"Pivot is perhaps one of the best first novels I have ever read. Tight. Clean. Imaginative. It's rare for a first-time author to create a homicidal protagonist who you want to follow. ...in Pivot, Barlow creates a universe of cruel."—Weston Ochse, AwardWinningAuthorofBurningSky
“Beyond good and evil, Pivot juggles archetypes until you're not sure which ball is airborne and which is still in the author's hand. A story about cracking free of your intended role in life, as plot and depth travel at the same exceptional speed.”— @JoshMalerman
"Pivot is perhaps one of the best first novels I have ever read. Tight. Clean. Imaginative. It's rare for a first-time author to create a homicidal protagonist who you want to follow. I'm eager to read more of these characters, because in Pivot, Barlow creates a universe of cruel."
—Weston Ochse, Award Winning Author of Burning Sky
As this was my first book, I learned so many things from the creation of it – character development, plotting, and the fact that you “can’t cheat the grind.” To make progress, to do well, you have to work hard. It’s not romantic, though there are romantic elements. But you can’t cheat it. People will notice when your heart isn’t in it or you have skipped days of work. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand that the things worth having are usually difficult. It has helped me to accept difficulty – it’s a sign of something good, something worthy.
While creating this book, I also came to learn that, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” If you really want something, I mean really really want it, then you won’t stop working until you have achieved/produced it, and no one can get in your way – even if they’re bigger than you. There are so many people out there who will try to convince you not to write, that it’s a waste of time, that the book won’t get published. To pursue your own path in the face of that is difficult, but it is also essential, if you want to write… and if you are to become your own person.
Lastly, I also learned that plotting isn’t everything. After figuring out how to plot, I realized that there’s just something about letting the novel develop organically that is so important. Really, if you sit down and say exactly what you wanted to say when writing, you’ve kind of failed. It’s only by writing something beyond which you knew to write that you have succeeded – when you write more than you thought you knew.
My favorite thing about Jack - the main character - is her genuineness in all things. Although she commits terrible acts, she is also fully genuine in doing them. She doesn’t know right from wrong, based on her upbringing. She is dangerous but innocent, as well. In other words, she comes at everyone on as equal of terms as she can understand. Though she fits into a psychological horror type of villain at times, she is not necessarily a psychopath, as every psychopathic trait she has is a learned attribute, a second nature, rather than a choice. And each time she is given a choice, she chooses to step beyond this and become something else. Nevertheless, when she has to for survival’s sake or for the sake of saving others, she calls on her dark skills. Basically, she is the-obedient-and-well-trained-servant-who-turns. She is more than willing to create her own code, apart from what she has been taught. Jack is always thinking, planning, plotting, reconsidering, and she is always analyzing what comes her way. She is often calculating – she has to be to achieve what she achieves – but there are also times when she revels in what she does and her unearthly experiences.
PIVOT is the first book of a trilogy I have been working on for about six years. The second and third books, PERISH and PEAK, will be released in 2020 and 2021. PIVOT is about a young girl named Jack Harper who is adopted by the leader of a cult, Cyrus Harper, and turned into an assassin against all who oppose him or blaspheme. As it turns out, Cyrus, the charismatic and maniacal mentor (think Charles Manson meets Lucifer from Supernatural), does indeed have extraordinary powers, as he claims. Half of them come from a creature he has locked in his basement, and the other half… well, you will have to read to find out.
Jack’s well-being is precarious in such an environment where ruthlessness is relentlessly required of her, and so she both curiously and desperately pursues the creature in the basement. When they finally meet, her world is turned upside down, as he offers her more than she could have ever expected―the possibility of escape and her own secret, magical power.
The inspiration behind this book arrived many, many years ago. A friend of mine in high school who was – at least at that time – a Lutheran, invited me to come to a special event her church was having, where an “ex-Satanist” came and spoke about her experiences to the youth group. Looking back on it, I doubt that the woman was an ex-Satanist and strongly suspect it was a scare tactic to make sure the youth group didn’t veer from being Lutheran. At the time, though, it sparked an idea in me, and that idea grew over a decade into something entirely different.