Gary B. Haley
Ok, no one likes to admit how old they are, especially when you look younger than you really are. Can I just say that I miss my 8 Track collection?
Where are you from:
Lots of places, really… some of the places I’ve called home are, Denver, Chicago, Kalamazoo MI, Royal Oaks MI, Dallas, Fort Worth, Granbury TX and Acton, TX.
A little about yourself, i.e. your education, family life, jobs, etc.:
I started life in a military family and bounced around to several Air Force bases. My family finally settled back in Fort Worth where I attended most of grade school. Growing up, I knew I wanted to be an author when I heard The Beatles singing Paperback Writer. I started experimenting with writing short stories immediately, which were all bad, of course, but I learned with every mistake. As a young adult I found myself trying to take care of two young daughters by myself, but still managed to get a degree in software engineering while working in the defense industry. I live in Denver now with a wonderful new wife and go to my favorite Rocky Mountains hideouts sometimes to write, but few things in life are better than grandkids and world class hugs.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Gary: I am working on several novels right now, including the sequel to my latest release, The Attunement. Another is about several threads of Texas history and another could be called science fiction, but other sci-fi authors will NOT like it, as it is intended to change certain views forever. (Insert maniacal laughter.)
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Gary: While The Beatles sparked my interest, an early memory of hearing about the assassination of President Kennedy made me serious about doing the research necessary to write. However, having lunch with Robert A. Heinlein (and Ginny, of course) back in 1983 sealed the deal. He was very encouraging, and assured me that anyone capable of focusing for long periods of time is also capable of writing a good novel.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Gary: That moment came for me while I was on the shuttle on 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. As the shuttle left for the next stop, I saw a woman sitting with a cup of coffee, reading The Scrapbook Lecture. Seeing someone who was not family or a friend, a total stranger, absorbed in my book made quite an impression on me. It was one of those moments in time you know you’ll remember and cherish for the rest of your life.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Gary: A memory from Nov. 22nd, 1963. I was a little tyke, but the moment had such an impact on me that I remember those few minutes vividly. That memory stayed with me, and was responsible for me doing 28 years of research when I was older, and writing The Scrapbook Lecture.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Gary: I try to write the way people think, and give them juuuust enough to spark a memory of their own. This allows people to relate with characters and assign them attributes from their own memories to help them better identify with the characters.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Gary: For The Attunement, I borrowed the word from a medical term. Like a parent becoming attuned to a newborn’s needs over time. For The Scrapbook Lecture, the title comes from a character that represents all the women that the Kennedy’s… got to know a little bit. She keeps a scrapbook of newspaper articles that a professor in the future uses for his JFK lectures. Before I settle on a title, though, I check to make sure the website is available.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Gary: Oh yes. Several. The Attunement is many things, including something of a memoir on the (failed) war on drugs, a mini-sequel to The Scrapbook Lecture, an elaborate “What if…” scenario, a long-overdue goodbye to a close friend. Comprehensively, the novel is a detailed metaphor for something else. I’m interested in finding out if anyone else is able to determine the subject of that metaphor. Your first hint: It is something that nearly everyone experiences, but very few remember.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Gary: The Attunement is based on experiences in Central America and the Middle East from the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Gary: Mostly from my own life, although there are parts that are about stories told to me by veterans.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life?
Gary: There are too many to name, but they would be written by Burroughs, Heinlein and Michener.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Gary: None. All my spare time is spent writing.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Gary: Yes! My grandkids have shown interest in writing. Makes me very happy. I’ll be reading anything and everything they write.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Gary: I have forty-some-odd projects started. Some of these are simply notes I’ve written recently, or have kept since the ‘80s. However, I’m working on four right now, including a sequel to The Attunement.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Gary: The snow.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Gary: Possibly. I hope so. But then, it would be hard to stop being an IT Geek, too. I love what I do.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Gary: Of course! Writers are never finished, they just finally publish because someone gave them a deadline.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I woke up in misery. The bullet wound in my arm was throbbing and my entire body ached from overexertion the day before. I had sand in my hair and I could feel more against my skin where it had gotten under my clothes. The sun was still low in the sky, but very bright as it reflected off the sand all around us. Carla was gently shaking me.
“We need to change your bandage.”
Moaning, sighing and complaining didn’t alter the facts. I twisted my arm around and looked at the bandage. It did need to be changed. It was a mess. “Okay.”
“Are you ready?”
Before I could answer, or prepare myself, she ripped the bandage from my arm, taking with it what little hair was left in the area. That woke me up.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Gary: Yes… getting history correct. I write about the past occasionally and go to great extremes to make what I write as accurate as possible. Sometimes that’s a challenge, as history is often a matter of opinion.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Gary: I have to go with Heinlein and Michener. Few who have earned the respect of so many deserve it more than these two.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Gary: I made a few trips to New York to make sure I had my facts correct, and to get the feel of the city. I also stomped all over the Middle East and much of Europe, so I draw from those experiences, too. I enjoy traveling anyway, so whenever possible, I like to visit the places I write about while I’m writing about them.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Gary: I paid someone to design the cover for The Scrapbook Lecture, but I designed the cover for The Attunement although a photographer friend of mine at the time gave me valuable feedback.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Gary: Editing. Writing is fun and easy. Editing is hard.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Gary: I always learn when I write. Half the fun of writing is doing the research necessary to get your facts straight. I enjoy the research and soak everything up like a sponge.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Gary: Patience, Grasshopper.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Gary: THANK you for purchasing my book, I hope you enjoyed it and maybe learned a little something. Lots more coming!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Gary: Photography, coin collecting, visiting places I’ve never been before, playing with grandkids, trying new restaurants… so, yes.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Gary: Lately: Modern Family. Oh my! I laugh hard at that show. (BzzZZzzt!) The Voice is pretty good, too. Those judges are good people. They could be on a beach somewhere spending all their money, but instead they help people get into the business. They help their competition. I respect that. …I also have a long list of movies I love, but the best mini-series I ever saw, or more accurately, the best story EVER filmed, is Band of Brothers. If you really watch that, you won’t even be the same person you were before you started.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
Gary: Bacon / Clear / The Beatles, Smooth Jazz, Bach, Led Zeppelin, Mozart, Merle Haggard, Pink Floyd, Reba, Classic Rock… GOOD music.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Gary: I thought about being one of those people who go check out vacation spots for rich people. Maybe it’s not too late?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?