Saturday, October 25, 2014

Interviews, Book Launches & Zombies! Oh My!


I’ve interviewed and have been sharing the interviews I’ve done on the authors featured in Reading Glasses from Hypothetical Press. Most of the authors included in the anthology are from our group, South Jersey Writers’ Group and some were from outside our group.

Today’s interview is with Gregg Feistman, a member of our group. After the interview, read about the book launch that was held at Victorian Savories Bakery in the Voorhees Township’s Town Center, next to the Echelon Mall

Steampunk Granny's Interview with Gregg Feistman

I’m very happy to introduce this writer to our Reading Glasses Fans. Gregg is a part of our writers’ group and he’s a published author.  Gregg Feistman’s first political thriller, The War Merchants, was published in 2009 by Strategic Book Publishing. He has since completed his second novel in the series, Unholy Alliance, currently under consideration. A former freelance journalist and New York City-produced playwright, he is currently an Associate Professor of Public Relations at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA

Marie Gilbert: Let’s start with you telling the readers a little bit about yourself and what you do when not writing.

Greg Feistman: I’ve been a writer for as far back as I can remember, from short stories to poetry (I actually had a poetry reading when I was in college).  I’m also a former NYC-produced playwright, having had two plays produced Off-Off-Broadway.  When I’m not writing, I have two other lives.  First, I’m a professor of Public Relations at Temple University, teaching undergraduate and graduate students.  That pays the mortgage.  I’m also a professional sports photographer, covering motorsports.

Marie Gilbert: Your last book, The War Merchants and the upcoming sequel Unholy Alliance are political thrillers. Can you tell us a bit about the two books?

Greg Feistman: The War Merchants takes a look at the ultimate business model: corporations manipulating governments and world events to cause regional wars, all in the name of profit.  It’s based on real life incidents.  In Unholy Alliance, my main characters from The War Merchants return to investigate the possibility the Vatican sanctioned the Holocaust.  Like my previous book, a lot of it is based on historical facts.

Marie Gilbert: With your new story, Starstruck, which is one of the stories in Reading Glasses, you’ve chosen to go with science fiction. Can you tell us what the inspiration was for this story?

Greg Feistman: To tell you the truth, I’m not really sure!  The idea just popped into my head.  I’ll credit the muses for that one, as I do for all my creative work.

Marie Gilbert: What was the inspiration for Dr. Ava Green?

Greg Feistman: Well, there’s a French actress named Eva Green, so maybe it was her!  Seriously, I needed a catalyst for the main character and as I wrote the story, her character started to take on a more defined shape.  I wanted a woman who was bold but also mysterious and intriguing.  She had to intrigue the character, so I knew she also had to intrigue the reader.  Hopefully I’ve accomplished both.

Marie Gilbert: Would you consider writing more science fiction stories?

Greg Feistman: Yes, definitely.

Marie Gilbert: You are a fellow member of the South Jersey Writers’ Group and you are an Associate Professor of Public Relations at Temple University in Pa. How does the knowledge gained from your day job help with your writing career and promoting your book and what advice do you have for new writers to help promote themselves?

Greg Feistman: One of the fundamental skills any communicator must develop is strong writing.  Before I began teaching I had a long career in PR, so I honed my writing ability there.  Even though that wasn’t fiction writing, it sharpened my skills enough so when I sat down to write fiction, I had “upped my game.”  It also gave me a default career for the two main characters in my books, so I knew their backstory very well. 

In terms of self-promotion, writers (especially new ones) need to learn that writing the book and having it published is only step one.  You must make people aware of your work and give them a reason to want to read it.  And it needs to be a combination of old school PR techniques such as news releases, media interviews, etc., and social media efforts.  I do both, from traditional media interviews to having my own author’s Facebook page that links to my website, to being on Goodreads, LibraryThing, Author Marketing Club, etc.

Marie Gilbert: Thank you Greg for taking this time to do the interview and I know our fans will want to read not only this story, but also The War Merchants and Unholy Alliance when that’s released.

 Now to the Book Launch

While our group partied inside Victorian Savories, the town center was offering a family night of movies, zombie face painting, music and as the big finale; everyone could dance to Michael Jackson's Thriller. So here are a few shots of editors Amy Holiday and Jessica A. Walsh and our South Jersey Writers' Group and a few of the featured authors in Reading Glasses. I'm guessing you're wondering if Steampunk Granny participated in the Thriller dance. Hell, yeah!

                         Editor Amy Holiday with a fan of the book launch

                            Jessica A. Walsh in front of an impressive banner

                      Dawn Byrne and Mieke Samora-Mackay handling the sale table

                                                 Book Launch Party


Believe it or not, my friend Rita and I actually knew most of the steps. All in all, it was the perfect night for a Book Launch.

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