at Ohio University.
Author: So, where are you from?
Ian: I grew up in the Huntsburg Township, in northern Ohio. My father helps manage the East Branch Reservoir there, for the city of Akron. My mother is a teacher in Cardinal High School. I graduated from there in 2009.
Author: Did you ever have your mother as a teacher?
Ian (reddens): Nope. Although I had friends who had parents for teachers, my mother was always careful to avoid that. Even if there's no favoritism--or overdoing it to avoid favoritism--it still doesn't look good to a lot of people.
Author: That's cool. How is school going for you these days?
Ian: It's going well. I'm now a staff writer for The Post, the Ohio University student newspaper. My beat is student activities, so I do a lot of stories on the Greek system, clubs, and the like. It's really interesting.
Author: That's how you met Sarah, right?
Ian (raises eyebrow): How did you...oh, wait, you talked to her already.
Ian: Cool. I was doing a story on the work they were doing for the local food bank. Every Saturday--and I mean every Saturday--a bunch of them go to the Southeastern Ohio Food Bank and help organize donations. I went along with them a couple of times to get a feel for the story, interview some of the girls, and talk to officials at the food bank.
Author: Did you start dating her then?
Ian (shakes head): Nope. When I first came to the school, I had a tendency to... (Swallows) Ask girls out too soon. Pouncing on someone I just met would just be doing the same thing I'd done before and likely get the same results. I think that's what Einstein called "insanity."
Author: Makes sense. So how did you end up dating?
Ian: Well, I'd taken some Advanced Placement classes and that allowed me to finish my core curriculum up a bit early, which in turn freed up more time to take interesting electives. One of them was folklore. I'd like to be a novelist, you see, even though I'm majoring in health communications. Guess who was in the class with me?
Ian: I didn't want to be too eager at first, but if you see someone fairly often and get to know them better, that makes this less, well, "now or never." Plus she actually lives pretty close to me, so we can see each other during the summer.
Author: So what about folklore interests you?
Ian: Well, I always did like urban legends. The class has a good bit of material on urban legends originating in Ohio, including some from my neck of the woods. It's always interesting to know where these stories come from and how they change over the years.
Author: Do you think any of those stories are true?
Ian: I'm sure some started out with a grain of truth, but the tale grows with the telling, you know. The "melon heads" story, for example. A bunch of hydrocephalic kids escaping a doctor who was abusing them? That makes sense. But them living out in the woods long-term and actually reproducing? Seems far-fetched, especially since I've heard hydrocephalus will kill without treatment.
Author: Makes sense. What kind of novels are you interested in writing?
Ian: Well, I've always figured I could write the Great American Novel, but let's be realistic--I need more life experience. In the meantime, I think I can write some good comedy. One writer I like is Christopher Moore. I really liked his vampire trilogy, at least the first two, while The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove and Lamb were pretty funny too.
Author: Have you started writing anything?
Ian: I've been taking notes for the last couple of years for a college comedy. Think Van Wilder, but not nearly as vulgar.
What will Ian do when he finds out the Melon Heads aren't just a story? Find out by reading "Melon Heads," available at Amazon.
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