I’m so pleased to have been given the opportunity to interview the brilliant and very talented author Glenn Starkey. I know Glenn’s been very busy and I would like to thank him for taking some of his time to chat with us ~we can’t wait to learn more about his writing and life.
Tell us a little about yourself. When did your interest in writing begin?
I’m a native Texan, spent six years in the Marine Corps, did a tour in Vietnam, was a Texas police officer for seven years, retired as a Security Manager from a global oil corporation, and recently finished a six-month Security Director assignment for a major Gulf Coast port. Writing has always been such a part of me that it evolved without any true realization of a beginning. If I were forced to choose when my serious writing began, it would probably be with my letters from Vietnam to my aunt. She used to say they were ‘mini-novels.’
Where do you find inspiration?
I do not go in search of inspiration, it finds me. I always wanted to be an artist, painting with oils, so visualization is important. A picture or scene will stick in my mind. If the idea is strong enough, I’ll see more pictures, and when I least expect, the pictures form an entire story. Depending upon my mood, sometimes a song will create a mental image. Other times, looking at art works will spark a story within me. My life experiences (both good and bad), travels, and interface with a spectrum of people all come into play as well.
What authors have most influenced your writing and life?
In youth I always loved the writings of Poe, Burroughs, Wells, Doyle, and Howard. When I began writing novels, I realized Nicholas Guild, Robert McCammon, and David Morrell unknowingly had a great impact upon how I wrote. Each of these authors is different from the next in the novels they write, but it is the manner in which they weave their stories that makes them unique to me. I enjoy a good David Morrel novel for its action entertainment. Robert McCammon, in my opinion, masterfully wrote a novel titled “The Wolf’s Hour” which served a mentorship for me on the craft of writing. Yet it is Nicholas Guild, author of “The Assyrian” and other great works, who most influenced my overall thought processes with his style and depth of writing. He has been a true mentor in many arenas. And, I’m proud to say that we have become friends and correspond frequently about writing. He has graciously provided his thoughts on my various works and edited my latest novel “Amazon Moon” which I hope will be published later this year.
What tools/methods do you employ when writing a novel? ( i.e. do you outline or are you a “pantser”? Do you work chronologically or a scene at a time, typing or longhand etc.) How has this changed from when you started out?
In my early years, I began with outlines and quickly learned that didn’t work for me. While images of the entire story dance through my mind, I begin making brief notes upon paper, circle them, and draw lines to connect each circle. Pretty soon I discover I have the majority of the story established – then I begin writing those scenes and weave them into a novel. Often I will sit and stare at my computer monitor and see the story unfold before me as if it were a movie. Sometimes I cannot type and keep pace with the images, but if the story has presented itself strongly to me, I don’t worry about losing it. The story will be there the next day.
What is the best advice you have received with regards to writing? What is the best advice you could offer a new writer?
I’ve had my share of good and bad advice from many good and bad authors, but my advice to a new writer is simple:
(1) Read all genres, especially classical works. Pay attention to the writing styles employed by those authors.
(2) Be yourself. Develop your own writing ‘voice.’ Don’t attempt to copy another author.
(3) Stop buying every “How to Write” book that’s out on the market. You will only grow more confused and poor.
(4) Write, write, and write more. Then edit, edit, and do more editing. When you proofread, read it aloud because your ears will tell you when a mistake has been made. Words are like music which must flow smoothly.
(5) Everything you write is NOT great. Everything you write is NOT junk.
(6) If people review your work, accept what they say and learn from it. Don’t argue with a reviewer. You wanted an opinion and received it. (Most importantly, just because your girlfriend, spouse or mother likes your book doesn’t mean it is destined to be a New York Times Bestseller.)
(7) Remember that writing is a business, not a hobby or a game! You climbed the mountain and now have a finished product – but marketing has to be equally well planned and developed.
(8) And above all, forget that rat race of counting how many stars you receive in reviews. Pay attention to what the reviewer (not trolls) have to say about your book. So you got “3 Stars” in a review…so what? The essence of the review is what a reader felt from your book. (bear in mind, every reader has different taste and you are not going to please everyone…)
What is the most memorable response you have had about your writing and has it changed the way you write?
I’ve been fortunate to have a few memorable responses. One reader wrote to me and said, “It was as if I was right there, in the book, feeling everything about it.” Another reader wrote, “I began reading your book one evening and couldn’t stop. I was late to work the next morning and sleepy all day, but started reading again once I got home.” Those kind remarks didn’t change my writing, but made me realize that properly intertwining action with dialogue, along with imploring the human senses, were key ingredients to a page turner.
Which one of your characters (if any) would you invite to stay with you for a few months? Do you think you’d get along or would they be the house guest from hell?
Oh, my… I’m not sure if I’d allow any of my male protagonists to stay with me. They’d probably drink all my Jack Daniels, grill all my steaks in the freezer, and my wife might want to run-away with one of them. And I surely wouldn’t bring any of my female characters home because I’d be in divorce court the next day or my wife would just shoot me!
Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?
My novel “Amazon Moon” should be out later this year and I am also working on converting my published novel “Year of the Ram” into ebook format. Recently, I found one of my formerly lost manuscripts, “Dragon’s Breath”and will be working on it. This will definitely be a busy summer, but I’m excited about these new prospects. As for finding me online, that’s quite easy. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and have a website. I encourage everyone to write to me with any questions or discussions they may have. JGStarkey@aol.com
Thank you for this opportunity to be your guest. I truly appreciate all you do.
Glenn Starkey, Author
Solomon’s Men” Book Trailer Video
To learn more about Glenn, please check out his links, not to mention his wonderful work!