Interview with Guy Harrison, author of "Agents of Change"
Guy Harrison is a Phoenix area-based author raised in Philadelphia. Once an aspiring sportscaster and screenwriter, Harrison has worked in public relations in higher education for the past six years. "Agents of Change" is his debut novel. He currently lives in Chandler, Arizona with his wife Lindsay and their two cats.
When and why did you begin writing?
I really began writing when I about nine or ten years old. One day, I randomly wrote a play based on Charles M. Schultz' "Peanuts" comic strip characters and presented it in class. Of course, it was a shoddy production but it was fun all the same.
I started taking writing seriously after my freshman year of college. I wanted to be a screenwriter badly. Thus, over the course of the next nine years or so, I must have written five feature-length screenplays and three television pilots. Needless to say, I was never able to sell my work.
Tired of banging my head against the proverbial wall, I decided this past fall to try my hand at writing a novel. It was something I never saw myself doing. I thought I would have a tougher time with prose than the format of a script. Boy was I wrong! If I had known that writing a novel would have been so much more fun, I would have tried it nine years ago.
And, to be quite honest, I don't think I had the same commitment to the craft as a screenwriter that I do now as a novelist. With a script, I used to write it and try to sell it as soon as I was done. With my novel, especially one I know I'm publishing myself, I've gone through four drafts, beta readers, and a proofreader.
As for why I write, I can tell you that it's the same reason now as it was when I was a 10 year old boy: I like crafting stories and watching them come to life, either on a stage, a screen, or in a reader's mind. As an admitted introvert, writing is the best way I know how to express myself. All of my work contains at least some sample of my view of the world.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, "Agents of Change" is my debut and is actually based loosely on a television pilot I wrote. The book is darker than the show was going to be and more action-packed. The show was going to be warm and fuzzy and episodic.
As I said before, after losing out on the screenplay lottery, I wanted to try something different. I strongly believed in the TV pilot's concept, so I made it work for the purposes of a novel.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
If you include writing the TV pilot, it took about 14 months. If you only include plotting, writing, and editing the novel itself, it took four months.
How do you market your work?
I use social media quite a bit, especially Twitter. On Twitter, I run quite a few contests and giveaways. It never hurts to give away copies of your book. I also to appear on other people's blogs. It's a great way to be seen. Obviously, not everyone who follows me and my blog follows everyone else's blog. So you can reach an entirely different readership when you appear on someone else's blog.
Additionally, gaining reviews are key, too. Reviews are perhaps the most influential tool a potential reader uses when they consider purchasing your book. And you obviously want to seek out book bloggers. People will see right through it when and if you get friends and family to post reviews of your work on Amazon.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The name of the book is "Agents of Change". To summarize in 20 words: It's an action-packed, thought-provoking thriller that delves into human relationships and the concepts of good and bad karma.
What genre would you place your books into?
"Agents of Change" could be classified as a hybrid of thriller/suspense, action, and either science fiction or fantasy depending on who you ask. Just so happens those are all genres I like to write.
What are you currently reading?
I have three books on my Kindle that I've downloaded recently. I started reading one ("The Hunger Games") with the intent of simultaneously reading the others ("Brainrush" by Richard Bard and "Think Fast Die Last" by HC Elliston). Once I saw the movie trailer for "The Hunger Games" and saw that it was coming out in March, it took precedence of the other two books.
Do you have another project in the works? If so, what is it?
I am currently working on an anthology of three short stories that I'll call "Ruminations from the Desert", which is almost the same title as my blog. All three stories will take place in Arizona. One of the stories will be a creature feature about scorpions and another will be about a Wild West-era character mentioned in "Agents of Change" -- so that particular short story will have a bit of a steampunk element to it.