Editor's note: Ted Barber will sign his new book, "The Sixth Sun," from 4 to 7 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 22 in Chandler, at the home of his late brother, Tempe detective Tim Barber, 42, who died on Aug. 27 of advanced prostate cancer.
I am a second generation Valley native. I was born in Phoenix in 1967. My mom stayed home for the first five years of my life, putting her special education teaching career on hold in order to teach her own three children. By the age of 5 I was an avid reader. I found a first-grade reader on the sidewalk and mastered it before I started school. In 1972 our family moved to Tempe. This was when the US 60 east ended at Mill Avenue! Throughout grade school (Rural School, which is now a Fry's, and Fuller School), middle school (first class at Fees), and high school (Marcos De Niza), I took an interest in history. My mom saved all of my school reports, which all centered on history.
I had the extra added bonus of a mom who was off for three months each summer. Dad would take vacation and we traveled to nearly every state over the years, including a trip in 1976 back East for the ultimate bicentennial celebrations. Throughout it all, my dad would educate us on the historical background of the sites we visited. In 1980 we took a three-week trip to Europe, which opened my eyes to an even deeper history of the world. About this time the PBS movie, "I, Claudius," was released and I came to understand a little more of the ancient empire.
In 1984 we moved to Mesa (Westwood High, although I will always consider MDN my school). I was selected to be one of the three editors on the school literary magazine that had a once-a-year printing. I submitted four poems (one love and three post-apocalyptical). At this point, growing up in the cold war era, I started writing a novel that incorporated my apocalyptical poems within the novel. This was about the man who could end the world doing it, but having no memory of doing it, and his travels through the wasteland he created as he tries to fix the mess he doesn't believe he made. By the time I finished it, the cold war had ended and I didn't feel the time was right to release it.
In 1999 I left a 15-year career for a job at Arizona State University that my wife had found for me, which included four hours a day downtime. During this time, we were encouraged to do homework. I took advantage of the time and broke out the old novel.
At the same time I started researching the Greek and Roman gods, and the 2012 theory came across my path. As I delved into monuments from around the globe (pyramids and such) I thought to myself: What if signs pointing to destructive periods are right in front of us, yet we don't see them? What if an alien race put them there? Also, my wife's dad had once told me he believed Noah's Ark was actually a spacecraft.
With this background and the encouragement of my spouse, I began to write "The Sixth Sun." It became a study in: Would history repeat itself if no known history existed? At 175 pages I thought I was done. My dad asked me 10 pointed questions and I added 200 pages because of them. My ex-wife and daughter are the inspiration behind the book.
My brother drew five maps for me that are inserted throughout. He was Tempe detective Tim Barber, who died on Aug. 27 at the age of 42 of advanced prostate cancer. His last words to me were, "I read your book," which I take as the ultimate compliment.