10 questions with attorney and author Michael Gast

July 17, 2010|By HEATHER LOWERY
  • Michael Gast of Hagerstown has written "The Stone Wall."
Submitted photo,

Name: Michael Gast

Age: 55

City in which you reside: Hagerstown

Day job: Attorney and author

Book title: "The Stone Wall"

Quick synopsis of book: It is a suspense-filled story about two children who battle an ancient spirit threatening to destroy their community in Maine.

Page count: 72 pages

Publisher: Xlibris Publishing

Genre: Fiction

Price: $16.95 retail; it is available at

Last book read: Biography of Marcus Aurelius

1. What inspired you to write this book?

My children.


2. Tell us about your writing process.

I have to have a ruling passion for the subject manner. It has to engage me and once I decide on it, I'll lay out the plot in an outline form and then each chapter. I'll do up to 10 drafts, always editing. When I do a draft I like to sleep on it and the next morning I have all these new ideas and I'm able to rework it so it comes out a lot better.

3. How do you develop your characters?

My characters are based on people I've known. Basically, people I've met in life. I use them as sort of models for my characters.

4. What was the most challenging aspect of the writing process?

What I tried to do in this book was get across the moral authority of the pre-Christian tribes. A lot of children and adults don't realize and don't know anything about moral authority in pre-Christian times and how it's relevant today. The most challenging aspect, though, would be how I could convey the moral authority traditions and practices of pre-Christian tribes and how I could make it relevant in today's modern world in a way that children could understand.

5. What have you learned that you wish you would have known earlier before writing this book?

How extensive the editing process is. Once you have a completed book just how extensive editing is, even after its completed. Since it's a color-illustrated book, how you have to work the dialogue and the narrative together with the illustrations.

6. Did you discover anything about yourself while writing this book?

I discovered how rewarding it is to write a book for children that teaches them solid values that will enable them to become better persons in their community.

7. What advice can you offer other writers?

I would advise new writers to read Ray Bradbury. He wrote a book on how to write. I would advise them to read that book, and to write everyday, no matter what, to develop their talent.

8. Why did you choose to write this as a children's book?

At the time I had cancer, and I didn't know if I was going to live. I wanted to leave something (for my children) that would be long lasting and would have value in their lives. Then I realized that other children could benefit from it.

9. What do you wish for your readers to get out of the book?

I want them to get out of the book an appreciation for the moral authority traditions of the pre-Christian northen tribes, and to realize how important their contributions were to the present freedoms we enjoy today.

10. How do you plan to promote your book?

Through book signings and the Internet. Borders has agreed to buy copies of my book, and I'm going to be doing some appearances around the county and some promotions when I have time.

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