Welcome Harry Gilleland to Art Stories!
It's been a great pleasure to have you here and tell us all about your work.
Interview with Harry Gilleland, the author of "Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man".
Tell us about yourself first.
I am a southerner, born and raised in Macon, Georgia, now living in
The professional highlights of my life include earning my B.S. and M.S. in Microbiology from the University of Georgia in 1966 and 1968, respectively. Next Uncle Sam couldn't fight the Vietnam War any longer without my participation. I entered as a private but was able to get a direct commission as a captain before the end of basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO -- my first experience with snow. I served two years in
Afterwards, I went to
In 2004 I retired from faculty life and began my new career as a poet and author. Since then, I have self-published through Lulu Press three books of my poetry, a novella (Bob the Dragon Slayer), and a contemporary romance novel (
In my personal life, I married early at age nineteen to my high school sweetheart. We had three great children (Ginny, Geoffrey, & Gregory) together and were married eighteen years (1964 - 1982). We grew apart and divorced. I then married my current wife in 1985, becoming a step-parent to her son, Jason. My second wife is an angel on earth, and we have been and are blissfully happy together. I am now grandfather to five grandchildren. At age 64, I feel I have lived a full life. And all this detail may be more than you wanted to know. LOL
When did you start writing?
I started writing scientifically in 1968 and continued writing grant applications, scientific papers and journal articles, reports, abstracts, etc until my retirement in 2004 from my scientific career. I started writing creatively as a poet in 2001. I attempted writing creative prose in 2005, partly through the prodding of Diane Steele, as well as Vivian Zabel, at Writing.com.
What genres have you written?
I write primarily poetry. I wrote one fantasy novella, as well as one contemporary romance. I may write an action/adventure novel next. I guess I am a poet who dabbles in writing prose.
Is "Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man" your first book?
No. It is my third book of my personal poetry and my fifth book all together.
Tell us about your book. What is it about?
"Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man" contains an assortment of my poetry. It has both rhyming storoems (story-poems) and free-verse poems. It addresses a wide variety of topics. I try to both entertain the reader, as well as touch his/her mind and emotions. I want the reader to enjoy what he/she reads, but more than just that, I want the reader to think about the topic in a different way, plus I want him/her to be touched by what is read. If my poetry elicits a laugh or a tear, it makes me feel like I have been successful.
My poetry is easy to read and understand. You don't need a Fine Arts degree to read my work. I believe most readers will be glad they read my book.
"Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man" won Honorable Mention in the 2008 Reader Views Literary Awards for the Poetry Category of books. One of the free-verse poems in the book, "The Assembled Waiters", won a $200 prize in the High Distinction category of the 2008 Tom Howard Poetry Contest.
What inspired you to write this book?
I want the world to become aware of my poetry and reward me with fame and fortune.
How long did it take you to write it?
It took me several years from publication of my second poetry book (Gilleland Poetry: Storoems and Poems, 2005) to amass enough newly written poems and storoems to fill a new book. I write poetry on a continuing basis. Whenever I get about 150 -175 new ones, I publish a new collection.
Who is the publisher of your book?
I self-published using Lulu Press to print the books POD.
Where is it on sale?
All five of my books are on sale at Amazon.com or other on-line booksellers, plus they are available for purchase at Lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com/harry ). They may also be ordered through local book stores.
Tell us about your other books/work.
I have two other poetry books, "Poetry For The Common Man: Storoems and Poems", 2003, and "Gilleland Poetry: Storoems and Poems", 2005. They are both collections of my poetry and well worth buying and reading.
My fantasy novella is a delightful romp with Bob the peasant teaming up with Stephen, a newly minted wizard, to kill dragons. Bob has many adventures, becomes a knight, gets involves with the lovely Lady Katherine, gets involved in a civil war, and has a merry time. My wife Linda thinks "Bob the Dragon Slayer" is my best work of prose. It is suitable for anyone from age 14 to 101. It is witty and a fun read.
My contemporary romance novel is set on "
What are the major challenges that you have faced in your career?
Like most self-published authors, my major challenges have been to become a good-enough writer to warrant publication of my work, then to figure out the publishing game and how to self-publish my book(s), followed by trying to get my book(s) noticed. Getting attention paid to your work is the biggest challenge. It is extremely difficult to get anyone to pick your book out of the sea of available books out there, much less convincing them to buy your book. Gaining fame as a writer/poet (and selling books) is a daunting challenge.
Has the Internet helped you in your writing career?
Most definitely yes!
I honed my skills as a poet and writer by posting my work on Internet writing sites. The critical comments and suggestions I received were invaluable to developing my talent as a poet. Plus there was a vast supply of advice on writing techniques available in on-line newsletters, essays, writing conferences, resource sites, etc. I learned most of what I know about creative writing from on-line sources.
I also learned most of what I know about marketing techniques from on-line sources. Most of the marketing I do for my books is now done on-line. My books are sold on-line through Amazon & other booksellers. Most reviews received are posted on-line. Without the Internet, I and a host of other writers would have no writing career available to them.
What do you advise new writers to do?
Write! Work every day to improve your ability as a writer. Post items for critique at writing sites, and then listen to the comments and learn from them. You must seek critical review for your writing, which requires you to develop a thick skin. Take the comments as comments on your work and not about you personally. Also, read all you can about writing techniques. Attend writing conferences, either in person or on-line. Read other authors' works. Concentrate your efforts on becoming the best writer you can possibly be before you even begin to think about trying to publish a book. Let readers of your work tell you when you are ready to think about publishing. It takes most writers years of practice before they reach that point...if ever. Finally, enjoy writing since it can be quite fulfilling.
Visit Harry at http://harrygillelandwrites.blogspot.com/
Thank you Harry!