AB: I understand that you have dabbled in a wide range of storytelling art, from acting to screenwriting to short stories. Which medium are you most passionate about?
Guy: That's a tough one! You're supposed to start with a few "softball" questions first! In all seriousness, it may sound like a cop-out but I'm more fond of writing in general. It's the thing I've been trained to do... I took a slew of writing courses in college but just one acting class. Writing is something I've been doing as a hobby since I was in elementary school. I recall writing a script for an episode of the Tiny Toon Adventures cartoon when I was in the fifth grade. I also wrote a play based on the Peanuts characters.
I've always known that I wanted to be a writer. I dabbled in screenwriting for most of my life and largely ignored fiction writing. That was a mistake. I think that I had always told myself that I couldn't write a novel because the process was just so long and there were so many words you would need to put down on paper. When I actually sat down to write my first novel, though, I felt liberated in a way. There are so many more constraints with screenwriting that you don't have with novel writing.
That said, I enjoy dissecting a good TV show or movie as much as I like dissecting a good book. I love learning and studying the production process and everything involved with it... casting, writing, distribution, etc.
AB: When did you decide to write a full-blown novel? Where did your idea for Agents of Change come from?
Guy: I had grown weary of banging my head against the wall, trying to pitch my scripts to producers that were really really picky about what they wanted. On top of that, I can admit that I'm no Aaron Sorkin... my scripts were far from perfect, but then again, there are no perfect scripts. After writing two feature length screenplays and three television pilots in a span of about nine months that began in July 2010, I took a break from writing for a few months. I had kind of used up all my ideas and my writing batteries needed recharging. Last fall, when I got the itch to write again, I still couldn't come up with any new ideas. At the time, I honestly didn't care what the idea was, I just knew I wanted to write. A friend of mine mentioned that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was on the horizon, so I figured, why not?
I still had a problem, though; my brain couldn't conjure up any new ideas. Finally, the idea of Agents of Change came from one of my TV pilots, which I called The Matchmaker. Despite its rejection by TV producers, I really believed in The Matchmaker. I thought it was one of my most original and most interesting concepts. The primary characters were the same and it involved an agency with special abilities, just like the novel does. The big difference was the tone... The Matchmaker was to be an hour-long serial dramedy (think Drop Dead Diva or a show created by David E. Kelley like Ally McBeal or Boston Legal). Basically, it was going to be more comedic and more lighthearted.
In my mind, I had a vision of where I wanted The Matchmaker to go if it were ever produced and, while not as dramatic as the novel turned out to be, that vision became the basis for the plot in Agents of Change. I guess the question, then, is where did the idea for The Matchmaker come from? Well, as a fan of the show Heroes, I wanted to write about a group of people who had special abilities but I wanted those abilities to have a purpose (as opposed to someone randomly being born with it) and I wanted those powers to only be given to a select few who deserved it.
AB: Tell me about your decision to self-publish. What made you decide to forgo the traditional publishing route? Are you happy with the results?
Guy: As someone who spent years intermittently trying to sell scripts, I knew going into the novel writing process that getting an agent or publisher to champion my book was like a lottery. There are so many scripts and novels out there that are so much better than some of what's being produced/traditionally-published, I knew I had a chance to actually make my work available for public consumption. That was the big thing for me...the only thing better than writing a novel is having it published. Most people can't produce their own scripts, but it's much easier and cost-effective to self-publish a novel.
Right now, I am happy with the results but, a year from now, my answer could be different. My novel is out there for anyone to read and that's what's important to me. Sales are slow but I expected that. I anticipate (and pray!) that I'll see an uptick in sales once the sequel is published.
AB: What have you learned throughout the self-publishing process?
Guy: I've learned that it's similar to what I discussed about my passions when it comes to TV and film. There's so much that goes into self-publishing...writing the novel, getting the cover art, marketing the thing. It's a painstaking process that never ends but it's also fun.
AB: Other than the sequel to Agents of Change, what projects are you working on at the moment?
Guy: Right now, the sequel is it. Working full-time, that's really the only project I have time for. Shortly after the release of Agents of Change, I released a short story called The Scorpion Nest. It's not your typical "bug story" and is available for free on Smashwords and Goodreads. Once I'm done with the Agents of Change trilogy, I plan to write a futuristic take on an old classic from English literature. I have said classic already picked out (it's one of my favorites) but that's another matter for another time.
AB: Now I want to know a little more about Guy, the man. When you aren't immersed in storytelling, what else are you passionate about?
Guy: I'm a huge sports fan. If I could get a job as a professional sports scout as easily as I could publish my own novel, I'd do it. I grew up in Philadelphia, so I'm a big fan of the town's four major teams (the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Sixers) and take it to heart when they lose. In fact, I recall feeling like I wanted to give up on sports altogether after the Phillies lost in the playoffs last fall. It was while experiencing that emptiness that decided that it was time to get back into the swing of writing again.
I'm also a gamer. I mostly like sports games (like MLB The Show), but I also like the occasional first-person shooter, such as Call of Duty, and have been impressed with Skyrim. I like traveling, as well. Unfortunately, I don't get to do it as much as I'd like (who does?) but I try to find ways to work around that. I'm an area representative for a high school foreign exchange program and get to work with students from all around the globe. Thus, they bring their cultures to me!
Guy's Website: Ruminating in the Desert
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