Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Gregory J. Gardner – Born in 1980, and having moved around a lot, he was in 7 different schools from grades 1-6 and, after suffering a traumatic brain injury at the age of 7, he’s used writing and drawing as a way to cope with a constantly changing world.
Thanks so much, Gregory, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: What do you do when you get writer’s block?
Gregory J. Gardner, Jr.: To me, Writers’ Block simply means that the Creative Well has been tapped, and run dry. I’ve used up all the cool descriptions I’ve been saving up over time and, now, it’s time to find new ways to describe the world around me. I’ll go out by myself, so my train of thought isn’t derailed, and I’ll people watch in a Park or Mall, the beach, or a camping sight in the woods. Sometimes, I’ll just watch a movie and challenge myself to write out a description of what I’m watching. Filling the Creative Well is essential to combatting Writers’ Block.
JSC: Do you ever base your characters on real people? If so, what are the pitfalls you’ve run into doing so?
GJG: Most all of my characters have been based on real people without any negative pitfalls. The Pitfalls come when a character’s substance is solely that of a singular person in the writers’ life. I’ve been able to avoid making people feel “outed” by using, not one person within the fabric of one character but, rather, multiple people within that characters make-up. For example: Azrah, in A Book of Creation, is a conglomeration of several teachers I had early on in life, not just one particular teacher. I took the traits I loved from one, and the traits I hated from another, and their collective message of a strong education, rolled it all together and, BAM, my protagonist was born!
JSC: What do you do if you get a brilliant idea at a bad time?
GJG: The world stops turning when I say so. Someone is speaking to me? “One moment please, I must write something down!” Driving someplace? “Pull the car over!” At work? “Boss, I’m sorry but I have to take a break! No buts! I’ll be back in 10!” Just paid a cool $20 for a movie ticket, 15 minutes in lightning strikes? “So long movie!! You just gave me the RIGHT idea! Best $20 spent for any 15 minutes, ever!” The world stops turning when I say so.
JSC: Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them. AND, Tell us one thing about them that we don’t learn from the book, the secret in their past.
GJG: Technically yes there are underrepresented groups, however, I do not have the proper research or background to fully write the backstory. That being said, Lariel is a Male Persona trapped in a Female Body. The character is solid, but their backstory remains in the dark until I can find the proper way to tell it in a future installment.
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
GJG: I am not a plotter. And, Intuitive Writing or Discovery Writing…these terms fully encompass what “pantsing” does not. “By the seat of your pants” implies a frantic use of skills. That is not how I write. Slow and steady and methodical, without an outline.
JSC: What was the weirdest thing you had to Google for your story?
GJG: In doing the research for my story I used Encyclopedia Britannica, as well as Sacred-Text.org and, I’d have to say, the Irish origin myths and Sumerian myths are CRAZY!
JSC: Let’s talk to your characters for a minute – what’s it like to work for such a demanding writer?
Talia: “Well, I have to say, going through the revision process was the hardest for me. I mean, I kept getting these amazing powers like, at first, I could talk to horses, but then that changed to being able to talk to Mother Nature. And, then, I got teleportation powers but thathad drawbacks that kept wiping me out, and I ended up spending a thirdof the book asleep!”
JSC: What’s your core motivation in this book?
Talia: “I have always had questions about ‘why I am where I am?’ But, mostly, I just do not relish the place I find myself in, Guardian of the Light of Creation at the Tower of Alia’Atten that is, yeah, it isa mouthful. So, when Mathus showed back up with an offer for adventure…what can I say? I jumped at the chance!”
JSC: Are you happy with where your writer left you at the end? (don’t give us any spoilers).
Talia: “I would say I’m pretty happy, although, it feels like years passed by in the last week, and a lot has happened, so I definitely do not feel as young as I used to, but I’m happy to say the least.”
JSC: What other artistic pursuits (if any) do you indulge in, apart from writing?
GJG: I’m a Jack of all Trades, from things like video production to sound engineering, panning for gold to digging up gems, reading and writing music along side of fiction, and painting on photoshop.
And now for Gregory’s latest book: A Book of Creation:
After learning the secret of creation, an architects creation takes on a life of its own, and he is swept up into a whole new reality he never dreamed possible.
Banding together with a marginalized Priestess, her sidekick, and a PTSD stricken Soldier, he takes aim at setting his creation on the proper course.
What stands in his way? The gods of creation, themselves, the Dragons of the Old Brood have lost their way and Ki, eldest of them, has poised himself to take control.
All Ki needs to win is for the realm of mortals to remain in the dark about the secret of creation. But Azrah, the architect, has a plan.
A dizzy little ball of fluff, at last, bounced and slid to a quick stop on the cave floor, limbs outstretched and claws dug in. She shook her head and let loose a gruff meow while looking around. On her shoulder, under the fur, a small green light blinked.
Azrah leaned down to look at the little thing. As he moved forward, his nose inched out into the column of light to reveal a long and chiseled beak, more a snout, that sniffed the air.
The cub’s eyes widened at his rows of teeth.
When Azrah fully stepped into the light, standing on two feet, his broad and towering stature finally frightened her.
The cub shot backwards on all fours with an arched back and a raised tail, and when Azrah raised his plume in curiosity, she let out a small yet hearty growl.
Born in 1980, and having moved around a lot, he was in 7 different schools from grades 1-6 and, after suffering a traumatic brain injury at the age of 7, he’s used writing and drawing as a way to cope with a constantly changing world. He finally found solid footing once moving to Orange County. Working by day and writing by night, he lives with family, collecting Hot Wheels, and feeding the cat.