Saturday, February 24, 2024

Interview With Novelist Troy Decker



1.      What inspired you to write this book?

I always had a way with words when they were applied to paper. I achieved high marks in English classes and school work came easy. The problem that arose, was that I did not carry the passion that was necessary to be a writer. Every time I made the effort to write, the boredom set in, and the words would not cooperate with my fingers, and I would end up abandoning the project.


In my mid-twenties I had met a neighbor who was a decade older than myself. She was an English teacher. We had some similarities in the having fun department, so we began spending much of our free time together. There was an evening we had planned to spend dining and drinking together, but unexpected plans popped up at the last minute and I was forced to cancel. Having no way of reaching her I left a note upon her door explaining my absence. The following evening she approached me. She was wondering who wrote the letter that was left on her door. After explaining that it would be strange to have another person write such a personal note, I notified her that I was the author of the message. With a bewildered look upon her face, she expressed her opinion that the way I wrote was nothing like the way I spoke. She then added the information that I needed to write more.


I was young and wanted to keep her close, so I began to write. I was hoping to impress her and keep her around. As the years rolled by our relationship didn’t work out and we went our separate ways, but the writing persisted. I may have started writing Girls, Ghosts, and Guilt for the wrong reasons, but after working on the text a much desired passion grew. Over the years I became diligent in my work and began to enjoy the ability to care about writing. The boredom that normally ensued began to disappear and a new fondness of writing took control.


2.      What exactly is it about and who is it written for?


Girls, Ghosts, and Guilt is a story of self-struggle. It is about an insecure person searching for acceptance amongst his peers. Terry is the main character and he goes on a journey that brings hardships, and dives into a world of complete madness. He is exposed to a reality that is far from the norm. He sees and senses things that are not a part of the average human life. He is tormented by the dead and has to battle to keep those he loves, safe. He fights with the notion that he despises liars, but in the end, he is a hypocrite, for his secrets are far more demoralizing than the average white lie.


The story is written for anyone who feels lost in their own skin. For those who do not feel worthy of companionship. Those who do not understand why betrayal, disloyalty, and hate have so much power in our lives. It is a tale to lose yourself in non-reality and let someone-else deal with the consequences as you observe. It will let you see how one deals with their form of reality, and let you scrutinize your very own.


3.      What do you hope readers will get out of reading your book?


I would like for the readers to be able to put themselves in Terry’s position. To lose the ideals of a normal reality and ponder on the significance of, there is more in the world than meets the eye. I have written the book in a way that lets the reader learn with Terry. As the story ensues, Terry is educated about what he is capable of, and what the other realms hold for him. The reader will have the ability to feel his pain, as he deals with many common, human emotions.


Many of the circumstances throughout the book, are those that we all have dealt with at some point in our lives. Besides the ghost parts, the journey is relatable by a majority of the readers. The struggle through the loss of loved ones, the insecurity that blinds Terry, and the torment of true love, are all the scenarios of a normal life.


4.      How did you decide on your books title and cover design?


It took a few years for the creation of the title. When I first began writing I was still searching for the drive and passion. The first few years were quite slow moving, and the story was yet to progress into what it has become. The early stages it was referred to as, A Journey Through A Yong Man’s Mind. As I became more interested in the actual writing, I was more than half-way through the book, when I brain stormed the current title. Girls, Ghosts, and Guilt seems to sum up the importance elements of the concept, and has a nice ring to it.


The cover was left up to Dorrance Publishing. When the design was shown to me, I felt intrigued and found it quite mysterious. Liking the illustration I approved it on the spot. It has since come to my attention that some find it dull and pointless to the actual story. So you either love, or hate it.


