B-Fest Author Spotlight 3: Guy L. Pace

Guy L PaceGuy L. Pace is a super grandpa, served in the Navy, and worked as a journalist as well as some other interesting jobs I’ll let him tell you about. And while we think all that is pretty cool, we are most interested in the fact that he’s an author. I posted about his books earlier, and you can click here to read more about them.

What I’m most excited about is that Guy L. Pace is going to be at Barnes & Noble in Spokane Valley for the B-fest Teen Book Festival, and I want to take a few moments to introduce you. He’ll be doing a signing at 1 pm on Saturday and participating in a panel discussion on Sunday at 1 pm. The only sad part is I won’t be able to go see him since I’ll be at Barnes & Noble Northtown signing at noon on Saturday and a panel at 1 pm on Sunday! Please make sure you look for him on social media. He’s kind, and on an unrelated note he has plenty of stories to tell!

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of authoring, I have some really, super, very, totally, and completely important questions to ask. Number one: Do you hate cats?

No, I love cats.

I can live with that. I’m allergic to the little furry monsters—errmm—furballs, but I certainly don’t hate them. In fact, cats eat mice which makes them pretty awesome as far as I’m concerned.

Well, I love cats, dogs, horses. But I don’t keep any. Wouldn’t be fair to them—what with my penchant to take off on a ride and be gone for a few days or more.

All animals I enjoy! But they do like attention, so rides off into the sunset that don’t include them can leave pets kinda cranky. Well good! Now that we have the necessary cat question out of the way we can move on to an even more important question. Can you wash light and dark clothes together? Have you ever turned a bunch of stuff pink in the washer?

I wash all my own clothing, and I don’t bother sorting. But I’m a jeans and t-shirt guy.

Yes, I managed to ruin something in the wash. That was a long time ago.

I probably shouldn’t admit that I rarely separate colors, but since you said it first I guess I can fess up to it. But in my defense, when you are washing clothing for six people it can get a little tedious and doesn’t seem to make much difference when you have hard water. Oh! Speaking of water, it’s used to make one of my favorite drinks. Are you a coffee addict? Name your poison.

When I’m running around and need to get a coffee, I get a 20 oz, non-fat mocha, four shots.

At home, I get a large mug of whatever comes out of the Keurig. I usually get a second large mug just to make sure I keep the buzz going.

Now we’re talking. It’s settled, Guy; we can be friends. The whole cat thing left me in a bit of a quandary, but all is well. Coffee. Enough said. Of course, we’re here to find out what drives the desire for the coffee buzz, so when did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was very young. Probably about ten or twelve.

That age really seems to be an important time for most aspiring young writers. I was also about that age when I fell in love with the craft. Let’s think of new authors like youngsters and tell me, what advice can you give them?

Oh, this one. Write. Read. Write some more. Read more. Write. One thing I think that helped me was working in journalism. It isn’t the same these days, and not everyone can get into working on newspapers. I think writing stories about events and people really help you hone the craft.

I guess it’s good to keep with the standard. I think that the whole read and write thing is important, and that advice is prevalent for a reason, but that’s great what you have added about the idea of journalism. Writing fiction is all about characters and plot, which equates to people and events, so it’s certainly sound advice! If we can accomplish the simple relaying of events through journalistic writing it makes it less difficult to master the ability to put our thoughts and ideas into coherent stories. You’ve already mentioned a little of your background, but what’s your story? What makes you so interesting (which I seriously think you are!)?

Well, I have lots of stories. Pick a topic and I can probably share something. But, then, that may not be all that interesting. I know my granddaughters often roll their eyes when I try to share some stories. Maybe they’ve heard them before.

Still, I’ve done a lot of things. I worked as a cowboy some, learned farriery, four years in the Navy, then many years in community newspapers and ten years in the Army Reserve as an Armor Officer. I retired after twenty-some years working information technology/information security in higher education.

I’ve always wanted to write, and I have a lot of old stories in my “trunk” that should never see the light of day.

Wow, Guy! You’ve gained such varied and technical experience. Even writing the “Not for Mass Consumption” stories gives writers a deeper well. You must have an amazing reservoir from which to draw story content. What is the best part about being an author (indie or traditional) for you?

I think the best part is the awe in my granddaughters’ eyes when they see a copy of one of my novels and realize Papa wrote that.

I also like to attend conferences (recently at MisCon 30 and at WorldCon last year). It is fun being on panels and talking about the craft, the business, and just crazy stuff.

I even like the writing part, especially when I have a good idea and it is flowing well.

Haha The writing part. Yes, I suppose it’s not a requirement to like it but definitely makes it most enjoyable. You obviously have a wealth of knowledge to share, so I bet you are a great addition to the conferences. And I gotta say, my kids are pretty cute when they say things like, “My mom writes books, but they have princesses.” Since you like the writing part, what “person” do you like to write in? First Person, Third Person, etc. – and why?

My first short story sale, New Kid, was originally in third person. I entered it in a contest in the Seattle area and one of the comments said that it would be stronger in First Person. So, when I went back over it, I changed it all to First Person. It made a huge difference, I think.

I have to look at some other work and see if it would benefit from a First Person perspective.

My novels are Third Person, though, but from a specific character’s point of view. The third volume, when I get it done, will be Third Person, from a young woman’s point of view. I’ve been reading romances to get a feel for the feminine perspective.

That’s an interesting and intriguing way to go about learning the feminine perspective, although I know some females who wouldn’t think romances are at all true to the real thing. Haha I for one think there’s some truth in it all. The trick is finding the balance. Finding that in anything can be difficult. Like book titles, for instance. How do you decide on a title for your book?

