There is nothing like hanging out over a cuppa with Kerry Michael Wood in the M3 Coffee Shoppe. Time came for Red to staple the funny man to the floor about his adventures in the virtual writing world and his book, Past Imperfect, Present Progressive.
M3: Okay, give me the line your press agent writes on your jacket cover so the M3 Readers know who I am interviewing.
KMW: Kerry Michael Wood is a Yale undergraduate (1959) with a Master’s in English from San Jose State. He taught English and other subjects for 38 years in California high schools public and private and three years in Istanbul. He co-authored numerous literature textbooks and self-published a memoir in his retirement. He now freelances.
M3: Do you have someone to thank for your success?
KMW: I honestly don’t recall whether someone suggested Helium or whether I just stumbled on the site. As for someone to thank for my interest in writing, that would have to be my late mother.
M3: Helium? Filling balloons as a hobby or day job?
KMW: Helium is my day job, unless you want to count breathing, which assures my pension and social security.
M3: So, pretty safe to assume that is not where you got your start in the publishing industry.
KMW: Being a retired English teacher, I suppose one could say that it started in college when I chose to major in English. I became a literature textbook co-author in the early 1970s, working on eight books over twenty years. I started Helium in 2007, but I published my first poem at age nine.
M3: Maybe, I should have interviewed you for Little Hemingway. So, in a more mature way, let’s twist the question into the advice you would give a noob.
KMW: Writing for the [computer] screen is a different ball of wax. Many more paragraphs are required to avoid the “word wall.” They weren’t necessary on the printed page.
M3: With a day job burning the candle at one end, how do you find time to write?
KMW: It’s no problem when you are retired. I wonder how I found time to do all those textbooks while teaching a full load.
M3: Got anything brewing on the back burner?
KMW: I have no great plans. I wish I could say I have a novel festering, but I don’t.
M3: After the SOTU address last night, I have to know…has the economy changed how you operate?
KMW: Not at all.
M3: Do you take a break from writing in a hiatus sort of way?
KMW: I’m currently in a state of relative inactivity caused by the current lowered returns on Helium.
M3: Methinks economics does play. Let’s take industry. Do you think traditional publishers consider self-produced books inferior?
KMW: Let’s just say that at my age I have given up trying to woo agents and publishers. I feel superior to many who write in newspapers or are currently published, but I keep quiet about it.
M3: Cannot argue with that. Have a specific bone to pick with the old school publishers?
KMW: I guess because I write so much lit crit, I have never been offered a single piece of stock content. Also, I know I could earn more if I had a clearer understanding of self promotion and how to use Twitter, Facebook and the rest. I haven’t the patience to read all the instructions.
M3: I think the bloggers here can help with that! Tell the M3 Readers how you feel about your colleagues.
KMW: I could go on and on about a small handful of Heliumites whose work delights me even if it is wasted on the masses.
M3: It is all a matter of taste. Tell me something you do not want the M3 Readers to know.
KMW: Don’t breathe a word about our passionate affair.
M3: I will just make sure Bear is reading another post when this one hits the wire. (LOL) Tell me why this book is special to you.
KMW: It’s all I have, really. As an athlete I have been middling poor all my life, even before the stroke I suffered in 2001. My only talent and joy is wrapped up in words and language. When I can create and combine using the latter, it gives me great satisfaction even if others don’t appreciate what I feel I have accomplished. I like to make others laugh; but if they miss my humor, I’m not disappointed. It’s still funny to me.
M3: I do not think your humor will be lost on this audience. How is Past Imperfect, Present Progressive different from everything else out there?
KMW: It isn’t. It’s nearly as funny as Dave Barry, almost as insightful as Harold Bloom, nearly on a par with George Carlin, not quite as thorough-going as Doris Kearns Goodwin.
M3: Oh, you are right: Completely run-of-the-mill. Tell the M3 Readers in 15 words or less why they should buy your book.
KMW: Read my reviews, some of which are embarrassingly praiseworthy. That was 9 words.
Dearest M3 Readers,
Thank you, as always, for your terrific support of the talented M3 Coffee Shoppe authors. When you tweet and +1 this post, please use the hashtags #authors, #books and #WW. Let’s give Mr. Wood a crash course in social media.
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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