5.      What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers – other than run!?


In my experience I discovered that there is nothing more fulfilling in creating something of importance than having confidence in yourself. I always had a dark cloud of insecurity over my head. The cloud brought darkness upon my state of mind and made it impossible to achieve any kind of greatness with the things I created. My writing was mediocre, there was something special about the way I added words to paper, but there was something missing. Over years of searching for my inner self, I discovered that I relied deeply on what others thought of me. I believed that impressing people was the way to be liked and thought of fondly. It may have taken up quite a bit of my life, but I discovered that the one person that needed to believe in me… was myself.


Once I stopped caring about what others thought, I began to develop a whole new personality. All the anxiety and stress that consumed my every waking moment, vanished. With clear air in my surroundings, I found a way to achieve acceptance. I accepted myself for who I was, which released the passion necessary to complete my projects the way they were meant to be.


My advice to anyone that believes they have stories that will entertain the masses, is to find                                         

your inner self. Write about what you know or have interest in. Write for yourself and believe

that what you are writing has worth. Step away from your work for a lengthy period of time, and when you return, read it as if you are someone else. If you can be interested in your own writing as if it is new to you, then you more than likely have written something that others will find intriguing.


6.      What trends in the book world do you see – and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?


I have been writing, in one form or another, for most of my life. Early years were spent on song writing and not much else. I wrote a screen play in my early twenties and was planning on filming it with a group of friends. Each character was written strictly for the personality of the person in mind. Unfortunately getting people to do what they say they’re going to do, without providing a cash pay-out, is nearly impossible. Once I started writing Girls, Ghosts, and Guilt, I was well into my thirties. As I mentioned before, I was not yet enthusiastic about writing and many years passed before I was able to express my thoughts the way that I can now. So, to get to the point… even though I was active in writing I was not really present in the book world. I only read books that I had to read for school, work, or any other activity where it was mandatory. As I became fond of writing, I began to reach out to other authors and read their work.


What I have seen and learned in the last ten years, is that the rise of self-publishing is on its way. I am a self-publisher simply because I was not able to get the attention desired to attract a traditional publisher. I was turned down continuously without any reason to why. The few publishing firms that did take the time to explain their denial, would tell me that it was because I was not educated outside of high school. So for me to publish my material I was forced to do it on my own. Back in the early days that was not an option, so authors had to forge on, and rejection was a normal part of the business. Now days anyone with an extra dollar in their wallet has the opportunity to get published.


Audio is another form of the book world that has flourished in the past few years. It is quite convenient for a reader to listen to a book being read to them on their way to and from work. The issue with most people is the lack of time. So being able to listen to a book is a fantastic way to get the attention of people that would normally not give the time of day to a book if it needed to be opened and read.


Social media is one of the biggest ways for an author to promote him, or herself now days. In the past it was up to publishers and agents to promote, but it is a new day in the industry, and the saying “if you want something done right, do it yourself,” has taken on a whole new life.


The book publishing world is headed in a direction that makes the author have to work even harder to get noticed. It is simple to get published in the modern world, with the availability of self-publishing, but it is a relentless task to get noticed. The issue with self-publishing is the fact that there are so many books being published that it is difficult to filter through the unworthy books and find the ones that truly deserve a read through. In the past the traditional publishers had the power to regulate the good from the bad. The problem with that method was that what was considered good or bad, was in the hands of a few individuals. We all know that none of us are the same and what one may love, another may not.


So, in the industry today, an author must find a way to stick out from the crowd. In my personal experience that is a much harder task, since my social media skills have much to be desired. I have always been a person who thrived on the idea that my work speaks for itself, but in a world overwhelmed with volume, it is difficult to be found without self-promotion.


7.      Were there experiences in your personal life or career that came in handy when writing this book?


Girls, Ghosts, and Guilt is a fictional story that deals with crossing into other realms and dealing with the dead. There are many situations in the story that most of us have dealt with at some point throughout our lives. There are tales of lost love, death of loved ones, dealing with mixed emotions, and much more desires that represent human nature.


