Sunday, 26 June 2011

Author Interview with Jerry Riley

Author name: G W Riley


My published author name is G W Riley, commonly known to friends and family as Jerry Riley.

About your family/background, your location:

I am a 60 year old father of 2 great, successful, adult married children, grandfather of 7 wonderful grandchildren, the oldest now 10 years old, and have been happily married to my high school sweetheart for 40 years. I was born, raised and continue to live in rural Western Pennsylvania in the United States, and hope to remain here for the rest of my life. I am currently employed as a full time investigator performing Federal Security Clearance background investigations. In the past, I have successfully worked at everything from block layer, truck driver, crane operator, machinist, and diesel mechanic, to music teacher. Some were summer jobs while still in high school back in the dark ages, others were long term jobs until better opportunities came along.

How and why did you decide to get published?

Well, I had never even thought of becoming a published author, but over the years I’d written several short stories and full length books of varied genre from fiction to humorous, just to pass the time and boredom while recovering several times from various surgeries. These were hand written in lined tablets which were then placed in a desk drawer, just as something to be passed to the family when I die. Once my 2oldest grandchildren reached the age where they were able to read a few years ago, they found the tablets in my desk and were excited that Pappy had written books. They became my inspiration and sole reason for publishing my first book, “Suicide Cap”.

What genre do you write? And why?

Usually, general fiction or humour relating to things I have experienced in life or based on my widely diverse hobbies and interests, usually a combination of both, and I feel a writer has to have experienced or have knowledge of whatever is written in an authors work. Next work to be published is a humorous story of things that go wrong in the woods and a general tongue in cheek “guide” to spending time in the woods, hopefully in the next year.

What other genre interest you?

Well, at my age, I just can’t get interested in the YA or Demons and dragons type stuff. Mostly, I read Historical works relating to the United States, the various wars and battles fought; technical works on aviation; mechanical design; woodworking; novels in the realm of the likes of Tom Clancy and others; and occasionally, religious leaning books such as the “left Behind” series.

What is the story behind your book?

Again, my first and as of yet only published book, “Suicide Cap”, is a culmination of ideas and story lines that just formed in my mind while spending countless hours alone sitting or walking in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania. I am deeply into the 1700-1900 period of the United States, ala the mountain men and such, but am also into modern inventions such as aircraft and hover craft. So the book contains elements of all these.


Suicide Cap is a fictional tale which initially began as a story line involving Sean O’Mara, a young farm boy in the 1930’s who starts out on a hunting trip with his father to a great mountain called Suicide Cap by local folk of the town of Back Flats Pa due to local legends that say few who set foot on the mountain ever return. The story developed to where the hunting trip goes horribly wrong, leaving the boy stranded alone on the mountain. At the time, I also had a story line floating around in my mind of a modern day tinkerer who designs and builds in his home barn his own experimental aircraft called a hover plane, who takes off on his maiden flight in the untested machine on a whim upon completion. This maiden flight is unknown to anyone as the character, Harry Crocket, embarks on this flight while his family is away at the local Shopping Mall for the day. So, I ended up combining both story lines into a single book with part one focusing on the tragic hunting trip, and part two focusing on the 1989 period with the modern day inventors flight, which also goes horribly wrong with tragic consequences. I don’t want to give it all away, but events end up with two strangers from different eras atop Suicide Cap with their lives in each other’s hands involving elements and lifestyles of the 1700-1800 period, the 1930’s and 1989 all coming together.

How do you decide your book cover?

For Suicide Cap, I wanted a mostly stark black cover reflecting the overall tragedy theme of the story, and since most of the action in the book occurs in the shadow of, or on the fictional mountain of legend, Suicide Cap, I wanted a stark black and white photo of a forbidding looking mountain, and then just thought the red text on the cover was a good finish to the cover.

Do you think readers decide based on book cover or book title?

I believe both the cover and title, but also via reviews and story line. I don’t think a title, or book cover alone can sell a book.

If you write fiction; what’s the source of your inspiration? How much of YOU show up in your writing?

As I mentioned previously, my inspiration comes from my life experiences, hobbies and interests, sprinkled with imagination, and scenarios that just seem to spring up from my imagination. There is an awful lot of me in both the characters and in the book: Suicide Cap, Sean O’Mara, and Harry Crocket. And, several scenes or parts of the book are actual events from my own life.

Use one word/phrase to describe your book:

With so many twist and turns, and the story spanning a 60 year period, I guess I would have to say simply, it is an action, outdoor adventure tragedy with a full circle conclusion.

How have you found the writing process?

