Topic: Author Interview
Don't forget to check out Greg's very special gift at the end of his interview!!
Greg Babic (Gregory Victor Babic), the person:
1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
Caring, thoughtful, and honest.
2. How do you think others would describe you?
Loving, intelligent, and loyal.
3. Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
Family, lifelong learning, teaching, mentoring, reading, going to the movies, studying the geodesic dome form, creating hand-made games and puzzles, and being a good friend.
4. Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.
"Princess Mischka B. Babic" is our beautiful, yellow, pure-bred Labrador puppy, who only came into our lives just over a year ago and who has already become an irreplacable member of the family. Mischka demands nothing but love and affection, and gives it back one-hundred-fold (no lie). I can honestly say that she has totally changed my life in the last twelve months!
5. What is your most precious memory?
Christmas 1975: when I was 12 years old and got a Remington portable manual typewriter (a keyboard that prints, for those of you too young to remember "typewriters"), including a snazzy little leather zip-up cover. I thought it was the best present I ever received (and still do). Mind you, Joyce, Mum and Dad did not make it easy for me to guess what I was getting that day, believe me - because they put it at the bottom of an empty refrigerator box, which they then filled with crumpled up newspapers, so that, as I desperately pulled out balled-up-paper after balled-up-paper, I had no idea at all what I was going to find at the bottom of the box. All I remember is that, when I finally pulled out the zippered object and opened it, I cried with all my heart - because it was exactly what I had wanted. Sadly, though, I no longer have that (or any) typewriter; but it doesn't matter, because I will never, ever forget the day I got it - and how much it meant to me!
6. What is your most embarrassing memory?
Telling my future sister-in-law, on her Wedding Day (when she was going to marry my oldest brother), that she "scrubbed up all right" (an endearing Australian expression, isn't it?). Sadly, she later divorced my brother - although I have been assured that my tactlessness played no part!
7. If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
Teaching and Learning - Always.
8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.
Loving husband (hopefully one day), father (hopefully one day), son, brother, uncle, and, most of all, friend (to many); Greg will be remembered always for his compassion, helpfulness, and thoughtfulness. Although sadly missed, his books will always remind us of him.
Greg Babic (Gregory Victor Babic), the writer:
9. Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?
This would have been when I won the "University of Sydney Union Literary Competition - Prose Section" in my first year at university (1982). Although I had been writing by that time for nearly a decade, it was the first time that I had received external validation. I did not complete my second year of university until much later (1988), however - but I felt validated again when I won the "Henry Lawson Prize for Prose" (administered by the University of Sydney) that time around.
10. What is going on with your writing these days?
I'm not sure where to start Joyce... I have only just received an email (January 15, 2008) from Amazon.com advising me that my young adult novel, "The Profile", has been selected as a Semi-Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (I would be delighted if readers would download, read, and then review the excerpt here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0011G9XZ0) - and I am definitely extremely excited about that (especially as this will be my first published work of fiction, after three non-fiction books). Also, my third book, "Words to Inspire Writers" (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0980372208), has just been published (January 1, 2008) by F. C. Sach & Sons, Publishers (an extensive sampler can be downloaded from here: http://fcsachandsonspublishers.com/sampler/), so that is something else to be thankful for. Finally, I am compiling my short stories into a collection that will hopefully be published later in the year. All in all, I would say that 2008 is turning into the best year ever for my writing!
11. What are your future goals for your writing?
Specific goals would obviously include seeing my young adult novel, "The Profile", published soon, as well as my first Short Story collection - and then working on increasing my online presence as a Writer. Whatever direction I take, however, I just know that Writing is always going to be a part of my life.
12. Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
I do not have typical writing days, per se: I tend to write when the spirit moves me (so to speak). I might find myself chained to the keyboard for hours (and sometimes days) when I am consumed by a story, or an article, or a chapter, or whatever; but then I experience days, even weeks, when I cannot write at all. "Words to Inspire Writers" (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0980372208) grew out of an attempt to beat my own Writer's Block and I hope it will be just as helpful (and motivating) for other writers caught in a black hole.
13. Why do you write?
I write because my imagination forces me to: it seeks an outlet. Words, therefore, become an expression of my wide-ranging thoughts and often intense feelings.
