The Power Club: An Interview with Author Greg Gildersleeve


About the Book

Title: The Power Club

Author: Greg Gildersleeve

Genre: MG Fantasy / Adventure

“Some create darkness . . . or teleport . . . or fly.

Damon creates darkness. Since he possesses a power, he must live in “the district” along with other powered teens. It’s a comfy living: a strip mall, two schools, and his non-powered family lives with him. However, powered teens must abide by certain rules. When Damon tries to retrieve his stolen bike, he learns the police will arrest any kid who uses a power in public unless the kid belongs to a special club.

When one such club forms in his neighborhood, he tries out . . . and is rejected. Darkness just can’t compete with teleportation, super-speed and growing to giant-size. So Damon works hard to develop his power and learns he can do things he never dreamed of, such as create multiple layers of darkness.

When he singlehandedly drives off three powered bullies, he discovers the limitations of his power. He also earns membership in the Power Club. But joining the club is just the beginning. After the club spontaneously stops a riot of “ords” (ordinary people who fear powered teens) at the strip mall, Damon expects to be hailed as a hero. Instead, he and the others receive strict warnings from the government not to put themselves and others in danger. But a kid in Damon’s class, Calvin, has it in for Damon. Calvin can open rifts, which send people into other dimensions–sometimes permanently. When Calvin sends Damon to a sweltering world with orange sand and two suns, it is up to the Power Club to bring him back.

About the Author

Greg Gildersleeve grew up in the northwestern corner of Missouri, where comic books and science fiction caught his eye at a young age. In addition to writing, Greg teaches English Composition, Technical Writing, and American Literature at an online university, and won the 2013 Publication Award at Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Missouri Western State University and a master’s in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His work has appeared in Show & Tell, Teenagers from the Future, The Teaching Professor, Faculty Focus, and the Grantham Blog. He lives in the KC area, where he hangs around too many coffee shops, listens to classic and modern rock, and daydreams a lot.

 

 

An Interview with Greg Gildersleeve

Thanks, Greg, for joining us on Pop’s blog.

Below you’ll find nine questions Pop posed to our feature author and Greg Gildersleeve’s responses.

1.    Writers are told to write daily and find their voice. Do you feel you have more than one voice in your writing?
I often feel there is more than one voice in my head. 🙂 So, I guess those voices come through in my writing.
The best advice I was given on voice is don’t worry about your voice. Write in a way that comes naturally, but also do your due diligence–study the craft of writing, learn grammar and mechanics, and pay attention to the way real people tallk–and your voice will take care of itself.
2.    When did your passion for writing begin?
Somewhere in my teens, I decided I wanted to be a writer because writing looked easier than drawing comics. Ha! However, I studied writing in college and grad school, and, through those courses, I developed an appreciation for the craft of writing, the power of words, and the versatility of writing as a profession. My passion for writing was a long and continuously evolving process. Still is.
 
 3.    The Power Club, a story about teens with super powers, is a common theme in YA fiction. How does your book shine above all the rest?
The overriding premise of THE POWER CLUB is that kids don’t get to choose what powers they get, and some powers are more impressive than others. But it really doesn’t matter what power you have. It’s what you do with it that counts. 
 
 4.    How did you come up with the idea for The Power Club?
When I was a kid, I used to play super-heroes with the neighborhood kids.  While most people outgrow such fantasies, mine never left me. I kept wondering what if . . .? Over the years, I wrote many stories and created several other characters, including the comic book GOLD DUST, which I self-published in 2005. But the idea was always in the back of my mind: What if my childhood friends and I had formed a real team of super-heroes? Finally, I just decided to run with this idea.
 
 5.    Are you a daily disciplined writer? Do you find it difficult to stick to your schedule? Do you have certain tricks you use so that you don’t stray from your writing?
In addition to writing, I am also a full-time college professor, so that cuts into my writing schedule a bit. When I’m working on a project, I try to keep a steady schedule–say, write one scene a night four nights a week. However, it varies from project to project. After I finish a project, I usually take some time off before beginning another. 
As for writing tricks, the only trick I know is to keep your butt in the chair and fingers on the keyboard until it’s finished.
 
 6.    How much time do you devote to marketing your book/s and what kind of marketing do you recommend?
I’ve done a blog (www.greggildersleeve.com) and author shows and conventions. Marketing has been a haphazard process for me, and not a very successful one. I currently have a PR firm (Red Coat PR) that is guiding me along this path. I find it helps to have people who know marketing in my corner and to be accountable to them and them to me.
 
 7.    How do you prepare for writing a YA novel? Do you outline the characters, setting, plot, etc. before you begin writing?
THE POWER CLUB was a unique situation, as I said above. I didn’t really set out to write a YA or Mid-grade novel. I let the material dictate the audience and approach. Basically, I had a story I wanted to tell. Everything else fell into place.
One thing I have learned, and which has worked well for me, is to begin with a character. Who is your main character? What does he or she want, and why is it important that he or she gets it? If you begin with those questions, everything else–the plot, the setting, other characters–fall into place.
 
8.     How many rewrites did you write before submitting The Power Club to the publisher?
Too many! 🙂  I wrote THE POWER CLUB over a period of about three years, during which I was a member of a writer’s group. I would write 1500 words at a time, listen to their critiques, go back and revise those 1500 words, and then go on to the next section. So, it was a back-and-forth process, and I think there were at least three distinct drafts, plus several minor revisions and edits along the way. My agent, Stephanie Hansen, then recommended other changes, and the book was revised again when Rogue Phoenix Press accepted it. I even made revisions when I got the galleys! RPP was not happy with me over that. 🙂
 
 9. Who are your favorite authors, and why do they inspire you? 
I probably learned more about the craft of writing from J. Michael Straczyinski, the creator of Babylon 5, than other single source. Straczynski wrote his TV series like a novel, with a beginning, middle, and end. He also worked in a lot of themes and real character development–not the superficial kind I was used to seeing on TV. He showed me just how far a good science fiction story line can go.
 
Steve Englehart, Paul Levitz, Marv Wolfman, and other veteran writers of Marvel and DC Comics during the ’70s and ’80s were huge influences. Their super-heroes were human beings first, and their stories were often about fitting in, finding who you are, and being part of a community (super-team) of people with similar abilities and goals. Their stories often sprung from the characters instead of forcing characters to fit the plot.
Charles Schultz, who created “Peanuts,” was a bigger influence than I realized. He wrote an intensely personal strip based on a kid’s point of view and made a huge impact on the world. “Peanuts” remains brilliant for its simplicity, creativity, and honesty.
J.K. Rowling: At a time when everybody thought books were dying, she came along and showed us how fun and inspiring they can be. Rowling created an engaging and fully realized world which respected its audience’s intelligence and proved that kids’ stories don’t have to be just for kids.
Thanks so much Greg. Pop hopes to chat with you again, perhaps when your next book is published?

 

Michael is the author of four published novels—Goodbye Tchaikovsky, The Abduction of Joshua Bloom, and The Koolura Series—The Legend of Koolura and Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback. He is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Examiner writing articles about parenting and education. His blog features YA authors and books.

One thought on “The Power Club: An Interview with Author Greg Gildersleeve

  1. Joe Bock Reply

    I like the theme that it doesn’t matter that much what talents (aka powers) you have but what you do with your talents that counts.

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