I have not been a writer who intentionally sits down to write a book. I have always been employed full time in gainful employment, often working as much as 60 to 70 hours per week, plus raising a family, and always making things in my home workshop. All of my works have evolved gradually over a period of over 30 years, with long breaks of several years between periods of working on the writings. Based on that, I have never had a problem with the writing process other than having to wait for the next period of recuperation from various ailments to find the time to write.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? How did you tackle it?
Yes, there have been a few instances of writer block. My solution was to set it all aside for a few months or years, then get back to it with fresh ideas.

Do you have a blog? What do you write about?

No blog, as I have not found the time to get involved with anything like that as of yet.

What books are on your shelf at home?

The entire “Left Behind” series; “Rainbow Six” and others by Tom Clancy; “18 Seconds and others in the Sherry Moore series by George Shuman; “Long Knife” by James Alexander Thom; and a host of others in those genre plus a host of historical writings and technical manuals.

Any awards/achievement you want to share?

Many in life, but nothing related to my writing.

Who’s your favourite author?

Toss up between Clancy and Shuman.

What are you good at as an individual?

I don’t like blowing my own horn, but basically, about anything I try to do. I spent about 30 years as a lead guitar player in rock bands since the 1960’s and people claim I am one of the better ones out there; I have made all my children’s fancy carved beds, baby cradles, and a host of misc items from raw wood with no plans or blueprints; Made by hand from raw materials many 1700 period flintlock long rifles and pistols, buckskin clothing, knives and such, many appraised at thousands of dollars; I am a home machinist designing and manufacturing many metal items in my home workshop; I have been remodelling my home myself, and can fix just about anything that’s broke, but most of all I hope I am a good husband, father and grandfather, as NOTHING else matters.

What form of entertainment do you enjoy most and why?

I don’t have much time for entertainment, but I like to watch good World War II movies such as “Saving Private Ryan”; go to hear a good rock band, watch the History or Discovery Channels, but my most enjoyable entertainment is playing with the grandchildren.

What are your other interests?

I have just way too many interests to list, but things listed above in previous questions are the most common for me.

Your favourite pet?

Absolutely my wife’s little white bishon frise’ dog. I used to like mainly big dogs, and we have had many over our 40 years of marriage, but once we got little “Charlie”, I can’t see having any other breed! He is the absolute smartest, well behaved, funny, affectionate dog we have ever had.

What’s your choice meal/favourite restaurant?

Bacon double cheeseburger, fries and Dr Pepper from Burger King, or burger and fries at 5 Guys!

What’s your music choice?

1970’s Southern rock ala the Outlaws, Lynnyrd Skynnyrd, Blackfoot, 38 Special etc., and especially Kansas! But, I like all types of music except rap and grunge.

Name your favourite city in the world.

Without a doubt, my rural Western Pennsylvania hometown, peaceful, low to no crime, no hustle, and no bustle! If I had to pick a place away from home it would be the Kelowna or northward areas of British Columbia.

Name your favourite world leader and why.

Now I am no religious zealot, and couldn’t even give a good quote from the Bible, but I pick Jesus Christ, because if EVERYONE on the planet, regardless of religion, would follow his simple directions to treat all others as you want to be treated, and to love all your neighbours’ as yourself, there would NEVER be any wars, no crime, and no hatred in the world. As far as an earthly leader, I like Winston Churchill for the way he guided and held Briton together during the Second World War in their darkest hours.

If you had one wish, what would it be?

For my children and grandchildren to live long, healthy, happy, productive lives.

If you can change one thing, what would it be?

I would go back to my youth and change a LOT of the things I did so that I could live a longer, healthier life to be with my kids and grandkids much longer than I will be.

What would you say you’re bad at?

Shutting my mouth and keeping my opinions to myself, and watching my health.

You’re squeamish about what?

Needles! I don’t care if it is a doctor, a nurse, dentist or whoever, stay away from me with needles! I have cut fingers off on electric saws, had many gashes, abrasions and such, but I would rather go through those injuries again than to see someone coming at me with a needle!

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done?

Don’t know if I can say this here, but while staying at the in-laws for a weekend once many years ago, I urinated on my father in-law while he was sleeping and I was sleep walking! That made life a bit tenuous for a few years!

Anything else your readers don’t know about you?

Probably very much, but I can’t think of anything else just now.

What’s your favourite quote?

Freedom isn’t free, it requires eternal vigilance…

Why should a reader buy your book?

Because it is not your average run of the mill fiction book, and is a very good, unique story with many twist and turns. I believe anyone who reads my book will be satisfied that it is a good entertaining read and worth the effort.

What is your last word?

Amen.

Where can your book be found/bought/website?

http://www.amazon.com/Suicide-Cap-G-W-Riley/dp/1441484728 is the Amazon website for my book, but it is available at a host of others in both paperback and eBooks in Kindle, Nook, ipad, and other electronic formats.

Thank you so much for taking time out to answer these questions.

Response from Jerry: Thank you for the invitation!

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