Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Meet Gary Vanucci!

Hello, everyone. I thought I would throw the spotlight on a fellow fantasy author and show some support where I can. 
Gary Vanucci is a writer with a definite plan. Last year, he published his debut novel, Covenant of the Faceless Knights: Beginnings and has recently begun releasing short stories revealing the histories and colorful pasts of the main characters of that world.
Also recently released by Gary Vanucci and Nicholas Titano, Realm of Ashenclaw 4e D&D Supplement.

All right, let's learn more about Gary.
Hi, Gary. Would you please introduce yourself to the readers?
Hello, all. I am from a small town in Pennsylvania just north of Philadelphia. I grew up reading comics and sci-fi/fantasy novels, which opened my imagination to degrees I never thought possible. I played role-playing games of all kinds and the experiences sent my mind somewhere different. I spent time in the late 80’s as a singer in a hard rock band, obtained a degree in Graphic Design and illustrated and wrote stories, games, etc. I found that as I grew older, my illustration and design fell to the wayside, but my love of writing moved forward. I am currently in the process of expanding on that love of writing. My goals in the next few years include improving on my current writing style, finding my ‘voice’ and adding more depth to my writing as I move forward. I live ‘outside the box’.

You and I have worked together recently. I’ve provided artwork for some of your publications so I am aware of some of the things you will be publishing, but for those that may not know, tell everyone what your plans are for the future with your company.
I intend on pushing the Realm of Ashenclaw for the foreseeable future, so people had better get used to seeing it! I have grandiose plans for the world, including 5 more full length novels (am currently working on #2) to hopefully finish the storyline that I am working on now with the current characters. I also plan on writing a few more short stories in the future that focus on the ‘bad guys’, as well as full length novel plans telling the story of the main protagonist: Zabalas Dimonia. I even started a story telling the Legend of Ashenclaw and how it shaped the current version of the world. I also have my sights set on giving away a few more short stories on my blog occasionally as I have a few more ideas floating around in my head that need to come out! In the next few years, I would love to expand the universe and possibly opening it up to other writers to share in it.

I know that you are an avid gamer. What role do you think gaming has played in your creative career?
Gaming had introduced me to so many things. It opens the mind to new experiences and really pushes your imagination. As a game master (the guy who runs the games), I found that I was under deadlines to get things done, so it really prepares you for many things, including public speaking, making your thoughts coherent and also provides leadership experiences.

What writers do you think have had the most influence on you?
Anyone that knows me knows that R. A. Salvatore is my favorite author. I aspire to his greatness and I will tell you why. When he tells a story, it brings vivid imagery to mind. His characters are fairly unique and extremely enjoyable to read and his combat scenes are the best I’ve read. I aspire to do exactly all of these things. I also enjoy a few lesser known authors, including James Silke and all of the writers that worked on the Wild Cards series that I enjoyed in the mid-80’s. That included George R. R. Martin as their editor. Those stories are a must read for anyone who enjoys superheroes, though it tells it realistically as opposed to what you read in comics. I also very much enjoyed the unmatched wit of Douglas Adams, the funniest writer to walk the face of the planet (in my opinion).

Do you have plans to write stories that are set outside the Realm of Ashenclaw? Other genres, perhaps?
If I do, it may be under a pen name! I have interests in many things and tons of ideas floating around in my cranium. I have a series of futuristic bounty-hunters set in the late 2000’s that I began writing in 1998-1999 that has 200 pages finished and is just sitting there…waiting. I would also like to try my hand at comedy in the future as well. Let’s just say that I am not ruling anything out.

How do you usually work? Do you outline a story first or just dive in and work out the details along the way? Do you give yourself a quota to meet, for example a specific amount of words per day or week?
The first novel was written with very few notes. I just plowed through it and let the chips fall where they may. I had an idea from the notes and kind of let them take me where they wanted to go. The world I spent a good deal of time on with a friend (Nicholas Titano of Infernal Titans), who helped me shape it and helped me name things. As far as the books go, I have gone back and outlined a good deal of it and I have an overarching storyline that makes sense to me. I begin to outline a book in greater detail before I start to write it and it goes from there. For the most part, I never know what I am going to write from one page to the next. It’s kind of fun that way! I also try to write 5k words a week. I often fall short with my blog and other commitments, but that is my goal. Last two weeks, I did write over 10,000 words though! I just started a new job, too, so I have another test period for a month or so until I get used to it.

What would you consider the drawbacks and/or benefits of self-publishing?
The only drawback I see is getting noticed. There is a plethora of self-published books that are out there and it is up to the people to decide what they like based on reviews and samples. I just try to put my best work out there and hope than when I am discovered, the reader sees that I put an effort into it and had it edited, etc. There is nothing worse than an ‘author’ who puts out an unpolished book and expects anyone to pay for it.

How important do you consider reviews on your work?
I will ask you to check out this post to decipher that!
It is one of my more popular posts and seems to have gotten support from most authors and readers. That being said, I suppose it really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes I feel it is very important and other times I think it doesn’t make one iota of difference. Depends what day you catch me.

How much do you participate in social media? Do you think it has an impact on your book sales?
I am a social media maniac. I believe that it is important and really it is the only way we can get our work some exposure. It doesn’t cost anything and after a while, it seems to have an impact. I try to post some things that are personal in between promotional texts in order to interact with people. I also try to help other authors in retweeting and promoting them too, especially ones that have gone out of their way to aid me.

Just for fun, fast forward ten years. They are making a movie of Covenant of the Faceless Knights. Which actors do you see playing which characters?
I have thought about this a few times and am at a loss. I know that I would love for Mila Kunis to play Rose if she wanted the part! I would sprinkle in a few famous names with new talent and look for several new actors to try giving them the break that I want right now: Just a shot at dazzling an audience.

Do you have any advice for someone considering a writing career?
Yeah, don’t! All kidding aside, I was told by an amazing fantasy author once that writing is not for the lazy. I couldn’t agree more. First of all, do it because you want to and not to ‘make it big’, because that is a one in a million shot. It could be you, but it probably won’t be…lol. Do it because you love it. Also, if you plan on doing it seriously, then please do it right. If you put junk out there and call yourself an author, it makes it harder for the other talented indie authors to have any credence or validity. And above all: READ! I know plenty of authors who don’t read. Find time to do it. Writers who don’t read, in my humble opinion, will eventually become stagnant and their work will suffer. Do it and do it well is what I say.

Thank you very much for the interview, Gary! 

Do yourself a favor and visit Gary's blog. Read the samples of his stories that are available on his Amazon page. You might find it very much to your liking. I did.


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