Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interview With Greg Messel

Hi all!

I am very excited to have Mr. Greg Messel on the blog today. Greg is the author of  three wonderful novels; SUNBREAKS, EXPIATION and the soon to be released THE ILLUSION OF CERTAINTY.

As part of the "Four Hundred Hours to Four Hundred Days" tour, we gave away a copy of EXPIATION to the lucky Aik Yin Chien who won it on the "Reading Away the Days" blog! After seeing the book myself, I was anxious to learn more about it, and its author.

So without further ado, here is my interview with Greg Messel:

 LC: Hi Greg. Can you give us a brief synopsis of your book, "Expiation"?

GM: The word “expiation” means to atone for a wrong that has been committed. In my novel, Dan and Katie are high school sweethearts. He leaves his hometown of Seattle to pursue an opportunity to begin his career as a newspaperman in San Francisco. Dan promises Katie he will return for her and eventually bring her to San Francisco. However, circumstances change and he is unable to return for her. They eventually lose contact with one another. Then 30 years later, at the end of 1999, he returns to Seattle and sees Katie. The former lovers have a chance to be reacquainted. They both wonder if it is possible to rekindle their love.

 LC: Sounds very romantic. Speaking of romance, one of my favorite movies is the A&E "Pride of Predjudice" because it's such a great love story. What is your favorite movie of all time?

GM: It is undoubtedly "Casablanca." It has everything--intrigue, romance and great, great characters. I think of how hard it is for people to work out their lives and fall in love and find someone. I am in awe of those people who happened to be born at a time when they had to fall in love and begin their lives against the backdrop of the uncertainty of World War II. I love "Casablanca" for that reason as well. I recently wrote a memoir about my mother and father-in-law who were in their early 20s in 1941. He was in Washington D.C. hoping to send for her so they could be married. He was worried about getting drafted and everyone wondered if the war would get worse as 1941 progressed. Of course, the war would get way, way worse. I wrote the memoir based solely on his letters to his intended wife. What a story. Back to "Casablanca", I love stories where the characters are somewhat victims of circumstances. That is the case in "Casablanca."

LC: I agree. Casablanca is a great film, and that story about your mother and father-in-law sounds wonderful as well! Here's a random question for you. If you were stranded on a deserted island, and could only have three things with you, what would they be, and why?

GM: I know one of the answers should be a boat but never mind that. As I think of the answer to that question, it makes me realize how dependent I am on electricity. I would sure need to have some form of music, I'm not sure how I could survive without music. I listen to a Seattle radio station that asks listeners for songs to put on a "desert island CD." I like that concept. Also I would hope that I could have some good books. Books can take you away to a different world. That would be important on a desert island. Hopefully, I would be stranded with at least one other person who can provide good company. Good conversation is so important and I think isolation would be horrible. However, there are some people that I know who make solitude preferrable. Hopefully, I wouldn't be on a deserted island with one of them.

 LC: Haha! I think we all have at least one of "those" kinds of people in our lives. Speaking of which, what is your BIGGEST pet-peave?

GM: I find it is very easy for book reviewers or critics to criticize the dialogue in your books. Dialogue is very hard but I think it is a very easy thing to pick on if someone wants to find something critical to say.

 LC: Okay, now that you mention it, I think I might have a new pet-peave myself! So, about your writing, how long have you been writing? Have you always known that you wanted to write?

GM: I've been writing since I was a teenager. I was the sports editor and a columnist for my high school newspaper and also was a stringer for the two local newspapers in the town where I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. I covered sports and wrote movie reviews for those two newspapers while I was in high school and college. I was quite an extraordinary opportunity actually. I loved writing and it was just what I did. I never really thought about it as a gift or something. After college I began working at a daily newspaper in Wyoming and eventually became the news editor. I left the newspaper business and began working in the financial corporate world. Now that I have retired from that job I have been able to get back to my first love which is writing. I have thoroughly enjoyed launching a new career as a novelist. I've written three novels and three memoirs.

LC: Wow! You've been busy! How long did it take you to write "Expiation"?

