Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed over at the Infinite House of Books as part of the Summer of Pro Se. I encourage you to visit and check out the myriad author interviews, blog tours, book events and more. Shannon Muir runs a great website, Actually I should say websites as you might find these of interest too: Discover Words, Spontaneous Choices, and The Willowbroos Saga.
Following is the interview in its entirety. I plan to elaborate on same of my answers here at MEANWHILE in the foreseeable future.
Shannon Muir: What initially got you interested in writing?
Greg Daniel: Reading begets writing. Do enough of the former and eventually you start thinking about the latter. I was a voracious reader.
One day after consuming more than my fair share of the Three Musketeers or the Three Investigators or a Robert Heinlein juvenile or a pile of comic books, new characters and new stories rampaged through my mind with enough strength and vigor that I had to do something about them. Next thing I knew, I was a writer.
SM: How did you decide to make the move into becoming a published author?
GD: Honestly, I cannot imagine why anyone would write fiction without intending to publish. From the day I transitioned from ruled notebook paper and pencil to my dad’s old Royal manual typewriter, I wrote to be published.
That does not mean that everything I wrote was publishable – far from it! But if I finished it, I tried to get it published. As a teenager, I accumulated rejections letters from Ben Bova and George Scithers, Paul Levitz and Jack C. Harris, and others. If I bothered to sit down at the keyboard, it was to write something that I wanted to publish.
My problem was there were some very, very, very long stretches when I did not sit down at the keyboard. I read like a writer and I thought like a writer, but I did not write like a writer.
One day I finally realized that I cannot paste the days back onto the calendar or pour the hours back into the clock. If I was a writer, I needed to write and I needed to do so now. A couple of years later, my work is starting to appear in print with more waiting in the wings.
The most recent is “Mike Fink and the River Round-Up” in TALL PULP (Pro Se Productions).
SM: What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
GD: My goal is to entertain. I am not a prophet, priest, or philosopher (actually I have enough credit hours to be the latter, but that’s another story). I am a storyteller. I tell stories to entertain.
Entertainment can educate, elucidate, encourage, or simply provide escape. But unless it entertains, no one will stick around long enough to realize any other benefits.
SM: What do you find most rewarding about writing?
GD: There are three things that thrill me equally.
One is when I am writing and hear a character’s dialogue in my head and the voice is unmistakably theirs, not mine. At that moment, I know I got them right and if I got them right, there is a good chance, the rest of the story will be right too.
The second is seeing my name on the cover or the table of contents. As I mentioned earlier, I write to be published. Seeing my name is proof that I accomplished that goal.
The third, and the one that I hope never gets old, is hearing someone say they enjoyed my story.
SM: What do you find most challenging about writing?
GD: Writing is like exercise. It takes time and consistency to see results. But if you do it regularly, you will not only realize the benefits, you will enjoy the process. You will look forward to doing it. But miss a day and it can become a week or a month. Then you dread it. You know you need to do it, but you have grown lazy and lethargic.
When you do get back to it, you find you are neither as limber nor as strong as you were and it is frustrating to have to work hard and long to just get back to where you were before you skipped that day.
There are very few full-time writers. Most of my peers, present and past, juggle job(s) and family and other daily demands. If they can find the time and consistency, then I have no excuse. Still, I find it a challenge.
SM: What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
GD: The standard answers are still the best: READ and WRITE.
But let me elaborate by saying:
Read broadly. If all you ever read is within the genre or subgenre in which you wish to write, you will bring nothing new to the reader. To use an antiquated analogy, your writing will be the equivalent of a photocopy of a photocopy. Eventually it will fade to nothing.
Write regularly. I am not saying that you have to write every day and I am not saying that you cannot take breaks. But I am saying that if you establish some sort of regular schedule and adhere to it, you will be a better and more productive writer.
SM: Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
GD: In the “Brush with Greatness” category: I’ve had afternoon tea with Neil Gaiman, tossed darts with Garth Ennis, and taken Chris Claremont and Dan Jurgens to a haunted house.
In the “More Closely Related to Writing than You Might Think” category: I used to be an avid backgammon and poker tournament player and actually cashed on the World Poker Tour.
In the “Interesting to Me” category: I am happily married to the love of my life and best friend, Judy. We have two amazing children, Alec and Kylie, who are growing up much too fast.
SM: What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
GD: I invite everyone to friend/follow me at the usual social media haunts.
Facebook: Greg Daniel
My blog (Meanwhile … ) is updated semi-regularly at: GregDanielWrites.wordpress.com