February 14th, 2020
I asked Gerald where he would like to interview:
The year is 1876, and you still can see the blood stains on the floor from where Wild Bill Hickock was ambushed, shot and killed. Calamity Jane is still in mourning and raising hell, cracking her bullwhip and drinking heavily. She’s eyeing you because that sarsaparilla you’re drinking does not sit well with her. Don’t worry, though. I know her well and will calm her down. You have nothing to fear.
Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?
Gerald L. Guy: I’ve been writing my whole life. I knew early on that ink was running through my veins. I was editor of my high school newspaper and when I got a job as a sports reporter at my hometown newspaper, I thought I had landed the best job in the world. I eventually became sports editor and editor in chief. My journalism career lasted for more than thirty years until I retired in 2004. I was lost in retirement and just started writing short stories and op-eds. Before I knew it, I was writing novels. It’s been more fun than one man deserves.
L: What are you currently working on?
G: I just published “Act of Recall,” the third entry in my Coastal Chaos series that includes “Act of Kindness” and “Act of Mercy.” Recall is a novella and a quick red of about one hundred pages. It tells the tale of a ruthless vigilante who loses his memory during a lightning storm and then struggles to reunite with the family he abandoned forty years ago. Part 1 one is violent and disturbing, while Part II is filled with family issues. Currently, I’m editing a couple manuscripts for other authors before I return my attention to Gus McIntyre, a western series that targets young adults. McIntyre is a teen whose father is killed in the Black Hills of 1876. Then, he has to fight his way to find a place in the untamed territories of the Wild West. “Chasing Gold,” currently is a semifinalist in the prestigious Laramie Book Awards for western writing. Finalists should be named in a few weeks.
L: Are there any books or authors who inspire your work?
G: Since becoming an independent author, I’ve stayed away from the high profile authors who produce the world’s best sellers. I like to read the works of the independents and lesser known authors. Like me, they are struggling to break through and a highly competitive industry. I try to read everything written my Juliette Douglas, Ernest Dempsey, Mary Jane Forbes and Carol Ann Kauffman. A.C. Fuller, Linda Wadkins and David Wood are better known and favorites, too.
L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?
G: Learning how the industry works is a major challenge, along with marketing. I know the nuts and bolts of writing and editing, do all my own formatting, design my own covers and deal with the intricacies of publishing. Writing and keeping pace with the ever-changing industry is difficult. And I hate marketing. To that end, I’ve recently joined a group of authors who are forming a promotion/publishing to assist independent authors in navigating the treacherous waters of self-publishing. We hope to one day be a full-service publishing tool. Right now, we offer promotion and editing services. We are calling ourselves ROYAL FLUSH PUBLISHING and we can be found on most of the social networks. Our website is: http://www.royalflushpublishing.com.
L: What is your favorite writing trope? Least favorite?
G: I hate clichés that are tired, used or redundant. But it is not easy to come up with new similes or metaphors. I probably insert two or three in every novel because I think they are fun and readers enjoy them, especially if they are original. I borrowed one of my favorites for a blog that published last year. Here it is: “So, I urge you to be creative. Avoid clichés and have fun with your descriptive analogies. That would make me happier than a rubber-nosed woodpecker in a petrified forest.”
L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?
G: I’m never happier than when I’m sitting on the beach reading a good book. I also try to stay active and the warm Florida temps allow me to explore scores of scenic trails and the sandy beaches of Flagler County.
L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?
G: Louis L’Amour and Edgar Rice Burroughs (from my youth) are my favorite authors of all time. I’m trying to read every one of L’Amour’s novels, but it is a daunting task. Among more recent authors, I thought A.C. Fuller’s “Ameritocracy” trilogy was amazing and the “Scorch Road” series by Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman was equally remarkable.
L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?
G: I sort of gave up on writing novels when my first manuscript, “Sara: A Hero’s Story” was turned down by dozens of agents around 2006. I wish I had struck out on my own as an independent author then, but I didn’t know enough about the industry. “Sara” chronicles the exploits of the men serving aboard a legendary the aircraft carrier in WWII. My father served aboard the ship, but never got the chance to read my novel. I now have published it as an independent author.
L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?
