Saturday

Kindle Author Interview: Gerald Weinberg

Gerald Weinberg, author of Earth's Endless Effort, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Earth's Endless Effort?

GERALD WEINBERG: It's an idea I've had ever since I first became acquainted with Kebler Pass aspens (which is actually one aspen) and learned it is likely to be the largest living creature on earth. The novel is based on the idea from cybernetics, that any sufficiently large living entity is likely to develop some kind of "intelligence."

So, Earth's Endless Effort is the story of such an intelligence and its struggle to survive the transgressions of humanity—with the help of a few of humanity's unsung heros.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

GERALD WEINBERG: I put them in situations, then as I write about their responses to those situations, I find out what they're like, and what differentiates them from other characters.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

GERALD WEINBERG: Anyone who appreciates the fact that the world doesn't have to be the way it is, so that slight changes might make big changes in the way the world is.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

GERALD WEINBERG: Wasn't much of a journey. I was always a writer, as far back as I can remember. I don't remember learning to read or to write. It's as if I always knew. English classes in school almost killed my desire to write, until I hooked up with Wilbur Gaffney in college required English Class. He apparently recognized my potential as a writer, and allowed me to choose my own assignments, after which I thrived. When I started working in industry, I began to write articles about things I had learned that nobody else seemed to know. Then I got together with Herb Leeds to write about computer programming, which was a rare topic in those days, more than 50 years ago. We gave each other courage to write our first book, after which I took off, writing about 50 nonfiction books, first about computers, then about the people who programmed computers, then about people who led the people who programmed computers, then about people in general. I always had a craving for writing fiction, but was discouraged for many years by an editor's 4-page review of my first novel. I didn't realize that a 4-page review must have meant that the editor really liked the book enough to spend that much time on it.

My nonfiction writing made me quite rich, enough anyway that I could afford to risk venturing into a fiction-writing career. For the past decade, I've not given up my nonfiction, but I've also been learning how to write fiction, and beginning to build up a second following.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

GERALD WEINBERG: I've described my process in detail in my book, Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method. Fundamentally, it's a method whereby I'm constantly moving my writing forward with just about everything I do every day.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

GERALD WEINBERG: Charles Dickens, Henry James, Dorothy Sayers, Thomas Hardy, Lee Childs, Tom Demarco.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

GERALD WEINBERG: The Collected Works of William Shakespeare.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

GERALD WEINBERG: I blog. I have a webpage. I do interviews whenever I can, like this one. I tweet to about 2,500 followers. I have fan clubs at least in Japan and China (mostly for my nonfiction, for now). Mostly, though, my fans promote my work.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

GERALD WEINBERG: Well, my wife has a Kindle, and she loves it, so I figure lots of other readers must love their Kindles. So, that's where the readers are. Also, being in the computer business, I've known for a long time that something like the Kindle would be coming along, so I was ready for it when it came. But I got a late start because I was hit with (I was told) inoperable thymic carcinoma just as the Kindle was coming out. I beat that, and hurriedly began moving my portfolio to Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

GERALD WEINBERG: Do it. Write well, and use feedback from Kindle readers to improve your writing. Don't spend all your time, though, revising your first works. Just keep writing new ones.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I write both non-fiction and fiction, in paper and for e-readers (such as Kindle). My fiction includes such novels as Mistress of Molecules; First Stringers: or eyes that do not see; Second Stringers: the sole advantage; The Hands of God; The Aremac Project; Aremac Power: Inventions at Risk; Earth's Endless Effort.

I am the author or co-author of many non-fiction articles and books, including a number on more effective thinking: The Psychology of Computer Programming; An Introduction to General Systems Thinking; Are Your Lights On?; What Did You Say?; and Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method.

My books on leadership include Becoming a Technical Leader, The Secrets of Consulting, More Secrets of Consulting, and the Quality Software Management four-volume series.

My books cover all phases of the software life-cycle, including Exploring Requirements; Rethinking Systems Analysis and Design; The Handbook of Walkthroughs, Inspections, and Technical Reviews; General Principles of System Design, Perfect Software and Other Illusions about Testing; How Software is Built; and Why Software Gets in Trouble.

I offer several blogs and workshops for writers and technical leaders including Problem Solving Leadership (PSL) and the Amplifying Your Effectiveness (AYE) Conference. They can be see on my personal website is at http://www.geraldmweinberg.com.

You may read more about me in the Festschrift, The Gift of Time, edited by Fiona Charles and written by many of my students and readers.

I also assist my wife, Dani, in training dogs for service activities and as pets. Her work is described in her book, Teaching People, Teaching Dogs, which can also be purchased on Amazon.

Visit his website.

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