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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Author Interview ~ Geoffrey Wood

Geoffrey Wood has been working in both coffee and theater for nearly twentyyears ---acting and directing, roasting and sipping. He holds a BFA inTheater from the University of Memphis, an MA in Theater from the Universityof New Mexico, and has worked in theater professionally, educationally andliturgically for the last fifteen years. Leaper is his first novel, but heloves it just the same. Geoffrey lives in the Cooper/Young neighborhood ofMemphis which he calls home.

What book or project is coming out or has come out that you’d like to tell us about?

My first novel releases June 19th, 2007, with WaterBrook Press a subsidiary of Random House. Leaper: The Misadventures of a Not-Necessarily-Super Hero follows three days in the life of a coffee shop barista who one day develops a superpower --if he focuses intently on a glare, say, from his watch, and thinks of a place who truly desires to be, he transports across space without the use of time. He leaps. Good news? Well, super-things don't work out as super-smoothly as one might believe.

Tell us about your journey to publication. How long had you been writing before you got the call you had a contract, how you heard and what went through your head.

I've worked in theater all my life: writing, acting, adapting, directing. But a few years ago I decided to try my hand at novels. I took six months off from the world and wrote two books, one of which I sold at a conference to WaterBrook. (I went to that conference for just such a purpose and had researched who would be there and their book lines.) The initial meeting was positive and my editor contacted me about a month later with the offer. Neurotic thoughts typically go through my head so mine has been a journey of doing the next step but remaining wary of all that could go amiss.

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

No, frequently.
No, daily, final answer.

What mistakes have you made while seeking publication?

I have been blessed. WaterBrook has been wonderful, my editor's a dream. I often wonder what more I should do for them --I guess I write the books. But they've taken care of me very well.

What’s the best advice you’ve heard on writing/publication?

Work on a project as daily as possible, spend the hours each day and trust that those hours are progress even if there aren't many pages in hand at the close of a day. If you do that, for two, three, four days, the next will be breakthrough, almost always.

What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve heard?

Write for yourself. (I enjoy writing, I can be indulgent in my vision, but ultimately I'm hoping to engage others, that's the fun part, so audience cannot be obliterated from consideration.)

Is there a particularly difficult set back that you’ve gone through in your writing career you are willing to share?

I'm hoping just to have a writing career so I'll let you know if and when I pull that off.

What are a few of your favorite books? (Not written by you.)

As I Lay Dying by Faulkner. Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor. The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy.

What piece of writing have you done that you’re particularly proud of and why?

I wrote a short piece --more memory than short story-- about my grandmother. I like that one.

Take us through your process of writing a novel briefly—from conception to revision.

John Irving once said something to the effect that he will never begin to write until he's fully imagined. I like that guy. I usually take months scribbling on napkins, notepads, walls, arms and letting things stew. When I've got enough napkins I'll start to outline the book. Then I keep taking notes, blah, blah --till one day they start talking to me. At that point I write down what they tell me.
Then I over-write. I write everything they tell me and then I write what I see them do, then I make them tell me more. Once I have enough material then I go back and read it, try to shape it, make it better. That's all for draft one. Then my editor and I wrangle happily from there.

Do you have a dream for the future of your writing, something you would love to accomplish?

I would like to write three novels in the style I'm working now, hopefully improving that style with each effort. The I'd like to try something different, maybe something more southern. (I'm from Memphis.)

Was there ever a time in your writing career you thought of quitting?
I quit thinking about quitting back when a dear friend told me, "Look, you're not ever going to not do this 'creating things' in some capacity. So stop worrying about it and do whatever you have to do."

What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a writer?

Re-writes are hardest for me because I primarily hear my characters. When I hear them one way, it's hard for me to hear it differently, regardless of how needful the re-write may be. I think my favorite part is the imagining.

How much marketing/publicity do you do? Any advice in this area?

