An Interview with, Mr. Gary Alan Henson
So I’ll start with the usual. 🙂 How did you get involved with the short story group?
I think I found Vanessa’s site while searching for short story blogs. I asked about a Halloween short story collection she was preparing. She was very kind in giving me enough time to put together a story (The Pit) I had in my ‘to write’ pile. She was instrumental in getting this part
of my writing jump started, I owe her many thanks.
How many of the short story books do you have a story in and which ones?
Can you give us one sentence describing each story, (If you have more than one) so we know a little bit about them? (Your stories)
‘The Pit’ is based on a recurring nightmare I had as a child, living just outside of town in an old farm house with spooky outbuildings.
‘Faith’ tells a simple story of living a life of faith and how God surprises us when we least except it.
‘Mrs. Thomas’ gives you a little insight of a teachers life, as she passes the last day of school with her students in a tiny rual Texas town.
If the short story group puts out another collection, will you submit a story again?
Absolutely! I really enjoy the challenges of writing short stories. The structure and pacing is so different from a longer novel. In many ways, a short story is more difficult than a novel to do well. You have to bring the characters to life quickly. You must immerse the reader right away and keep their attention without seeming to rush the story. It’s damn hard.
I definitely have to agree with you there, Gary.
Okay, now for the hard part.
Tell us about your writing habits. Do you write every day?
I write every day. It might only be 10 minutes of editing or outlining, or hours of sloughing through my latest story. But I make myself write SOMETHING every day.
I leave for work (I’m a software developer) at 7:30AM and get home between 6:00 and 7:00PM, depending on how many fires pop up. So my evening routine is to relax until around 9PM and then open the laptop and start writing. Except tonight of course. 😉
On weekends, I write as much as possible. I try to read as much as possible, too. I also try to slip in a movie on the weekends or a dinner out to recharge the Muse battery.
I also try to post to my writing blog (garyalanhenson.blogspot.com) once a week or more if possible. I’m on twitter
@garyalanhenson during the day and at night. I try to follow and chat with other authors mostly.
How long have you been writing?
Wow, I had to stop and think about that. I wrote ‘Genome’ as a screenplay in 2005-6. After the normal period of optimism, where I tried to get an agent or film studio to look at my stunning accomplishment, I put it aside, rather dejected. Then, in 2009, I discovered the Barnes and Noble PubIt program and decided to try it. I rewrote ‘Genome’ as a novel and published it on PubIt, now Nook Press. I followed up with versions for Amazon’s KDP program and Smashwords.
I sold enough copies to encourage me, so I decided to write ‘for me’ next. I love SciFi, humor and making fun of our social stigmas so I started the ‘Arlo and Jake’ series. Arlo is a panther chameleon living with Jake, a retired software developer. They are ‘conscripted’ into a Space Navy to help defend Earth from invaders. It’s all me. My silly sense of humor. A complete disregard for the politically correct. And lots of evil, ugly aliens. Pure fun.
How many books do you have out?
I have two novels out, ‘Genome’ and ‘Arlo and Jake Enlist’. The second book in the Arlo and Jake series, ‘Arlo and Jake Galactic Bootcamp’ is coming out this month. Then I’m hoping to put out an Arlo and Jake book every three months. I have ten stories outlined and ready to go.
Do you have a favorite one that you have written? Why?
I think ‘Arlo and Jake’ is my favorite. It’s just so much fun to build a whole universe of heroes and villians and watch my characters
bounce around. It doesn’t hurt that the Space Navy is filled with beautiful exotic women, a telepathic sidekick and marvelous gadgets to play with!
What’s next for you? Are you working on another book? Tell us a little about it.
‘Arlo and Jake’ book three is next, just as soon as book two ships this month.
In book three, Arlo gets kidnapped by the bad guys and Jake must find a way to rescue his little lizard buddy. Considering the scope of the Universe I’ve created, it’s going to be a hoot just finding Jake’s partner, much less rescue him! Did I mention the bad guys want to Aquaform Earth, turning it into another water world for their colonization?
What do you do to relax when you aren’t writing?
Reading, mostly Naval History, SciFi and American Indian history.
Of course, that’s between watching ‘B’ movies on NetFlix! Discovering new ‘bad’ movies is a hobby of mine. My favorite is ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’, a real classic of sorts. A close second is the new ‘Iron Sky’. There is nothing better than an evening spent with a plate of nachos, a cold Fat Tire beer and Scifi filmed in the 50s!
Any other creative pastimes? Crafts, gardening, art, etc.?
I’m taking guitar lessons again after 40 years of idle plinking. Right now I’m working on ‘Apache’, by Hank Marvin and the Shadows.
That is an awesome song, Gary! When I bought my son his first electric guitar, I told him he had to learn to play Crazy Train by Ozzy, but alas the first song he learned was, Breaking the law by Judas Priest. My son can’t read music, but plays by ear and downloads guitar tabs.
I just bought a Gretsch hollow body electric guitar and I’m valiantly striving to sound not terrible. The neighborhood cats love me.
Haha! Well, when you finally feel confident enough with it, we would all love to see a YouTube video of you playing!
Thank you, Gary. It’s been fun. I wish you much success with all of your books and I look forward to reading more of your short stories in the future.