Interview with William Gentry

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The location was barren as a child in contrast to the Oklahoma I have returned to over the years, but there were still many things to be offered in the arts, culture and history of Oklahoma. The influence of the people of Oklahoma City was probably the predominant feature that made me think the way I do and write the way I do. I grew up with artists, playwrights, healers, dreamers, martial arts superstars, gurus, Peruvian conga players, French teachers, Danish graphic designers, Israeli Christian Arab deli owners, helicopter pilots and rescue nurses and so many different kinds of people. I couldn't hope to list them all here, but I am so grateful for everything I have been able to learn from them.
What were the people in Oklahoma like? Your family, friends and acquaintances.
There was much diversity in my childhood. My mother is a jazz singer, and my father is a chiropractor. My brother is an African American, which played a major part in my understanding of race. It was so important for my understanding of race that I couldn't hope to summarize it all here. My biological grandfathers were both writers. Byron Gentry wrote, "Miracles Of The Mind." It's a book about healing through focused meditation, among other things. He was also a chiropractor like my father. My grandfather on my mother's side was Bill Burchardt, who wrote a number of western novels including "Medicine Man," and "Black Marshall." He was also an honorary Kiowa Chief, a high school band leader and a newspaper editor. My friends in high school were all brilliant, literally. I grew up around musicians, scientists, new wave thinkers, German exchange students, and more people from all walks of life. I know I am shouting out to my homies, my oklahomies. All my love.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Honestly, it was a college professor. She told me how the world of publishing was changing, and how I could just publish my books the way I wanted to. I think that says it all. I have been writing since I was a child. Poetry or prose or this or that, but I have always put my thoughts down with a pen or keys. I want to contribute to this world through writing, and I feel a push to do so from outside of myself.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is the vehicle from which I can disperse my venom. Just kidding... Smashwords has gifted me and many others with the opportunity to be heard, or in this case seen and read by anyone with a desire to read and an internet connection.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on two projects. One is a novella called, "Hiragami's Box." It's the story of a young man returning to Taiwan from Japan for a short trip before heading back to his home in the United States. The story centers around a mysterious music box he received from a retired military officer in Japan. He has to transport the box back to its original owner in the Southern Taiwan city of Hengchun, and has a number of misadventures along the way.

The Second project is a book of poetry and songs. It will be a free book for download here on Smashwords.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have many but I'll give it a shot. Herman Hesse, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Thich Naht Hanh, Rudolfo Naranya, Italo Calvino, Kahlil Gibran, Milan Kundis, James Joyce, Khaled Hosseini and the list goes on.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Usually it's Tai Ji Quan, but lately it's been a cup of coffee.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a teacher, and the manager at my language school. I also like to practice martial arts and guitar, banjo and piano when I get the chance.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I look for some here. I hear about others from friends, and look at other online book retailers. I use goodreads a great deal for book suggestions, as well.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I have been spinning yarns since I was a wee one. My parents particularly liked the stories I told about eating worms in the back yard when I was little, and falling in the tiger cage. The tiger ripped my arm off, and I had to grab it from him and beat him with it. Then I sowed it back on. I had a vivid imagination when I was little.

The first story I actually penned was probably about three men travelling down a new, proverbial yellow brick road. One was a philosopher, another was a sex addict and the third was a heroin addict. The heroin addict ends up killing the other two and then dies of an overdose. They all show up at the pearly gates, but only the heroin addict gets in because he is Catholic. I was raised Catholic.
What is your writing process?
My writing process spans months at times, but in other cases I write everything in one sitting. I don't believe in a set way of creating and manipulating a story or writing. I often use outlines, but not necessarily always. I string together bits and pieces of a story at random moments in the day. I bounce ideas off of others. I edit many times over, and still miss things. I am sporadic and plentiful as a writer. I am duplicitous and felicitous, but I hope I am not underhanded even though being duplicitous implies that I am.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I remember was, "Where The Wild Things Are." Before I read the story I fell in the swimming pool at my house in the middle of winter. My mother was doing something in the kitchen. I can't imagine it was cooking, because she wasn't much for pots and pans. Sorry mom, I love you. At any rate, I was riding my tricycle around the pool, and I fell in.

My mother found me later, and I was completely blue at that point. She resuscitated me, and my father believes that the only reason I lived was because my body went into a state of hypothermia related shock. This same phenomenon has been observed in aboriginal bushman from Australia. My mother resuscitated me, so I am quite certain that the reason I am still alive is because of her. Thanks mom, I love you.

That night after drowning, I had my first memory of life. I don't remember falling in the pool or riding my tricycle. That was told to me later. My first memory is of a dream. I dreamed that I was watching myself as if from above looking down. I saw my house, the barn that was next to my house, a tractor, the gravel driveway and a palm tree in the middle of the front yard. I was holding onto the palm tree which was swaying violently in the winds of a wild tempest. The thing was that everything looked like the art from, "Where The Wild Things Are." But I hadn't read the book. I saw the book later, and told my mother about the dream. This kind of thing has happened to me twice.
Published 2013-08-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Hiragami's Box
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 18,580. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General
When Evan Underhill receives a mysterious music box in his flower arranging class, he has no idea what he has been charged with carrying out. Join Evan and Taylor on their various misadventures through the southern parts of Taiwan.
Selected Poetry And Songs
Price: Free! Words: 2,530. Language: English. Published: August 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
This is a collection of poetry written over a period of more than 15 years. The poetry is at times anecdotal, or even a bit silly. At other times it is a reflection of the struggles associated with life. The poetry discusses subjects related to war, religion, flowers, memories, travel and more.
Kindie Kung Fu En Español
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 8,900. Language: Spanish. Published: August 31, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Sports & Recreation / Martial Arts
Esta es una guía introductoria para profesores en la enseñanza de una clase de artes marciales para niños entre 3 a 8 años de edad. Puede ser utilizada de muchas diferentes maneras, pero se ha diseñado con un propósito específico. Si eres joven o mayor, se siguen aplicando los mismos principios.
Kindie Kung Fu
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 8,140. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Body, Mind & Spirit, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Children’s health
This is an introductory teachers guide for teaching a martial arts class to children age 3 to 8 years old. It can be utilized in many different ways, but was designed with a specific purpose. If you are young or old, the principles still apply.