Premier Press Publishing was delighted to interview independent author and corporate executive Gary D. McGugan this week. He recently finished his second book and first fictional novel Three Weeks Less a Day – A novel of corporate intrigue.
Bio: Gary D. McGugan spent most of his career in the world of business. Before he was thirty years old, he’d achieved national management responsibilities for a major multinational corporation and gradually progressed to senior levels of management in multiple industries.
He has worked in a supermarket, sold appliances, distributed motorcycles, launched an automobile dealer network, and provided financing to help businesses grow. Every industry was very different from the other. Every company had its distinctive culture and character, but all were units of large corporations with global operations.
Travel was always an important component of his management roles. He visited almost every city, town, village, and hamlet in Canada while leading sales and marketing activities first for the motorcycle, then the automobile, divisions of Suzuki Motor Company’s Canadian subsidiary.
With a division of ITT he traveled to most states in the USA. He enjoyed visiting all EU countries while living and working in Europe for several years – spearheading the creation of a new business unit for Deutsche Bank. And, responsibilities with a business of GE Capital allowed him to explore several countries in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.
Every trip was an education. Learning about business practices and cultures before trips was essential, and every day in a country he mined valuable information to develop a deeper understanding of its people, culture, laws, and treasures.
After retiring from corporate life, he co-authored “NEEDS Selling Solutions”, a work devoted to helping professional sales people sell better, then leveraged that book to create a consulting business helping businesses of all sizes grow more profitably.
Three Weeks Less a Day is his first novel.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?
John George Mortimer is a successful American entrepreneur who has built an enormous empire, but must deal with male breast cancer. He shows strength of character, grace, and astute political skills while dealing with an outside attack on his leadership at the same time as he copes with cancer. His grace, ingenuity and perseverance can provide inspiration.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I have no favorites. Each character brings value to the story whether their ideas or actions are popular or not. Readers gain insights into life – particularly corporate life – by reading how characters react and respond to challenges and circumstances as they arise.
Who is your least favorite character and why?
Again, I have no ‘least favorite’. Every character has a purpose and brings specific insight about how people may act and react in the corporate world.
Why do you write?
My primary goal is to entertain. While entertaining, I hope to share information and perspective readers will think about, and opinions I hope they will consider
When did you decide to become a writer?
I have always written actively in my business career. In 2008, I decided to realize a life-long dream of publishing a book and co-authored NEEDS Selling Solutions, a work of non-fiction.
How long does it usually take you to complete a book?
It depends solely upon how much time I’m prepared to devote to writing. A man of many interests, “balance” is an important part of my lifestyle. Accordingly, I write when I’m able to balance creativity with family, community, travel, learning, and professional pursuits. “NEEDS Selling Solutions” was created in less than six months. “Three Weeks Less a Day” was written and edited over a four -year window.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
The time felt right.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I walk almost every afternoon – long walks a quick pace – for about 2 hours. During that time, I formulate in my mind the following day’s chapter. The next morning, I process the ideas in my mind into the novel.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I try to discipline myself to constantly think ‘outside the box’, seeking new ways to convey messages and ideas with broad appeal.
Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write?
I often listen to classical music as I write.
What have you written?
For me, writing has taken many forms. Like most, it started with assigned essays as a student and then evolved with my business career. I’ve written letters, speeches, reports, ads, brochures, presentations, proposals, articles, and a blog. My first book was a work of non-fiction – NEEDS Selling Solutions – co-authored with my friend Jeff Allen. Three Weeks Less a Day is my first novel.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?
I create general outline in my mind. I put very little to paper until I lay down the chapter.
Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?
I have used graphic artists provided by my publisher for both books.
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
An author page on Facebook, featuring advance publicity, has been the best source of sales success.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Be patient. Persevere. Don’t expect commercial success immediately.
Where do your ideas come from?
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Editing. Writing the story is the easy part. Editing it for grammar, spelling, content, and style is painstaking work. I spend about four hours editing for every hour of actual creative writing.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The greatest challenge was to reduce the length of the story without losing valuable ideas and content. Multiple revisions were needed to condense an original manuscript of 365 pages to less than 300.
What is your favorite movie or TV show?
I watch very few movies and almost no television.
Which writers inspire you?
Wilbur Smith, John Grisham, Nelson Mandela
What is your next project?
My next project is underway. Novel number 2. I hope to published in early 2018.
You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?
Readers who enjoyed Three Weeks Less a Day, will find the next novel even more stimulating. Some of the characters – both noble and notorious – wend their way into the second novel. The latest story is again very quick-paced with more action, more exotic locales, and even more intrigue than “Three Weeks Less a Day”, but continues to use the backdrop of Multima Corporation to tell a completely different story.
Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school?
I have no formal education in creative writing. I am what behavioral experts refer to as an experiential learner. I learn from every experience in life. I actively seek feedback and listen carefully to every suggestion. I learn something from every book I read – things to try, things to avoid. I learn from every interaction with associates and readers. I learn from book reviews. And, I consciously undertake to learn every day by reading as broadly as possible from every genre and widely varied sources.
Do you have any “how to write” type books/instructional you’d like to recommend?
No. I’ve read several and found each of them helpful in some respect. I’ll continue to read a new one every few months as part of my active learning focus.
If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast?
I would let those who produce successful movies make such a critical decision.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
I have trouble selecting favorites. When I read a story, I try to understand everything possible about a character to imagine what motivated a writer to attribute characteristics and seek nuances and subtleties an author may intend to convey.
What one person from history would you like to meet and why?
Nelson Mandela. I’d like to learn more about a man who survived unjust confinement for more than 25 years, retained his sanity and remained civil towards his persecutors.
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?
Make Critical Thinking a course requirement in every high school in the world.
Who inspires your writing?
I don’t have a single source of inspiration. My network of family and friends numbers in the thousands and many have provided inspiration at various times.
Where do you come up with your stories?
Individual stories and scenes within a story are the result of a fertile imagination and compilation of thousands of life experiences and observations. It’s one advantage of advancing age!
Do you have any fur babies to brag about? You can include a picture if you like.
My wife lost her toy poodle in April after almost 17 years of affection and companionship.
Who is your favorite author and which of their books is your favorite?
Wilbur Smith. “When The Lion Feeds”
Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like?
No. I read my story – totally read — 35 or 36 times (I lost count). The last time I read it entirely was the day I pushed ‘send’ to approve the final layout of the book. I felt great satisfaction.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
I’m satisfied to be the author or co-author of my own books. Because learning is a prime motivation for my reading, I rely on the wisdom and creativity of other authors to impart their knowledge and skills to me.
What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?
Critical editing is the single most important function of writing.
Do have a favorite car or truck model?
No. There are dozens of great cars out there. As a former executive in the automobile industry, I have a great respect for designers and engineers from all the brands. I currently drive a Genesis. In my view, it represents the best value in the luxury category.
Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes?
No. Love is a natural emotion and sex is natural act in healthy lives. Writing about both should be equally natural if it is not gratuitous and fits the plot.
What are some of your favorite books and why?
This answer would take far too much time to answer!
What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?
I have experience only with self-publishing. I’d like to try traditional.
Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?
Clearly, some readers expect their authors to be vetted and promoted by well-known publishers.
What book are you currently reading or just finished?
“Heart of the Sanibel Sunset Detective” by Ron Base
What do your fans mean to you?
I love fans. As a writer, it’s great to know I’ve connected with a reader and provided some enjoyment
Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others?
No. There are simply too many good books out there!
Tell us something unique about you.
I’m a Leap Year baby. There are only a few of us! And, I’m convinced that celebrating birthdays every four years is a great way to continue to remain young!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for this interview. I think what Premier Press Publishing is doing to help make people more aware of writers and their books will make an outstanding contribution to success for authors of all genres.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00J8HJK8Y