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Monday’s Interview with David Macinnis Gill

Good morning, everyone. Today David Macinnis Gill joins us in the writer’s chair. He is a children’s writer, instructor, and speaker. I want to thank you   so much, David, for coming to the spotlight here on Claudsy’s Blog.

Claudsy: David, let’s begin with you telling us why you became a writer, what you hoped to achieve?

David: The greatest achievement of any writer is to tell a story that people enjoy enough to retell. Hopefully, the reader will be entertained, as well as informed. Anything more than that is gravy. I became I writer because there were stories that I wanted to tell.

Claudsy: Now that you’ve played in the writing waters for a while, do you have any observations about the writing game that newbies might be able to use to navigate the sea of publishers more successfully?

David: Write the best story you can. Write with passion and conviction. Once you’ve done that, find an agent who loves your work and shares your vision. It’s sometimes as difficult to find an agent as it is a publisher, but publishing is a multinational, labyrinthine business, and you need a guide to help you through it.

Claudsy: Now, your book “Soul Enchilada” has been out for a while now to excellent reviews. How important are those reviews to you as a writer and to your sales?

David: It’s hard to say how reviews affect sales. It’s possible to sell well without great reviews, and it’s possible for books with four starred reviews not to sell at all. The rule of thumb is that any review is better than none and positive reviews are better than negative. Beyond that, I don’t think anyone knows. As a writer, I hope that reviews are factually correct and that the reviewer read the whole book. Sometimes, neither is true.

Claudsy: You look at them differently than many, I see. I’m sure you’re looking forward to the release of “Black Hole Sun” your book for 2010. Could you give us a hint as to its storyline?

David: Here’s the tagline from my publisher: “On the planet Mars, sixteen-year-old Durango and his crew of mercenaries are hired by the settlers of a mining community to protect their most valuable resource from a feral band of marauders.” That’s pretty close.

Claudsy: Sounds mind-grabbing for teens. Is this the target age you’re most comfortable with or do you intend to branch out?

David: My sweet spot reader-wise is the 13-19 year-old. I used to teach high school, so I know that age well, and I find myself writing for them. Ideally, I would like to write a few novels for middle school aged readers.

Claudsy: Seems to be a good fit for you. Do your personal appearances pay off for you, both in terms of sales and personal satisfaction?

David: There’s nothing more satisfying than meeting and talking with teen readers. Hands down, it’s the best part of writing for young adults, and I’m looking forward to more appearances. Because it’s really hard to pinpoint sales, I’m not sure what effect appearances have on sales. I suspect that it would be positive.

Claudsy: I’m sure it helps with PR, if nothing else. Tell me, though. when you participated as a speaker at last September’s SCBWI Conference in Durham, NC, what did you emphasis in your presentation?

David: That presentation was about knowing your audience, specifically the difference between writing for young adults and middle school teens. There are subjects that you can tackle in YA that are verboten for younger readers. The reverse is true, as well.

Claudsy: And what is your next project beyond this year’s publication?

David: After Black Hole Sun, I’m working on a retold fairy tale/paranormal romance that’s set in Charleston, SC. It’s a bit of an experiment for me. We’ll have to see if it works.

Claudsy: Those are always frun to read, even for the adult. You talk about Cynthia Liu on your website in warm tones. What do you believe the writer, new or experienced, can learn from her?

David: Promote! Promote! Promote! Cynthia is a super organized, super-charged young woman whose creativity and marketing savvy are unrivaled among the authors I know. If there’s a way to promote your work that she hasn’t thought of, give her five minutes, and she’ll think of it.

Claudsy: That’s a great endorsement, David. Hopefully, the readers will take advantage of her advice. And finally, what is your most cherished dream for your writing career and why?

David: To write full-time. I can’t think of a better job to have.

Claudsy: I want to thank our wonderful guest, David Macinnis Gill, for taking the time to be with us today. Appearance schedules and other obligations don’t always allow for such interruptions and neither do publication deadlines. You’ve been a welcome occupant of the writer’s chair today, David. Thank you.

Short Personal Biography:

David Macinnis Gill lives with his wife and three children along the North Carolina coast After taking advanced degrees at the University of Tennessee, he taught high school for several years.

He’s been writing for his favorite age group, middle school through teens, long enough to produce two marvelous books; Soul Enchilada, 2009 from Greenwillow Books and Black Hole Sun, coming 2010, also from Greenwillow Books.

David served as the past President for the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents, and he’s been guest speaker for conferences in the U.S. His website: www.davidmacinnisgill.com. features his blog, Twitter feed, calendar of events, press info, as well as several short stories and excerpts of novels.

Be sure to look for his books, SOUL ENCHILADA, a BBYA 2010 and Kirkus 2009 Best Book and BLACK HOLE SUN (August 2010) from Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins.

I’ve had a marvelous time learning about David and his career. Please stay and leave your comments and be sure to come back tomorrow for commentary. Wednesday my guest will be Billy Burgess, an emerging writer who’s done well for himself quickly. I hope to see everyone here for that interview.

Take care, all. A bientot,


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Joyce Hostetter thought you had blogged about David’s talk at the fall conference on the difference between YA and MG. DId you and could you tell me the link? thanks, Carol

    • claudsy
      March 7, 2010 at 1:26 pm


      Sorry it’s taken so long to return to your question. I did interview David and I mentioned his conference talk. If you’d like to learn more about that talk you can go to his website and read all about it. I know his link is in the interview.

      Thank you again for stopping by.


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