Greg Messel has now written three novels and two unpublished memoirs. His fourth novel, The Last of the Seals is the first in a trilogy of mysteries and will be published later this year.
Enjoy this interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing most of my life. I supported myself in high school as a stringer for the local newspapers in Concord, California. I wrote movie reviews and covered sports. I was also sports editor of my high school newspaper. I’ve been writing ever since, including being the news editor, a columnist and reporter for a daily newspaper. I’ve only recently began writing novels. I never imagined that I would go that direction with my writing but I love it. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve lived in Wyoming, Utah, Oregon and Washington since then. I’ve spent most of my life in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
My new book is The Illusion of Certainty. It follows two parallel story lines about people dealing with sudden adversity in their life. I begin the story with a quote that says “the only certainty in life is uncertainty.” The story speaks to the theme that in the 21st Century through our amazing technology, we think we are in control of our lives. We track our schedules on our iPhones or Blackberries and are in constant contact with one another. We are deluded into thinking we are pulling the strings on the events in our lives. However, the certainty or control that we feel we have is only an illusion. The characters in my novel are always “connected” but only superficially to the people in their lives. The end of the book shows that the human touch and the healing power of love is what is sorely missing.
Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?
I’m working on a new mystery trilogy. I’ve wanted to find a group of characters that could be the basis for a series of books. I think I’ve found them. My mystery series will be set in 1957 in San Francisco. A great time and location. I’m very excited about the new possibilities. Writing a series is a new challenge and so is writing a mystery. You have to figure out the mystery yourself but then as a writer you need to reveal it slowly in a way that draws the reader in. I hope I can do it.
That’s a really tough one.I remember when I finally tackled War and Peace. It was difficult at first with all of the Russian names and lots of characters. When I was done, I thought “this is a true work of art.” There are good books and then there are great books.
I really like Pat Conroy’s books. I met Michael Connelly at the Los Angeles Festival of Books a few years ago. I love his books and I thought he was the coolest guy I’ve ever met.
Okay, now here’s an honest answer–Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I remember that when I was in high school and college that book was banned. I can recall walking by a bookstore in Berkeley which was featuring the banned book. I’m reading it now on my Kindle to find out what all the fuss was about. It’s a classic novel.
In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?
It’s always nice if your book can make some money. I think some so-called “best sellers” are garbage. The world of writing and publishing is changing so rapidly. It’s scary out there but there’s also some really wonderful opportunities which were not there before. The self-publishing world, the social networking and ebooks are all very exciting. However, to me the greatest payoff is when I get a tweet or e mail from a reader who says “I really loved your book” and that it meant something to them. It’s wonderful when someone’s life is touched by your book. It is very interesting to see what your writing means to readers.
Where can we learn more about you?
I’m active on Twitter at @gregmessel, on Facebook and regularly write on my blog.
More Books by Greg Messel: