Josh Barnett, a Glen Rose native, is set to publish his first book The Beast of Rose Valley on March 4.
The synopsis states: “After suffering through a horrific car accident, Jake Rollins struggles to survive in his tiny hometown of Rose Valley—a place to which he hoped never to return. When a sheep is viciously mutilated on the ranch where Jake is recovering, he’s dragged back into the cloying politics of small-town life. While the Sheriff tries to pass off the incident as the work of coyotes, Jake turns to a local reporter and old high school flame, Shandi Mason, to search for the truth. They discover that this creature has stalked Rose Valley before, claiming nearly a century of carnage and intrigue, all starting with a shameful secret guarded over by one of the town’s most respected citizens. As livestock mutilations escalate into deadly attacks on humans, and the Sheriff organizes a foolhardy manhunt, Jake and Shandi must race to save the town from a seemingly unstoppable evil.”
Barnett graduated from Glen Rose High School in 1997. He went to Texas A&M and graduated in 2002 with a degree in computer science. After he worked for the government for a few years, he became a federal contractor doing software engineering. In 2017, he resigned from his job and started focusing on writing.
Barnett has enjoyed writing since second grade when his teacher gave the class an assignment to write a story about a tiger.
“My story was about a tiger who saved the U.S. military somehow, I don’t remember the details and it was probably not a great story,” he said. “I remember enjoying writing from that point forward and it was something I always did as a hobby. When I was in high school and college and had a lot more free time, I wrote tons and tons of short stories just for fun and in high school in Glen Rose they used to publish something every other year called ‘Reflection’ where students submitted stories so I did a lot of those when I was in high school, so it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I always did it as a hobby but writing a novel was always the end game.”
Writing under the pseudonym, J.P. Barnett, he patterned the fictional town of Rose Valley after Glen Rose.
“One of the advices that people always give you online is ‘Write what you know.’ I decided pretty early on that I was going to set it in a small town that I could base on Glen Rose and I knew about Glen Rose and I was going to base a lot of the characters on my friends and family and that made it really easy for me to focus on the story because the setting was very natural to me,” Barnett said.
Barnett said he loves writing because he likes to have control of his characters and the entire universe that the book is set in.
“I also find it [to be a] really fun problem-solving exercise. One of the reasons I got into computer science is because I love solving problems and writing is very similar; you start with characters and they kind of take on a life of their own and you help them solve their problems, or sometimes you put problems in front of them and see if they solve them and it’s a lot of fun. The other reason [I love writing] is because reading was always a big deal growing up. I know how influential it was to me and so it feels good to be able to do the same thing for someone else. Even the fun [books] spur me into creativity and exploration and I enjoy that about books,” he said.
Barnett has won numerous awards from the San Antonio Writers’ Guild and his work is also featured in “Short Stories” by Texan Authors Vol. 4.
The Beast of Rose Valley is the first book in a trilogy called the “Lorestalker” series. His second novel, The Kraken of Cape Madre is set for release in November 2019. The final book in the series is set to be published in May 2020.
Barnett currently resides in San Antonio with his wife, Akaemi, and their cat Havoc, who “acts like a dog.”
“Glen Rose was a big influence on the book, not only because I based it on it, but because I grew up there. A big part of what I am came from that town. It’s a huge inspiration in my entire life and I'm really glad that I wrote the first book with Glen Rose sort of being the inspiration because it’s a great way to pay tribute to it and a great way to remember it,” he said.
The Beast of Rose Valley will be available for purchase on March 4 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook and other book websites.