Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I've been writing since highschool. As a sophomore I had visions of becoming a journalist, and even began the "Writers Digest" writing course. At the time I enjoyed reading sci-fi books, so that's what I wrote about initially. But then I got caught up in the Vietnam War and joined the military. After I got out, I found that my ability to put words on paper would pay very good in the nuclear utility industry, and it did!!
What makes writing your passion?
I wouldn't consider writing a passion, but it's close to one for me. My real passion is music and writing my own songs; something I talk about in my first book "Happiness is a Cool Reactor." Unfortunately, my music ambitions couldn't pay the bills when you're young and married with two children to raise. So I had to do music on the side, after my main job activities were completed. Some of the side stuff was playing in various bands during my life, a few of which I highlight on my webpage gjreed.com.
How long have you been writing?
I would say most of my life if you count writing plant operating procedures, emergency drill manuals, inspection and audit reports, various high-level management assessment reports, and hundreds of other documents during my over 40 year career in the nuclear power industry.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
It felt great! I wanted to create an educational, historical and semi-autobiographical account of the nuclear industry during my time in it, and I think I was rather successful in accomplishing that. I didn't expect it to make any money, but I did want it to be an interesting book for those that did decide to purchase and read it. And, to be honest, I wanted to leave something for my grandkids to read that highlighted some of the events I experienced during my lifetime.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My character choices in both my books - Happiness is a Cool Reactor (my first book) and The Real Night Order Book (my second) - were people who played a role in my adventures. Both of my books are non-fiction and based on real people and events that took place during my lifetime.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
I don't consider writing a career since my career days are over. I now think of it simply as a hobby. Nevertheless, I get annoyed when I can't find the time to do everything I want to do. Especially since I turn 71 in about a week and I don't think I have much time left to accomplish everything I would like to.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
It happens from time to time, but what I normally do is to revert back to my original outline I envisioned for the book, and just skip to another part of it that I had planned to write about later. Then when I'm back on track with where I had left off, I simply need to weave the train of thought from the current section into the section I had skipped to.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Being a writer IS hard work and definitely not an easy way to make money. So the only advice I would give to new authors is to write for yourself, for a purpose YOU believe in, and don't do it to try to make someone else happy.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Be sure to take all the english and latin classes you can, and don't forget to take a typing class in high school so that you have a leg up on being able to quickly put your thoughts on paper.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes, I read them, and sometimes I wish I had done a better job at editing. However, I don't think any book could really be bad, since each one served its purpose to either fulfill the goals and enjoyment of the writer or to entertain and/or educate the reader.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I feel good. Sometimes I wonder if a person said it was good simply because they are a friend of mine, but when several say it was good, then I tend to believe them; very satisfying.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
I think that's the best way to do it. It's hard to write about something you haven't experienced yourself in some way or another. Even in my sci-fi scripts, I think it's important to base it on real science with maybe a slight stretch of the imagination, but not off the wall ridiculous. That would ruin the story for me.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I am a real life character in both of my books, so the comparison is genuine.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
The book cover can be the eye catcher that can sell your book, but I believe the content is more important. If readers don't like what you wrote, they probably won't buy your next one.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I don't usually connect with my readers, but when I do, I prefer connecting in writing.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I feel good and thank them for the recognition. Although I've never liked getting awards and public announcements about something special they think I did, I will tolerate it sometimes just so they feel happy.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
It has changed over time. When I was a teenager, I liked the sci-fi stories of Isaac Asimov and Gardner F. Fox (especially his book The Hunter Out Of Time), but as I got older (and especially after serving time in the military) I enjoyed reading Tom Clancy's books. Today, I'm a Don Keith fan for his books about submarines (like Torpedo Run).
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
No, I don't have a dream about being a great writer. At this time in my life, I just want to capture some of the things I've learned over my life and try to pass it on to future generations.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I've already updated and re-published my first book as a second edition. I probably would do it again if I had the time and money. I would do this mainly since it was written to capture important concepts of a technology (nuclear energy) that few people understand and are generally afraid of. I would like to share my knowledge of it (which from time to time I think of something else that I should have included) and why it is an important technology for the future of mankind.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?