Expiation – author interview – Greg Messel

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Expiation Virtual Book Tour


Greg Messel has spent much of his life in the Pacific Northwest living in Portland, Oregon and in the Seattle area since 2008.  He has been married to his wife, Carol, for 40 years.  Greg and Carol were high school sweethearts just like the couple in “Expiation.”  He has lived in Washington, Oregon, California, Utah and Wyoming.  Greg grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from high school there and also attended a year of junior college.  Greg went to Brigham Young University with Carol and then began a newspaper career in rough and tumble Wyoming town of Rock Springs.  Greg and Carol have three married children and nine grandchildren.

Greg has always loved writing.   He worked as the news editor and sports editors of the Daily Rocket-Miner newspaper.  He won a Wyoming Press Association award for his column.  He also submitted and had published articles in various sports magazines.  He left the newspaper business in 1981 and began a 27 year career with Pacific Power.  Greg retired in 2008 and moved to Seattle.

It was there that he returned to his first love of writing.   He has written two unpublished memoirs and published his first novel with Trafford in September 2009.   His first novel was called “Sunbreaks.”   The second novel “Expiation” was published in the spring of 2010 with Trafford.  A third novel is in the works.

Currently, Greg and Carol live on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, just north of downtown Seattle. They have three adult children who are all married and have nine grandchildren.  He also enjoys running, he has been in several races and half marathons.

Visit his website at www.gregmessel.com.

Connect with him at Twitter at www.twitter.com/gregmessel and Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.messel.


About Expiation

n 1968, Dan and Katie are one of the hottest couples at Ballard High School in Seattle. He is the hero football player, and she is the beautiful cheerleader. These high school sweethearts believe theirs is a love that will never die.

Life changes when Dan leaves Washington to start college at the University of California Berkeley and pursue his dream of working for a big time newspaper in the glamorous city of San Francisco. The quest for his dream occurs against the turbulent background of Berkeley and San Francisco in the 1970s as Dan and Katie go their separate ways.

Now, thirty years later, Dan is back in his hometown of Seattle attending his mother’s funeral. He’s never stopped thinking about Katie, his long-lost love. But the two former high school sweethearts reconnect in a most unexpected way as the rest of the world grows more fearful of Y2K and the dawn of the twenty-first century. They are hoping that their love, once lost, can now be reclaimed.



Q:  Do you write on a computer or with pen/pencil and paper?

I definitely write on a computer. I can’t imagine writing a novel with a pen or even an old typewriter. I am in awe to those who wrote classic novels in this way.


Q:  Do you work from an outline?

I start with a story in my head. The first thing I do is to sketch out the basic topic of each chapter. That is only a basic topic, enough to get started and it evolves. I usually write the first few chapters in a draft to begin to get into the flow of the story. One outline I do use is I develop a biography of each character. It really helps me and I refer back to it often during the process. After this I develop a firmer outline of each chapter and a topic. I use that as my road map as I get deeper into the process of writing the novel. I add or delete chapters on the outline as the story develops more fully. The outline serves as a structure to begin writing but it is a very fluid document.



Q:  What’s next for you?


I am doing a book tour for “Expiation” and involved in marketing for it. However, my third novel, “The Illusion of Certainty” will be published later this month. I am very excited about it and I hope that it will be successful but also help lead readers to my other books. This winter I plan to begin work on my fourth novel. I’m thinking a lot about the storyline now.



Q: In writing your book/novel if you could do it again what would you do differently?


I can always think of things I could do differently. There are chapters in each of my books that I really like and some that I am not that happy with. I will never tell which ones are which. However, I find that I am always way ahead of the curve. I am busy discussing and marketing my second book “Expiation.” I love “Expiation” and I really want it to be successful. However, I really don’t spend a lot of time think about “Expiation” or my first book “Sunbreaks.” I have just finished by third novel which will be published in a few weeks. I’m excited to get it out there and get readers’ reaction to it. I am confident that readers will like “The Illusion of Certainty.” However, from a writing point of view I’m really thinking about my fourth novel which has not been written yet. I’m working on outlines, characters and thinking about concepts for the next book—the one I will write this winter. I seem to be always looking forward not looking back. I will use lessons learned. I’ll try to improve my craft and make each novel better than the last.


Q:  Where do you write from?


I live on the Puget Sound just north of downtown Seattle. It is a beautiful beach town called Edmonds. It has a large beach and marina and ferry boats running all day near my house. I love the location.


Q:  Do you have a writer’s studio? Describe it for us and what is the view you see from the window?

I have an office in my condo building with a window that looks out on the downtown streets. This is where I do all of my writing.  I also really enjoy listening to music while I’m writing and looking out the window.




Q:  Writer’s Block – If you have ever experienced it – how did you resolve it?


I have hit places in each of my novels where I was not sure where to go next. I had put in a plot twist or some conflict without being totally sure about how to resolve it. I have discovered that sometimes it is best to not be in too big of a hurry. When I hit a place like that in the writing process, I find that I need to step away and think about it for a couple of days. That has always worked for me so far.


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