Gary D. Henry – Legacy of the Unsung

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

I would have to qualify that. My last published novel was Legacy of the Unsung. I have since written four more that have yet to be published but all are presently in the editing phase of production.

Legacy of the Unsung should be considered an historical fiction novel. It’s a story about a man named Joseph Patrick who was not very liked throughout his life. He stepped on many people to get to his lofty position as the CEO of his company. He had no direction growing up. His mother always told him that his ancestors were very great men but they never sought the accolades reserved for great men so history didn’t record their great deeds. He researched his ancestors and found nothing so naturally he thought his mother was stretching the truth to make it appear that he came from a long line of great men. His Uncle, Joseph MaClain, who was actually Joseph’s father’s best friend helped his mother raise him since his father died along side him on the battlefield.

Joe MaClain promised his father that he would take care of his mother and his young son just before he died. His mother named young Joe after his fathers friend whom from then on would be considered his Uncle. His Uncle Joe always took young Joe camping as a kid and young Joe always looked forward to his Uncle’s stories around the campfire of a mysterious red door that appeared out of nowhere to well-deserving individuals. As he grew up he drifted away from his mother and his Uncle Joe and continued his hatred toward anyone who stood in his way to make a name for himself. Little did he know that fate would present that red door and when he entered it whisked him away to the deck of the Mayflower with no way to get back.

He lived a lifetime in that era and met John Alden and Miles Standish and many more historical figures and also one of his relatives and found out that the Mayflower would never have landed at Plymouth Rock without the help of his ancestor. From Washington to Lincoln to Kennedy, he met and helped many Presidents through his adventures. He helped in the writing of the Declaration of Independence, despised slavery, and was involved in many important events that shaped the country. He traveled throughout the country prior to roads being mapped or cities built. Young Joe would spend many lifetimes going through the red door but at each stop he saw and befriended a relative who profoundly impacted our way of life. When one lifetime was completed the red door showed up again and he was sent to the next generation and again lived another lifetime and so on until the extraordinary ending. When his adventure was over he was a changed man and realized that it was much more important to do the deed and be unsung than to continue on his path of destruction.

Tell us something about yourself.

I am 55 years old and outside of a couple years I have always lived in Northern Virginia. I’ve only been writing for about a year and a half. Thus far the stories are coming at me at lightspeed and I try my best to get them written before I forget them. I have been told that I can formulate and write a book very fast. Six of my seven published books were completed in less than two months and two of them were completed in a month or less. I have a full-time job, which makes it a little more difficult to get the books done. If I didn’t have my job I probably would write all day everyday. I kind of think that I go to my full time job to get away from my computer. Once I’m focused on a story I want to get it done because invariably I’m already formulating my next story in my mind and I want to start writing it. I usually start my next book the day I get done with the previous one. My goal is to eventually make writing my primary profession.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wrote this book after a visit to Washington D.C. and visiting all the monuments. I wondered what it would be like to be them in their time. I thought about all the people behind the great men who went unsung but were just as important to the development on the country. They say behind every great man there is a great women. That may very well be true but I also contend that these great men did not act alone to get to their legendary status. Many a man sacrificed their lives to get us to where we are without history’s recognition of their considerable efforts.

How did you choose the title?

His heritage was important to his family but he couldn’t see it because they were not known. His ancestors were great men who didn’t seek riches through their deeds. That trait eluded him and through his ancestors, he gets it back.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

Outside of actually writing it and editing it there were very little obstacles. This is a self-published book. Every book goes through some sort of scrutiny prior to it being published. However the extent of that scrutiny lessens with every submission. This will eventually be sent to a commercial publisher and that may or not be another story.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

To be honest I didn’t know that I wanted to be writer until later in life. I always had stories swimming around inside my head and always thought that writing them would be very difficult to do. I decided one day in 2009 to write the first sentence. Then I wrote another and then another. I saw the story being formed before my eyes and before long, I had 25,000 words written and then 50,000. I reached the ending and I was amazed that I had just created a book. After eleven books, it’s now a breeze.

How did you get started?

