Author Interview: ‘South of Main Street’ by Robert Gately

About the Book:

Henry Wolff regularly climbs out of his upstairs bedroom window. The neighbors think it strange that a grown man enjoys a Tarzan like swing from the roof, but then again, they all think Henry is a little strange. Recently widowed, Henry is an emotionally challenged father being sued by his daughter for financial control of the estate. Henry must prove he is normal – not an easy thing to do when you are not. Henry is different, not quite normal, not quite special. Rumors explaining his behavior run from PTSD in Vietnam to losing his son to SIDS. But Henry has a special gift. In a town divided by the have and have-nots, Henry alone can inspire and touch even the most jaded lost soul. But when tragedy strikes, can he unite his own family?

“A dynamic book set in small town Pennsylvania which explores the intangible ties that form a family, a community and the influence that one man can make crossing social and economic lines. Readers will fall in love with Henry.”


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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I guess I’d have to journey back to 5th grade to explain to you why writing is such a big part of my life. We had to read a book and write a synopsis if as a task my fifth-grade teacher gave us. These ‘book reports’ would then be graded as if it were a ‘contest’. Winner-take-all. That’s when I discovered the flap — a brief outline from the publisher, those beautifully written words that perfectly captured the emotions and the essence of the story. For a 5th grade boy trying desperately to rise from the sleepy world of his imagination, I did a despicable thing. I used the flap in writing the synopsis, paraphrasing as best as a fifth grader could, and submitted the paper into the contest. As fate would have it, I won the competition. I was embarrassed, humbled at receiving an award I didn’t deserve. That day was the beginning of my writing career where a little flame burned in my soul to be able to express myself with some degree of grace where I would never have to rely on someone else’s words to express how ‘I’ felt. That desire turned into something else. I learned later it was called passion. I was going to be a writer.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Time: the morning is when I did my creative writing, and in the afternoon is when the logical part of my brain kicked in when I do my editing. Place: usually, I do my writing in my computer room, but I really can step out of reality and write anywhere.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Who knows. They could come from a dream, watching a movie, or a sound-bite at a barbeque. I might generate a whole story-line in one sitting. The real issue is when they come they don’t leave until I pay homage to the character or the story. It may take a single day, or a lifetime.

My most recent book came from watching a movie (Being There) where the main character captured my imagination 30 years ago. The hero of my story just wouldn’t leave me along and I wrote a novel and a screenplay to keep my sanity. Another story I ‘saw’ (The Longest Yard’) became an inspiration for writing a similar story, only it was basketball, not football. Other stories came from slug lines, sound-bites and certain experiences I had in life that just sat in my brain and wouldn’t leave me alone until I flushed them out. Actually, one non-fiction book (Fillossofee: Messages from a Grandfather) I wrote came from the desire to inspire my progeny. With social networking, I felt they weren’t getting the mental nourishment I got from history, the sciences, or philosophical thinking, not that I’m anything special, but my grand-daughter being billed for 13,000 text messages was what inspired that book.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I sometimes have a plan. But,  like the story that came from a dream, it was laid out for me and I just followed my intuition. I knew why I was laughing when I woke up, but I just couldn’t explain it in 5 minutes without sounding ridiculous. Interestingly, that writing project was written in a month, which I’m forever editing, and it won 11 writing contests. It became my showcase writing project for everything that was to follow: stage plays, novels or screenplays; even non-fiction works.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

That dream project was my only comedy. And my latest book started out as a comedy when I saw “Being There” with Peter Sellers, the movie, that is. The book was written by Jerzy Kosinski. I never read that. The important point here is that the character in the movie morphed into my character in the book and he took hold of me and wouldn’t let go until I finished the book. That project lasted for over ten years. What a journey that was! I’m forever grateful.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Wow! That’s a loaded question if I ever heard one. Since there are 12 characters that our hero affects in the most wonderful of ways, I’ll just address the main character, our hero, which is a male who is 55ish. Not that all my stories center on male characters. I co-wrote a stage play whose four lead characters are female. For my latest book, however, my favorite actors are a bit older than the hero, so I’m forced to think of thespians today who can fit the role. Maybe a made-up Leonardo DiCaprio. Same holds true for Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I read a lot (online stuff), but not too much for novels. However, I’m forever remembering the classics written by Joseph Heller, Philip Roth, Charles Dickens, and the like.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Just one: Godless, by Ann Coulter.

9: What is your favorite book and why?

Wow! That’s an impossible question, so I’m going to have to go with that book I read in 5th grade, whose name I forget. It put me on a journey that I’m still following.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Make sure you have the passion to write, and that you’re NOT doing it for the money or fame. One will enrich your being and the other two will cause you to lose you hair.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Probably … Goodreads or Facebook.




About the Author:

In 1998 Robert gave up a lucrative career with a large telecommunications company to write full time. Since then, he wrote 8 screenplays, two stage plays, and a novel. He has won grand prize or first place in several competitions, not the least of which are First Place in comedy in FADE IN Magazine, Telluride Indiefest, Woods Hole Festival, Split-Screen, Hollywood Scriptwriting Institute, plus more. In all Robert has placed in over 90 competitions such as Chesterfield, Writer’s Network, Cinestory, Writer’s Digest, New Play Project (Backdoor Theatre), Festival of New Plays (Stage 3 Theatre), plus much more. Robert has also been acting for the past few years. His most notable acting credit was the lead in FRAME which won top drama, short film category, in the 2002 Houston Worldfest – the same award Speilberg won in 1972 for AMBLIN. Robert has settled into a home in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with his wife Lois.

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