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Meet Wally Wood Author of The Girl in the Photo
http://www.bookpleasures.com/websitepublisher/articles/7035/1/Meet-Wally-Wood-Author-of-The-Girl-in-the-Photo/Page1.html
Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

To read more about Norm Follow Here






 
By Norm Goldman
Published on June 30, 2014
 


Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com Interviews Wally Wood Author of The Girl in the Photo


                                                                                                                                                                                 

Bookpleasures.com today welcomes as our guest Wally Wood whose recent novel, The Girl in the Photo was recently published.

Norm:

Good day Wally and thanks for participating in our interview.

Please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background.

Wally:

I am a full-time professional writer. I was a trade magazine reporter/editor for 25 years. In 1986 I returned to college to finished my bachelor’s degree. I immediately began a master’s degree in creative writing that City College of New York finally awarded me twelve years after I began. Since 1990, I’ve supported my fiction habit as a ghostwriter and had 19 business books published. A book about mobile, big data, and cloud computing that I wrote last winter will be published this fall. Until recently, I’d been a volunteer writing/business instructor in state prisons for more than twenty years. I speak enough Japanese to have led two tours in Japan, and to improve my reading, I translate Japanese fiction.

Norm:

How did you get started in writing? What keeps you going?

Wally:

I knew I was a writer from middle school. I wrote plays and poetry in high school. I wrote short stories when I was in the Army. I wrote two novels (unpublished and unpublishable) when I was in college. My magazine jobs were writing (or rewriting bad writing). I have always thought of myself as a creative writer. What keeps me going is inertia, curiosity, and hope.

Norm:

Do you work from an outline when writing your novels? As a follow up, do you have a specific writing style?

Wally:

I don’t work from an outline. For both The Girl in the Photo and Getting Oriented: A Novel About Japan, I created the main characters, put them in a situation, and watched what happened. For my current novel, because it is a mystery, I started with the crime and the situation and have been seeing how the characters react to the crime. I believe that with a mystery you have to start with the crime so you can drop clues and red herrings into the story or you risk writing yourself into a corner. I don’t believe I have a style, or if I do it is plain-vanilla with few metaphors, similes, or arcane words.

Norm:

What do you want your work to do? Amuse people? Provoke thinking?

Wally:

Yes—amuse and provoke. I’d like, first, my work to engage the reader. When I was a magazine editor, I wanted the first paragraphs of articles to be so interesting that readers would be halfway through before realizing they had no intention of reading the piece. I would like my work to say something true about people and the world, to add my mite to the world’s store of truth. I like novels that convey information as well as—or as part of—telling the story.

Norm:

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?

Wally:

Hard to say. Certainly I am drawing on everything I’ve done (or been done to) in my life, but also on my reading, on television, movies, and radio. I read as a child, read in high school, read in the Army, in college and ever since. I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, was stationed in Korea for 17 months, in Japan for a year and a half, lived in a low-income city housing project in Harlem for over five years, lived in Evanston, IL., raised a family, was divorced, remarried. Going into a men’s prison virtually every week for more than twenty years certainly colored my view of criminal justice, race, and society in America.

Norm:

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Wally:

Because I spent so much time writing non-fiction articles, I find it challenging to create characters and make manifest their feelings, their emotions. I don’t think I am particularly demonstrative and I certainly do not embrace conflict—but without emotional content and conflict fiction is boring, boring, boring.

Norm:

Why do you believe we read fiction and what do you think makes a good story?

Wally:

I wouldn’t generalize. Different people read fiction for different reasons: for entertainment, for escape, for titillation, for information, for bragging rights (“I just finished The Brothers Karamazov and I’m halfway through War and Peace. Those Russians!”) What makes a good story—my opinion—is an interesting character in an interesting situation. That, of course, begs the question: What is an interesting character? An interesting situation? What I’ve learned is that while I know I’m interesting to myself, the character has to be interesting to readers. Generally, I think, readers have to sympathize with—maybe empathize—with the main character. They have to care about him/her and want to know what’s going to happen next to him/her.

Norm:

What inspired you to The Girl in the Photo? How much of the book is realistic? Where did you get your information or ideas for the book?

Wally:

I don’t know the original inspiration. I began writing it on November 1, 2011 as a NaNoWriMo challenge, and by the end of the month I’d written more than 55,000 words—simply putting down whatever came into my head. I finished the first draft at the end of January 2012. I would like to think that all of the book is realistic. The information came from my personal experiences and from research. A real place in Japan called Mt. Koya plays a significant role in the book (indeed Mt. Koya was the title until we were designing the cover), but I’ve never been there. I’ve never been an older sister, a younger brother, or a surgeon—the three main characters.

Norm:

How did you go about creating the characters of Abbie and David? As a follow up, is there much of you in the novel?

Wally:

I have a sheet of questions for characters and I attempt to answer as many as I can about each major character before I begin to write the actual story. These are questions like: What about your character makes him or her illprepared for this journey? What is the universal need your character wants to fulfill? When do others turn to your character? Where does your character shine? What’s your characters big character flaw? How do you know this? Ideally, I will have five to ten pages about this character, far more than I can use. But having it means I can draw on it when I am writing and when other characters interact with this one. And I know the main characters as well as, or better than, I know most people.

Norm:

Where can our readers find out more about you and The Girl in the Photo?

Wally:

I maintain a BLOG where visitors can download the first chapters of both novels. They are both available on Amazon as trade paperbacks and as Kindle downloads, and on Barnes & Noble.com.

Norm:

What is next for Wally Wood?

Wally:

I am finishing a new novel that has nothing to do with Japan. The working title is Family Business. An appliance-TV retailer, Otto, asks an old friend to come to Pittsfield, MA, to help him because the business is in crisis. Before Tom and his son Tommy can help, however, the retailer is killed. Two questions: What happened to Otto? Can the business be saved?

Norm:

As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.

Wally:

The question: Do you belong to a writer’s group? The answer: Yes, and the experience has been invaluable both for the critiques of my work—the group suffered through both novels with me—and to read carefully and think about the other members’ works. Writing is a lonely business and the right group can make it less lonely and often save you from yourself.

Norm:

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Review of The Girl in the Photo

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