Are you the type of writer that pens stories from one genre, or do you write with a variety of styles? Our interview today is with Gary Inbinder, who writes across many different genres. I always admire people that do that. Like many writers, Gary has an interesting view on favorite books and advice for writers.
Enjoy this interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
I was born in Chicago, but I’ve lived in Southern California since 1982. As for how long I’ve been writing, when I was about five, I created a “Graphic Novel.” My mother gave me a blank tablet, and I drew pictures of a car chase. But I’m not sure I did much with the narrative or dialogue. Seriously, though, in college I majored in English Lit. and did some writing then, but I didn’t begin writing as a second career until a few years ago, after I took an early retirement from the Law.
What type of writing do you do?
I write across genres. My first novel, Confessions of the Creature, published by Drollerie Press, is speculative historical fiction; however, I’ve also written science fiction, horror, darkly humorous satires and literary historicals as well.
What’s the best thing about writing?
I like creating other worlds and populating them with interesting, believable characters. Doing this in witty, polished prose is a bonus.
Share some of your writing goals.
I’ve written several stories and a few novels that I think are good. My goal — a dream, really — would be to have them widely read, appreciated and enjoyed.
Is there a specific time of day you like to write?
Early in the morning, when it’s quiet and cool.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
The Bible, because it teaches you all you need to know about human nature. Homer’s epics and Shakespeare’s greatest plays come in a close second and third.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When my boss told me to take an early retirement, and I realized I had no viable alternative.
There are so many, but I’ve been reading, or re-reading, a lot of Henry James lately. Evelyn Waugh is also very high on my list.
Book you’re currently reading.
Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Key, a very dark comedy about sex and marriage, written in parallel narrative. Prior to that, I read Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, a great American novel that Martin Scorsese made into a very fine film.
Any type of writing ritual you have?
I get an idea, or a theme, then I play around with it in my mind, then I sketch it out, but not in a formal outline. For the most part, I create the characters, place them in situations and let the story develop organically from their interaction. Or, I just start pounding the keyboard and see what comes up in Word.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?
In my case, not so much a block as temporary burn-out. After four novels in less than five years, I’m just a tad hesitant to start another.
What’s the measure of a successful writer?
Tough question. Some, like Dickens, achieve fame and fortune in their lifetime. Then, with time, there are critical re-appraisals, but their best work remains as their legacy. On the other hand, Jane Austen had little success and few appreciated her writing until after she died. Bulwer-Lytton was very successful during his lifetime, but now largely forgotten, except for the opening sentence: “It was a dark and stormy night.” So I guess it depends on how you define, “Successful.”
Advice for other writers?
Don’t be discouraged — keep writing.
Where can we learn more about you?
My Website: http://garyinbinder.com
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just to thank you for the opportunity to answer some very insightful questions!