Interview with Gordon Garland

What is your writing process?
I draw on experiences. Ideally I want to create a story that has both an emotional connection and strong story line, and at some point you want to put the reader right beside you in the action. The first thing is to get the story down on paper or in your computer, then to hone it. Honing involves adding more depth where needed, cutting back on extra words and editing the content so that the story is shaped and flows for the reader. Often I'll write smaller sections in long hand, sometimes just a phrase, sentence or paragraph to be added. There are always several 'final edits' before I'm satisfied.
How do you approach cover design?
Your cover has to have a connection with your content. You want the viewer to somehow become emotionally involved. I think a cover should create questions in the reader's mind. Questions that are answered in the book. Why is the man's back to us, why is he standing on a bench? So the first step is to come up with a cover 'concept' and 'image.' Sounds simple, but it's difficult to keep things simple. Then ask "What are the words that need to be on the cover and where should they be?" The final step is to work with a cover designer who can add real value and achieve what you cannot achieve alone. This involves establishing a good working relationship with your cover designer and being clear about expectations.
Describe your desk
It's an organized mess with three computers on it. I'll usually have a clipboard with hand written notes just off to the side.
What's the story behind your latest book?
A very long gestation period. The first story was written in 1993 and I wouldn't change a word. It's through the eyes of a five year old boy who meets Elvis. At that time I didn't know I was writing a book of short stories. The most recent is from December 2012, 'Dancing in the Dark.' There's a double meaning there, and it's also a true story. I pulled one story out that was from January 2013. My editor told me that it was too edgy and didn't fit, and she was right. It's in my next book "A Weekend By The Lake II" which should be out in 2015.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The publishing industry.
You mention several songs in your first ebook - How important is music?
Music can amplify the experience of a story. Sometimes a song will capture the essence of a story or help set the mood, other times it provides a new layer of interpretation. When you think about it, most songs are stories put to music and written as poetry. I think there is a link between short stories and songs. Throughout history the value of music has been to lift the human spirit. Because you are communicating in the written form doesn't mean you should deny what influences you. Rock 'n roll is an attitude and an approach. It's about overcoming adversity and celebrating life. We can endure incredible hardship with it, and be totally lost without it. That is the importance of music.
In the second short story, 'A Sacred Place', you don't mention a song. Do you have a song in mind?
I didn't while writing the story. But after writing it, I listened to a lot of newer music. One song "Breathing Underwater" by Metric really seemed to fit, and still does. They begin with "They were right when they said / We were breathing underwater." Emily Haines' lyrics amplify the story and for some strange reason seem to inform what follows. By coincidence "The Underwater Forest" is one of the two stories that follow. How weird is that?
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
As this is my first ebook, I can't answer that question yet. Ideally, the quality of what you've written and presented is the foundation for your marketing techniques. Without the former, it's doubly difficult to achieve success with the later. In about six months I should be able to give a more informed answer.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's got the book out there for people to read. Now we will see if it has wings and can fly. I recently received my first review from a reviewer / blogger, who gave the book 5 stars. Every bit helps - thank you S.A. Molteni. It's all about building awareness.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is really the act of communicating in the written form. So you have time for reflection, to think through what you are saying or going to say. What I am trying to do is ultimately to influence the reader, and perhaps inform the future.
What do your fans mean to you?
Your fans are your readers. They are the reason you share your writing.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on my next book, "A Weekend by the Lake II." It's a bit more edgy than the first book. Five stories are complete and I'm working on the sixth. That book should be out in 2015.
Published 2015-02-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Weekend By The Lake: Short Stories
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 72,030. Language: English. Published: March 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
'A Weekend By The Lake' takes us on a journey of ADVENTURE and SUSPENSE in twelve short stories. An undercurrent of rock 'n roll runs through it. Unbelievable situations become real. Lessons are learned along the way. Experience wonder, beauty, fear, redemption, magic, retribution and laughter. Meet Elvis, nature, bullies, bikers, Huron Indians, investigators, squirrels and the Premier. Read on!!