About Gerhard Gehrke:
Gerhard Gehrke studied film at San Francisco State University. He wrote and produced several shows for community television. His Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror short stories have appeared in several publications, including “Past a Spinning Star”, an Editor’s Choice-winning short story at AnotheRealm.com.
He owns and operates a service business in Northern California and manages to write in the early morning hours when everyone else in the house is still asleep. He and his wife Abby regularly go tromping about the local hills in search of snakes, lizards, birds, and bugs to photograph and annoy people with on social media.
What inspires you to write?
I was weened on a heavy diet of comic books and cheesy science fiction and monster movies. As reading books came into the picture I started writing my own stories in a notebook for no one else to read but me. This blossomed into making Pac-man comic books in grade school with friends, which included a heavy dose of vampires and Shogun Warriors to please my fellow collaborators. Getting involved in local community television introduced me to actually finding an audience for things put down on paper, even though most of what we worked on was non-narrative in structure. Writing fiction evolved from that.
Tell us about your writing process.
I have a connect-the-dots strategy that is essentially a loose outline. I know where I want to land and have several plot points to hit along the way. This all proves malleable as I go. I have several notebooks where I will lay out bullet points of what happens next and what needs to happen after, but these notes are rarely more than a few key words and phrases. I don’t use any software for this even though I’ve tried, and I’m intrigued by ones who manage to lay everything out via spreadsheets like Excel. When I write the story rarely cooperates with tight scripting.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
As we may remeber if we ever played Infocom’s Zork: “Talking to yourself is a sign of impending mental collapse.” But dialogue does need to be read aloud for the ear check to see if sounds like something anyone would ever say. Most strangely, if my character needs to gesture, I find myself needing to confirm what that gesture is, either by hands or facial expression.
What advice would you give other writers?
Get on social media immediately. I never touched the stuff until this past year when I finally was in a position to have my book published,.and I wish I had been more familiar with it. Authors today are responsible for their book promotions. The publisher often will help, but it will mostly fall on your shoulders to see it happen.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was in the process of self publishing my novel when I saw a tweet from Booktrope looking for authors. I had checked up on several small publishing companies and saw that some had horrible reputations and did little for the author. I researched Booktrope and found a good Wall Street Journal article that let me know that they were legit. I submitted my manuscript to them and they accepted. This meant I had to change my strategy, as I had already hired an editor and edited the manuscript, but the knowledge that I’d have a professional publisher backing me up was a nice boost. I’ve gotten to know authors who have gone the self-published route and many find success, so this is an acceptable path to follow, but more will depend on you to make it work. Fortunately there are many sources of advice and help, either free or professional. If you’re self-publishing you can’t skimp on hiring an editor.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The market will continue to support both self-published and traditionally published books, and more publishers cantering to niche markets will continue to rise. Hopefully we’ll see more challengers to Amazon come along that will increase the ease of access readers want to quality books and new authors.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Science fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.