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Q: What plans to you have for the future?
Gary: I am very excited about the release of the first three books in the series. My publisher, Windstorm Creative, believes strongly that fantasy, in order to be successful, requires a shelf presence in the stores. So, they are releasing I, II and III at the same time. I have been so busy getting the manuscripts ready for publication, that I have hesitated to start the fifth book. But, I have completed the fourth in the GemQuest series already, The Revenge of the Elves. Thus, I am one book ahead as far as I see it. That one should take another year to reach the shelves. As soon as I feel comfortable that I can write uninterrupted, I will begin the next one. In the interim, between the completion of book IV and now, I have written three young adult mysteries, three young reader fantasies and one young adult thriller, ranging in length from 65 pages to 220 pages. The first book in the young reader mystery series is scheduled to be released sometime in 2005. Though I enjoy writing childrenís books, my heart is in the world of GemQuest, and I am very anxious to get back to it and to continue the saga.
Q: People often wonder how writers get started, what's your story?
Gary: I started writing this series rather late in my life, though there was never a time when I wasnít writing something. For many years, I aspired to be a lyricist and I wrote countless poems. I have three sons who are the best friends I have in life aside from my wife, and participating in their lives has kept me very busy. In addition, I own and operate a business in New York City which requires my daily attention. As my children grew up, I found the time to write more consistently. The advent of the laptop also facilitated my ability to write anywhere at anytime. Honestly though, I cannot remember a moment in my life when I did not aspire to write a book. Fantasy was a natural genre for me. My background is in philosophy, and I have always been fascinated with the moral underpinnings of human behavior. I taught ethics on the University level, and my interest in the field has never wavered. What motivates the choices we make? Is there such a thing as right and wrong that is not relative to a particular time and a specific society? What makes a life meaningful and worthwhile? Are we really as separate and detached from nature as modern living leads us to believe? In my books, I can explore these issues without being technical and boring. I can also include poetry within the text, which is not quite so easy to do when you are writing mysteries or contemporary fiction. Fantasy characters can easily break into verse without seeming foolish. So, basically, I started writing because there are things I want to learn and things I want to say.
Q: Do you recall any book or author that you read when you were younger that inspired you?
Gary: I am extremely sentimental. When I was very young, I read a book called The Trolley Car Family. I have honestly never forgotten it. A poor family had to create its life anew after losing its home and everything material that it had. They moved into a deserted Trolley car on an abandoned railroad track and turned it into a warm and magical place to live. It evoked a feeling of safety and accomplishment amidst adversity that was so strong for me as a child. It was inspiring, silly as it may sound now. Later, I discovered Grimmís and Andersonís fairy tales. I had two old, hard covered copies and I read them over and over again until the pages literally fell out of the bindings. C. S. Lewis was my next hero until I discovered Tolkein when I was in college. From then on, I was hooked on Epic Fantasy.
Q: What has the Internet meant for you as an author?
Gary: The internet is incredible!! As an author, you can reach so many people in so many places that you could never have found otherwise. You can also participate in discussions and forums at anytime of the day or night, and express your ideas to whoever is listening. The feedback in invaluable! I will tell you one short story that really testifies to the power of the internet. I met a girl from mainland China in a discussion at SFFWorld.com one day. She was literally breaking her countryís rules by entering the discussion, and her words were somewhat cryptic and guarded. But she expressed her dismay at the lack of fantasy in China today, and at her inability to purchase it online or anywhere. Apparently, the genre is not looked upon favorably by the authorities even now. I offered to send her a copy of The Twins, and she was ecstatic. She did not expect it to arrive easily though, as she seemed to think that it might be confiscated in customs. I fedexed it to her and she received it in three days. She told me that she read it out loud to her entire family. They were overjoyed. Without the internet, how could this ever have occurred?