pleased to welcome once again as our guest, Michael J. Merry author
of The Education of Santiago O'Grady and Other Short
Stories, The Golden Altar, The Reluctant Colonel, El
Altar de Oro(Spanish), Guten Tang, Mr. Churchill, and his
most recent tome, Galleón and Seven Other Tales.
Michael was educated at the Royal Liberty School, England. Transferred to Panama in 1959, he worked as a Telecommunications Instructor. When the Panama National Guard staged their coup in 1968, he drove the escape vehicle carrying the President, Dr. Arnulfo Arias and several Ministers, through the military blockade to safety in the Panama Canal Zone. In 1987 he became Division Vice President of a major U.S. news operation in Latin America. He was in Argentina when the Army revolted later that year and Venezuela during the attempted coup by Lt. Colonel (later President) Hugo Chávez in 1992.
Michael and his wife reside in Miami Shores, Florida.
Norm: Good day Michael and thanks once again for participating in our interview.
What do you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far in your career?
Michael: My book of short stories Guten Tag, Mr. Churchill It's sold well.
Norm: Many people have the skills and drive to write a book, but failure to market and sell the book the right way is probably what keep a lot of people from finding success. Can you give us 2-3 strategies that have been effective for you in promoting your books?
Michael: You need a reliable marketing organization first of all. Then you need to be willing to work! Book signings all over the place and sending your books off the the many competitions available. Not until your name is known will your books sell.
Norm: What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.
Michael: I've been in Telecommunications. I've been a radio announcer. I've sold real estate, started a Cable TV network and written a financial magazine and scripted a financial TV show. I handled both the business and financial news side of a U.S. Fortune 500 company as Division Vice President. They all made an impact on what I write. I wrote a short story "The Lady" about a Short Sunderland flying boat. When I worked in the Caribbean I used to visit St. Croix. Antilles Air Boats had a Sunderland and I visited it many times. I found it fascinating! Hence my story, "The Lady" (From "Guten Tag, Mr.Churchill")
Norm: How many times in your career have you experienced rejection? How did they shape you?
Michael: Wll up until today no rejections yet!
Norm: In the writing of your short stories, do you have a particular theme(s) you return to time and again?
Michael: I always include one story about the Catholic Church. The subject fascinates me!
Norm: Do you have a personal favorite among short story writers? Is there a specific short story that made such an impression on you that you have never forgotten it?
Michael: "The Expert Witness" from Jeffrey Archer's collection 'To Cut a Long Story Short" Archer has such a varied background, including a spell in jail!
Norm: What impact, if any, do you feel the advent of e-readers has had on increased interest in short stories?
Michael: Time is short. Stories that are short get attention because they are easily read.
Norm: What triggered your story ideas that comprise your latest tome, Galleón and Seven Other Tales, as well as the characters, settings, plot and dialogue?
Michael: I lived in Panama for some years and spent weekends on a yacht! The Mosquito Bay area on Panama's north east coast interested me because of it's complete isolation. Just the place for a shipwreck that would remain hidden.
Norm: What would you say is the best reason to recommend someone to read Galleón and Seven Other Tales?
Michael: The variety of tales! A shipwrecked galleon. A lottery winner, a priest who saw a saint and the last confession of a wild west gunfighter! Can't get more varied than that!
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your work?
Michael: My Amazon Page has all the details of my books.
Norm: What is next for Michael J. Merry?
Michael: I intend to start
gathering materials for another book momentarily.
Norm: Thank you and good luck with all of your future endeavors