14. What writer most inspires you? Why?
You know, Joyce, this is a really hard question to answer. I love to read. I read voraciously and across all genres (in both fiction and non-fiction). And my tastes definitely change over time and depending upon my circumstances. I grew up devouring science fiction (the old masters, like Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Simak, etc.), moved to fantasy (Tolkien, Lewis, Norton, and others), but then switched to horror (King, Koontz, Rice, Barker, Straub, to start with), where I dwelled for many years. I discovered non-fiction when completing my Bachelor of Arts degree, and later my Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Education, and will today try basically anything non-fiction that catches my eye (lately this has included Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and John Grogan, as a sampling from my shelves show). Today I have so many contemporary (fiction) writers that I admire (like Gene Brewer, Jeremy Robinson, Tess Gerritsen, Jonathan Kellerman, James Patterson, Stephen Hunter, Robert B Parker, Michael Crichton, Elmore Leonard, David Morrell, Douglas Preston, Dean R Koontz, Donald E Westlake, Lincoln Child, Tom Clancy, Dan Brown, Thomas Harris, Steve Alten, and John Sandford - to name only some of them[?]), and, in a totally different vein, classic authors too (like James A Michener, Louis L'Amour, and Ayn Rand, to name just an eclectic few), but the one person writing today I probably most admire, and relate to, is the young Australian thriller writer, Matthew Reilly (and, especially, his Shane Schofield character, the "Scarecrow"). Matthew writes like no one I have ever read before; his prose positively sparkling with energy and pace. I have never devoured pages as quickly as I have when reading his books (and I read them many, many times too!). Each story is so cinematic, it awaits only the transfer to film (that I feel certain will come one day). I also admire the chutzpah Matthew showed in self-publishing his first novel, and then hawking it through Sydney booksellers - where it was noticed and picked up for republishing by a traditional publisher. Well done, Matthew. And, believe it or not, he seems to really know the universal struggle writers face better than many other writers I have read, as he exhorts, in each of his books, "To anyone who knows a writer, never underestimate the power of your encouragement..." I will automatically buy any one of his novels as they come out, because I think he is such an enjoyable read! But again, Joyce, please remember what I said: I just love to read, and will generally give any writer recommended to me a chance (regardless of genre).
15. How do you define your writing?
Eclectic, in a word. My first three books have all been non-fiction, but my lifelong passion has been to create narratives (whether in novel, screenplay, or short story form), and I still hope to bring many of these unpublished works to market one day.
16. In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?
Greg Babic was someone who tried to make a difference through his writing - teaching and entertaining always.
Greg Babic (Gregory Victor Babic), the details:
17. Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?
My website can be found at http://gregbabic.com/ and it does include an occasional blog post, but blogging is totally new to me and the posts to date are few and far between (something I do hope to work on in the future).
18. Is there a place where readers can reach you?
The best way to contact me directly is via http://gregbabic.com/contact/ (where you will find my email address in graphic form - to foil the spam spiders crawling the Net!).
19. Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
My first book came about when I was teaching in greater metropolitan Sydney high schools. Convinced that students of all ages could achieve whatever they set their minds to, with the right guidance and encouragement, I wrote Study Success Know-How: A 1,001-Point Action Checklist Designed To Help You Take Control Of Your Learning And Maximise Your Achievement Potential - Immediately! (2nd Edition currently available from Five Senses Education, ISBN 1-876932-19-8). My second book, Film Study Terms: A glossary of key concepts related to the study of Film, followed (also from Five Senses Education, ISBN 1-876932-97-X), allowing any student of Film to better understand the language of Film Study. My third book, a brand new motivational compilation for Writers (1,100 Quotations from over 300 Authors!), titled Words to Inspire Writers: A perpetual Calendar of classic Writing-related Quotations - on Writers, Writing, Words, Books, Literature, and Publishing - specifically selected to illustrate the Writing Process and to motivate Authors every day (ISBN 978-0-980372-20-5), has just been published by F. C. Sach & Sons, Publishers (http://fcsachandsonspublishers.com/) and is now available for purchase from Amazon.com(http://www.amazon.com/dp/0980372208), other online booksellers, or through bookstores everywhere (via Ingram Book Group).
20. For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
My three published works - all non-fiction - provide readers with answers to specific problems (as in, for instance, how to study successfully, how to understand the language of Film Study, and how writers can motivate themselves every day and, hopefully, overcome Writer's Block as a result). My fiction - as it comes to market in the future - will showcase my diverse interests, my caring nature, and my passionate devotion to telling a good story (whatever the genre).
21. Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?
Now you've truly stumped me, Joyce. What do I want people to know about me and my writing? How about, "That my writing is genuine - it comes from my heart and soul - and it generally has something special and unique to say." The most important message I would like to share with any other writer in the world (of any age, in any culture, writing in any language), by way of encouragement and support, is that "Your Message Matters (whatever it might be) - to Someone, Somewhere." Everything you write has value (in one form or another)! To help spread that message, Joyce, I would be absolutely delighted to send a pdf copy of a wonderfully whimsical fable I wrote, called "The Novelist and the Nightingale", to any of your readers who emails me with "Joyce Anthony Special Offer" in the Subject line. It's a little tale I am quite proud of (which will be included in my upcoming short story collection) and your readers will be the first to read it anywhere in the World (I promise that it will not appear anywhere else before it ends up in the printed compilation)!
Just before I finish up Joyce, may I please take this opportunity to say how much I have truly enjoyed being interviewed for your website. The experience has been enlightening and helpful. It has allowed me to think carefully about myself - as a writer - and also about my readers (where-ever they might be). Thank you also for letting me spread the news about my books with your loyal readers. To me, there is nothing more generous that a writer can do to help another writer! Again, thank you.