Today’s installment in Steampunk Granny’s Reading Glasses Author Interview series brings us to Gregg Feistman, author of ‘Starstruck,’ a tale of escapism set on a space station in the not-too-distant future.
Reading Glasses will be published on September 24, 2014! Don’t forget to pick up your copy!
Marie Gilbert: Let’s start with you telling the readers a little bit about yourself and what you do when not writing.
Gregg Feistman: I’ve been a writer for as far back as I can remember, from short stories to poetry (I actually had a poetry reading when I was in college). I’m also a former NYC-produced playwright, having had two plays produced Off-Off-Broadway. When I’m not writing, I have two other lives. First, I’m a professor of Public Relations at Temple University, teaching undergraduate and graduate students. That pays the mortgage. I’m also a professional sports photographer, covering motorsports.
MG: Your last book, The War Merchants and the upcoming sequel Unholy Alliance are political thrillers. Can you tell us a bit about the two books?
GF: The War Merchants takes a look at the ultimate business model: corporations manipulating governments and world events to cause regional wars, all in the name of profit. It’s based on real life incidents. In Unholy Alliance, my main characters from The War Merchants return to investigate the possibility the Vatican sanctioned the Holocaust. Like my previous book, a lot of it is based on historical facts.
MG: With your new story, ‘Starstruck,’ which is one of the stories in Reading Glasses, you’ve chosen to go with science fiction. Can you tell us what the inspiration was for this story?
GF: To tell you the truth, I’m not really sure! The idea just popped into my head. I’ll credit the muses for that one, as I do for all my creative work.
MG: What was the inspiration for Dr. Ava Green?
GF: Well, there’s a French actress named Eva Green, so maybe it was her! Seriously, I needed a catalyst for the main character and as I wrote the story, her character started to take on a more defined shape. I wanted a woman who was bold but also mysterious and intriguing. She had to intrigue the character, so I knew she also had to intrigue the reader. Hopefully I’ve accomplished both.
MG: Would you consider writing more science fiction stories?
GF: Yes, definitely.
MG: You are the Communications Director of the South Jersey Writers’ Group, and an Associate Professor of Public Relations at Temple University in Pa. How does the knowledge gained from your day job help with your writing career and promoting your book and what advice do you have for new writers to help promote themselves?
GF: One of the fundamental skills any communicator must develop is strong writing. Before I began teaching I had a long career in PR, so I honed my writing ability there. Even though that wasn’t fiction writing, it sharpened my skills enough so when I sat down to write fiction, I had “upped my game.” It also gave me a default career for the two main characters in my books, so I knew their backstory very well.
In terms of self-promotion, writers (especially new ones) need to learn that writing the book and having it published is only step one. You must make people aware of your work and give them a reason to want to read it. And it needs to be a combination of old school PR techniques such as news releases, media interviews, etc., and social media efforts. I do both, from traditional media interviews to having my own author’s Facebook page that links to my website, to being on Goodreads, LibraryThing, Author Marketing Club, etc.
MG: Thank you Gregg for taking this time to interview. I know our fans are looking forward to reading ‘Starstruck’, but also The War Merchants and Unholy Alliance.
About the interviewer:
Marie Gilbert is a ghost-hunting, zombie-fighting, steampunk comic book superhero in disguise as a grandma from South Philadelphia. She blogs about television and film for Biff Bam Pop and Go Jane News, and served as co-editor of Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey. Her book Roof Oasis, first in a series of apocalyptic tales with a twist, is now available. You can read more about her adventures at her not-so-top-secret online HQ, Gilbert Curiosities.