A Florida native, Gerald grew up in the small town of Humboldt, Tennessee. He attended high school and was a graduate of HHS class of 64. Following graduation from the University of Tennessee, he spent time in Hopkinsville, KY, Memphis, TN and Newport, AR before moving back to Florida – where he now lives. During the early 70’s the author actually worked from an office in the Memphis Peabody Hotel. So, many of the events about the hotel in Carson Reno’s stories are real as well as many of the characters you meet.
His fiction books are what he calls ‘Fiction for Fun’. They use real geography and include pictures and characters some readers might recognize. The ‘Carson Reno Mystery Series’ features adventure mysteries set in the early 1960 time period. The primary geography is Memphis and West Tennessee, but Carson’s stories take the reader across the United States and occasionally to foreign countries. Each story is considered light reading and is rated PG for everyone’s enjoyment. You are invited to pick your character and put yourself in the ‘play’. You might find it fun! The reader will experience character continuation through all the stories and enjoy the growth of the core characters with each new adventure.
Current published ‘Carson Reno Mysteries’ include ‘Murder in Humboldt’, ‘The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land’, ‘Killer Among Us’, ‘Horse Tales’, ‘the Crossing’, ‘SUnset 4’, ‘the Everglades’, ‘The Illegals’, ‘Dead Men Don’t Remember’, ‘Fingerprint Murders’, ‘Reelfoot’, ‘Justifiable Homicide’ and ‘Dead End’.
Gerald’s non-fiction book ‘Don’t Wake Me Until It’s Time To Go’ includes stories and events spanning time from pre-high school to his now retirement in Florida. As an avid hunter and fisherman, many of the events involve activities and stories from his personal outdoor adventures. As a business executive, and extensive traveler, he gives us some playful observations accumulated from the millions of miles he traveled across the US. As someone who loves animals and adventure, he offers thoughts and observations that are probably outside most reader’s imagination. Not a ‘tell all’ narratives, real names and real people are included. If you know the author, you might find yourself – or one of your adventures – included. If not, I’m certain you will find a real familiarity with the stories and the times chronicled in the book. A must read if you enjoy hunting, enjoy humor and can laugh at yourself – while others are also laughing at you.
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?
My routine is the same, but I’m sure different from most. I prefer construction of my cover FIRST – or at least early in the writing process. It helps me with focus. I believe the cover must tell the story inside.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Sure all writers do. Generally, I will switch projects, which is easy because I usually have more than one going at a time.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
“Don’t write to get rich, write to enrich others’
What are your current/future projects?
Book 14 in my Carson Reno Mystery Series (titled ‘Murder and More’) and the second book in my Jack Sloan Mystery Series (titled ‘Ghost’)
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
Been reading and watching mystery all my life. It is the genre I am most comfortable with.
What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?
Future for ALL authors is not bright. EBooks have captured the market, it seems nobody buys a real book anymore. And the pirating of these works gets worse every day. Writing is a hobby – not a career.
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
I have done both. Frankly, I prefer the freedoms of self-publishing.
What opportunities have being an author presented you with and share those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)
Friends…lots and lots of friends. Social media facilitates that, and we are fortunate to have so many different avenues to travel.
What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?
Nothing beats reviews and word of mouth. Everything else is used to provide those. Paid advertising has not worked well for me.
If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?
I have a long-term relationship with Lulu and have been very pleased with their offerings. I do present my books on Amazon, Smashwords and others, but publish with Lulu.
What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?
Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?
Interesting question. My readers have pleaded with me for longer books, and I honestly try. However, it seems that 200 -215 pages is my limit. For some reason, at that point, the story is told the mystery solved and it’s time for the characters to move on.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
I do it all
Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?
Another interesting question. For me press releases are useless – I’m waiting on someone to change my mind.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
One of the most important things your book can have is a review. It doesn’t have to be a 5 star review and it can even be in the 3 star class, but reviews are the most important things for writers that want to sell their books.
What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?
I don’t pay for reviews, but review swaps are acceptable. I enjoy reading and what a great way to get to read some great books.
If you have multiple books published what do you feel is your greatest work, why?
I have published 15 novels and numerous articles for magazines. Like all authors I have my favorite – mine is my novel ‘the Illegals’.
What is the intended audience for you book?
PG13. Young adult to old adult. My books do not contain graphic violence, sex or unnecessary profanity. Basically, they can be read by anyone with the ability to read.
Give us a fun fact about your book(s)?
Carson Reno’s theme –
“Life is Cheap – Make Sure You Buy Enough’
Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?
Absolutely. I prefer Facebook, but am warming up to several others.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
For me, extremely important. I chose the names based upon the way they sound and fit into my story. No, I do not have any name choosing resources. Do you know of some?
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I read but do not respond.
Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?
My books are what I call ‘Fiction for Fun’. I use real places, in a real time for my readers (the 1960’s), using familiar characters to tell a story that didn’t happen…but could.
What are your thoughts about eBooks vs. print books?
eBooks are putting writers out of business. I prefer to hold a book and turn the pages, but unfortunately many want the mobility of eBooks. I publish all my books in both formats, but prefer print.
Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?
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