EDWARD J. URBANOWSKI
- GUEST AUTHOR -
Today, I interview a passionate man from the USA; a man with a great sense of humour.
Welcome, Edward ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
My writing journey really started in the 1990s. I completed two screenplays but had no luck landing an agent. I worked on my screenplays while I worked full time and wrote freelance articles for a local newspaper. Life side-tracked me for a few years, as it does, I suppose, all of us. Through these times I never lost sight of my work. Things eventually settled down, to the degree any of us have lives we’d call settled. I resumed my work. My first book, “Man’s First Friend,” was inspired by my wife, Maureen. We have three dogs and I am a bit of freak with them. Then again, doesn’t everyone talk to their dogs and spoil them a bit? One morning she said “You’re too much with those dogs.” I channelled Ralph Kramden in my reply, “The Bible is wrong, God created the dog after Eve because she was mean to Adam.” That was the, pardon the pun, genesis for my first illustrated story.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I think I really became a writer in 2014 when I self-published “Man’s First Friend.” I did a considerable amount of writing as far back as the 1990s but this was my first tangible work.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
When I get an idea I like to take pages and pages of handwritten notes. I just keep adding thoughts until the idea can be sustained. If it’s not ready I save the idea for the future. If it’s substantial enough I refer to Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey.” I break the story down to see if it fits the formula, to the degree it can. I don’t keep a checklist, I look for an overall plot. If I feel comfortable I do an outline. If I’m confident in the outline I just write away. I write whatever section inspires me until I fill in all the blanks.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Besides the finished product, I like when someone who’s read my work comes to me not only with positive feedback, for my insecurity, but also with an observation. I love it when they catch a subtlety or a message that wasn’t obvious.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Rejection is discouraging. I’m up to the challenge of writing but marketing, or self-promotion, has been a bugger for me. I’ve had many agency rejections, the writer’s equivalent of battle scars. If I find a mass audience I know my work will appeal to a wide range of people but it’s getting there that’s difficult.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
Whenever I go on a masted ship, for example, at a seaport, or restoration, I get an odd feeling, not only déjà vu but something more I can’t explain. If I lived before I was on such a ship.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
I think it was my first novel, “Debating Christ.” I took a short passage from the gospel of Luke and expanded it. I wanted to show a living, breathing, laughing, exuberant Christ. I imagine if you’d been to hell and back you’d be in a pretty good mood and would have a newfound appreciation for the littlest things. I wanted to ae the story accessible and by all accounts I succeeded.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I’m doing a political fantasy inspired by current events. It’s a parable about hope and redemption that asks the question “What if?” Redemption is a theme in all of my works.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I love a wide range of music but I have a special place in my heart for film music. Often I lean on this music to help me bring emotional gravitas to my writing. I often find inspiration comes when I lease expect it. It may be a soft breeze, a summer sunrise or a couple walking down the street holding hands. I think inspiration is there, we just have to look for it.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
My works have been faith oriented but my current project is a fantasy. I have three other ideas that are fantasy as well. I love fantasy, the freedom it brings and the endless possibilities.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Keep writing, don’t be discouraged. When you think you’re finished, do another draft. Believe in yourself, there may be times you’re the only one who does.
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
On occasion I do. When that happens I take a day off and then force myself back. If I’m stuck on a project I’ll go to another one to clear my mind. That usually works.
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
Coffee first, squat on the couch with my dogs and have at it. This is good for a few hours, if I have the time. I go back after our daily walk, late afternoon, for another hour or two. Morning and early evening seem to be magic times for me. If I ever succeed and can write full time that’s when I’ll do my thing.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
In the summer, the rocking chair on my front porch. The house faces a nice little park and my dogs bark at everyone so I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people. The couch beckons in the cold weather.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
When inspiration hits, you know, the “A-Ha!” moment. When you’re in the middle of a story and you find some great little touch, or line, something you know the reader will appreciate.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
I love Mark Twain and have read “Huckleberry Finn” a number of times. He was a simple genius who was able to shine a bright light on our darkness. He taught at the same time he entertained.
16. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
I gave my niece and her children my second book, “Sparks, The Firefly Who Saved Christmas,” in 2016. She said they read it that Christmas Eve and liked it so much they made her read it again. She said they’ve made it a tradition ever since. Young children are unfiltered, that can’t be topped.
17. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
During the campaign I posted two of my political cartoons on Facebook. Someone said they were offensive. Then again, they weren’t complimentary.
18. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Absolutely, I’ve brought my joys, hurts and baggage to my work. Writing can be therapeutic.
19. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love movies, music, being outdoors, when it isn’t freezing. I already mentioned my dogs.
20. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
I didn’t, I just wrote the hell out of them until I felt they were as close to perfect as possible.
21. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Other than coffee, totally open.
22. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
My wife, God help her. That’s the price she pays. I figure if you marry someone you should be able to put up with one another under any circumstances.
23. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
You’re in temp jobs, do your work, do it well.
24. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I’m going to launch a blog with a cartoon strip that’s been rejected by the syndicates. A shameless plug is below:
If I’m not an overnight success I have to find a job. I’ll keep writing and tooning.
25. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
I think they do, they reflect the culture we live in.
26. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
I do, I pity them. I give my characters my good and bad qualities. A professor once told me “Write what you know.” This is one interpretation.
27. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Big time, but I realize there are so many writers out there and so much product, there’s only so much publishers can see.
28. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
On occasion, yes, it can be frustrating but quitting feels like a cheap way out.
29. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
“Debating Christ,” because after the research and formatting the characters really came to life.
30. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER?
Completion, the actual, tangible existence of my work.
31. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
There’s always hope and we’re never alone in our struggles, they should feel hopeful and optimistic.
32. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
All of my books would work well visually, with the right director and producer they could be outstanding. I’ve written several screenplays including a pilot that have potential.
33. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
A great deal, it has to capture the spirit and essence of the story. I start thinking about a cover design during the early stages of writing. I don’t work on the cover until the book is ready and full blown. At that time I know what look I’m after for the cover.
34. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
Selling enough copies of my books to write full time. I have quite a few ideas but I need the time to develop them. I’m open to selling my pilot as well.
35. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
I’m stuck on this. I’ve gotten good feedback, even a rave review but the next steps elude me.
36. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
37. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Too stubborn to give up.
38. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
Lousy writing. If it’s published it should shine, that goes for television and movies, too.
39. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
“Last Words,” by George Carlin. We could use him today.
40. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
Aaahhhhhhh! Just kidding.
I think, ‘To be continued elsewhere.’
41. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
Financial success, of course, and maybe a more stable world.
42. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
I think I’ve gone on long enough, might be time to poke the readers and let them know we’re done. I’m on Facebook and Twitter if anyone has questions or feedback and my blog is on the way, assuming they didn’t hate the shameless promotion.
Thank you, Clancy, for your time and for inviting me.
Thanks to your readers for their time and best of luck!
Clancy's comment: You are welcome, Edward. I am always happy to promote other authors, and I like your style. Good luck with book sales. Keep smiling.