Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Author Interview Series - Garry Graves

Please welcome Garry Graves to So, Write!  Garry is the first non-fiction author to appear in this series.  His book is about something we need more of in this world, character.  Here's what Garry had to say about his book.

Please tell us a little about yourself and what motivated you to start writing? 
[Garry] I’m a businessman, educator and now writer of nonfiction (Personal Development and Biography), and soon fiction with a Sherlock Holmes-esque style, under a penname. Was motivated by a favorite professor who thought that businessmen; particularly business owners, should be proficient in prose when describing the intricacies of business financials, pro-forma’s, and all business details in communications with bankers, venture capitalists and potential stock owners. He was right...the concept stuck with me. My business writing (some say it to be fiction, hehe), was recognized by some who thought it worthy to a point of parting with their monies relative to my venture at the time.

In 2005, after 30 years of meeting all kinds and types of business scoundrels, as well as angels, someone suggested it might be helpful to read a book reminding everyone of the effects of decision-making. In 2010 I self-published: ‘Character Happens! The 5 Most Important—But Fleeting Virtues.’ (
Prior to Character Happens!, my only previous published work were articles in trade and industry magazines.

What is Character Happens about?
[Garry] The book has five stories and/or chapters. Each story discusses a selected virtue (my choice), of the many that are known. Each story focuses on an individual member of a group of six people who are golf buddies. The stories are written around a golf storyline employing an event on the golf course with the chapter-focused individual’s personal life. Here is my descriptive information on Amazon’s ebook page.

[Garry is interested in feedback on his Amazon description.  You can leave any in the comments]

How did you come up with the idea for Character Happens?
[Garry] Being a business consultant, business owner, salesman and part time community college instructor, I’ve always had what I thought to be a nice blend of first-hand business experience coupled with formal business knowledge. After thirty years in business; observing, studying successful ventures, and questioning the failed become acutely aware of what successful businesses employ with their workers their processes and their customers. Simply, it’s the ‘character’ of an organization that drives most to success. Many times this organizational character comes from ‘one’ individual...with little credit, as it should be, given to the nuances of their product/service, the marketplace or the economy. I wanted to speak out about my observations juxtaposing decision-making and business success and failures. I thought a book might be the perfect vehicle.

BTW, I like to think of the book as my way of ‘paying it forward,’ to those (businesspeople, individuals, those just starting out), who think of themselves as character challenged, as well. hehe.

What makes Character Happens different or special compared to the other titles in this genre?
[Garry] Candidly, I blister at ‘self-help’ tripe. Character Happens!, offers five stories about how individuals ‘might’ better their lives should they make decisions outside their own self-interest. The book is not prescriptive like Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but more like Bennett’s, The Book of Virtues, whereby story offerings are given without any life-directions or assertions about ‘how to’ do this or that.

The book’s storyline, at times, is terse, sharp, damning, condescending and critical of individuals and/or their actions. It is also loving, caring, compelling and a teaching kind of way. Readers will notice immediately that Character Happens!, is not your typical read relative to the concept of character. It’s from a war-worn businessman who has observed some beautiful AND horrendous decision’s coming from a myriad (gender, age, religiosity, education, ethnicity), of human beings. The book has no religious bent and professes none. It offers no methodology, other than to think deeper, considering all ramifications of your decision.

What type of reader do you feel will enjoy this book the most?
[Garry] The books five featured characters, one featured in each chapter, vary in gender, age, religious background and socio-economic strata, with the only binding variable being that they play golf.

The book was written considering all these variables - thinking readership might reflect a similar makeup and further the books distribution. Besides, my consideration of character-trait variance (age, gender, etc), reflects a greater segment or randomness of the population, which makes the stories more compelling. IMO.

Target audience: Males and Females - 15 to 75 years. All Golfers - 15 to 75 years. Personal Development Readers (People who like to improve their lives) - 15+ years. Businesspeople both male and female.

What has been the most difficult part of the publishing process for you?  The most rewarding?
[Garry] Realizing that my eyes (and knowledge), only, will not serve as a proper edit of my work. You need other writers or professional editors to study your manuscript. Friends and family will not do, you need others help in making your manuscript the best it can be.

Thinking I’m a smart guy...I edited Character Happens!, myself. It has numerous grammatical errors; miss-spelled words, missing words, spacing errors and other appearance needs. That is why the book is being revised this spring. The text will be edited throughout with all corrections made. The subtitle will be changed to further drive a missing demographic to my book. The books color will change from red to yellow. The pic on the cover will change from an angel to a 1700’s era couple setting on a rock, on a golf course, speaking with a youngster.

Most rewarding? Being in control of the entire publishing process.

Where can we buy your book?
[Garry] Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and others.

BTW, I just uploaded my second book, a biography of a WWII veteran who crashed the beaches of Omaha. Check it out.

Thanks Garry!  I so agree on the editing advice.  The more eyes the better.  Good luck with Character Happens and your new WWII book.

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