What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.
“Gabby…All About Me” is my first published novel. This humorous and heartwarming story features an unpublished writer living at the beach who adopts an unwanted puppy. Much to Scooter’s surprise, he finds Gabby to be a very talented pooch. She talks, and only Scooter can hear her. At least that’s what she’s told him. Together, they make an unbeatable team.
Gabby shares the sad events of how she ended up in the local SPCA, and Scooter opens up and details how his past three novels acquired a large stack of rejection letters. When she wants to know what he is currently writing, at first he fears sharing with her. However, using little schemes pets are famous for, she slides into control, claiming to be his muse. He finally caves and tells her about his first Young Adult novel and the problems he faces with the plot.
During the course of the summer, Gabby performs two heroic deeds, one of which leads a vacationing New York publisher to hear a verbal synopsis of Scooter’s novel. He is impressed and requests the full manuscript. Of course, Gabby claims all accolades.
They make a trip to New York, much to the dismay of Gabby, until Scooter tells her there is a big plan to be revealed, which includes her. Gabby loves attention.
This novel touches the hearts and funny bones of pet lovers of all ages.
Tell us something about yourself.
I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in a coastal community known as Sandbridge Beach. I am semi-retired from owning a family business. In 1999, I began seriously writing my first novel, a Mystery and Crime. I followed that with a sequel. After one more mystery novel, I switched genres to Young Adult, and penned two, the first, and a sequel set in West Virginia in 1957. These centered on two teens living in a coal-mining town that decide to caddy at the local golf course for a summer job. One of them discovers he is a natural. Again, another series of heartwarming events accent the story.
I have written many short stories, most of which have been printed in our monthly newsletter in Sandbridge. Currently I am finishing up another story about pets. This one came to me in August of 2009 when we had to put our Gabby to sleep. She was two months shy of fifteen.
My hobbies are surfing, golf, fishing, playing the drums, and spending time with my wife on the beach. Of course, writing is my drug of choice.
What inspired you to write this book?
My novel about Gabby grew from a short story and a dare. My best friend claims that I talk a lot (he’s correct) and dared me to write something under a thousand words and enter it in a contest on the writing site I belonged to. Well, I took him up on it. The reviews were great and I took third place. So, in between novels, I wrote another chapter, and then another, etc. After two years, it was a novel.
How did you choose the title?
The title was simple. My wife and I always said about Gabby, “Everything she wants to do is important. So, we guessed in Gabby’s mind, her opinion was…It’s All About Me.”
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I don’t consider ‘rejection letters’ obstacles. I look at them as prods, or the fuel to keep reading, writing, and learning. My mystery/crime novels received more requests for full manuscripts, but ultimately delivered rejections. So, I pushed onward. The truth is, writing is not only about being published, it’s about the art of telling a good story with real-life characters. Yes, we want others to read our work, and when that happens…it is reward enough.
When I switched genres to Young Adult, I found New York agents had no interest in down-to-earth, heartwarming novels. They prefer today’s angst-filled, vampire-driven, messed-up life types of novels. Early on, I decided not to travel those paths. Remember, a writer spends months living with his characters, and viewing all of their thoughts and actions. I choose to only apply normal emotions in my writing. I want my readers to laugh, cry, and relate.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
After the sale of my business, I began reading novels set in Florida by James W. Hall. I enjoyed his style and stories. When I finished his third one, I said, “Shoot, I can do this.” So, I found myself neck deep in my first novel. I was hooked. I also learned, the great authors are so talented, they make their works appear easy. Writing a story is not easy, but it’s still fun and a great challenge. I call it ‘brain candy’.
Do you have any writing rituals?
My preference is to write in the mornings as I overlook the ocean. I set no daily word counts. For me, it’s best to write while the characters are active and the plot is unfolding. I do make a few notes, but mostly I get into the character’s heads and walk with them. However, my thoughts are always on where my story is and where it’s going. And, I love it when I dream about the story. Good stuff comes from those.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
My major lesson learned with the publication of this novel is simply to write, edit, read, write, edit…until you feel it’s the best you can do. (It never is) Then proudly promote and market it. The reward is when you receive emails or calls from satisfied readers from around the country. And, no, it hasn’t made me a rich man, at least not with money. It does increase your value in self-esteem and confidence.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
James Hall once told me, “Read daily as a break from your writing.” I now read at least a novel a week. My favorite genres range from mystery to memoirs. Now and then, I’ll check out a classic for a good brain exercise.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
At present, I am coming to the finishing touches on another pet novel. This one came to me after we had to put Gabby to sleep. My thoughts continued to focus on where our pets went when they departed this earthly life. I have thoroughly enjoyed putting this together. I feel there are many pet lovers who will relate, and I hope this novel will give them a positive view. I plan to have it out in May. The title is: Pets In Paradise.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
My suggestions to new authors are: Write about what you know and enjoy. Read novels of that genre. Create characters with real-life personalities. Know your ending before you start and work toward that end. Do not get discouraged. Do not quit. Do not get family or good friends to read your work. (They prefer not to tell the truth) Take all suggestions and comments from other writers, I didn’t say, use all of them, but take them and learn. Oh, and develop a tough skin because it’s a tough world. And above all else, keep smilin’…
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
Pet lovers of all ages will certainly enjoy “Gabby…All About Me”. This story is upbeat, funny, and will touch the heart and all emotions. I am proud of my work.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
My novel is available locally at several locations in Virginia Beach and Sandbridge Beach. It may also be ordered from my website: LeeCarey-author.com
You are invited to ‘friend’ me on Facebook under Lee Carey or Sandbridge Author