Today we speak to Gregory J Schroeder.

GregQ) Tell us something about yourself.

I am a little bit of a lot of things. I work in health care IT, have an active online “pre-read” book business (50% of which is romance novels), am an avid military historian, and now have three books of poetry. I once worked for Publishers’ Clearing House, taught high school science for six years, and have coached youth soccer, baseball, and basketball and still referee recreational soccer.

Q) Tell us about your latest book. Why do you think the readers will like it?

My latest book, Transitions, is an anthology of relatively short poems. My poems are about the everyday – things, people, and events to which everyone can relate. They are understandable, positive, and work to pull the reader out of the daily grind to see the fun, the beauty, and the peace that is always right next to us. One of my first reviewers said she did not “get” most poetry, nor like it, but she both “got” and liked mine.

Q) How did you come up with the title of the book?

The majority of the poems in the collection speak to transitions of some kind – one season to the next, growing up, the parent-child relationship, changing perspective, a change in weather.  There is a tension in the word that also comes through in many of the poems. Transition insinuates change and change is often a scary thing, but it is also an opportunity. This yin-yang idea is present in a lot of the selections.

Q) What kind of research did you do for your book?

Research is probably too strong of a word. A lot of these poems came from simply slowing myself down to see what was actually going on and then writing about it. We miss a lot of life by speeding through it too quickly.

Q) Every Author has a distinct writing style. How would you describe your style and how do you think you came to form it?

My style of poetry is to see the things that are either taken for granted or thought unimportant and give them focus and meaning. My poems try to slow down the pace of modern life and find calm, reflexion, beauty, focus, and significance.

Q) How long have you been working on this book and what inspired you to write it?

I wrote the poems over a period of about six months and then spent another three formatting and editing.  I write poetry for fun and to force myself to slow down and live.

Q) When did you start writing and when did you realize you want to become an Author?

I wrote a lot when I was a kid, even submitting a handful of articles (and being rejected) to several magazines. I then wrote articles for the local paper about youth sports, the idea being to get every kid’s name into the article. Five years ago I started to develop some consistency. I published 22 online articles on various military history topics and related historical fiction. I’ve been writing poetry consistently for the past three years.

Q) Who are some of the Authors you like and how do you think their work inspired you?

My favourite poets are Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg but I loved Robert Louis Stevenson’s Child’s Garden of Verses as a kid. In prose fiction my favourites include Harper Lee, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Louis L’Amour, and Alexander Kent. I like authors who can make me feel like I am in their setting and have characters who have depth. But I also like authors who are easy to understand who say what needs to be said without too much extra. I try to use these tenets in my writing.

Q) What do you think is the most difficult part about writing and publishing a novel?

The hardest part for me is to write consistently. I know the writing gets better if I do some every day but often the time just isn’t there to write even a few hundred words. Likewise, publishing is really a matter of finding blocks of time to concentrate on the task and get it done properly.

Q) What is some advice you will like to give to people trying to write and get their stories published?

Write every day. Read every day. It doesn’t have to be a lot. I found even fifteen minutes of reading improved my vocabulary and sentence structure (and, strangely enough, my speaking). Do what you like. There is a lot to be said for “Dance like no one is watching.”

Q) Tell us something about what you are working on or about some of your future projects.

I have multiple projects in process. Another book of poems, as yet untitled, a military history of the early months of World War II in the Pacific, a high fantasy novel, a romance, and a new spin on the princess in a tower story.

Q) If you had to convince someone to read your book in 5 lines what would they be?

This is not just a book of poems, it is a book of memories. Once again you find yourself enjoying the days of your youth, the smell of grass after rain, the dust of the neighbourhood ball park, the fury of an oncoming storm. We grow up, we get busy, and we forget the magic and wonder of the world around us. These poems bring that magic back. Read one at a time, or the whole book at once. Come back often to simply relax.


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