Gerald Hansen lived for years in his mother’s hometown of Derry, Northern Ireland and attended Dublin City University. As a Navy brat, he grew up in California, Thailand, London, Iceland and Germany. His debut novel, An Embarrassment of Riches was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel semifinalist in 2010, Hand In The Till came out in 2011,and Fleeing The Jurisdiction in 2012. Gerald now lives in New York City.
What inspires you to write?
My first book was inspired by true events, as they say. My parents won the lottery when they were retired in Northern Ireland, and many things happened because of that. I actually just took that situation and went wild with it. As the books continue, the characters nowadays (and even in the first book!) have nothing whatsoever to do with the ‘real’ people involved. Now I’m on my fourth book with them, and, I admit, they seem to write the books on their own!! I do take inspiration from things I see in everyday life (and in NYC, where I live, there are certainly crazy things happening all the time!), and somehow they make their way into the books.
Tell us about your writing process.
Hmm. I start with where I want to end, and then work backwards, figuring out the most entertaining and interesting (I hope!) way that all the characters can get to where they are. I do have a general outline about what I want to happen after that first creative spark. But when I write, it’s as if I’ve planned an itinerary for a very long trip, sort of like an entire season of the Amazing Race.. Each chapter is a separate stop on the trip. I know from the beginning where I will be visiting and what I sill ‘see; when I get there. That’s the plan anyway. Many times things go just as I have planned (just like, for example, I stepped off the plane at, let’s say, Buenos Aires, and it was exactly how I imagined it). But other stimes, when I ‘arrive,’ it’s very, very different. (just as if I lost my luggage or all my cash was stolen). And then I have to change my itinerary to fit in with what happened.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Absolutely!! As I’ve explained before, they DO seem to take on a life of their own and, knowing them as well as I do now, having taken ‘three journeys’ with them before (three books), and now embarking on the fourth, they sometimes tell me what to do.
What advice would you give other writers?
I don’t know how this statistic could ever be proven, but I read somewhere that only 2 or 3 % of people who ever start books (and everyone wants to write a book!) finish the book. My advice to other writers…FINISH THAT BOOK!!!! And…right now, 2013, is a FANTASTIC and EXCITING time to get your book out there and into the hands of real readers!! Ebooks and wonderful sites like BookGoodies make everything SO EASY!! DO IT!!!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After I finished my first book, An Embarrassment of Riches, in 2007 (before the Ebook craze), I realized I had two paths ahead of me. I had been sending out emails to agents for MONTHS, and although I got rather far with a few, it seemed to me that they were buckling their belts, and that, unlike decades ago, you now had to get the approval of an entire boardroom of people in order to be picked up. And that was only for an agent!! They might not even be able to get your book published!! I knew I could spend my time (a) running to my computer day after day, month after month, year after year, getting older and older, waiting for someone to accept me, or I could (b) do it all myself. I chose the latter. And, boy, am I happy I did. I’ve NEVER looked back! First came the critical acclaim (all reviewers said it was great, then Colin Quinn, yes, THE Colin Quinn, said it was his second favorite book!). But there weren’t many sales. Then, when the second book, Hand In The Till, came out, it was 2011 and ebooks were all the rage. BAM! Then came the sales!! Tens of thousands of sales! I’ve never, ever regretted a thing! Also, to tell you the truth, I have a friend who had a few NY TImes bestsellers, and she was jealous that my covers were nicer, the author photos were better, and that I had control over my destiny!!!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Another friend of mine told me the other night that 7 of the top 10 bestsellers on the Amazon Kindle charts were self-published (and that included 3 of the top 5).last week. And I think that chart is the future. Hmmm…as it happened last week, maybe it’s the now??? As I recall, when people first started paying a few hundred dollars for a Kindle or Nook, they were told –by industry I guess?–that the ‘cheap’ prices of ebooks compared to paper books would make up for it. But the publishing industry has the prices just as expensive as paper books now. Their greed is going to kill them!! I see this as similar to the fear that clutched the music industry when Shawn Fanning and Napster unleashed mp3s.I love ‘paper’ books, I really don’t like ebooks that much, but that’s the way of the world now, unfortunately for paper books. But…it’s fantastic for us self-published authors, so although it’s sad, it’s definitely much easier to get my books into people’s hands…all around the world!
What genres do you write?
Humor, Women’s FIction, Contemporary Fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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