Thanks for coming back for Part 2 of the interview with Chuck Sambuchino. Here’s Part 1 if you missed it.
Remember where we were last time? We were in an English garden (yes – Chuck, you and me) and there are hundreds of garden gnomes all around us. On our right is a quaint cottage with a thatch roof. On the table are plates of cakes, cookies and a big pot of tea. Oh, only the best for us.
These garden gnomes, they’re not big and seem harmless enough. But there are so many of them. From where we are sitting, we can’t see where the gathering actually ends.
From a bird’s eye view, you’d mistake us for a big flower with a bee in the middle with odd coloured spots next to it – yeah, that’s us – the odd colours. The bright purple spot is you – not a great camouflaging colour. Don’t look so worried, we may not have to run and hide.The green one is me. See, I can hide in the trees and bushes. Green, good choice I thought. At least you did remember your running shoes just in case. Chuck is wearing white – I’m not sure what that means – do you?
We’re a little apprehensive but Chuck seems very relaxed. He’s sipping tea from a dainty teacup. I drink mine. Mmh, hot. Only the best for us. You sip yours. And we wait.
~ Interview Begins ~
Was there a point when you thought of giving up because things got hard but you did not. What was it and what or who helped you to carry on?
When I first came up with the book concept, I ran the idea by several of my friends and nobody thought it was funny.
Two things kept me going:
1) my agent believed in the idea and asked “How fast can you send it to me?” and
2) I thought of all those poor souls who have been attacked and killed by garden gnomes. Somebody has to educate the public on proper and effective defense techniques!
What qualities does your wife have that helps you be a better writer? What advice would you give to partners and spouses of writers?
WOW—excellent question. My wife is great. She puts up with my writer weirdness. I mean sometimes we’ll be in the car and I’ll just start saying ideas out loud or reciting dialogue that makes no sense. And she’s grown to accept that and basically ignore me. She also helps with planning stuff, such as the book release party.
How did you get your first writing agent?
I was writing a series of articles for Pennsylvania Magazine (good magazine, btw) on historic theaters around the state. Later, I was at a conference and overheard an agent named Sorche Fairbank mention that some writer somewhere should write a book about old movie houses still in operation. That kind of started our dialogue, and we started talking about that idea and other book ideas. HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK is our first successful book project together, but hopefully the first of many.
What tips would you give a new writer starting out? Dos and Don’ts.
Do make writer friends. Do take small assignments if they will lead to bigger & better things. Do realize this is a marathon, not a race. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t fight the revision process. I could talk on this stuff all day but that’s what the Guide to Literary Agents blog is for (www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog).
How many rejections did you get and how did you handle it?
When I sent my plays out, almost everything I sent out to non-regional organizations (meaning cold submissions out of the Cincinnati area) was rejected. Rejection sucks, but I feel the best medicine is to keep writing and prove them wrong.
What’s the most important thing that has made writing possible for you? Externally and internally?
Internally: an insatiable need to write. Externally: I would suppose my job, and the connections it brings.
~ Thanks Chuck ~
How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack by Chuck Sambuchino is the one and only comprehensive survival guide that will help you prevent, prepare for, and ward off an imminent home invasion by the common garden gnome
Chuck Sambuchino is the author of How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (And They Will), a humor book released in Sept. 2010.
He is also the editor of Guide To Literary Agents (2011 Guide To Literary Agents edition in stores now) and runs a large and popular blog on publishing: Guide to Literary Agents. You can find Chuck on Twitter @chucksambuchino and on Facebook. Besides that, he is a magazine freelancer, playwright, husband, owner of a flabby-yet-lovable dog, cover band guitarist, and all around chocolate chip cookie fiend.
~ Here’s Part 1 if you haven’t read it yet.
We both look at Chuck. He smiles. Don’t worry he says. Okay. Good. That sounds like a good idea. From under the table he takes out 2 books and hands one to you and one to me. How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack. Have a read, he says, you’ll be tested. He grabs the plate of cookies and disappears behind the garden gnomes. We look at each other. Test? I shout: Hey Chuck, you’re coming back, right? No answer. We look at the gnomes. They haven’t moved. They seem to be waiting for something. We shout Chuck’s name. Chuck’s muffled voice is heard: Read!
“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.”
Maureen Dowd – Newspaper Columnist
CURRENT STATUS: Reminder, Motivator and Review Meeting (Read on if you want to join me in my Corporation of One meeting)
What l have learnt:
- Why you should never date writers. Offended by Rank Objectification of Writers.
- Typical Lengths of Fictional Works (via Jodie Renner Editing).
- Time for Another Live-Blog! What an agent thinks when reading your query.
- All about Execution (via Kidlit.com). ‘…the ideas aren’t the hard part. It’s the execution.’
- Killer Openings (via Pub Rants).
What I have done:
- Still catching up on reading blogs.
WORD COUNT: Night Walker 159,000 words.