QBR Interview with Gregory M. Kuzma
What are your current projects?
I am working on my 2nd book which will be a non-fiction journal focusing on my personal experiences as a member of the Air Force during the opening moments of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure. The war in Iraq is a very public topic among Americans and there have been a few books about it. I want to put together a journal story of my experience as an Air Force Logistics Officer being deployed to Saudi Arabia at the start of major combat. I moved forward to Kirkuk, Iraq and helped set that air base up while working with the Army and Marines. Sometimes, when I watch the news, I do not feel the whole story is being told and I want to tell my story, which has the good with the bad.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Outside of my family would be the director of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, Mark Arnold. He’s also a character in the book.
Do you see writing as a career?
I do. I have come up with about five more ideas for books. I am sure I will think of more as I go.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would probably go back and edit quite a bit more but that is only because I have grown as a writer since then. However, if I did that, my book would still be in draft forever so it was a good first book for me to submit at the time.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
The traveling I did when I was a member of the drum and bugle corps covered most of my traveling. I often reflect back on my experiences on the road, living in high school gyms, practicing all day under the hot summer sun, and performing in front of thousands of people in the audience each night. We traveled over 2,000 miles in under 2 months!
Who designed the cover?
My brother, Scott J. Kuzma. I told him that I wanted it to have a swirling effect as if it was a dream. He did a great job.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The most difficult part was, having to take a step back and really read what I wrote. Sometimes, I was using too much jargon or acronyms and had to expound on what was going on for any reader not familiar with the subject. I had other people who were not familiar with the subject read it and they gave me some good insight on that.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes, schedule time for your writing. Also, read what others have done and learn from them.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I have a very volatile schedule as I stay active with my acting career and try to schedule time for my book whenever I can. It is important to me that I try to work on it at least 15 minutes a day. A little progress each day goes a long way.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am distracted easily. I love to start new projects or tasks before finishing the one I am working on. I have to minimize the distractions. I can easily move to another task or activity and not realize it until hours later!
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I read other books that are similar subjects as well as interview those who are more knowledgeable than I am.
What does your family think of your writing?
As far as I know, I am the only published author in my family. I am grateful that they have been very supportive of it.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That writing a book is not easy. It is a “labor of love”.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
First: Read, read, and read some more. You can learn a lot from what other’s write in their styles and content.
Second: Write, write, and write some more. Writing takes practice and patience.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes. I usually receive emails or reviews online. You know you have got something special when a stranger sees you on the street and recognizes you as the author.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Be an author and an actor. I have accomplished the first goal and am working on the second.
How do you feel overall about self-publishing?
It is becoming easier to be a published author today. Sure, it is still very difficult to publish through a traditional publisher but that does not mean it is impossible. Self-publishing or Publish on Demand (POD) creates an avenue for more people to get their work out there along side the best sellers. It almost levels the playing field.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of promotion for self-published authors?
Promoting yourself takes planning and hard work. You have to build your network up over time. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Self-publishing can be rewarding for the author when he or she sells books, is asked for an autograph, or a complete stranger recognizes them from their author photo from their book.
What do you feel is one major benefit to self-publishing your book?
Having your book available through major book retailers online. People are more comfortable with buying things on the internet these days.
Would you encourage or mentor someone to become self-publish?
Yes and I am. The most common question I get is, “How do I get started.” I tell them that they need to write down on paper the end product first and then plan how they want to reach that goal. I enjoy helping anyone who has an achievable goal of getting published and wants to work hard to achieve it.
If you have a dream, plan your path and go there. Luck is when hard work meets determination.