Interview with George Shirer

George Shirer

Interview Date: 5/4/2012


George R. Shirer was born in South Carolina, but has lived and worked in Alaska, Ohio, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Some of the highlights from his life include a brief career as a fortune teller, testifying in an honest-to-God murder trial, and accidentally peeing on a bear. Recently, George returned to his native South Carolina where he spends far too much time staring at his computer screen and not enough time actually writing.

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but it was the encouragement of a middle school teacher, Mrs. King, who really lit the fire underneath me.

Kev's response: So ... torture is a good motivator for you?

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? (Assuming said power would be reasonably "powerful.")

Immortality, ‘cause I’d like to see what happens next.

Kev's response: I've considered this one, but my big hangup depends upon if you just live forever if you aren't injured, or if you are immune to death. Consider for a moment - what occurs if you actually cannot die, and the planet exploded. You would potentially have billions of years floating in space to look forward to. Now THAT is scary stuff!

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

At the moment, my favorite is Atomic Robo, because he’s tons of fun. I mean, come on! One of his enemies is a crazy velocoraptor called Doctor Dinosaur! What’s not to love about that?

Kev's response: Nice! That's one I've never heard of before! You sound rather fond of the villain, however....

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

My inspiration comes from the world around me. Music. Television. Comics. Movies. Writers are basically giant walking fly-strips who use whatever sticks to us.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

Mostly, I write by the seat of my pants. Planning a story out in minute detail just kills it for me. That said, when I write longer pieces, I usually have an ending in mind, but I never know how I’m going to get from Point A to Point Z.

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

I have a schedule. I usually write from 10:00 A.M. to about 5:00 P.M. with breaks during the day for snacks, lunch and rambles around the back yard.

Kev's response: They let you out for fresh air?

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

I’m a big geek. I love to read sci-fi and fantasy, with a dash of horror and mystery added for variety, so it’s probably no shock that those are the genres I like to write in.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

I love the act of creation, of building worlds and peopling them with interesting characters. What’s more fun than sitting down and, say, coming up with a city inhabited by heroes, villains and monsters?

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?

Not from the creative side, but from the practical, business side I hate promoting my stuff. I’m not shy, but I’m not the guy at the party who stands on the table wearing a lampshade shouting, “Look at me, everybody! Look at me!” So, yeah, promotion is the worst part of it for me.

Kev's response: I'm with you there....

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

A lot of people would say just being a writer is odd enough. Right? However, if you want something funny, I can tell you that, once, I accidentally peed on a bear. It happened while I was driving from Alaska to Ohio. I was in Canada, in the middle of nowhere, and had to pee really badly. So, I pulled off to the side of the road. There was this steep hill and I stood on the edge and proceeded to let it fly. At the bottom of the hill was a clump of bushes, which I was sort of aiming for, and you can imagine my surprise when this bear poked its head out of the bushes. It looked really confused as to where this warm water was coming from, and then it looked right up at me. Needless to say, I finished up real quick, got back in my car and got out of there!

Kev's response: Oh my, the look on your face (not to mention the bear's!) must have been priceless.

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

I usually have more than one thing going at a time. I’ve found that, if I just try to write one thing, I get bored with it and lose interest. So, I usually have more than one story going at a time.

Have you ever wondered why evil people want to take over the world. Why not take under it?

Because they don’t want to tangle with the mole people. You don’t mess with the mole people.

Kev's response: As proven by Austin Powers!

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

There will always be paper books. Anyone who thinks differently is fooling themselves. But e-books are the future. For a lot of people they’re simply more accessible and easier to store. The closest bookstore to me is 40 miles away, but I can download e-books from my comp with the click of a button.

What are your current projects?

At the moment, I’m polishing up my first sci-fi novel, Dawnwind: Last Man Standing, and am working on a collection of flash fiction vignettes. I’m also considering sequels to two of my previous works, Hellbound on the Sugar Train and The Finishers.

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

Self-publishing can be frustrating, and there’s a lot of competition out there. However, it can also be liberating. When you self-publish, the only person you need to satisfy from a creative standpoint, is yourself. That said, make sure you produce something readable. Check your spelling. Find a beta-reader to give you honest feedback. If you can afford it, maybe hire an editor to review your stuff. Don’t expect to get rich or famous.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

Sure! Check out my blog at and my Twitter account at!#/grshirer .

Kev's response: George, thanks much for the interview, and good fortune on the sci-fi novel!

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