Welcome to October!
We have a literary gem joining us today.
Michael Scott Garvin is an award-winning interior designer & author.
“A Faithful Son” was Garvin’s award-winning, debut. Publishers Weekly and Kirkus hailed Garvin as a new and exciting voice in literature. His second release, “Aunt Sookie & Me” was a best-selling romp-of-a ride.
Garvin’s most recent novel is Ophelia’s Room – a genre-bending, riveting story – equal parts suspenseful psychological thriller and indepth character study. San Francisco Book Review called it “…A bittersweet piece of art…”
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
The realization that I wanted to become a writer began in my twenties. In college I enrolled in writing courses and continued with various classes in my thirties. I started several manuscripts during those early years but something held me back. In hindsight I now understand that I wasn’t ready. I think I lacked a certain centeredness that required patience and resolve. I understood I was going to approach writing in a serious manner. From the start, I wanted to explore the art of writing. I didn’t have an interest in trends or readership or money. I wanted to fully explore writing prose – I love the lyrical nature of a sentence – the cadence of a paragraph. I like exploring what moves me as a reader.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Receiving emails, notes and messages from readers are one of the unexpected highlights of my writing career. Almost every day I’m able to speak with readers. The dialogue exchange with book-clubs is equally fantastic. I believe a writer should listen to their readers’ feedback. Sometimes we, as authors, believe that our work is irreproachable – it’s not. We can learn much from those who read. I begin every book-club discussion by stating that praise is nice – it makes writers feel good – but constructive criticism from a knowledgeable reader is invaluable.
What do you think makes a good story?
I believe what makes a truly good story is authenticity. Regardless of the genre – I can sense when I’m reading an honest story. The writer isn’t trying to manipulate. There’s an honest and authentic arc to the novel. It is unmistakably sincere. Whether it’s science-fiction, romance, horror or literary fiction, the characters are authentic and the relationships are moving toward something real.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing arrived in the nick of time for me. For decades, I’ve had a successful interior design career. My residential construction profession has permitted me to write without any care about sales and profitably. The fact that my novels have sold far beyond my expectation has made this phase of my life even more unreal. At this stage of my life, writing is pure enjoyment. Even the small frustration surrounding publishing are an absolute joy. I feel a lot of gratitude now-a-days.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Hemingway’s quote “Write drunk, Edit sober” is a great philosophy. Aspiring writers should shut out the static and WRITE. Don’t worry about sales, or if the manuscript is good enough. or if the novel will be reviewed favorably – JUST WRITE. When your thoughts start drifting to those questions that don’t matter, remember JUST WRITE.
I’m also a BIG BELIEVER in reading the classics – Capote, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Twain, Harper Lee. When reading those classic authors, it reminds an aspiring author of the fundamentals. Contemporary novels may showcase trendy plot twists and universe-building techniques but revisiting To Kill a Mockingbird reminds a writer how to tell an authentic story without smoke and mirrors.
What other authors are you friends with?
One of the most pleasant surprises I discovered when I started my journey into publishing was the unending support by other writers, podcasts and bloggers. What an incredibly supportive group of individuals. My debut novel, A Faithful Son was so warmly greeted by other authors. And later, when my sophomore novel Aunt Sookie & Me was released, those same writers championed my next success.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
One afternoon, my younger sister, Christi called me and asked, “Have you utilized a voice reader app in your writing process?” I believe it cost me $4.99 to download the app that reads my manuscript back to me – It was a game changer. I utilize Voice Dream and I’m able to select from dozens of varied voices. I listen to my manuscript while I’m in the car, sitting at my desk, gym or on a jog.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have a trunk of half-written manuscripts that haven’t seen the light of day, but I’ve released three novels to date – A Faithful Son and Aunt Sookie & Me – and I’m currently in the madness of the third book’s release. Ophelia’s Room – it was released several weeks ago.
My fourth manuscript is called, Voices from Forgotten Rooms. It’s my hope to release the novel in the Spring of 2022.
Thank you for your time, and good luck with the next novel!