Writer Wednesday: Greg Wilkey

Greg Wilkey

Greg Wilkey

As children, we created daring new worlds where we were the heroes, we traveled to far off exotic places (all while in our backyards), and we impressed friends with our ability to fly. Anything was possible. Our imaginations gave us the FREEDOM to be, do, and live with no limits. But somewhere along the line, as we grew up, we lost that part of ourselves. The part that let us fly.

Author Greg Wilkey still soars.  As a long-time educator, he worried that his students weren't finding the joy in reading. And so he acted. His imagination gave rise to the vampiric Mortimer Drake series, and now, young adults everywhere are escaping the humdrum of life to head out on supernatural adventures. Thanks to Greg, these youth (and adults, too!) are rediscovering the freedom in reading, dreaming, and IMAGINING. They are flying.

Please welcome Greg Wilkey, author of The Mortimer Drake Series: Growing Up DeadOut of the Underworld, Hope Against Hope, and Star Blood.

What is your name?

Greg Wilkey

Describe your books/genre to our readers.

I write young adult supernatural/action thrillers. My books are action-packed, dark, and sprinkled with a hint of humor. I want to create worlds that will invite readers in and keep them wanting for more.

I read that you developed a love of adventure at a young age and that this helped spawn your writing career. Can you tell us about some of your youthful adventures?

My adventures were largely imaginary. I always wanted to go places and do things. I was that kind of child that talked all the time and invented stories. When I got older, I took any and every trip that I could find. I wanted to meet as many people as possible and I wanted to experience different lives. I love to learn. I am a knowledge freak. I always loved to read. We had this huge tree in our backyard when I was a kid. My friends and would play in that tree for hours, imagining that we were on a spaceship in other galaxies. Some days, that tree became a medieval castle where we fought off dragons. Other times, we were super heroes in our secret lair making plans to save the world. Those days and nights of my childhood were magical. So many of my friends and our adventures are in my books.

Do you think that your background in teaching prepped you to create young adult fiction and why?

Absolutely! I am in my 21st year as a professional educator. I spent 8 years of my career as a middle school teacher. My life revolved around the antics of teenagers caught in that wonderfully awkward time between childhood and adulthood. I loved to watch them mature. It was always fascinating to see glimpses of the young adults that they were becoming. It was during my time as a middle school teacher that I had the idea for my Mortimer Drake series. I was frustrated that many of the students weren't reading. I especially worried that so many boys did not enjoy reading. So, I watched and I listened. I asked questions and I planned. I wanted to be ready to write that book once the idea hit, and one night it did. I woke up the next morning with three words stuck in my head: Growing Up Dead. Well, that was it. The seed was planted. From that title, four books were born.

This question is for Mortimer Drake, the main character of your series. How did you feel when your 14 year old self began transitioning into a vampire?

I was scared to death. I didn't know what was going on. I hated everything and everyone. I felt sick. I was thirsty and hungry all the time. My friends started to treat me like a freak, and I knew why. I just couldn't help it. I looked different. I acted weird. I had terrible nightmares every night and the worst part of it all was that my parents didn't help. They were so secretive. My dad was angry at me and my mom just worried and babied me. I hated it. I hated all of it. It wasn't until I met my supernatural family that I began to accept the truth. I learned who and what I was. I slowly learned how to control my urges and I discovered that I could amazing things. That part was awesome!

I discovered your books through Anne Rice's Facebook page. What sort of impact has she had on your journey as a self-published author?

Anne Rice is amazing. Her books have enthralled me for close to 30 years. As I began to write, I would often turn to her work for inspiration. Over the years, I followed her career and discovered that she was very encouraging of all authors. On her Facebook page, she posts and discusses writing, publishing, and a host of other topics. It was there that we first connected. She motivated me to work harder and never to give up. I was thrilled when she publicly supported my work and the work of many independently published authors. She encourages us share our work and our experiences. She has created a unique network of people and she maintains a place where we talk about what we do. I am so fortunate to have met her and the other "People of the Page."

You're beautiful wife of 25 years recently passed away. How has this experience affected you and where are you finding the strength to move on?

The day my Alicyn died was the worst day of my life. We fell in love in high school and it was true love at first sight. She was the Queen of my world and I lived for her. I still cannot believe that she's no longer with me in this world. Until she died, I had never experienced real heartbreak. Of course, I had lost other friends and loved ones, but nothing compared to the pain of losing my wife. Grief is an unpredictable road. I never know when the good times are coming. I can never prepare for the bad times. It's like I am constantly running from a tidal wave that's swelling behind me. When the wave hits, I go under and I fight. Eventually, the wave recedes and I start running again. But I have learned something valuable since her death. I have learned that our love didn't die with her. I still feel that strength, that bond, we had. It's the power our love that holds me up now. I am stronger than I thought.

As a self-published author, do you still desire to become traditionally published? Why or why not?

Yes. I am always researching traditional publishers and literary agents. I send out query letters and proposals as often as I can, but until then, I am happy to self-publish. I write for my own pleasure and the goal for me is to share my stories with others. Publishing is changing rapidly. There are many options for writers. I will do whatever it takes to get my work out there.

What are 3 things most people don't know about you?

1. I struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I clean and organize a lot. 2. I am very empathetic and I have a hard time being in large crowds. Other people's moods and emotions greatly affect me. 3. I am scared of frogs.

Tell us about any new projects or exciting plans you may be working on.

I am writing a new YA trilogy of books about ghosts, psychics, and witches. The first book is nearly finished and I have the second installment mapped out. I am also writing a book about the loss of my wife. I am hoping to share my journey of grief with others through my story of surviving without her.

Connect With Him

Readers can contact me via email at greg.wilkey@gmail.com

I also invite them to follow my author's page on Facebook (Greg Wilkey, Author of Young Fiction) or on Twitter (@GWilkey.)

Readers may also visit my website at www.gregwilkey.com.

I always tell my readers, "Happy Reading." I encourage everyone to read and write. Words are powerful. They can heal, entertain, and provide peace. I truly hope that any writer to keep working. Keep trying. Keep looking at all the options. When I first published the first book in my Mortimer Drake series, I never dreamed that I'd sell over 10,000 copies. I never imagined that I'd meet Anne Rice or travel to other states to be on author panels at writing conventions. Anything is possible. Just keep reading and writing.