Interview with Gerald M. Givens

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan where I frequented museums with my mother and brother. From an early age I was exposed to world histories, stories from many different cultures, and many genres of art. These experiences awoke in me the sense that I might someday have the chance to share my own story, and that is exactly what I have done.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote my first story when I was only 8 years old, a children's tale about Tim, Tom, and Sam; a mouse, a cat, and a dog who were roommates and went on adventures. Looking back at these stories they were terribly written and often very short, but even then I knew that the writing path is one that I must travel.

After Tim, Tom, and Sam, I studied poetry in high school and attempted my first novel at that time. Twenty pages in, "Lost in Robin's Hood" crashed to the floor. I wasn't discourage and learned from that experience.
What's the story behind your latest book, The Deluge?
The Deluge is the second novel in the Diluvians series, and a book that I never intended to write. After completing Eyes in Atlantis, I wanted to take a break, then eventually focus on a different story with different characters. But in those subsequent months, ideas started sprouting in the base of my mind. I started asking myself questions like "What if Sean and Erin's story continued?" or "What are they up to these days? I'd really like to know." I spent a couple months in this ruminating state before I decided to sit down and produce a workable outline. After that, the writing process was a roller coaster of inspired writing highs and creative block lows. As I approached the end of the initial writing process, I found that I could not finish the book and I didn't know why. It wasn't until I watched a TED Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) giving her insight into the creative process that I was able to break free from the chains of my misunderstanding and create an ending worth remembering. Now I couldn't be happier with the outcome.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It was never my intention to become an indie author. As a matter of fact, after completing my first novel, Eyes in Atlantis, I tried hard to get my novel published through conventional means, but the economy being what it is, not very many agents and publishers are open to publishing a debut author. I took the rejection fairly well and kept trying.

Then something peculiar started to happen within my circle of friends and acquaintances. They started asking when the novel was going to be published, and I never could give them an answer. Seeing their desire to read my work led me to this Indie Author path that I am on. Now I am able to write and almost immediately share my work with my readers. Also, there is very little overhead cost with indie publishing, which is great for us starving artists.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has allowed me to expand my reach. My readers are non-discriminating when it comes to their reading device of choice. Some prefer Kindle, some Nook, and some iBooks. Smashwords has allowed me to distribute to them all with relative ease. I couldn't imagine approaching each organization separately. They take a lot of the hassle out of self-publishing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There are many joys of writing for me, but I'd say the greatest is the rush of adrenaline I get when a story is flowing so well that I can hardly stay seated. My palms are sweating, by breath is short, and I can't type fast enough. I take a step back sometimes and realize that I'm giddy beyond belief and my heart is racing with anticipation. It's a literal thrill. After these writing sessions, I'm either so wound up that I have to go biking, or I'm so exhausted that I sleep for 10 hours.
What do your readers mean to you?
My readers are the icing on the cake. Of course I love the writing process, and that joy of creating is why I do this craft, but the readers are the recipients. They are the ones who the story goes to live with in the end. They lovingly take away my ownership of the story and characters, and make them a part of their worlds. I love hearing my readers' reactions to my novels. Some find interpretations of my words that I'd never before considered. They do make it their own and for that I love them.
What are you working on next?
I am currently writing the third and final book in the Diluvians series called Heroes & Victims. This book will address and tie up all lose ends, giving the saga a well honored and well-timed closing. It's going to be bigger in every way than the first two. I spent the first book constructing a new world with rules of its own. I followed those rules in the second book, and now with Heroes & Victims, I'm breaking them all.
Who are your favorite authors?
My first favorite author is and will always be Michael Crichton. His novels are what inspired me to begin writing fiction on this scale in the first place. I was astounded by the depth of knowledge and detail his books contained. I only wanted to mimic his work.

In the fantasy genre, my favorite is George R.R. Martin. Yes, he is infamous at this point for the writing The Song of Ice & Fire, now turned into the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, but the detail he puts into his craft is amazing. Through reading his work, I have learned how to truly create a character and give them as many complexities as any normal human. He also taught me that rules are made to be broken.

I also enjoy Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling, Herman Hesse, and J.R.R. Tolkien.
What is your writing process?
My writing process has become fine-tuned over the years. It used to be that I would sit down and just write in whatever book I was working on, but that only led to issues with continuity and writers block. I needed something more organized to give me the whole picture.

Partway through writing The Deluge, I discovered my writing process. When writing, my mind runs too fast for me to keep up, so adding detail to my work was difficult, so I adopted the tried and true story outline. First, when conceiving the idea, I'll write on blank paper with no lines everything I want to happen. This usually last for 12-20 pages. From that rough-outline, I write a more proper outline with more detail and maybe even a few lines of dialogue. It's from this final outline that I begin writing the first rough draft of the book.

From there, the writing process can take a while. I've been working on Heroes & Victims for almost two years now. Once the rough draft is completed, I edit it myself, rewriting many parts of it, changing things around. Then I reedit it. If I feel that it is as complete as can be, I give it to proofreaders and then finally to my editor. Usually I do one final self-edit before publishing.
What do you read for pleasure?
Fiction. Always fiction. Pleasure reading for me is an escapism from my life, giving an opportunity to be taken far away to a world far different from my own. Most non-fiction literature just doesn't do that for me and I quickly become bored. The only exception to date is Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, Eat, Pray, Love.

My favorite books are:
-A Song of Ice & Fire
-Angels & Demons
-Congo
-The Lost World
-Siddhartha
Published 2013-09-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Heroes & Victims
Series: The Diluvians, Book 3. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 80,220. Language: English. Published: October 2, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
The Oracle of Delphi is summoned to Attica to usher in the patronage of the Olympian Gods. Sean and Erin Henry make a deal with the devil to save their daughter’s life. The diluvians cross realms and to save their loved ones from eternal damnation. All the while, Hades uses each of them to hatch a plan that will bring the world under his dominion and shroud the earth in darkness.
Seven Devils
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,890. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Victorian
Seven sins for seven brothers and a black-widow woman to bind them. Locked in her cage, the bird so scorned, sings of their sins to remind them. - Set in the late nineteenth-century, the novella Seven Devils follows Elizabeth Winterbourne through a bloody world of love, passion, betrayal, and sin as she seeks her freedom through the darkest means.
The Deluge
Series: The Diluvians, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 68,610. Language: English. Published: September 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
The anticipated high-suspense sequel to Givens' 2011 novel Eyes in Atlantis. One year after the end of the first novel, our heroes find themselves entangled in a battle between Gods, along with the destruction of all mankind. How will they outlast this divine genocide?
Eyes in Atlantis
Series: The Diluvians, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 68,790. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
A journalist in Washington, D.C. is plagued by dreams of tsunamis and earthquakes. Off the coast of Cyprus, an American scientist discovers artifacts from a civilization long lost. In the heart of an ancient city, a princess has visions of strangers and destruction. As fate draws them together, they must fight to save their worlds and their lives.