I wrote a short story about Alzheimer’s Disease after my father died in January 2009. A friend liked it and gave it to Leeza Gibbons whose mother and grandmother also suffered from the disease. Leeza emailed me and told me how beautifully it was written and asked me if she could use it under a visual piece. I of course gave her my permission but I’m still not sure whether or not she actually used it but it get me to but it did get me to believe that I could write. I was also a technical writer for many years in the environmental field.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Yes, I start every new book with the first chapter being called ‘In the Beginning’. I go back and fill in the chapters after the story is written. That is not exactly a good practice from what I’ve been told but it has worked out nicely for me thus far. Many writers that I’ve talked to do things differently but to each their own. I also do an outline on my next book when I reach the ending of the book I’m writing. That way I will have a great starting point for the next one. It’s a little odd that during the creative process, I’m always thinking of my next book even though the one I’m writing is far from over.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

Mostly, I just come up with random names although, there are times when I like to add friends names in my books just so they can say that they were in a book. I like to see their expression when they see their names in print. At times though the names have to conform to the culture that the main character resides within.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Yes, I learned that editing, in all its forms, is just as important as the story. Even a weak story line can be made exciting with the right content editor. On the other side of the coin, if you have a great story but corners are cut in the editing process, then the greatness of the story is obscured by errors that readers always seem to remember however slight the errors are.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I’d slow down. Thus far I’ve written eleven books in about a year and a half. Given that I also have a full-time job, it leaves very little time to sit back and enjoy what you have accomplished. I wish I could do this.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I was afraid of this question. Personally I don’t read a lot. I know what you’re thinking—How can you be an author and not read books? Well to that I say, “I have to read all of my books two or three times and after they are published, I place them on a shelf somewhere never to be read, by me, again.” I have talked to authors about this way of thinking and some can relate but others just think I’m a little on the odd side. In all sincerity, I’m either writing, working, editing and reading my own books ad nausium which leaves very little time to explore others novels. Sad but true.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I am working on four books actually. All of them are written but they are all in the editing process. One of the four is the final book in The Books of James C. Patch trilogy. The others are mystery thrillers and I’m not allowed enough space to explain them all. One thing for sure is that there will be either one mystery or twenty of them in each book. Sorry for the vagueness but they haven’t been published yet.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Many people have asked me this question and I always say that if you have a story and you want to write it, then you must start it. It will not write itself. Whether it takes a month or ten years, it all starts with the first sentence. I started writing my books not worrying about anything except getting the story written. I was a procrastinator. I also thought that if I couldn’t think of at least a chapter, then starting the book would be useless. I was so wrong because regardless of how clear the story is in your mind it will always morph into something completely different and in most cases better. Writing that first sentence is the most important thing that you can do. You will be surprised as to how easy it is to write the next sentence and the next. As your story progresses allow your mind to explore other ways the story could go and then decide the proper path. Options are always great especially when you come up with an extraordinary twist to the story that gives it a little extra intrigue.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

I think that young adults would probably be my target audience (18-35). My books are for anyone who likes a good mystery with an extraordinary amount of twists and turns. Some of the books would be considered horror, historical fiction but at the same time, there is humor and drama as well in all of them.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

My books are available on just about all of the online retailers and at the links below.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Amazon.com
http://www.garydhenry.com

Comments

  1. Currie says

    Quick tip, Gary. All novels are fiction. You will not get taken seriously if you go around calling your book a “fiction novel”.

    This isn’t one of those “errors that readers always seem to remember” it’s one that egents and editors will remember.

  2. says

    Technically Currie, if you read the interview carefully, I called it a historical-fiction novel. I was merely telling the readers what kind of fiction it is. Historical-fiction is a genre that is widely used. Would you call a science-fiction novel a science novel? In 1965 Truman Capote called is book ‘In Cold Blood’ a non-fiction novel(Don’t want to open that can of worms).

    Quite frankly, if an Agent of Publisher completely discounted my ten published works because I used those two words as you said I wrote but didn’t, then I would quickly dismiss them as a viable representative of my work. I have turned down traditional publishers but not because of what you cited.

    I am a self-published author by choice at the moment. When or if an agent or publisher decides that I’m a ‘worthy’ candidate, I may just use your deal-killer phrase just to judge them on their ability to see past such stupidity.