I was an extremely insecure person as I grew through life. My family members were not available on an emotional level. The words I love you, were unheard of as I grew up, and if they were used there was an extreme amount of hostility and embarrassment. There was not many words of encouragement, but every second available to bring up faults was utilized. As I grew older I felt alone and anytime I tried to relay my feelings I was beat down on an emotional level. I find family in people I meet throughout my life, and have the right to pick and choose. Trust is the most important thing, for me, when it comes to relationships. The problem that occurs is that I find it very difficult to trust anyone because, from my experiences, I have discovered that it merely takes time for true disloyalty to present itself.


The main characters personal views on life are based off of my own experiences. The way that Terry thinks and feels about things are my views and feelings in my own life. I have met some extraordinary people in my life and was able to adapt their stories into my writing. Unfortunately some of those stories have turned for the worse, but that is a life lesson that one seems to have to learn again and again. As I write Girls, Ghosts, and Guilt, I am able to vent personal experiences as I add extra drama and fictional parts for added excitement. My own emotional journey has been a large influence on the book.


8.      How would you describe your writing style? Which writers or books is your writing similar to?


I write in a very descriptive manner. My goal is to get the reader to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the characters that live in the story. By describing certain elements vividly, I give the reader a better chance to lose themselves in the tale. I believe that if you are able to imagine a scene in the same way the author sees it, then it makes it any easier task to let your imagination run away with it. It is important to me that the reader has the ability to feel what the characters feel, and that they may learn things about themselves while reading my stories. An emotional connection between the reader and the characters is my goal as I write.


I believe that the worlds I create in my writings are similar to those of Stephen King. Obviously, King has such an extensive collection that I am speaking of those novels that deal with the unexplainable. One of my favorite authors is Simon R. Green. He has quite a large collection as well, but he has a series called ghost finders. Our stories of the dead and what they are capable of, are quite different, but our similarities lie in the way that the characters usually learn as the story progresses.


9.      What challenges did you overcome in the writing of this book?


I learned to be able to write for myself. Even though the truth of the matter was that I started the book to impress a girl, the reason for writing the novel as I continued to pluck away at the keys… changed. As I wrote this book I was able to release the thoughts that have kept me up at night. It became a form of self-therapy. I have always struggled with being accepted by others, and I truly believed that it mattered how others saw me. As I continue to write I have found a sense of self-worth. I have learned that if I can become content with what I write that is what matters most.


10.   If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours?


Girls, Ghosts, and Guilt Volume 1, brings together the unexplainable with elements of everyday scenarios. We all struggle with self-confidence and find that our emotions will take control of our lives, if we let them. This book allows the reader to compare their lives with Terry and focuses on problematic situations that we all have to deal with. If you want to lose yourself in a story that surpasses a normal reality and allows you to take your mind on a trip through utter-insanity and come out safe on the other side, then Girls, Ghosts, and Guilt Volume 1 is for you.


About The Author: Terry is the protagonist in the story. A young man who is discovering that his life is filled with unbelievable circumstances that make it impossible to lead a normal existence. He is bewildered by the complex issues that take place, and fights with the fact that honesty and sincerity have no place in his world. Terry is confronted by issues that most humans have to deal with in their life time. Besides the unexplainable Terry must power through the loss of loved ones, the fact that he is not able to be honest with those he cares about, and the guilt and frustration that occurs from the tactics he must use. As the story progresses, Terry discovers more of his capabilities which allows the reader to learn and grow with him through the journey. Terry unwillingly sees ghosts and is constantly haunted by what he does not understand. He meets certain souls down his path of life that try to help him through his journey, but his insecurity’s, and emotional damage makes it a tough for anyone to get through to him. He tries to do what he feels is the right thing, but events that take place make it impossible for him to determine right from wrong.


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Brian Feinblum should be followed on This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2024. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.6 million pageviews. With 4,800+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and director of publicity positions at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America several years ago, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, Morgan James Publishing, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. His first published book was The Florida homeowner, Condo, & Co-Op Association Handbook.  It was featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald.


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