Interview with Gary Grossman
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I grew up with a sense of the world around me. Even as a kid in my hometown of Hudson, New York, I listened to an old shortwave radio my parents had, tuning in Moscow and Cuba during the Cold War, the BBC in England, broadcasts from China, Africa and Australia and The Voice of America from the U.S. I was caught up in the politics and the intrigue and wanted to comment on it all. I first did so as a ham radio operator, then as a disc jockey and ultimately as a journalism, TV producer/writer and now novelist. I can thank my parents for putting the Westinghouse radio in my bedroom!
What genre do you write and why?
The blending of fiction and reality, imagination and news led me to write political thrillers, or what I actually describe as “political reality thrillers.” I grew up in a political and law enforcement family. My mother ran campaigns for mayor of Hudson and a congressman from Columbia County. My dad was Supervising Investigator for The New York State Department of Civil Service. I truly believe their experience and the admiration I had for my folks had a direct impact on who I am and what I write about. It also shows up in my television documentaries for History Channel, A&E and other networks.
Tell us about your latest book.
“EXECUTIVE ACTIONS” and “EXECUTIVE TREASON” have just come out as a pair of eBooks. They will be followed “EXECUTIVE COMMAND.” The books deal with Russian sleeper cell spies still working in the U.S. and a 30-year plot designed to infiltrate the highest levels of U.S. government and bring down the presidency. The underlying background is real…very real right down to the institution that the Russian spies attended and a coup attempt that parallels an actual plan to unseat Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. There’s a master assassin and a terrorist who has a personal backstory that drives his machinations. My novels are set in today’s world, playing off the news, the media and characters who will seem very familiar to readers.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
It’s a viral world. In the past, with my non-fiction books on TV history, “SUPERMAN: SERIAL TO CEREAL” and “SATURDAY MORNING TV,” I toured major cities doing live interviews and book signings. Now, through great opportunities such as Jo’s blog, I can actually reach more dedicated readers and fans and keep writing from home. So I am a big believer in book blog tours. That said, I also continue to do local, regional and national radio interviews, some TV in New York and Los Angeles (many archived on www.garygrossman.com) and a great deal of Facebook and Linkedin content. Moreover, I’m learning the power of social media. In fact, I finally signed up for Facebook last year realizing that if it could contribute to regime changes in countries, it really could bring me together with readers.
What formats is the book available in?
My books are available in all eBook formats through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iPads, Sony readers and on and on. The price point is $2.99 or as I like to say, they’re less than a slice of pizza or a latte and they last so much longer.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
My day job is producing TV series and specials. Through my company Weller/Grossman Productions and World Media Strategies, I’ve produced more than 9,000 programs for 34 networks. I’m proud to say we’ve won Emmy’s and other notable awards. What can I say, I’m a happy guy.
Who are your favourite authors?
Easy to answer. Tom Clancy, Michael Palmer, Patrick Robinson, Dale Brown. Larry Bond. I think you get the idea. Political and techno thrillers. I got into years ago after I read “Seven Days in May” by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W Bailey. It’s still one of my favorites.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Write every day. My goal is three pages each day. Do the math. It adds up. Ninety pages in a month; 180 after two months, etc. Then comes an even harder part. Re-writing and figuring out what’s missing and what has to be amplified or edited. I also research things in detail. It makes the experience much more authentic for me and for genre fans.
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
I’m not sure if I have a favorite quote about writing, but truly one of my favorite quotes, which works into the plot of “EXECUTIVE TREASON” is from Mark Twain. “A lie can travel halfway around the world in the time that the truth is trying to put its boots on.” Think about that, especially in the age of the 24/7 news cycle and with the perspective of history including the McCarthy Era. Profound.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
A big part of my job is “thinking the unthinkable.” As a journalist I report on actualities and history. As a novelist, I can extend thought into the realm of “what if.” I believe if we don’t spend as much time focusing on tomorrow, we’re going to keep repeating all our yesterdays.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Wow. There are a couple of places. A Google search for Gary Grossman or Gary H. Grossman for starters. Superman. Saturday Morning TV, TV producer. But there’s also great content at www.garygrossman.com and www.wmsprods.com. Hope you check it out.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you for the opportunity to respond. In turn, I’d love to hear from readers and will answer emails promptly and happily. And watch for “EXECUTIVE COMMAND” coming Summer 2012.