an extensive career in financial
retiring in 2004, after thirty two years
with the Canadian federal government. He
is a Chartered Accountant (CA) and
Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
who dabbles in the arts as he is also an
award winning decorative wood carver.
Since retiring, he has divided his time
between working as a consultant on
financial policy matters, travel,
playing golf, climbing mountains,
philanthropy and enjoying his two
Barry has always tried to stay active
but working at a desk for so many years
eventually catches up. A visit to the
family doctor, along with a number of
other converging events, encouraged him
to take hold of his life and gave him
the motivation to climb a mountain. The
desire to pursue philanthropy was
spawned while growing up on the family
farm in Rapid City, Manitoba, Canada and
was nurtured by the experience of
meeting the African children who would
directly benefit from his fundraising.
His interest in writing grew throughout
his career while his skills were being
honed by authoring countless financial
policies. While Barry’s family always
encouraged him to inject his dry sense
of humor into his financial policies, it
just didn’t seem appropriate somehow.
Now that time is a little more readily
available, he has taken the opportunity
to put his skills and his sense of humor
to good use. The experience of climbing
Africa’s highest mountain at age 60 with
one of his sons, and discovering the
satisfaction of reaching a goal and
giving others the opportunity to achieve
theirs, was a book waiting to be
written. Kilimanjaro and Beyond, written
with his son Chris, is Barry’s first
novel but now that he has discovered the
joy of writing, it won’t be his last.
Barry lives with his wife, Evelyn, in
a Chartered Accountant (CA) and Certified
Financial Planner (CFP) in Canada, as well
as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in
the U.S. Writing books on subjects that
people can easily read and understand is new
to him. He spends most of his time writing
about the tax and financial consequences of
transactions in a language most people would
rather not read.
When not working in the financial sphere or
writing with his father he enjoys travelling
and spending time with his wife, kids and
dog. He lives with his family in Ottawa.
“…honest, funny, very engaging and
truly written from the heart.”
- Alysha Atma, Salem-News.com,
"The book is a really warm and
inspiring story, and I think
highlights perfectly how a couple of
regular people can really accomplish
- Shannon Singh, Program
Coordinator, Plan Canada
did you grow up and was reading and writing
a part of your life? Who were your earliest
influences and why?
Barry Finlay :
I grew up on the Canadian
prairies in a town of 425 people. I would not
have wanted to grow up anywhere else. I lived
for my first eighteen years on a farm and I
believe it instilled in me certain toughness,
humility, and work ethic. My parents were
obviously my earliest influences. They taught
me that everything had to be earned and that
almost anything could be within reach with
dedication, perseverance and hard work.
While it may be
difficult for some of your readers to relate, we
had no television for the first ten years of my
life and when we did, we had three channels.
Reading was a big part of my life and I loved
the Hardy Boys, the Mark of Zorro and other
adventure books. I didn't start writing until
much later, but a significant portion of my
career was spent writing financial policy. The
policies would not be particularly interesting
for most people, but it did hone my writing
Books-and-Authors.net: Why do you write?
Barry Finlay :The
simple answer is that I write because I have
something to say. Kilimanjaro and Beyond is my
first book but I found the experience so
enjoyable, I know it won't be my last.
Books-and-Authors.net: Discuss your book new
book "Kilimanjaro and Beyond - A
Life-changing Journey ".
last five years of my life have been an incredible journey.
If you had asked me before if any of it would happen, I
would have definitely said, "no." I am very grateful that I
have been able to do it all. The book is a reflection of
that. It describes what it is like to get off the couch
after a sedentary career and lifestyle and do the
preparation to climb one of the world's seven summits. It
takes the reader with my son and I up the mountain and it
describes what it takes to help some very needy children in
another country. In short, it is the story of the
satisfaction of reaching a goal and giving others an
opportunity to achieve theirs.
Books-and-Authors.net: What was your motivations for
publishing "Kilimanjaro and Beyond - A Life-changing
Barry Finlay :There
were a number of reasons. When I was doing my research
before making the climb, I found many technical books, but I
didn't find any books that described what it was like to
climb a mountain, especially for a "senior." I also felt
that our mountain was a metaphor for the mountains everyone
climbs in life and that maybe my experience could inspire
others to face their own "mountains." Finally, I wanted to
encourage others to use experiences like ours as motivation
to raise money to help others.
Books-and-Authors.net: How much training went into your
climb? How was this a Life-changing Journey for you
Barry Finlay :I
actually hired a personal trainer to make sure I followed a
training and diet regime. I lost 28 pounds and became a
regular at the gym. It was my new-found energy levels and
general overall fitness improvement that eventually led to
the decision to climb a mountain. I decided to look for
something challenging to celebrate my looming
60th birthday. My son had mentioned Kilimanjaro about 11
years earlier and I guess it stuck in my mind. I asked him
if he still wanted to do it. He had to make the decision to
leave his wife and new daughter behind to go on this
potentially life-threatening adventure with his dad. He did
and away we went. I still try to maintain my fitness levels
and watch my diet.
Books-and-Authors.net: You mention that this climb was a
"fundraiser" Explain. You also said the book is a bout
how two people can make a difference for many . Explain.
Barry Finlay :It
was actually the mountain that came first for us but when we
made the decision to do the climb, we thought we could use
it as a platform to help some very needy kids. We added
people's names to a Canadian flag that we would ultimately
carry to the peak and present to some school children. We
raised $15,000 and had over 200 names on the flag when we
left. After meeting the children, I was so moved by the
experience, I couldn't let it go. Since then we have raised
over $38,000 to finish a classroom and drill a well. The
classroom ensures that more children will have access to
education and the well means that girls, who are designated
to carry water, will now have ether opportunity to go to
school. We are two regular people who, with a little
dedication, have been able to hold a number of events to
help out some needy children. We hope that the book
inspires others like ourselves to do whatever they can for
whatever cause they believe in.
Books-and-Authors.net: What are readers saying about
"Kilimanjaro and Beyond - A Life-changing Journey" ?
Barry Finlay :We
have had some great feedback. One woman said she is now
inspired to do some things she was previously too timid to
try. Another person said it was inspiring and
entertaining. A gentleman said it is a book that everyone
should read, in his opinion. A newspaper that services the
Horn of Africa said, "Laugh
out Loud, a roller coaster of questions, “Can we really do
this?” This book is honest, funny and truly written from the
Books-and-Authors.net: What do you hope to achieve with
"Kilimanjaro and Beyond - A Life-changing Journey"?
Barry Finlay :There
are three things I hope people will take away from the book:
Everyone mountain top can be reached if you just
It is never too late to pursue a goal; and
There is immense satisfaction from reaching a goal
and helping others to achieve theirs.
Books-and-Authors.net:What was the last book you read?
Barry Finlay :I
am reading two right now: 'Giving" by Bill Clinton and "The
Husband" by Dean Koontz. My reading preferences could be
considered to be eclectic.
Books-and-Authors.net: What's next?
Barry Finlay :I
am writing a humorous book about some of the strange things
that happen when you travel around the world. I will
continue raising funds for Africa and I may just go on
another climbing adventure. It is never too late to pursue