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Corfu, Greece
Liana Metal lives in Greece, on the island of Corfu. She is an EFL teacher(MAEd -Applied Linguistics), book reviewer and freelance writer. Liana is also an artist. Her drawings/paintings can be found both online at www.aggelia-online.gr and at several shops in Corfu town. To contact the artist visit http://LianaMetal.tripod.com or her blog at http://LianasKerkyra.blogspot.com Η Ηλιάνα Μεταλληνού διδάσκει Αγγλικά στην Κέρκυρα, γράφει άρθρα και ιστορίες για έντυπες και ηλεκτρονικές εκδόσεις σε όλο τον κόσμο και ζωγραφίζει. Μπορείτε να την επισκεφθείτε στην ηλεκτρονική διεύθυνση http://toasprosaligari.blogspot.com και http://www.coffeetimecorfu.com


A book for kids/ 3 stories in English

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Meet Harry Gilleland, the poet!

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 Shreveport, Louisiana.

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 El Paso, TX at William Beaumont General Hospital as Chief of Microbiology in the clinical laboratory. This was my first experience living in a desert. Then came a nice tour of sunny Southeastern Asia (RVN)...my first experience in a combat zone. I returned to the UGA for my Ph.D. in Microbiology (conferred 1973).

Afterwards, I went to London, Ontario, Canada for a two-year fellowship -- my first experience living in a foreign country without people trying to shoot me. There I learned to appreciate good cheese and the value of cut flowers in enriching one's life. Having frozen my fanny off during two Canadian winters, I moved in 1975 to Louisiana to thaw out and to become a faculty member in the Dept. of Microbiology and Immunolgy at LSU Health Science Center, School of Medicine in Shreveport. I spent twenty-nine years on the faculty, teaching microbiology to both medical students and graduate students and performing vaccine research with grants from The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), as well as a British biotech company. I co-authored over 40 scientific papers and presented my research findings at international meetings and conferences. I was invited three times to the vaccine conference held every three years in Munich, Germany for 80 of the world's leading vaccine researchers.

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 (White Lightning Road). I hope to continue to improve in my writing abilities.

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 "White Lightning Road" in rural northwestern Louisiana. It follows the lives and loves of two best friends who grew up on White Lightning Road but longed for city living. They keep getting drawn back to country life along WLR. It was fun to write a romance story.

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!


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the feature post. And any author with the admirable self effacing quality of titling his book, "Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man" is an OK dude in my book! LOL

The Old Silly from Free Spirit Blog

Harry Gilleland said...

Liana, thank you for such a great blog. I appreciate all your efforts in my behalf. I enjoyed answering your new interview questions. many thanks!

Marvin, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Glad you like my book title! :-)



kathy stemke said...

Great post. I love Harry's books!

Vivian Zabel said...

I'm probably one of Harry's biggest fans, and have been for years.


Nancy Famolari said...

Loved your post. Harry is such an interesting character. I applaud his desire to self-publish. Why always let someone else decide how good you are? Get your books out and maybe you will be as interesting as the "Fat Old Man."

Donna M. McDine said...

Harry...you have led a truly fascinating life and continue to do so. Happy belated Memorial Day to you.

Best wishes for your continued success.


Mayra Calvani said...

From microbiologist to poet! That's unusual!
Thanks for the great post!

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Wonderful post, Liana.

Harry, getting our work noticed is definitely the greatest challenge in writing. There are so many talented writers and books out there.

In addition to writing, you have led a very useful life.


Harry Gilleland said...

Thanks, Kathy, for your comment.

Vivian, I'm one of your biggest fans too.

Nancy, at my age self-publishing is the easiest and quickest approach to take in building a career as author.

Donna, my life has certainly been eventful. It has just flown by...

Mayra, changing from the formality of scientific writing to creative ways of fiction & poetry took some adjusting. Scientists think differently than poets in the way the see the world.

Thanks, Karen. Yes, indeed, getting our books noticed is quite the challenge. I have won prizes & awards with my poetry, including prize money for both an individual storoem and a free-verse poem in the 2008 Tom Howard Poetry Contest, plus "Poetic Musing of an Old, Fat Man" won an award as a book, but I have had very few sales. It does get discouraging at times...

Thanks for all your


Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Harry, I appreciate you poetry but I also appreciate your humor. "Without people trying to shooet me," indeed! I suspect you might be interested in one of my blogs, www.warpeacetolerance.blogspot.com. Especially the segments that give resources for way people can help our troops.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick, www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

Harry Gilleland said...

Ho-Jo, I will check out the blog you suggested. By the way, did you get the article about "storoem" I sent you for your newsletter?



Joyce Anthony said...

s enjoy listening in on Harry :-)

Liana said...

Thank you all for reading Harry's post! Harry is a very talented poet; don't forget to read the second post on the 4th June.
All the best,

Liana said...

I am happy you like this post-I am always trying to do my best!