Thursday, May 2, 2013

In The Dog House: Author Gordon Osmond

Every dog has its day and today is author Gordon Osmond's day with me. I'm so happy to have this chance to get to know him. This man is amazing. He's a Wall Street lawyer, a produced playwright, a weekly radio show host, an online play and book critic, a lecturer and a published fiction and non-fiction author. Let's get right to all the juicy details.

CINDY:  Hi, Gordon. Is Slipping on Stardust your first book?
GORDON:  It’s my first book of fiction, unless, of course, you count the untrue portions of my “unauthorized autobiography,” Wet Firecrackers. My only other book is So You Think You Know English—A Guide to English for Those Who Think They Don’t Need One.

CINDY:  Great title, Gordon. :) So, what inspired you to write your very first full-length book? What kept you going to the very end?  How did you feel when you completed it? 
GORDON:   I taught English as a Second Language in San Diego for several years. My teaching colleagues were for the most part much younger than I was, and frankly I was appalled at how teaching methods had deteriorated through the years since I was a student. I returned to the basics, stripping out all the political propaganda, and was very gratified that my methodology met with such great approval from my international students. Several of them encouraged me to codify my approach in a book, so I did. I think of it as a cross between Eats, Shoots & Leaves and The Elements of Style.

Insisting on finishing the book is probably due to my anal retentive nature reinforced with a generous dose of the Judeo-Christian work ethic.

When I finished the book, indeed when I finished all of my three published works, I have a nagging sensation that I could have done a better job.

CINDY:  I can relate with those feelings. What genre is Slipping on Stardust?  Tell us a little about it.
GORDON:   Slipping on Stardust is a contemporary American novel with strong elements of romance, mystery, and suspense. Insofar as the book deals with the lives of ordinary people in a small town, I liken it to Peyton Place. Insofar as it deals with the tragic and sometimes comic consequences of sacrificing real values for false ones, I liken it to Madame Bovary and Fear of Flying. Of course it includes some sex scenes, which I believe are tasty, but tasteful. My objective was to create a literate, general appeal page turner ideal for stuffing in beach bags, holiday stockings—everything but the Thanksgiving turkey.

CINDY:  What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most? What part do you dislike?
GORDON:   My maximum enjoyment comes from the final formulation of words to express as powerfully and as beautifully as possible thoughts that had been cooking in my brain for a long time. I can’t think of any part of the process that I dislike except perhaps for dealing with an editor whose basic intelligence I find lacking. Fortunately, with Secret Cravings Publishing, I’ve worked with a wonderful professional team and a great and gifted editor.

CINDY:  What motivated you to write Slipping on Stardust?
GORDON:   I wanted to well tell a story that would engage, entertain, and enlighten readers. I would love others to be affected by a good book as I have been through the years. Also, I wanted to pay tribute to people I admire and satirize, and frankly ridicule those I don’t.

CINDY:  You obviously put a lot of thought, time and energy into your work.  I appreciate that.  So many authors just want to be prolific and not spend the necessary time to write a quality book.  So tell me:  A lot of authors listen to music while they write.  Do you?  Do you have any rituals you do before, after or during writing?
GORDON:   I love most forms of music and enjoy listening to great music while writing. Somehow listening to another artist’s creation inspires me to do my level best to create something worthwhile. Atonal music, hip-hop, Gregorian chants, and anything involving bagpipes inspires me only to turn off the sound system. My favorite forms of music include German leid and old fashioned gospel and country music, the lyrics of which often express high emotion in very spare language. You can’t get much sexier than “She Cranks My Tractor” or more sentimental than “Don’t She Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”
As for rituals, I have found that a good bourbon or a flute of brilliantly chilled champagne stimulates the first draft and that total sobriety enhances the final one.

CINDY:  You do have a way with words, Gordon. :)  If you could write yourself into one of your books what kind of character would you be? (e.g. the hero, the best friend, the antagonist, strong, funny, supportive, etc.)
GORDON:   I’m in every book I write either as teacher (So You Think You Know English—A Guide to English for Those Who Think They Don’t Need One), subject (Wet Firecrackers—The Unauthorized Autobiography of Gordon Osmond), or as the teller of the story from what is called the omniscient point of view (Slipping on Stardust) I tend to identify most strongly with the story’s good guys.

CINDY:  How much research do you do for one of your books?  How much of your book is fact, and how much is fiction?
GORDON:  I did a fair amount of confirming research to make sure that my English book was correct. My unauthorized autobiography didn’t require that much. Slipping on Stardust was researched mainly to ensure that references to films and film stars were accurate. Overall, can any author ever fully express sufficient appreciation to the geniuses that created the Internet for making research endlessly easier for all of us?

I would say that Slipping on Stardust is fact-based fiction. The plot is woven from threads that are a part of my real-life experiences.

CINDY:  I totally agree with you about the Internet. Having health issues and two autistic children, I am very limited on getting out and the Internet helps tremendously. What has writing a book taught you about yourself?
GORDON:   It has taught me that the writing skills that I hopefully acquired in the course of 25 years of practicing law and 12 years of writing stage plays were transferable to the process of writing books. That was quite a relief given the facts that practicing law is too much work and that dealing with actors, directors, and designers is too frustrating.

CINDY:  Wow! You definitely bring a lot of experience and expertise to your writing. What do you want your readers to gain from reading one of your books?
GORDON:   I would hope that readers would be inspired by all of my books to live better and more informed lives, whether it be through the enlightened use of English or by making better choices when faced with challenging life options.

CINDY:  Do you have any plans for another book?  Can you give us any details?
GORDON:   Yes, I’m planning a sequel to Slipping on Stardust. I’ve been encouraged by early readers of the original to carry forward the lives of the characters. For reasons stated in an article recently published by, I prefer to concentrate in the future on writing books rather than plays.

CINDY:  How can readers find out more about you and your books? Do you have a website?  Where can they buy your books?
GORDON:   Here are some links that may be helpful.

Publisher’s Purchasing Link:

Electronic versions of the book are also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other SCP sites.

And may I close by thanking you, Cindy, for giving me this opportunity to vent and spread the word. You are a wonderful resource for authors, and your efforts on their behalf are sincerely appreciated.

Thank you, Gordon.  It's been a wonderful experience to learn more about you and your writing.

Feel free to ask Gordon questions through the comment section.

Cindy A. Christiansen

Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
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