I have done what I can locally, and have not done as much as I probably should otherwise. However, I have no idea nor advice what else I could do myself. The folks at Random House have done much and I'm trusting things to them.

Have you received a particularly memorable reader response?

I just read the in-book-cover endorsements the other day. Somebody used the word "romp" I'm a big fan of that word. Somebody else called the dialogue "delicious." I liked that guy.


  1. Funny to me that you prefer the creation to the rewrites. I LOVE the rewrites, not so much the original creation which is so hard.

    I'm curious if you're getting anyone thinking your novel is about a guy whose nose falls off while he escapes his colony? Hopefully not. :)

    Thanks for being with us.

  2. As a barista myself, let me just say I am intrigued by the concept of this book.

    Also, am I permitted to ask which conference you attended?

  3. Loved this interview! Maybe because I come from a theatrical background, too. Actors have a way of creating some really good characters. I'm ecperimenting with a couple of new ones.

    But I'm more like Gina. I love the editing process better than the original creation process.

  4. I fell in love with James. Leaper's "victim".

    It's okay, my husband did, too.

    What a great read. I laughed out loud. I thought about crying. And I thought. Exactly what I look for in a read and I usually settle for one of those qualities. The fact that they were all rolled into one delicious blend - well -

    You might want to read the book, kids.

    You can pop over to novel reviews if you want to read my review.

    Well done.

  5. This novel has left me laughing out loud in public places! What a light hearted story of one's struggle through faith and trust in God's plan, especially when it doesn't make sense! It produced a unique way of describing faith. Definitely not a typical super-hero story, which makes it that much more intriguing. What I enjoyed most was being a part of James' thinking. He was so real and so honest!

    I was disappointed to learn that this is Mr. Wood's one and only novel. Looking forward to more!

  6. i personally LOVED the book Leaper!! and im not just sayin that cause the author of the book Geoffrey Wood is my Uncle!! haha yea im his niece! its kinda weird me writing a comment for my uncle, dont think ive ever done it before. i love my uncle TO DEATH he proberly doesnt know this but my uncle is my hero!!! hes very inspirational to me and ive always looked up to him!! i catch myself bragging about him all the time!! (of course not on pupose)! uncle geof if ur reading this u BETTER come home for christmas this year since u didnt come home for thanksgiving! (people if ur reading this dont be afraid to help me out here!! just say pretty pretty please with sugar on top and a cherry uncle geof!! and that'll hopefully soften him up! thnx!) its rather sad that ur niece hardley ever gets to see her uncle G!! haha jk no pressue!! still we still want ya to come tho!! :)well gtg. cant wait to read ur next book "The God Cookie"!! yay! all u people out there need to go out and buy it! it looks good! it comes out february 17 2009. enjoy! bye!

  7. Loved it ... have to second the comment about grinning and laughing out loud in public (OK, I admit, that is kinda the norm ... sighs). Keep it up ... you ever in town, I want you to sign Leaper for me ... am on the way to get God Cookie. Thanks, Daniel

  8. I came across your 'the god cookie' book before Leaper... I plan on reading it next!

    I HAD to find somewhere you'll get this comment... I wish you had your own page, ya know, lol... so all us fans could write you sometimes.

    Just wanted you to know... not only did I love the book, but I just had TWO pieces of that delicious bundt cake recipe in the back of the book! :)

    Tracy Cartwright

  9. Being a good author is one of my desires. Not to get a lot of fans. But talk about another with my onw words.

    I like your novel, it give me more inspiration in writing. By reading this interview makes my soul full of spirit in writing!

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  10. The God Cookie is an incredible piece of work! the characters are some of the most relatable I've ever read. I found myself pausing while reading just to think about how much i appreciate such a realistic and funny way to describe how the Lord can use anything any anyone to show His unconditional love for us!

  11. i've just read Leaper in one sitting.Was given the book by my Bible study buddy who says she knows that
    God directed her to this book.Im sure that God directed her to this book to give to me.What a book! what an awesome God we serve!


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