Barry Finlay

Barry Finlay was raised on a farm in Manitoba, Canada. Since his retirement from the Canadian federal government in 2004, he has been raising money for children in Africa and for Wounded Warriors Canada. He has also become a bestselling author of non-fiction works, Kilimanjaro and Beyond and I Guess We Missed the Boat and the suspense-filled, The Vanishing Wife. His newest book, A Perilous Question, is another thriller about two young African girls who fall into a human trafficking ring that brings them to America, and the woman who tries to save them. Barry has been honoured by at least one award for each book and is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal. He lives in Ottawa with his wife, Evelyn. 







Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?


I was born and raised on the Canadian prairies.  I moved to my current home in Ottawa, Canada with my wife, Evelyn, in the late seventies.  We have two boys, Chris, who lives in Ottawa and Trevor, who lives in Nashville.  I am a Chartered Accountant and Certified Management Accountant and spent part of my career writing financial policy. While policy is not necessarily the most exciting subject, it did hone my writing skills.  I am semi retired now, which gives me more time to write and pursue other interests.  One of my passions is to help the children of Tanzania so my family and I hold events to raise money. Right now we are focusing on helping young women in Tanzania start small businesses.  The book came out of my climb of Africa’s highest mountain at age 60 with our son Chris.


Describe your book ‘Kilimanjaro and Beyond’ in 30 words or less.


It is an honest, exciting and humorous example of the satisfaction that can be achieved by helping oneself and others.


What was the hardest part of writing your book? 


Since Chris climbed with me and he provides his input from a 30-year old perspective, I will speak for him as well.  I believe the hardest part  was ensuring that the descriptions are vivid enough that people can experience the physical and mental challenges we went through preparing for the climb and being on the mountain and the emotional experience of meeting the Tanzanian children afterwards.  We both wanted people to be right beside us as they read the book.  I think we accomplished that with the help of our wonderful editor, Kip Kirby, who kept asking for more.


What books have had the greatest influence on you?


This is going to sound like an evasive answer from a politician but I think I am influenced by the people who write the books.  I am inspired by the work people like Greg Mortenson have done to help make the world a better place.  I am inspired by ordinary people who do extraordinary amazing things.  I generally like to be entertained when I read.  I admire nonfiction authors who have the ability to draw a reader into the book in the first few pages.


Briefly share with us what you do to market your book?


 I have done book signings in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Toronto.  I have sold the book at craft markets. I have made numerous presentations about my journey and done a number of TV, newspaper and radio interviews.  I try to maintain a presence on Twitter, Facebook and many of the book blog sites and have done interviews with other bloggers.  It is time consuming, but enjoyable for the most part.


How do you spend your time when you are not writing?


I still work part time but I try to be active. I try to go to the gym three times a week.  I love to play golf, ride my bike, hike and travel.  We have two granddaughters so it is great fun to spend time with them.


What are you working on next?

I have two projects on the go. Since I was in leadership roles throughout most of my career, I am writing short essays on leadership as I see it on a new blog  I am also writing a creative nonfiction book about some of the funny things that have happened during our travels around the world.  More information will be available on that at

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