G: I find learning new things exciting, and there is so much to learn just from chatting with other authors. Rejection was difficult early on, but I’ve decided I like being in control of my own destiny. I shy away from turning over the rights to a manuscript to somebody else for only a hope and a prayer. A contract from a major publishing house would be enticing, though.
L: What are you currently reading?
G: The Amazon Code by Nick Thacker.
L: What genre do you read?
G: I love westerns the way they weave fiction around historical facts and events. I’ve done that a lot with my novels. There is a little bit of history in all the Gus McIntyre novels. For example, Gus McIntyre’s great-great grandfather hooks up with Daniel Boone when he arrives in the New World and they explore Kentucky together in “Chasing the Past.” Just to be contrary, I read a lot of archeological thrillers, too.
L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?
G: I find the best time to write is the minute I crawl out of bed in the morning and late at night when all is quiet. I believe writing must be a habit; a day is not complete without pounding out words of some kind on my keyboard.
L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write?
G: I find my titles are a bit eclectic and so is my taste in music. When I was writing “Chasing the Past,” I started every day with Willie Nelson’s “The Highwayman.” It fit the personality of my lead character. When I was writing “Dream Catchers,” each day began with Billy Joel’s “River of Dreams.” Classical plays in the background when I am editing.
L: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you?
G: I have a real hang-up on the misuse of the word “toward.” When I see “towards,” I cringe. The word I misuse the most is “that.” When I am done with a manuscript, I go through and eliminate most of them.
L: Who is your favorite literary character and why?
G: I’m going to be self-serving here and say Gus McIntyre, who is my own creation. He is everything today’s youth are not – intelligent, fearless, resourceful and mature beyond his years. His aged equivalent is Jerome Browning, the prominent character in my Coastal Chaos series.
L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?
G: I was raised a “country boy.” My parents always encouraged me to put my imagination to good use, whether I was writing or assigned a chore at home. If someone could do something faster, I found ways to do it better and vice versa. I think the imagination is a terrible thing to waste and, thanks to my upbringing, it gets considerable exercise. My parents’ encouragement, coupled with thousands of unique stories that graced the front pages of the newspapers I had the pleasure to edit, provide a pathway to my creativity.
L: What is your best advice to aspiring writers? What do you want them to know?
G: Invest in Office 365. It’s a writer’s best friend. Word allows you to write, edit and format your novel. Publisher can help you create covers. Excel will enable you manage your cash flow. With Power Point, anyone create a slide presentation and turn it into a video to boost your marking efforts. Office 360 will save you money in the long haul.
Gerald L Guy is a retired newspaper editor who lives in Palm Coast, FL with his wife, Joanne. He was the recipient of numerous state, regional and national writing awards during his journalism career. After beginning his career as a sportswriter in his hometown of Warren OH, Guy was promoted to editor in chief and went on to edit daily newspapers in Georgia and Wisconsin.
He retired in 2004 and moved to Florida the following year. When he’s not writing short stories, blogs and novels, he’s walking the scenic trails and sunny beaches of Flagler County.
Act of Mercy – A simple “Act of Kindness” led Jerome Browning to prosperity he never imagined possible. When a root he finds along the Atlantic shoreline grows into a modern day “beanstalk,” his world is turned upside down. Browning is required to travel through strange new dimensions and into the future to save his benefactor’s aquatic world.
Accompanied by a blind, one-armed teenager, can the unlikely pair bury their differences and save the oceans of the world?
Buy it here!
Chasing the Past – Six months have passed since Gus McIntyre and his friends, Katie and Lizzie Sanders, fled San Angela TX and the Ku Klux Klan. As they make their way back to civilization and the Circle H Ranch, their progress is slowed by weather and the weight of the treasure that accompanies them. Along the trail, Gus relates the amazing tale of his great-great grandfather, James Oliver McIntyre, immigrated from Scotland to the New World in the 18th century. McIntyre is befriended by Daniel Boone, rescues and marries a woman held captive by Cherokee Indians and ventures across the mountains to settle the untamed territories of Kentucky and the Ohio Valley. This is the fourth installment of the Gus McIntyre Adventures and deals with more adult themes. It recounts the bravery and determination required by our forefathers as they ventured into the often-hostile lands north and west of the original thirteen colonies.
Buy it here!