This month we are going to be featuring Gregory M Lewanski, author of who reached out to us to promote his self-published novel, Oceanus, Tale of Two Tides, currently archived in our library.
"[It's] about my own vision of an Atlantis colony in a semi-fantasy setting in our own world. The people of Atlantis are undersea dwelling humans, who have been adapted to the sea in the way that cetaceans have adapted." -G.M. LEWANSKISo without further delay (I know I haven't been as active as I would have liked), here is the interview!
S: How long have you been writing for? When and how did you start becoming an author?
G: Well, I remember writing short stories as a child, around the fourth grade. My fourth grade teacher put heavy emphasis on classic literature such as Shakespeare. (A Midsummer Night's Dream in particular resonated with me) My father would read me novels as a child quite often as well. He read me The Hunt for Red October when I was three, and Dune after that, and the list goes on. I think almost everything I came to love I got from him. When I really decided that I wanted to attempt writing professionally, was near the end of my time in high school. Shortly before graduation I began brainstorming book ideas, and eventually this grew into what would become Oceanus! Around 2006 is when I started putting focus into creation with the intent to publish for others to read.
S: When you write your stories, where do you usually draw inspiration from? How do you come up with a story?
G: My inspiration really depends on the story. Usually, my inspiration comes from the ocean, and nature. I've always had a fascination with nature, fantasy, and the sea in particular. However, I have some partially written manuscripts I haven't finished in other genres as well. For something like say, science fiction, I can get inspiration through quiet time alone - especially if I have a decent sky above. For something like horror, it's a little more difficult to find. All in all, I'd say the inspiration isn't from me or outside, but rather finding a time and place that both can spark together.
S: What inspired you to write “Oceanus, Tale of Two Tides”?
G: Oceanus, Tale of Two Tides was actually my very first novel which I first wrote up quite a while ago. The easy answer about my inspiration for it would simply be the ocean. In depth, however, I suppose Oceanus and it's contents are in a way, my ideal world. By that, I don't refer to the undersea nation in the story, amazing though it would be. I see the people of the book's Atlantis as a peaceful society that blends the expected human society with a firm love and understanding of one's place in and their connection to nature. I'm not certain if it comes across in the story, or even if it was intentional when I first wrote it, but Oceanus definitely ended up conveying a need to live as we wish, but to also live for one another and the world we are in. It ends up placing Atlantis in the role of a people who can be who they wish, without sacrificing the world they live in.
S: From what you’ve told me, you’re also writing a mermaid story for future release – what is this story about?
G: I am! Unfortunately, there is quite a lot that I'm still working on, as it is still very early on in the creation process. I am still working on many important parts of the story and characters, so a proper excerpt isn't ready yet, but I will share what I can! While Oceanus has a thinly veiled connection to our real Earth, I intend to create a world of their own for the merfolk in this story. I feel that this can grant me much more flexibility to explore different possibilities with the characters, settings, and events. One thing that you should keep an eye out for if one were interested, is that I will be making use of distinctly unique merfolk societies and 'clans'. There will be a variety of species, body markings and colors, as well as societies to read about. I really aim to explore the merfolk group cultures, as well as carrying out the main story with this one. That main story isn't quite fully together just yet, though. I have some good characters ready, as well as a number of antagonists, but it will take a little time to get it all together!
S: I also understand that your recent book Oceanus is self-published. Do you have any advice to give for budding writers who would like to self-publish their works?
G: Self-publishing can be risky. The biggest risk is generally that you don't see much success in sales. This is because the book promotion usually relies on the author in question. I initially sent letters to a number of agents in the hopes of being noticed, but after the expected rejections of a first novel, I self published my book through LuLu.com. An old friend was publishing her art and calendars through the site, which I learned allowed for a variety of publishing. Humble sales should be expected, as self publishing puts your story amidst countless others who share the same output for their own stories.
It is worth noting, however, that there are ways to improve your publicity! Self publishing sites like LuLu offer packages from publicity and promotional agents and services, ranging from mentions in lists and meets, to internet and even TV ads. The price generally reflects the media source appropriately, and will cost accordingly. There is still the classic means of networking and word of mouth, as well as taking advantage of social media like Facebook pages or even creating your own YouTube advertisement if possible. I would recommend attempting self publishing if you wish to write for the sake of your stories or your own love of it.
Thank you so much for letting us interview you, Gregory! It was an honour!
To purchase Gregory Lewanski's novel, go to: