Today we are chatting with author B. B. Gallagher, on discovering and pursuing his passion for writing.. I recently raced through his book ARK 13 in less than a day, it was quite the page turner.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well I’m B.B. Gallagher, father of two, husband of one. I am a data nerd by day and an author by night. I’m 28 years old, I live in small town North Carolina. I have two masters degrees, a lot of student loan debt and terrible dance moves. I like playing with my kids and having a glass of wine with my wife as we watch some trashy reality TV show.
I’m most known for my first novella, Ark-13 (now available on Amazon, Kindle and Audible). I am also a Wattpad Featured Author. The main project I have been working on for the last four years is a spy thriller series. It will release on Amazon, Kindle and Audible on September 11th.
When did you first become interested in writing?
I really started writing stories in middle school. I must have been 13 when I wrote my first screenplay. It was awful. It was an overly dramatic, depressing indie movie called Hickory Lane that followed a really dysfunctional family.
I think I first got interested in writing through film. I was a film geek growing up. I watched all the artsy movies. I loved movies with a twist ending like Usual Suspects, Fight Club or anything M Night Shyamalan directed. I knew I wanted to bring that shock and awe feeling to people.
It was too hard to buy a camera and start directing stuff so I began writing. I quickly found out that it was writing that I loved.
Between your day job and family time with your wife and kids, how do you find time to write?
This is something I am trying to change right now actually. I had an unhealthy habit of staying up really late writing. One time I got on a roll and literally wrote through the night.
This is not the most conducive lifestyle for a suburban dad, so I’m trying to reverse the clock. I’m now waking up at 5 AM and going to work out. After that I have about an hour and half to two hours every morning to write. I am trying to do this every day, no matter the day. A lot of the big authors out there do this.
When people ask me, ‘how do you have time to write all of this?’ My usual answer is that I write in the car on my commute. I just don’t write anything down. I plot out the stories and brainstorm ALOT. I wrote the riddles in Project Apollo during Eucharistic adoration. I don’t know if they were divinely inspired or not, but at least the quiet helped.
If you have a passion for something you will make time. If you don’t make time, you honestly don’t love it enough. As I’m getting more popular and I’m seeing being an author as a potential full-time career, I am trying to become more disciplined and habituate myself to a routine so that I don’t lose sight of what’s most important – my family.
Ok, quick interruption, love the name Xander, but I am a little biased since that’s what we call our son Alexander. Anyway, what were any fears or concerns that held you back from pursuing your dream for a time?
This is a very good question – one that people have to ask themselves.
I would say that the fear of rejection and criticism hung me up for a while. I remember one day for some reason I said ‘screw it’ and I sent Project Sparta to my older brother to read. I knew he would tell me straight. He’s also a publisher of Catholic books so he knows what’s marketable and not.
I remember clear as day we met for dinner and he took the first page out and asked for my autograph. He told me it would be worth something one day.
Most people would say, “he’s your brother of course he’s going to love it.” I would answer, “you haven’t met my brother.” I think it’s very important to surround yourself with honest people that you know are honest. It keeps you real and grounded. Those people who go on American Idol and belt out the flattest notes you’ve ever heard never had honest feedback.
What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
I’ll give you three.
- I ran a free ebook promotion over five days that garnered 5,000 downloads. My book was #1 in free ebooks for Post Apocalyptic fiction. It was #46 in free ebooks on all of Amazon in five days. If you don’t know Amazon has literally millions and millions of free ebooks. So that was pretty amazing.
- I got offered a publishing contract. It was an indie firm out of Texas. I appreciated the offer but I turned it down for a number of reasons. But now I’m only a self-published author by choice.
- My mom read the end of one of my books and she called me crying. It wasn’t because she was proud of her little boy, it was because a character died and she was attached. I still have the voicemail saved on my phone in case I need encouragement.
What have you found the most difficult aspect of pursuing your dream?
The most difficult aspect of pursuing my dream is to get people to read a book. My friends aren’t book worms (well Steven is). My brothers, parents and wife aren’t book worms. People would rather binge watch Netflix these days than read a series of books.
A million books are published every year. So how do I get someone to read mine? It’s hard to ask people to read your book because its self-promoting and you are asking for an investment of their time.
Secondly, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. But I have to work to support my family and that’s more important. So I guess you could say ‘Life gets in the way.’
What does success as a writer look like to you?
Success is finding fulfillment in your work and fulfilling other’s with your work.
That requires a few things. 1) Fulfillment – if you ain’t writing about something good, you are writing about something bad. You want to make the world a better place and spread noble ideas.
2) Others – Success for me is a following of fans. This is where Wattpad has been tremendously helpful. I have fans in India and Zambia and countries I’ve never heard of. One guy said he read Project Sparta ten times.
3) Work – work is good, sometimes it sucks but no one feels personal fulfillment for being lazy. I heard a quote that has always stuck with me. Success is not owned, it’s leased and rent is due every day.
I love that idea about success being about fulfillment. What advice do you have for people who are considering making some change to pursue their dreams/ goals?
Follow your dreams but don’t forget reality. I get so angry with people who are starving artists. You know the type. They’re the ones who put their own muse and self-indulgence before everything and everyone else. Don’t be that guy. He’s starving because he’s a moron, not because he just hasn’t been discovered yet.
As it relates to writing, don’t try to write the next great American novel. Be yourself and I promise you that it will be a better novel. You have to be honest. Being a writer or an artist or anything is about wearing hats, not wearing masks.
You have to be yourself.
Heads up! His latest book Project Sparta comes out on September 11th and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.
How about you? Do you have any dreams of pursuing writing, or a different creative process? Any tips to share with the rest of us?