I am honored to spotlight a talented author and friend today. Aaron D. Gansky is a true inspiration. It is my prayer you will be inspired as you read my interview with Aaron, and as a result, go forth pursuing your God-given dreams.
More About Aaron
In addition to being a loving father and husband, Aaron D. Gansky is a novelist, teacher, mentor, and editor. In 2009, he earned his M.F.A in Fiction at the prestigious Antioch University of Los Angeles, one of the top five low-residency writing schools in the nation. Prior to that, he attained his Bachelor of Arts degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing where he studied, in part, under Bret Anthony Johnston, now the Director of Creative Writing at Harvard University.
He is the author of the novel The Bargain (2013, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) as well as The Hand of Adonai, a YA Fantasy series. Additionally, he’s written two short books on the craft of fiction; Firsts in Fiction: First Lines and Write to Be Heard (with Diane Sherlock).
Aaron likes to keep his hand in writing. When he’s not putting words on page, he serves as a fiction editor for The Citron Review, an online literary journal. He also likes to mentor new writers. His latest endeavor is a podcast on writing, appropriately named Firsts in Fiction (with Steve McLain). You can subscribe on iTunes or listen on Stitcher Radio.
Interview with Aaron
Your novel: The Bargain releases this week. Can you tell us about it?
Aaron: This is my first novel, one I spent years writing. Essentially, it has to do with a spiritual bargain, almost a bet, if you will, between God and a man named Mason Becker. Mason lives in a pretty twisted desert town, and he’s charged with finding five righteous people, or God will destroy the town. Enter Connor Reedly, my protagonist, skeptic, and world-renowned journalist. Mason offers him a quarter million dollars to write ten articles about people who live in the town. In essence, it’s a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah story.
Where did the idea come from?
Aaron: Hard to say exactly. Ideas for me run together until something sticks. This book came from a few descriptions and a fascination with a destitute desert town I’d researched for a class project some years ago. Selfishly, I wanted to write a book of collected, connected short stories. I figured the setting would be perfect to join the denizens of the town. I had a lot of fun putting characters in different stories. My hope is that each story will echo, not only the other stories, but also have threads connecting it to the present action—Connor’s dying wife and the impending destruction of the town.
Describe your journey as a writer.
Aaron: I’ve been writing since I was a kid. Think my first story was about a group of kids who find a dinosaur egg and hatch them. It wasn’t good, but it had all the elements of story. While searching for a “career,” I never considered writing. Even though my father was a writer, I didn’t think I could make it on writing alone. So I spent years searching for a “day job” I’d be happy with. After a stint as a Youth Pastor, I became a teacher. Neither profession makes a ton of money, so I decided to pursue writing a little more aggressively. I wrote most of the Bargain at Antioch University of Los Angeles while getting my Masters in Fiction. I did a lot of growing while I worked on my MFA. Had some great teachers there, and they really helped shape the novel as I worked on it.
How do you make time to write?
Aaron: I teach AP English, which takes up a good bit of my time, so I’ve learned to write in the mornings. For me, that’s when I’m fresh. I get up at 4:30 so I can be at work early and spend an hour writing before students come in. I’ll also stay after classes and work on my writing. Pretty much, every spare moment I have goes into writing.
What are you working on now?
Aaron: I’m doing a YA fantasy series called The Hand of Adonai. I’m pretty proud of it and excited about it. The book is up online free (aarongansky.com/hand_of_adonai/). I’m finishing up Book Three. When I’m done, I’ll finish it up with Book Four, and then it’s on to another YA, this time, urban fantasy. I also plan on releasing a few more books on writing in between projects.
What kind of books do you plan to do on writing?
Aaron: I have a book called Firsts in Fiction: First Lines. My goal is to follow it up with Firsts in Fiction: First Pages, then Firsts in Fiction: First Chapters. It’s a fun little series. I may do a few on endings as well, but we’ll see.
I hear you’re doing a podcast now. What can you tell me about that?
Aaron: I’m an avid listener of Writing Excuses, so much so, that it inspired me to start my own writing podcast. I drafted my buddy Steve McLain, an aspiring writer, to co-host it with me. I like the dynamic we have. It’s a lot of fun to record and mix and do all that. I’m having a lot more fun doing it than I originally anticipated. We decided to call it Firsts in Fiction after my writing series.
How can we subscribe?
Aaron: A few different ways. We’re on Stitcher and iTunes (search Firsts in Fiction and/or Aaron Gansky), or sign up for e-mail updates here: http://aarongansky.com/firsts_in_fiction_podcast/
How long have you been writing?
Aaron: I’ve been writing for years, since I was a kid. I’ve only been seriously pursuing the craft since college. That was … more than a year ago. I’d say about ten years now.
What drives you to write the genre?
Aaron: I’d been writing for some time, but when I studied fiction in college, I read a lot of the greats, and that’s what really drove me to write something a little more “literary.” You can see that influence in The Bargain. Now, I’m trying to bring that high level of writing to contemporary commercial YA fiction. These books are fun to write, so I think this is where I’ll stay for a bit.
Where can readers purchase?
Aaron: Readers can get the book on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/The-Bargain-Aaron-D-Gansky/dp/1938499778/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385259219&sr=8-1&keywords=aaron+gansky). The book is less than $11, so that’s nice.
NOTE: Aaron Gansky: Author of The Hand of Adonai Series, Write to Be Heard, Firsts in Fiction: First Lines, and An Affair to Forget See more at: http://altongansky.typepad.com/writersconferences/faculty-2014.html#sthash.lkwx6Hpl.dpuf
Thank you Aaron for honoring me today. I wish you many blessings, as you go forth pursuing the gifts you have been given.
La-Tan Roland Murphy