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Interview with Greg Messel: ‘I didn’t imagine that I could create a fictional world’

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Greg Messelhas spent much of his life in the Pacific Northwest living in Portland, Oregon and in the Seattle area since 2008.  He has been married to his wife, Carol, for 40 years.  Greg and Carol were high school sweethearts just like the couple in “Expiation.”  He has lived in Washington, Oregon, California, Utah and Wyoming.  Greg grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from high school there and also attended a year of junior college.  Greg went to Brigham Young University with Carol and then began a newspaper career in rough and tumble Wyoming town of Rock Springs.  Greg and Carol have three married children and nine grandchildren.

Greg has always loved writing.   He worked as the news editor and sports editors of the Daily Rocket-Miner newspaper.  He won a Wyoming Press Association award for his column.  He also submitted and had published articles in various sports magazines.  He left the newspaper business in 1981 and began a 27 year career with Pacific Power.  Greg retired in 2008 and moved to Seattle.

It was there that he returned to his first love of writing.   He has written two unpublished memoirs and published his first novel with Trafford in September 2009.   His first novel was called “Sunbreaks.”   The second novel “Expiation” was published in the spring of 2010 with Trafford.  A third novel is in the works.

Currently, Greg and Carol live on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, just north of downtown Seattle. They have three adult children who are all married and have nine grandchildren.  He also enjoys running, he has been in several races and half marathons.

Visit his website at www.gregmessel.com.

Connect with him at Twitter at www.twitter.com/gregmessel and Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.messel.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Greg. Can we start out by telling
us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

My third novel is in the final stages of production and will be available later
this month.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I have self published all three of my novels. The hurdles seemed too high and it takes a long time to break into the mainsteam publishing world.
Especially in light of the emerging e book world, I prefer to get my books out there and market them. It is not easy but you can be successful. The world has really changed significantly since I self published my first book in 2009. I hate the term vanity press. That’s an old concept. If a businessman or businesswoman invests in their company is it called a vanity investment because they want to start a business.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

It took a couple of months. It was a unique experience to be involved in the design of a book from beginning to end. I have learned so much since my first novel. For design decisions, I actually started going through my book shelf and seeing what makes good book design.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It was a huge thrill. I actually never imagined that I would write fiction. I have always loved writing and felt I had talent that I could develop. I didn’t imagine that I could create a fictional world. But I did.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

My first focus was to try to get the book in bookstores. I have since gone another way. I heavily promote my book on social networks and I will emphasize the ebook marketing of my new book.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Absolutely. I feel my third book is better crafted than my first book, even though I’m proud of my first book. I feel like I’m a different writer now than when I began this journey. I also have developed very definite ideas about what I want to achieve in my book and how to structure it. I feel like my fourth or fifth books, which I haven’t written yet, will be better than the one I just completed.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

It is a very tough and competitive environment. I used to love to walk into a big bookstore and see thousands of books. Now I find it somewhat
discouraging to see how many books there are. You are trying to get noticed.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

It is definitely when you do get noticed. I love getting tweets from readers who tell me they have bought my book. I got an e mail from someone I went to high school with. I had not heard from that person for a long time and she said, “My daughter gave your book as a Christmas present.” Wow. I live in Seattle and it
still astounds me when people on the East Coast, England or Indonesia buy my book. That’s a long way from home.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

It is never easy but it is worth it. The publishing and book world is changing rapidly. You can do it. It’s an exciting time. People are undergoing fundamental changes in how they read. Your ebook can be part of that revolution.


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