Author Interview: Gary D. Wilson, Getting Right

Hey guys! Today I’m hosting author Gary D. Wilson for an interview! Let me tell you more about his latest book GETTING RIGHT before you check out our interview.


Getting RightPublisher: Roundfire Books // Publication Date: January 29, 2016

Getting Right, Gary Wilson’s eagerly-anticipated second novel, is a masterful fusion of imagination and memory. Although this powerful family drama is drawn from close personal experience, the story that emerges is far more moving than any purely factual account could ever be.

Suppose, for instance, that your more than mildly irritating leech of a sister calls you, as she usually does wanting money, only this time she says she has cancer and in the course of the conversation challenges you to write the story of her life. You say, sure, you’ll do that…but only on the condition that you can tell it the way you see it.

The novel starts with the sister, Connie, and soon involves brother Len and “me,” the sibling narrator who discovers that Connie’s story isn’t so simple after all.  In order to tell it, “me” realizes that he has to include the accounts of other family members as well. By the end, the escalating swirl of memory and imagination leaves open the question of whether the truth of Connie’s life – or of anyone’s for that matter – can ever be known.

Getting Right is a tale of love and loss, leavened with humor, that readers will no doubt take directly to heart as they recognize themselves and their own families in it.

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Describe yourself in 6 words.

Loveable, creative, smart, funny, loyal, cantankerous.

Describe your book in 6 words.

Original, engaging, worthwhile, droll, energetic, moving.

How did the story of Getting Right develop?

I went to the hospital to visit my sister who had undergone surgery for lung cancer.  She had a PICC line in her arm, and the skin around the entry point of the line had puckered in such a way that it looked like a mouth.  That image haunted me, even after I returned home, so much so that I decided to write it out of my system, which only led to more writing and more writing, until I found myself in the midst of a new novel with a new voice and vision that was so compelling I couldn’t stop, despite the fact that I was deep into writing another novel I simply had to put aside until I finished this new one.

What is the best memory from your journey to becoming an author?

“Best” is a difficult concept in this question, since I have lots of memories.  But one that the question conjures up is of me as a young boy sitting on the floor beside my grandfather as he told some story about his family living so far back in the hills of Arkansas (or Missouri or Virginia) that you had to travel three days by grapevine to visit them.  And there were always fishing stories or stories about his days as a section chief on the railroad.  And there were ones about his tomatoes or the proper way to wrap and store fresh-picked pears.  What I came to realize as I got older was that for Grandpa the story—not the subject matter—was the thing.  It was the telling that he loved.  The power that a well-told story had to capture and hold an audience.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?

Physically, I try to maintain a fairly strict work schedule.  I get up, have coffee and a light breakfast and read two newspapers (an old, unbreakable habit) before going to my study to clear emails and my head and get down to my work.  Writing may involve pacing, bathroom breaks, more coffee and so on, but as a friend says, real writing takes a lot of butt in the chair time.  I try to maintain that for four or so hours.  I then have lunch and read the funnies and take a break for errands or shopping for the night’s dinner.

Mentally, I let whatever it is I’m writing take me where it wants.  I believe it was Stephen King who said the story is boss.  I try to remember that.  I was writing another novel when Getting Right took over my life.  I couldn’t ignore it and went along for the ride.  I’m now finally getting back to the book I was pulled away from.

Many times something I’ve read or heard or seen will generate a new story or novel.  It’s not that I actively say, oh that’d make a great story.  But whatever the impetus is gets inside me and roils around and eventually comes out as writing, and I let it.  At that point I become an active participant in the process.

What’s been your best experience as an author so far? 

Every author I know likes being published, so there’s that.  But what I like from that experience is to hear readers’ honest reactions to my work, even if it isn’t all positive.  It’s not only a rush but gratifying to think I’m in a business where I can actually move someone, intellectually and/or emotionally.

Being part of a writing community—and on a larger scale, an arts community—has been a wonderful experience for me as well.  The people I know in that community are not only smart, they’re also engaged in life and are generally engaging as people.

I ask this of everyone – what’s your favorite book? 

That’s such a hard question, but if I have to say just one, it’s Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, a book that, by taking on life at its most absurd, helped define the human condition.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about you or your book?

I would like to invite anyone who’s interested to visit my website at to find out more about me and my work.  You might also want to take a look at my blog on that site.  And, of course, I’d like for you to read my writing and let me know what you think.


Gary WilsonGARY D. WILSON’s best-selling first novel, Sing, Ronnie Blue, appeared in 2007. He has taught fiction and short story writing at both Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago. His work has been recommended for a Pushcart Prize, and he was a finalist for the Iowa Short Fiction Award and the Drue Heinz Literary Prize. He currently lives with his wife in Chicago and is working on his next novel The Narrow Window.