Nasty Leftovers GPMy working title for Sudden Mission was actually “Run Screaming.” I had no idea where it was going to go then. After it was done, the title didn’t seem appropriate. As for Nasty Leftovers, that started out as a working title, and stuck.

I like the change in title on that first one, and I must say, I’m intrigued by the title Nasty Leftovers, especially with that electric cover right there. Besides title creation, what was your road to publication like?

I wrote the first draft of Sudden Mission in November, 2012. After revisions, edits, and rewrites, I started shopping it around to Christian-based publishers and agents. I got nothing. After writing, Nasty Leftovers, I started thinking I would have to self-publish. I knew the books needed a lot more editing and critical review and I was starting to shop around for editors. Then a friend told me about Booktrope, and the Vox Dei imprint.

I packaged up Sudden Mission and sent it off. It was accepted and I was offered a contract. Once Sudden Mission was out, I reworked Nasty Leftovers, and then submitted that. They accepted it and we were off to the races getting it published.

Nasty Leftovers launched in mid-March. I got the email from Booktrope on May 1 that they were closing their doors.

So, now I’m self-publishing. But I have much more experience, the benefit of a great editor and proofreader, and a rocking cover designer.

You’ve got a great team in place, which is the most important part when it comes to publishing your finished work! I gather you like your editor, but how has your experience with editors been (you can name names if you liked you editor)?

Before my publisher closed their doors, I had a great editor. Brandi Midkiff worked very hard and did a great job getting the books into better shape. I hope to keep her as my editor in the future.

I understand that! When you’ve got a great editor and you mesh well, it’s like a dream team. You also said you’d written your first draft in November. Tell us more about it. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your first published book?

I wrote the first draft of Sudden Mission in 30 days. I wrote the first draft of Nasty Leftovers in 30 days, too. Both were done in NaNoWriMo. No, they were not great first drafts and went through a lot of revisions, edits, proofreading and all.

Great job with that! And for those who are not familiar with the term NaNoWriMo it stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is hosted every year as a free worldwide event. Check out nanowrimo.org for more info. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming! Guy, you’re obviously good at focusing on tasks if you can write an entire first draft of a novel in thirty days. What’s a good writing secret or time management secret?

I like to use NaNoWriMo as a working model. Focus and write so many words per day. Keep it up and you’ll have a first draft before you know it.

That’s great advice and pretty easy to follow. It leaves a certain amount of room for a person to decide their individual goal but gives a framework to start within. When it came time for you to tackle your NaNoWriMo projects, though, how did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

Sudden MissionFor Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers, the genre chose me. If you can put those in a specific genre. The first book just tumbled out. The second one, followed close on the first.

Normally, I try to write science fiction, but I find that my short stories are a bit light on the science and focus more on character.

That makes sense to me. Aside from stories choosing you would you say you’re a plotter? Or pantser?

Okay. For Sudden Mission, I was a pantser. I had a basic outline for the first three chapters, with character sketches and some ideas. But, when I got it going, the characters and the story just took off on its own. I tossed the outline after the second chapter.

For Nasty Leftovers, I was more of a plotter. This one required a bit more research, and events needed to happen in a specific order. Still, the story and characters brought their own surprises as it developed.

I categorize myself somewhere in the middle, but it sounds like you do much the same, or at least on the second book you did. I find the whole debate between the merits of the two styles to be interesting at times and aggravating at others, but I also find myself camped between. But our time is running out, so I want to ask you just a few more quick questions! Besides writing, what are your favorite things to do?

Guys motocyc
Guy’s beautiful bike enjoying the sunshine!

I like to ride my motorcycle around the Spokane area. I also like to take my granddaughters to Riverfront Park in the summer. I have a bucket list of rides I want to take, like the Selkirk Loop. And, I need to get to Palouse Falls, finally.

Palouse Falls is beautiful. You should go now while the water is still rushing. We took a trip out there this time last year, and in between freaking out about my kids being close to sharp drop-offs, cliffs, and a raging river I thought the views were spectacular. Other than riding motorcycle and being a cool grandpa, what’s something most readers would never guess about you?

I was on a NASA Public Affairs Contingency Team in 1973 for the SkyLab 3 Mission. This was while I was serving at the Atlantic Fleet Submarine Force HQ in Norfolk, VA. It was just one of the things I got to do in that last year in the Navy.

That’s so cool! Sorry to yell, but I’m a little jealous of that bit. Some pretty great opportunities and experiences have presented themselves in your life, and I love it. Before I let you run off to prepare for B-fest, do you have a blog? And how did it get started?

Yes. guypace.com. I started out writing an information security blog (in the now defunct rapier57.com). That transitioned to a blog mostly about motorcycle riding. Then, when I got serious about getting my novels published, I bought my domain for my current blog and started writing a weekly post there.

I generally post on Tuesday. I do not know why. Folks can subscribe to the blog, as well, so they don’t miss any of my great posts.

You are just a man of many talents. If people want to look for you to chat, ask questions, or tell you how cool they think you are, what’s your favorite social media?

I like Twitter. I think it works the best in getting information to your audience. Facebook is weird in how things are limited and you have to pay to get the kind of coverage you get for free from Twitter. I use Google+, Pinterest, but I think the most response I get is from Twitter.

Here are the links to all these places where you can find Guy:

Thank you so much for taking the time to come on my blog today, Guy. It has been a real pleasure getting to know you, and I look forward to meeting you in person around town here one of these days!

Don’t forget to head out to your local Barnes & Noble for B-Fest on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday! You’ll meet amazing and talented authors like Guy L. Pace and have the chance to win some great prizes, play some games, and gain some insight into the intricate world of book publishing!

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