Name: George Wright Padgett
Age: Acts like: 9 1/2 Actual: Middle-aged
Where are you from:
A little about yourself; ie your education Family life etc:
I’m a husband (25+ years) and father of two children (13 year old girl/10 year old boy) a jazz piano player, a graphic artist, and sometimes a playwright. I also live with a mini dachshund that goes by Jenny.
Tell us your latest news?
My first horror novel, Cruel Devices is in the hands of the editor and is due out this winter. I also just signed a contract for a 2016 release of a steampunk detective novel entitled Addleton Heights. Both are being released by a small press publisher in Katy, Texas known as Grey Gecko Press.
When and why did you begin writing?
Looking back over the years I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. Only recently did I realize that I’ve unofficially been writing my entire life though it took the form of puppet shows, homemade comic books, and wacky stories that I’d tell my family on long road trips.
When my daughter was four, she and I would make up bedtime stories. I noticed that the tall tales we were making up were better than some we bought from the bookstore. I decided to try my hand at writing children’s stories and joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for a brief period. When I won the Joan Lowery Nixon award for a children’s book entitled Don’t Wake Esmeralda! in 2006, I thought there may be a future in writing for me.
After my kids outgrew picture books, I found my voice in speculative fiction. For obvious reasons, I was able to delve into darker themes and more sophisticated concepts, but I still believe a good story is a good tale at its core for any age.
What inspired you to write your first book?
With the success I experienced in writing children’s stories still lingering, I decided to explore darker themes and more mature concepts.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Part of the reason there’s so much genre hopping between my work is that I often reverse engineer my books and let the story dictate the best setting to tell the story. I start with a question or theme I want to explore and then work my way backward filling in the holes until the logic for why things are happening is sound.
For example, in Spindown, I wanted to look at what makes us human – are we born to become who we are to become or merely the byproducts of experiences, or a mix of both? In order to examine this idea I needed characters devoid of any emotional experiences, yet be full grown adults. I wanted characters that were ‘blank canvases’ that I could expose to extreme situations and observe their reactions. The solution was a group of clones that were severely isolated from one another. Then the question becomes why would they be that way? So by reverse engineering I determined that these imaginary people worked in space on an ore mine on a moon of Jupiter and that it must be a corporation using clone labor to reduce costs. I keep backing up the ‘camera’ until the questions are answered and backstory is solid. Once that’s done I can begin the journey.
How did you come up with the title?
Ah… sorry, you’ll have to read the book to get the answer to that one.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
As I mentioned, all of my novels have concepts for readers to consider and contemplate, but my job as an author is to present ideas in such a way that there’s a sense of adventure and excitement.
How much of the book is realistic?
Though Spindown is set hundreds of years in the future, it’s grounded in science. Most everything could feasibly function as described.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I write stories that involve a high level of escapism for readers, so generally what happens on the page is complete fiction. The characters are another situation entirely; I am fascinated by many aspects of human nature. All of my characters are composites formed of various people that I’ve encountered.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Too many stories to list here, but the writing of Spindown was heavily influenced by William Goldings’ Lord of the Flies and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I got a lot out of Stephen King’s book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, so he’d be a good coach and maybe Cormac McCarthy on the weekends.
What book are you reading now?
I’m always reading and I have a habit of reading multiple books at once. At the moment I’m waist deep in Perdido Street Station by China Miéville, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (because I recently learned it was his favorite), and Mr. Mercedes which is Stephen king’s new crime drama.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Carrie Patel is a new author with Angry Robot that’s just released her first novel entitled The Buried Life. Check it out.
What are your current projects?
I’m a quarter of the way in of writing a steampunk detective noir novel entitled Addleton Heights due to be released by my publisher in early 2016.
Here’s a sample:
With a name like Thorogood Kipsey, you might be inclined to think that I got into a lot of fights as a boy.
You’d be right.
Dustin’ my knuckles across the pimply face of some plump schoolboy was commonplace for a scrawny lad like me growing up. The fact that I lived in close proximity to one of the portals to The Under didn’t help matters much either.
Through it all, I got pretty good at holding my own against the endless procession of schoolyard bullies and their ilk. In time, those lessons would be as valuable as anything I read scratched across a classroom chalkboard, skills that continue to serve me well in my current line of work.
If it’s a fair fight, I usually win.
However, since it was four against one, the fight I was engaged in at the moment was anything but fair…
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Having such favorable acceptance from readers of Spindown spurred me on. (A little encouragement goes a long way with writer types.) My publisher, Grey Gecko Press has been wonderful in encouraging me to try different things while at the same time keeping me from ‘going off the rails’. I’m grateful that we found each other.
Do you see writing as a career?
There might come a day that I write full time, but for now I enjoy the flexibility of working because I want to not because I have to. This ensures that the novels I write are driven from the desire to spin a good tale instead of simply trying to make this month’s mortgage payment.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I’m pleased with how it turned out. Last year Spindown was made into an audio book and I was asked to preview the sections. It had been nine months or so since I’d had been exposed to any of it at that level. I was relieved that there were no ‘cringe moments’ for me as I listened. I owe much of that to having a great editor and a fantastic team of beta readers.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
From an early age I’ve always enjoyed good stories. The logical progression was to tell some of my own
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
As I mentioned, Cruel Devices is currently in the editing pipeline, but here’s a promotional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1Dp-kybPxM
And here’s a link to ‘test drive’ the opening chapters of my first novel to give your readers a sample of my writing style: http://george-p.com/SPINDOWN_Opening.pdf
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Given the genres that I write in there’s a lot of time spent in the world building phase creating the story environment. While it’s helpful for the author to know all of the minutiae in the system they’ve fashioned, it can bog down the story for the reader. It can be tempting to showcase all of the efforts spent researching a topic or highlighting a city system, but in the end if it doesn’t advance the story or contribute to developing characters it should be cut. I often find myself walking the tightrope of how much to share vs. how much to leave out.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Too many to name here – I try to learn something about the craft from each literary work that I’m exposed to.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, gratefully the internet allows me to do the research I need for stories, so the only travel I do is for speaking engagements and book signings.
Who designed the covers?
My degree in visual communications allows me to ‘hire’ myself to do all the art for free.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
As mentioned before, deciding how much to share vs. how much to leave out. My publisher was very active in the release of Spindown, and came up with a clever workaround cheat to include the ‘extras’ by putting a 15 page glossary in the back of the book.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned to trust my storytelling instincts and don’t overthink things – just let the story flow.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I like Vonnegut’s quote about making sure a writer supplies something worthwhile to the audience: “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.”
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A big THANK YOU for reading. Also, be sure to post reviews. A review on a blog, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. is the single best thing you can ‘give’ to your favorite authors – and be sure to tell your friends when you come across a story that really moves you.
Do you remember the first book you read?
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I was five or six. I’ve patterned much of my behavior and way I relate to the world after Max.
Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I play piano in a jazz trio and do graphic design
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Anything and everything Sci-Fi.
Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: Anything my wife prepares (she’s a fantastic cook)
Music: Nearly everything – Depends on the mood
If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’m currently writing a musical for the stage, and enjoying that process very much. I could see a future in doing that.
Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I’m online at:
Amazon Author Page –
Grey Gecko Press (Publisher) –