Please help me welcome Marc Meyer to Author interview Friday. Marc is a professional pianist who has worked with prominent jazz and pop musicians throughout the industry. He is also a T’ai Chi instructor and writer who has diligently pursued the dream of having his first novel, ” Taichi: The Story of a Chinese Master in America.” published in 2014. With the help and support of his publisher, family and friends this dream has become a reality. As an ongoing project Marc continues to write short stories and book manuscripts dealing with a wide variety of topics. He hopes the successful launch of this book will not only help him to establish his place in the literary world but also enable him to give back a portion of the gifts he has received through his involvement with Chinese martial arts for almost two decades. Marc’s home for the past twenty years has been in Naples, Florida where he makes his living as a pianist and teaching T’ai Chi to residential communities.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?
In the beginning my intention was not to become a writer but just to see if I enjoyed the process of writing. I started a detective novel in the late 80’s and gave up after a few pages. Even with this rocky start I was hooked and knew that it was something I would be coming back to in time. It wasn’t until Christmas of 2004 that I once again decided to try my hand at writing and because I had been fidgeting until the last minute trying to decide what presents to send family members for Christmas. I managed to dash off five short stories, each about two pages long, which I made copies of, wrapped in a cone shape with a ribbon and sent out as a substitutes for presents. The maximum reaction I hoped for was that they might think it was cute or perhaps just a sweet idea and I would have been completely satisfied with that. Little did I expect the overwhelming reaction I got to these stories not only from family members but friends to whom they were shown. I never heard the end of it and to this day I still get comments about those stories whenever I see anyone who’s read them. They have yet to be published. It was that same year I decided to attempt a novel dealing with a subject that I really cared about. I was a slow start, getting ideas while I was in the shower mostly, then toweling off and racing to my computer hopefully in time to capture the ideas before I forgot them. That started me off on a path to writing my first book.
How long did it take you to publish your fist manuscript?
Getting my first manuscript published has admittedly been a long and involved struggle with many roadblocks thrown in my path from the start. Just as an example a friend of mine and I set out to publish our first books at the same time. I attended a writers conference in which the main speaker, a publisher, went on and on for an hour about how difficult it was for writers to get published and how fewer than one percent actually do. An extremely discouraging talk. After he’d finished I decided to approach him with a synopsis. He shrugged it off. I left and called up my friend asking him to come down and give it a try though I felt it would probably result in a dead-end for us both. Unbeknownst to me, until a about two months later, my friend told me he came down and walked out of the same conference 30 minutes later with a book deal from the same publisher I talked to!
Ouch! How did you feel about that?
I was devastated but it would be the first of many lessons I was about to learn in the book publishing business. My book languished through various subsidy publishers I decided not to accept for various reasons for about eight years and close to 100 rejections. ( This is usually the point at which most aspiring authors give up). Finally a Canadian publisher came to my rescue, or so I thought, about a year ago. Subsequently after agreeing to publish my book, the publisher, having been in business for the previous eight years, suddenly and inexplicably closed their doors after I had been up on the retail sites for a week and a publicist had already begun the process of sending out press releases!
Oh no, not another set back!
Yes, yet another blow, which would set back the career I envisioned for myself for another heartbreaking year. I finally decided to go with a subsidy publisher I had heard about with the best reputation I could find and do what I could to get my book back up on the retail sites as soon as possible. Armed with a new eye catching book cover, a couple of great reviews and my book once again featured on the main retail sites I’m at it again and hoping for the best.
As an author myself, I can feel your pain. But now that you are over that hump, let’s hope for nothing but good things from here on.
What other work have you done, and how has it affected your writing career?
I’ve been a successful professional pianist with a career spanning 39 years.I toured with the famous soul group “Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose” who had chart topping hits such as “It’s Too Late To Turn Back Now” and “Treat Her Like A Lady”, recorded with members of the outstanding jazz group “Spyro Gyra” in the early 80’s and received acclaim from music producers Van Dyke Parks and Quincy Jones. I have been involved with the arts all my life, was a competent sketch artist in my younger days and writing just seemed like another natural extension for me.
Do you have any special time or place you like to write?
I’ve read about many so called “purist” authors with well known names who use legal pads to write. I started this way too but eventually all the erasing and crossing out got to me. Now I write on my word processor with a cup of coffee as the sun comes up until no later than noon, even though sometimes I’ll continue until two in the afternoon without even realizing it. The I use the standard 12 point Times Roman type and I’m always pleased with the result as it ends up looks like a book page when I’m finished instead of a bunch of scribbling.
Tell us about “Taichi: The Story of a Chinese Master in America” in two sentences
My first published book is a family story based around the nucleus of the art of T’ai Chi Chuan. A famous T’ai Chi master immigrates from Taiwan to New York City in the mid- 1960’s to start a T’ai Chi School and reconnect with his Asian American family in Chinatown.
Do you have another manuscript in progress? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
I’m currently working on three additional manuscripts at the same time. The first is a memoir called “Xpat” which is based around my adventures growing up in Europe and attending school overseas as a child before my family moved me to the U.S.at fourteen. I’m very excited about the other two manuscripts and unfortunately unable to give anything away about them at this point but hope my first book will provide you with enough intrigue to continue enjoying me as an author throughout the continuation of my career.
Thank you Marc. Where can readers buy your book?
My book Is currently available on the following retail sites under the title “Taichi: The Story of a Chinese Master in America.”:
my publisher,Booklocker: http://booklocker.com/books/7399.html
Please check out Amazon. com for reviews.