GM: It took about 8-9 months. I spent a lot of time thinking about it and developing concepts in addition to the writing. I have developed a pattern where I think about my next book during the summer and fall. Then, when the winter rains set in on Seattle, it's good to stay inside and write.

LC: We've talked about movies a bit, but let me ask you...if a big-shot Hollywood producer offered to turn "Expiation" into a motion picture, who would you want to play the lead roles?

GM: There would need to be someone like Bill Pullman to play Dan and maybe Patrica Clarkson to play Katie. They would be two dynamic, interesting people who have expereince life.

LC: Good choices! Tell us about your upcoming book or any other books in progress.

GM: I have my new book coming out by the end of August. It's called "The Illusion of Certainty." It takes place in Portland, Oregon, London and Paris. The recurring theme of this book ia how we all live with uncertainty in our lives, whether we recognize it or not. Part of it comes from the pressures of the time in which we live and other parts of the uncertainty comes from dealing with sudden turn of events such as illness, break up of marriages and even death. "The Illusion of Certainty" also deals with the characters are who constantly connected "electronically" to life and relationships but somehow there is a loneliness that haunts them. I am also in the conceptual stage of story which is roughly based on some family history. It is the story of two generations of family who originate in a small town in Indiana. The story will follow the journey of one young man to overcome adversity and a pattern of deception in his family. That will probably be the book I write this winter.

LC: You'll have to let me know when "The Illusion of Certainty" releases! I'm looking forward to it, and I really like your new concept as well. So here's the burning question I'm dying to ask: Which do you prefer to read, printed copies or ebooks?

GM: The answer today is ebooks. I got a Kindle for Christmas and have been hooked on ebooks. I hear comments that people make about resisting the change but I've found that I can easily make the change. I've heard some people say they love to hold a book in their hands. I used to hear people say they didn't like music downloads because they like to hold the CD in their hand. These are self imposed restrictions.

LC: Yep, I curse my Kindle almost daily for making me love it so much! Well Greg, our time is coming to a close, but I have one final question.Can you tell us why "Expiation" is a must-read? (no pressure)

GM: "Expiation" takes in a unique slice of history in locations which were at the famous of these major events. San Francisco in the 1970s and Seattle in 1999 were the site of dramatic events. Meanwhile, set against this backdrop is the story of long lost love. I have been told by many people that "Expiation" makes them think about a long lost love. It makes people wonder about what ever happened to that person and how their life turned out. The two main characters in "Expiation" explore the questions about whether that once intense love can be recaptured in the context of the present day. The reaction to this theme has pretty consistently been positive and I think readers would enjoy the trip.

Greg Messel has now written three novels and two unpublished memoirs. There are plans for a fourth and fifth novel as well.

He has spent much of his life in the Pacific Northwest living in Portland, Oregon and in the Seattle area since 2008. He has been married to his wife, Carol, for 40 years. Greg and Carol were high school sweethearts just like the couple in “Expiation.” He has lived in Washington, Oregon, California, Utah and Wyoming. Greg grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from high school there. He also attended a year of junior college. Greg then went to Brigham Young University and then began a newspaper career in rough and tumble Wyoming town of Rock Springs. Greg and Carol have three married children and ten grandchildren.

Greg has always loved writing. He worked as the news editor and sports editors of the Daily Rocket-Miner newspaper. He won a Wyoming Press Association award for his column. He also submitted and had published articles in various sports magazines. He left the newspaper business in 1981 and began a 27 year career with Pacific Power. Greg retired in 2008 and moved to Seattle.

It was there that he returned to his first love of writing. He has written two unpublished memoirs about his life. He published his first novel with Trafford in September 2009. His first novel was called “Sunbreaks.” The second novel “Expiation” was published in the spring of 2010 with Trafford.

The third novel “The Illusion of Certainty” will be published in the summer of 2011.

Currently, Greg and Carol live on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, a ferryboat town, just north of downtown Seattle. He also enjoys running, he has been in several races and half marathons.

No comments:

Post a Comment