Author Spotlight – Mark David Gerson

Mark David GersonHello and Welcome, Mark David

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1. When did you start writing?
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Perhaps the better question would be, “How long did I resist writing?” I often joke that my Muse tricked me into writing, given that for most of my early life, I resisted anything remotely creative. My first jobs out of university were in public relations, where I had to write, even if what I wrote at first was largely formulaic. However, that experience gave me the confidence to try my hand at freelance work and, before I knew it, I was a full-time (self-taught) freelance writer and editor, doing mostly magazine, newspaper, corporate and government work. However, it wasn’t until my early 30s, when the double-whammy of a creative and spiritual awakening knocked me over the head, that I began to explore more creative avenues. And it wasn’t until my late 30s that that exploration began to take form with The MoonQuest, my first attempt at a novel. I’ve just released my 13th book…so I guess I’m hooked! (The MoonQuest became the first book in a trilogy and went on to win multiple awards and a film deal.)
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2. What motivates you to write?
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There’s a scene in my novel The StarQuest (The MoonQuest’s sequel and Book II in my Q’ntana Trilogy) where the main character must pass through The Coil, a serpentine tunnel in which she will be forced to face her deepest fears. To her surprise, and to mine the instant I wrote the words, her greatest fear is the loss of her storytelling ability.
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“Your stories,” my character is told when she argues that other things must be more important, “are the blood and air that course through you, giving you life. Without them you are barely alive.” If it’s true for her, I realized as those words flowed onto the page of my manuscript, it must also be true for me. In effect, I write because I can’t not write.
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3. What genre do you write in and what made you choose this particular genre?
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I don’t write in a single genre. My 13 books include fantasy, literary fiction, books for writers, memoirs and books that could be classed as spiritual/metaphysical. I write whatever I feel called to write. I write the books that insist I write them, regardless of subject or genre.
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According to fantasy author Michael Scott, some stories wait their turn to be told while “others just tap you on the shoulder and insist you tell them.” All my books have tapped me on the shoulder. Some have been even more insistent!
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Then, there are the books I started without even realizing I was starting a book! The MoonQuest emerged through some writing I did in a workshop I was facilitating. The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write started its life as a series personal essays I wrote to help me through my writer’s block on The StarQuest. And Dialogues with the Divine, where I thought I was journaling, not book-writing.
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4. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
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My goal is to tell the stories that yearn to be told through me as honestly, truthfully and vulnerably as I can, and to the best of my writerly ability. And my goal through those stories is to inspire, encourage and, of course, entertain. By the way, when I use the word “story,” I’m including everything I write, nonfiction and fiction alike.
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Of course, I have dreams. Who doesn’t? I dream of finally seeing my screenplay adaptation of The MoonQuest on the big screen. (It’s been optioned, but it’s a painfully slow process.) And I dream of seeing my books reach the broadest audience possible.
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In the end, as I noted previously, all I can do is write what I feel called to write, do what it takes to get those books or screenplays out into the world and trust that they will go wherever they need to go.
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5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
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As I answered to an earlier question, my first book for writers, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, grew out of my own blocks and frustrations as I tried to write The StarQuest. I’m grateful that the tools and techniques I developed for that book — and later expanded into a book solely on writer’s block (Writer’s Block Unblocked: Seven Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow)— have kept me largely block-free.
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6. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
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This is for all writers, not just aspiring ones. Trust the story, even if you don’t yet know what it is. Trust your innate creativity. Take it word by word and allow your pen or the keyboard to spell out the story for you. Allow yourself to be the passenger on your creative journey, not the driver. And, of course, get a copies of my books for writers! Seriously, if you can begin to believe that your story always knows best, you’ll never go wrong.
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7. Please, tell us about your work. 
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My 13 books break down into five titles for writers, two memoirs, a book of metaphysical/spiritual inspiration and, now, five novels.
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The books for writers cover such topics as screenwriting, memoir-writing, writer’s block, how to write your book (even if you don’t know what it’s about!) and the all-encompassing and perennially bestselling The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write. I also have two recordings of instruction and inspiration for writers.
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If you want to know more about my journey as a writer, Acts of Surrender: A Writer’s Memoir will do the trick! Plus, Dialogues with the Divine: Encounters with My Wisest Self hones in for a closer look at one of the challenging periods covered in Acts of Surrender.
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I mentioned The Q’ntana Trilogy. What I didn’t mention is that my screenplay adaptations of not just one book but all three (The MoonQuest, The StarQuest, The SunQuest) are on their way to the big screen as a trio of epic fantasy films.
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My newest books are also my newest novels: the award-winning Sara’s Year and the just-released After Sara’s Year, a pair of 50-year sagas set in Nova Scotia and my native Montreal. Both books tie in nicely with two of the questions you asked me, about dreams and about writer’s block, because they’re stories about following your dreams and about writers and visual artists pushing through all that holds them back.
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Finally, I should point out that I’m not just a writer. I also coach writers and other artists, consult with them on their creative projects, give talks about writing and creativity and facilitate workshops and retreats. You’ll find more about everything I do on my website, www.markdavidgerson.com.
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I also regularly posts tips and inspiration for writers (and non-writers) online. Please look me up and follow me on these sites:
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Twitter – @markdavidgerson
Instagram – @markdavidgerson
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Thank you. It was such a pleasure to have you here as my guest.
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Mark David Gersons’ books:

(please, click the cover to get to the respective book page)

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