Posted on 07/13/2016 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Within seconds of meeting author Gary Schwartz, it’s obvious that he was born to be a storyteller of some sort.
And that’s exactly what he has done for his entire life. He’s gone from mime (seriously) to screen and voice actor to improv coach.
Now, finally, Schwartz is a published author who brought his first novel, The King of Average, to this year’s Book Expo America in Chicago.
Unsurprisingly, his words about his journey are more interesting than ours, so check out his website for his showbiz tales and read on for his account of becoming a professional author.
SADYE: What inspired you to try writing a novel?
GARY: I’ve blogged on improv for years, written material for my comedy act, written screenplays and teleplays to sell, but never before a novel.
I’ve had the idea for my novel since I was eleven. I definitely wanted it to be like my favorite book, The Phantom Tollbooth, and came up with several characters then. Over the years, I told people about my idea for a story, but never had more than a twenty-page start.
Then a friend challenged me to show him thirty more pages in one month. That’s one page a day. I took the challenge and ended up with a 360-page manuscript. That’s when I saw that the story was fun but the writing was not great.
I got serious a year later and hired a mentor. That process took two years, and I ended up with a readable book that I’m very proud of.
SADYE: You’re a voice actor, an improv coach, and an author — do you think each “side” of you helps out the others?
GARY: It definitely helps being an actor. Voice and other-wise. My first manuscript’s positive note from my mentor/evaluator read, “You have a good grasp of dialogue.” Then we got into structure and plot and a lot of other areas I had not realized was what made a good read.
But when writing characters talking and responding, improv and acting helps me “hear” them distinctly, and it’s like taking dictation from that standpoint.
SADYE: What has been the most rewarding part of becoming a published author?
GARY: The most rewarding thing is to say I wrote a novel and one I’m extremely proud of. I’m also really gratified to have realized my childhood idea in a way that will be useful to others who, like myself, suffered from poor self-esteem.
My journey to reclaim my authentic self is reflected in my book, and I hope it does what I wanted: to first entertain and then to inspire. That’s been my motto through life.
SADYE: What’s up next for you, writing-wise?
GARY: I’ve written a first draft of a book called The Benji Loper Caper, about my time as a limo driver in Hollywood.
It’s an adventure about two boys who hire a limo to impress their girlfriends and end up involved in a con artist’s scheme to steal the limo driver’s screenplay as well as being kidnapped by international jewel thieves from the Balkans.
It’s Get Shorty meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but I’m not sure if it’s middle grade or adult. Right now, somewhere in between. I’ve also had an idea for the second book in the King of Average story, so I’m noodling that, too.
SADYE: You’ve thrived in all of the career paths you’ve tried; is there anything in particular you think has contributed to your success?
GARY: The secret to my success is twofold. Never stop trying — and being lucky to be in the right place at the right time. It’s not so much luck if you never give up; eventually things happen.
SADYE: What was your takeaway from attending Book Expo America?
GARY: My takeaway at BEA was that there are an enormous amount of books in the world being written and sold. I learned a lot from being there, publishing-wise and networking-wise.
I know I’m not the big fish in the pond, but I have thrown my hat in a very big ring. I did it with showbiz, and I’m excited to try it in literary circles. That brass ring exists for all of us and should motivate us, not daunt us.
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Categories: Author Interview