I’m so pleased to have been given the opportunity to catch up with a familiar face on our site, the brilliant and very talented author Glenn Starkey. I know Glenn’s been very busy with a new release and another due out later this winter. I would like to thank him for taking some of his time to chat with us, it is always appreciated!
Welcome back Glenn!
I understand you’re pursuing a different genre…tell us a bit about your new release?
MR. CHARON is my first Young Adult paranormal novel of the six books I’ve written. It’s the story of five teenage boys whose fates become entwined in the dying town of Thornton, Texas during the summer of 1962. Their home lives are disturbingly different. Eddie has an abusive father, while Andy is the child of a single mother with debts too high for money alone to pay. They decide to right what they consider wrong in their lives.
A long forgotten Ouija board in a deserted barn becomes their answer. Together, they call upon a spirit but never expected the appearance of Mr. Charon, a demon who comes to haunt their small town with the help of his pets. Terror is unleashed and although Eddie and Andy are to blame, their friends agree to help.
With Mr. Charon released, somehow the boys must find a way to send him back to Hell and end the horror. Good and evil collide as they fight not only for their own lives, but also for the souls of the entire community. When all hope seems lost, help is found in a deputy sheriff, an Indian shaman, and their fathers. Too late, the five boys have learned that where demons roam, no one is safe.
I’m also very proud of the cover artwork by Patti Roberts of Paradox Book Cover Designs. In the short time MR. CHARON has been out, the cover has received numerous compliments.
What inspired you to change genres?
A new publishing company asked me to write a YA novel as part of their startup line. I balked at first. I’d never written a YA work, but in time I grew interested in the challenge. My belief is that if I’m to be a true writer, I must be able to tackle a variety of genres. Unfortunately, the company had operational issues so I withdrew the completed work from them.
What challenges do you find (if any) writing YA?
I had never written a YA book and needed to educate myself about the genre, age groups comprising the readers, then decide which group I wished to target. My experience is in hard-hitting thrillers and action adventure novels with equally tough characters that mark the books as “mature content.” I had dozens of questions and the same number of self-doubts. But after a long talk with my young grandson, ideas formed and the pieces of the puzzle began to fit.
Upon completing MR. CHARON, I was fortunate to have a high school English Literature teacher use the novel as a graded semester project for her senior ‘gifted and talented’ level students. They reviewed every aspect of the book—its characters, storyline, my writing style, and so forth. They were at liberty to say anything they wished as long as it was done in a professional manner. That was a wonderful experience for me to obtain such great feedback, and upon the project’s conclusion, I held a Q & A session with them. I hope to do that again one day.
Do you think you will write in this genre again?
“Never say Never.” It depends upon finding the right story within me. While I may prefer other genres, I learned that the innocence of youth in my YA characters held a certain writing appeal. Adult characters must think with maturity and age appropriate intents, while children and teenagers may say or do most anything and it’s accepted as their youth, lack of experience and maturity. But as with all of my novels, I must have confidence in the storyline before embarking upon the long journey of writing it.
What does your average work/writing day look like?
Since retirement from the security world, there are not enough hours in the day for all I want to do, much less what I need to or must do. I may be an author, but I’m also a husband and grandfather with their responsibilities. The coordinated calendars (with their beeping alarms) in my computer, iPad, and iPhone, keep me on track.
Mornings (with coffee in hand) are primarily for emails, social media, and reviewing scheduled activities—followed (with more coffee) by research for my writing projects. Three days a week I try to be in the gym at noon. After a short afternoon break, I catch up on all the honey-do’s that I forgot. More reading after dinner, watch a few programs on the History Channel, write notes about my current projects, and around 9 P.M. I’m in my office to write. Between 2 or 3 A.M., I wake up Willie, my Labradoodle who shadows me everywhere, and retire for four or five hours of sleep. I’m up at 7 or 7:30 A.M. and start over again. Tuesdays are dedicated solely to my volunteer work at two elementary schools where I mentor students with their reading skills—and every Thursday afternoon, I pick up my grandson from school so we can share some quality time. My days involve a lot of juggling!
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a writer and how do you overcome them?
Proper time management is always a killer. Overcoming self-doubts about my writing is another stumbling block. I’m critical of my work, often overly critical. And as if developing a story, writing it, editing and more editing are not enough then comes the marketing. I’m not good at ringing my own bell and shouting, “Buy my book. It’s the best!” Another minefield to walk through is the good and bad people/companies that offer publicity and marketing plans. Even the major houses expect you to aggressively hawk your work, so, the challenges are never ending.
How to overcome these? Perseverance and self-discipline. You take one thing at a time. Forget about marketing until you have a completed work. Writing and editing a book is the biggest mountain to climb. Pay attention to what other authors do to market their work. Learn from their mistakes. Don’t live on social media all day or night. It takes away from your writing. The list goes on, and I could probably write a thesis on the challenges confronting an author.
What message do you hope your readers walk away with after reading your books?
A reader once told me they appreciated the themes of deep family loyalty and love, strength and hope to overcome the adversities of evil, and the tests of honor and personal faith in God that my characters undergo. I do not intentionally set out to have blatant messages in my novels, but find that one or all are present upon completion of a project. One reader said, “…it made me pause and think…” It was then I knew the long hours of writing were worthwhile.
Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?
In two months I believe my historical fiction BLACK SUN will be released. It’s a novel I have worked on for years.
Set in Mexico during the Revolution of 1910, a young man working in the mines is accused of a murder he didn’t commit and is forced to flee into the Sierra Madre Mountains. There he must survive and grow into manhood through a turbulent decade that erupted into the bloodiest revolution of the twentieth century. He’s swept into a maelstrom of tragedy as revolutionaries, led by his mentor and friend Pancho Villa, battle the forces of a corrupt dictator. BLACK SUN is based on actual events.
I’m proud of this novel for several reasons. First, I used my grandfather as the model for the protagonist. Next, my son, Jake Starkey, designed a wonderful cover after I obtained permission to use Diego Rivera’s famous mural art “Liberation of the Peon.” Art is one of my many passions and I take great pride in every book cover. Jake also designed two other covers for me: SOLOMON’S MEN and YEAR OF THE RAM.
My novels are available through every major online bookseller; Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks in Apple iTunes, and more. I appreciate reviews and welcome emails from all. Feel free to contact me through my website, “Follow Me” on Twitter, or stop by and click a “Like” on my Facebook page.
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my writings with your readers.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Glenn+Starkey?_requestid=311133
To learn more about Glenn, please check out his links, not to mention his wonderful work!
For previous posts about Glenn please check here: https://bwitzenhausen.wordpress.com/?s=Glenn+Starkey