Hi everyone. I know it has been awhile, but I have another author interview today. This woman is an old friend who has been writing since she was 10, which is *cough* ahem *cough* number of years. She is very creative and always thinking outside the box. In fact, when asked, she typically answers, “What box?” Everyone, say hello to author Bridget McGowan!
Hi Bridget! Thanks for stopping by today. Lets start with where are you from. Do you have pets? Family? Imaginary unicorn friend?
I am originally from Bucks County, PA, where I was born and grew up. I now live in New Jersey. I currently have a pointer/lab mix dog. My only imaginary friends are my characters … but one WAS a unicorn…
I believe that counts! So then, tell us a little about your writing. When did you start writing, and why?
I started making up stories at about the age of three. At that time I didn’t like some of the stories my mother read to me, so I told her that wasn’t how the stories went, and then I told her my versions. I began actually writing stories once I learned how to write. I attempted my first “novel” when I was ten. I never finished it because I was trying to write about a girl with three sisters. Having no sisters, I wasn’t exactly writing about anything I knew. I began writing poetry at 12, and I still do it badly. When I went to college I began seriously writing short stories and not-so-seriously writing “news” stories and commercials for one of my broadcasting classes. They were mainly tongue in cheek. The first time I ever actually finished writing a novel was in 1989, when I completed the first of a series of five books on a character who worked for a television station in Philadelphia – and who also was gay – in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. I have since completed several other series and two children’s novels.
That must have been very edgy for its time. So you obviously cross genres. What genres have you written for and what is your favorite genre?
I have written fantasy, fictional biography, children’s stories and young adult fiction. I enjoy writing fictional biography.
That is indeed quite the gambit. Sounds like a few other authors I know who jump around genres. Based on that response, I am going to guess that you are not a planner type writer.
I seldom plan anything about a story. I write what the characters tell me to write.
You are not the first author to say that. Most tell me their characters talk to them. That being said, where did you find your inspiration?
Generally, I create a character, and give him a shove to see what he will do.
Sounds fun…especially when they shove back…*grins*…ahem, anyway, can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one?
I have never finished the first novel I ever tried to write as an adult. I know everything that happens in it, but I’ve never finished writing all of it. On re-reading it many years later, I find it dull and pretentious. Originally, I used it as a talisman, believing that if I ever finished it, I’d never be able to write another novel. A positive experience has been experiencing the joys and sorrows of my main characters. It gives me a chance to understand life from someone else’s perspective.
Wow, a talisman, huh? I hope you never finish it then. I also know many writers who truly dislike their early works, so you are not alone in that respect. You would also not be the first to tell me they experience the ups and downs of their characters. It is difficult not to get emotionally invested in them as any good writer will tell you. Well then, do you listen to music or watch TV or do anything unusual while you write?
With some I have listened to specific records (George Michael’s “Faith” while writing the Matt Nelson series.). But most of the time, no. There may be something going on in the background, but I’m paying attention to the page and the pen.
Okay, now I can’t get that song out of my head. “Coz I gotta have Faith… I gotta have… Faith” Oops, sorry. Got slightly carried away there…anyway is there a message conveyed within your writing?
Don’t be afraid to go after your dreams, generally.
That’s a very straightforward answer. Usually folks need to think about that one. Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading?
I’m currently reading Game of Thrones, and just finished a historical fiction novel by Morgan Llewellyn.
Still haven’t read Game of Thrones. It is somewhere on my reading list. Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case?
Yes. I do it in stages, over the course of months. That gives the story time to cool, so I can catch mistakes and get enough distance from the writing of it.
Sounds like a good approach. Seems like one review is never enough. In fact most folks I know do that, as well as have beta readers to help them. So I take it you don’t believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?
No. I’ve had so-called professional editors try to take really good ideas and bland them down.
Ugh. That can be frustrating. Finding a good editor is hard. There are some good ones out there though, but too many bad ones as well giving the profession a bad name. Personally, I have been very fortunate, but I can see why you have the viewpoint you do. So then, what was your experience with getting your book published? How did you start out? Did you have help?
I’ve tried to get my books published by regular publishers to no avail. A friend told me about Amazon.com publishing. While not that many people may buy the books, at least some people will. I just want to be read (becoming rich and famous would be nice, too, but I don’t expect that to happen.)
Ah, rich and famous…that would be nice…ahem, but yes, I agree, it is gratifying just to be read. Do you find marketing difficult? What strategy do you use, if any?
I know absolutely nothing about marketing, and it shows. I have followed suggestions other people have made, like having an author’s Facebook page, but it hasn’t really been useful.
I am so sorry. I find it the most difficult part of being an author. I am not sure if there is one good strategy, but I am taking a marketing course right now. If I find out any good tidbits, I will be sure to share them. Onto the next question – I know you have more than one published work, but which book or series was your favorite to create?
My Nicholas Keating stories.
Ah, the Welsh violinist and his unlikely romance with the girl from America. That is a very heartfelt series. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
I’m planning to write a caper, which is an entirely foreign genre for me. I am letting the ideas swirl at the moment. And I have actually written an outline for this, something I’ve never done before.
OMG Bridget, you are planning! I promise not to tell anyone…ahem, anyway, just a few more questions. Are your characters ever based on real people?
No. They are unique. They sometimes play out scenes that have actually happened in my life, or take on expressions someone I know uses. I have based stories loosely on news stories I’ve heard about. But that’s only the basis. My story never actually follows the real news story. No one ever has to worry about ending up in my novel.
Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off?
No, but I have killed off a character with whom I became bored.
Hahaha. That is too funny! Killing off a boring character…oh, well, one last question then. What formats are your book(s) available in (E-book, print, large print, audio)? Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason?
My books are available on Kindle and print on demand. I haven’t made them available in any other format because there doesn’t seem to be a demand for them. I would expand if there was a reason to.
Well then Bridget, we have come to the end of this interview. Thank you so much for your time. For anyone interested in finding out more about Bridget, here are some links to her Amazon page and the Nicholas Keating series book 1:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Bridget-McGowan/e/B00929UNO8/