Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | January 7, 2011

Interview with Greg Messel, Author of “Expiation” and Member of the Independent Author Network

It’s a pleasure to interview Greg Messel today. I hope you enjoy knowing more about Greg and reading his books

T. Hello, please give us a bit of biography to start.

G. I’ve spent much of my life in the Pacific Northwest living in Portland, Oregon and in the Seattle area since 2008. I have been married to my wife, Carol, for 40 years. We were high school sweethearts just like the couple in Expiation. I’ve lived in Washington, Oregon, California, Utah and Wyoming. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from high school there and also attended a year of junior college. After college, I began a newspaper career in rough and tumble Wyoming town of Rock Springs. My wife and I have three married children and nine grandchildren.
I’ve always loved writing. I was the news editor and sports editors of the Daily Rocket-Miner newspaper and won a Wyoming Press Association award as a columnist. I’ve also submitted and had published articles in various sports magazines. After leaving the newspaper business in 1981, I began a 27 year career with Pacific Power. In 2008, I retired and moved to Seattle.
It was then that I returned to my first love of writing. I’ve written two unpublished memoirs and published my first novel with Trafford Publishing in September 2009. My first novel was called Sunbreaks. The second novel, Expiation, was published in the spring of 2010 with Trafford. A third novel is in the works.
Currently, I live on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, just north of downtown Seattle. I enjoyrunning and have been in several races and half marathons.

T. When did you start writing?

G. I found two artifacts from my childhood at my grandmother’s house after she died. One was a canvas bag with the name of a newspaper written in crayon on it. Another was a book I had written by hand, folded the paper so it was like a book and even did some illustrations. As a child I used the bag to deliver newspapers that I wrote. I would deliver it to my family members. So apparently, I have wanted to write newspapers and books since I was a small child. It is what I was drawn to. I turned those childhood fantasies into reality later when I had a real newspaper career and was a sports editor and news editor for a daily newspaper in Wyoming. I supported myself in high school and college as a “stringer” for the local newspaper writing sports and movie reviews. Now that I have more time I am able to write novels which I have wanted to do for years.

T. Was there a favorite writing teacher or mentor?

G. My high school journalism teacher was one of my real favorites. She really encouraged me in my writing and got me to enter a writing contest. Her name was Mrs. Drew Robinson. I have no idea where she is now. When she was my teacher she was probably in her early thirties and when I see a yearbook picture of her now, she is really pretty. She convinced me that I was a writer. I base a character in Expiation, who I call “Mrs. Robinson,” on her.

T. Please tell us about your current book.

G. My current book is Expiation. The word “expiation” means to correct a situation or atone for a wrongdoing.

In 1968, Dan and Katie are one of the hottest couples at Ballard High School in Seattle. He is the hero football player, and she is the beautiful cheerleader. These high school sweethearts believe theirs is a love that will never die.
Life changes when Dan leaves Washington to start college at the University of California Berkeley and pursue his dream of working for a big time newspaper in the glamorous city of San Francisco. The quest for his dream occurs against the turbulent background of Berkeley and San Francisco in the 1970s as Dan and Katie go their separate ways.
Now, thirty years later, Dan is back in his hometown of Seattle attending his mother’s funeral. He’s never stopped thinking about Katie, his long-lost love. But the two former high school sweethearts reconnect in a most unexpected way as the rest of the world grows more fearful of Y2K and the dawn of the twenty-first century. They are hoping that their love, once lost, can now be reclaimed.

T. Do you have a sequel or prequel in mind or in progress?

G. I’ve been told by several readers that they would like a sequel. Some have said I kind of left the story hanging and there were more adventures ahead for the characters. I don’t plan a sequel to Expiation. I think it is more fun to let each reader write their own story about where it goes from here. I am working on my third novel Illusion of Certainty. I anticipate publishing it later this year.

T. What are your ideas about the future of digital publishing?

G. I think it’s exciting. I find the some of the big changes we see very interesting. It takes a while to catch up sometimes. One of my favorite things used to be to go to music stores and looks at CDs. I got weaned off that and am now an avid iPod user and iTunes downloader. I got a Kindle for Christmas and have read two books on it. I have really liked the reading experience. I’ve probably bought my last traditional book. It is exciting to see my two books in Kindle format. I have been told by some readers how much they have liked them on Kindle. My daughter “listened” to Expiation on her way to work each day when it first came out. She had it on her Kindle and used the reading feature. Pretty exciting stuff.

T. Anything else to share?
I am still discovering who I am as a writer. The journey can be surprising. That‘s what is so wonderful about writing. My advice to other writers or aspiring writers is you have to not be afraid. I am still giving myself that advice. It breaks my heart if someone doesn’t like my books or characters. However, I love them and that is who I am. Not everyone is going to like everything you do. My books seem to appeal more to women. I am okay with that but I have talked to several men who enjoyed them. I hope people enjoy the books but we need to remember this is art. Writing is an artistic endeavor. I am revealing much about my soul and personality. You have to be you. I would love to be a cool mystery writer or crime story author like Michael Connelly. However, that is not who I am and it is not my experience in life. There are awful things said about some of the most successful authors, songwriters and screenwriters. You have to let the inner writer inside of you escape and go with your feelings.

T. Thank you.

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