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Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Writer's Brain: Gordon Ryan

Gordon Ryan comes to the indie biz from traditional publishing, having enjoyed considerable success over the years. He has taken advantage of the ebook revolution to re-release many of his successful books, such as the Pug Connor thrillers and the Callahan family sagas as ebooks. What's more, he has shown an ability to improvise, to try different strategies, and has recently achieved growing success with his work. What's more, Gordon is a gracious writer and I count him as one of my first and best friends among the indie writer crowd.

Gordon: Michael, thank you for inviting me to participate in your Indie Author interview process. I have met some wonderful writers since becoming associated with Indie authors.

Michael: How long have you been writing? Is writing a calling for you, or did you fall into it by accident?

Gordon: I cannot claim that I was “called” to write. The desire came quite late in life with my first novel, Dangerous Legacy, being written in 1993 and published in hardback in 1994. I was nearly fifty when I determined to write for publication. This came during a career of city management where the most tedious document produced was usually the annual budget and capital improvement plan. Perhaps this is where the desire to create fiction originated. However, once I started, creating stories and characters has become the focal point of my professional life. Now that I am retired from city management, I devote full time to the process and find that it fills both my mind and my days with enjoyment.

Michael: What is the work you are most proud of having written? Is there a particular scene, chapter or POV that you found especially challenging?

Gordon: I have published a dozen novels. Like most parents who feel that each child is unique, I can’t say that one book has taken my fancy more than others. Some characters have ingrained themselves into my psyche (or mine into theirs) and I continue to use them, or similar characters, in various other stories. The one story that continues to re-circulate has been the historical fiction series, The Callahans. Originally titled Spirit of Union in three hardback volumes, I have reproduced this series, adding two volumes. It currently has obtained public acclaim in the Indie market with volume one, The Callahans: Destiny, being offered for free on Kindle.

Michael: What do you hope they will take away from reading your books?

Gordon: In my opinion, fiction is primarily for entertainment. Therefore I desire that the reader complete my book having escaped from the reality of their world and entered my fictional environment for a brief moment. All writers put some of their own philosophy into their stories, intentionally or otherwise. I admit that my characters possess some of my personal value system, seek gratification in areas that I find important, and they try to instill some of these principles into the readers’ thinking process.

Michael: What would you like to accomplish as a writer? Do you have any specific goals?

Gordon: I have not sought accolade nor attribution from industry award with my writing. I derive my most enjoyable satisfaction from a reader review where they tell me that they laughed, cried, got angry, or were moved by actions, or inactions, of the characters. The specific goal of my writing is to release the stories and characters that will fulfill a readers’ desire to be entertained.

Michael: What is your writing process? Do you write by outlines or fly by the seat of your pants?

Gordon: I wrote my first novel with a full chapter by chapter outline. I have never done so since with over a dozen additional novels published and available in eBook format. I have a good idea of where the story is going, what main points need to be addressed, but from that point I allow the characters to tell me what they want to do. Yep, strange as it sounds, these fictional characters seem to have a mind of their own. I alternately love and hate them for their obstinate determination to redirect my fingers on the keyboard.

Michael: When you start a new book, do you like to talk about it with friends and family or keep it to yourself?

Gordon: I have several family members who are avid readers and I will often share portions of the story with them. I respect their opinion and value their input. My daughter, Kate Armitage, has been a stalwart confident from the very beginning of my writing career and in fact was the one who suggested I give it a try. I am indebted to her and several other family members who continue to improve my storytelling.

Gordon Ryan's Books:

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