Thursday, October 15, 2015

M.K. Gilroy
Mark Gilroy has had a long, varied, and successful career in publishing, from his first paid creative assignment as a newspaper sports writer while in college, to serving as head of gift, specialty, and backlist publishing for Thomas Nelson, the world’s largest Christian publisher. Throughout his journey in the world of books he has worked with leading authors such as Max Lucado, Sarah Young, John Maxwell, Darlene Zschech, H. Jackson Brown, Donald Miller, Billy Graham, Newt Gingrich, Beth Moore, George Foreman, and many others. 

Gilroy and his wife Amy reside in Brentwood, Tennessee. Their six children are Lindsey, Merrick, Ashley, Caroline, Bo, and Zachary—the youngest has now headed off for college, so he and Amy are officially empty nesters. 

1) How long were you writing before your first publication? How many manuscripts had you written by that time? Have you published any of your early works since? Do you plan to? 

My start in writing fiction is quite a bit different than many authors. I had already published hundreds of articles and numerous books as a publisher and freelance writer. I got my start as a sports writer for a local newspaper while I was a junior in college. I’ve done many nonfiction books without my name on it. For example, the devotional, A Daybook of Grace, has been in Barnes & Noble for five years.

I think I enjoyed writing in the background and helping build projects. I think that’s what made me nervous about writing novels with my name on the cover. I couldn’t hide from the review process! 

2) Are you a morning person? A night owl? How do you arrange your schedule to allow the most efficient, productive time for writing? 

I’ve always been a morning person and used to be a night owl with about five-hours of sleep per night for most of my adult life. I thought you were supposed to need less sleep as you get older! Now I’m sleeping seven hours. I get up early, about six, to get a couple hours of writing in, before the phone starts ringing and emails start stacking up! 

3) When working on a manuscript, what do you do when you get stuck? 

Sometimes I promise myself a reward if I get a certain amount of writing done. That helps. Other times I head for the Y to workout or take a long bike ride. Occasionally, I just get away from the computer keyboard and write longhand – that always seems to help. 

4) Do you ever read your dialog aloud to see how it sounds? Have you ever performed an action you want one of your characters to carry out in order to help you visualize or describe it? Have you ever embarrassed yourself doing this? 

Dialog, I definitely speak out loud to test how it sounds. 

On action, I’ve been told my fight scenes are very realistic. That probably comes from having wrestled and putting on some boxing gloves with friends when I was a teen. I don’t get up and act the scenes out but I do visualize the mechanics and physics of Kristen Conner’s fight scenes very carefully. 

5) What aspect of being a writer is the most challenging for you? Why is this difficult, and what steps have you taken to overcome this hurdle? 

I’m probably typical in telling people I absolutely love to write – especially when I’m done! But two specific things that come up for me is first, my ideas come faster than my fingers type. If I don’t finish a scene, I don’t necessarily remember the idea as well later! Second, I have an uncanny ability to mess up the timetable on my storyline. My solution was to set up a Google calendar for each book to map scenes and events. 

August, 2015
6) Do you read your reviews? Have you ever replied to one? Do you find they influence your writing when you work on subsequent books? 

I read all my reader and professional reviews. I reply to all of them – but it’s always with a simple “thank you.”

Do they influence me? I’ve been blessed to get a ton of great reviews. I just looked at Amazon and Good Reads the other day and I have 135 five-stars and 77 four-stars on Cuts Like a Knife, my first book, alone. So my response to positive reviews is obviously encouragement. I do try to be very open minded to negative reviews. Sometimes I get some helps, other times it is just a matter of my genre or style not connecting with what a reader likes. My character is a wise-cracking introspective – not everyone’s cup of tea. In those cases, I don’t get upset, but realize I have a well-liked character that other people are waiting for. I buy into the philosophy that you can’t please everybody and shouldn’t try. That’s why the world of publishing is so huge. 

7) If you’re a plotter, have you ever tried pantsing it? If you’re a pantser, have you ever given plotting a try? Can you swing both ways, or are you a confirmed devotee of one of these methods? 

I plot two things – the basic murder and motivation for the murder is first. Second is a twist to keep readers guessing and really surprise them. Everything else is seat-of-the-pants. I just let her personality interact with the world around her! 

There are a few reoccurring elements that I know I will add to the story – Kristen Conner coaches her niece’s soccer team and is a workout warrior, she usually has a fight or two with her sister, and there is her love interest, so I know there will be certain kinds of scenes that will show up in the final product. 

8) Does your best writing flow? Or are you most satisfied with the work that you’ve labored over, sweating and groaning? 

I think overall my best writing flows. But then I have to edit and make sure elements of the story agree throughout the entire book. That is when I labor, sweat, and groan. Writing is “funner” than editing! But both are required. I have slowed down on writing the first draft somewhat so that the editing isn’t labor-by-design! My first three novels are all 100 thousand words and 400 pages – so anything I can do to keep from unnecessary editing is smart on my part. 

To learn more about Mark, visit him at:
Facebook: www.facebook/markgilroy
Twitter: @markgilroy


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