Gary L. Doman, whose (pen-)surname rhymes with “roman”, the French word for “novel”, was born in Syracuse (New York) and has spent the majority of his life in Connecticut. He has degrees from Fairfield University and the University of Connecticut. He has developed an interest in just about everything, especially history, geography, religion, language, and the natural world. He began writing as a child and has never really stopped, although he does periodically need to eat and sleep, and also devotes considerable time to his other creative and intellectual endeavors; these include his “weblog” the Doman Domain and one of the items of interest found there, namely, “The Best Comic Strip Ever!”. Further, he has taught himself to sing and founded his own political philosophy. His greatest accomplishment may be remaining humble despite the preceding!
Thank you for this interview, Gary. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I am an eccentric whose official family name is "Thomann" but whose pen-surname rhymes with "roman," the French word for "novel." I was born in Syracuse (New York) and have spent the majority of my life in Connecticut. I've earned a degree from Fairfield University and one from the University of Connecticut. I have an interest in just about everything, especially history, geography, religion, language, and the natural world. In addition to writing, I devote considerable time to creative and intellectual endeavors that include my "weblog" the Doman Domain and one of the items of interest found there: "The Best Comic Strip Ever!" I've developed my singing-and-speaking voice, acquired a reputation as a wit, and founded my own political philosophy. But, don't worry; I also have ample reason for humility.
As for how long I’ve been writing: I began so long ago that I don't even know how long ago it happened. In fact, I produced a book of sorts when I was still in the early years of grade school. I've been writing on-and-off ever since, but I didn't decide to pursue it as what I call a quasi-profession (since I don't know that I can write often enough to describe it as anything more than a paying hobby) until young-adulthood.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
“Vinland Viking: An Original Saga by Gary L. Doman”—I use both the word "original" and my name in the title to emphasize that this is a work of fiction rather than an academic tome—is an "epic novella" and a "Christian historical fantasy-adventure" set at the time of the conversion to Christianity of Iceland and Greenland. The protagonist is a young Northman who longs to lead the storied life of the pagan Vikings; his opportunity comes with Leif Ericsson's exploration in North America, but his fortunes change in a way and by a means that no one could have anticipated, and which leads him ultimately (in a surprise ending) to the one true god.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I've always liked adventures more than probably anything else. All the stories that I plan to write are adventures, although some also qualify in other categories, as this one does.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
My greatest challenge may have been simply beginning the project. As I state in the acknowledgement, I initially balked at the prospect of having to do all the research and other work that would be necessary to realize “Vinland Viking,” but friends gave me encouragement that I appreciate.
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
I had a traditional publisher for the print version of “Vinland Viking,” but the improved, electronic edition exists thanks to Kindle Direct Publishing; I don't consider using KDP to be a form of self-publishing, since it hasn't cost me any money.
Was it the right choice for you?
Probably it was. One drawback is that some reviewers evidently won't read anything but print copies, of which I currently have a limited supply. (On the other hand, of course, there may well be persons in our age of whizbang electronics who never read anything that is in print.) The advantages, which include high royalties and the ability to make changes whenever this perfectionist pleases, seem to outweigh the disadvantages.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
Aside from doing what all authors are expected to do these days, that is, help publicize themselves using social media, I've hired PrimeStar Publicity to spread the word about my words.
How is that going for you?
Well, PrimeStar got me this interview!
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
On my above-mentioned weblog the Doman Domain is a promotion for “Vinland Viking,” and I also link the title of every one of my over 400 postings to a site that serves that same purpose. A number of acquaintances have bought my novella, or told me that they want to read it, as the result of seeing it advertised on the Doman Domain.
Do you have another job besides writing?
I'm too busy to work! (If I should need more capital, then I'll find some way to bring in money, but I've traditionally regarded my time as worth too much to give up without a very good reason.)
What’s next for you?
“Vinland Viking” is not actually my latest opus, but merely the only one that I've (even tried to have) published so far. Once I've finished getting the amount of attention for this work that it deserves, I'll see about publishing the second novella that I've "finished" (pending whatever revisions might occur to me the next time that I look at it). That's not a sequel, but it's also an historical adventure, and the protagonist of the story (and of three others that I intend to build around him) shares a common ancestry with my “Vinland Viking’s” Brand-Yngar Magnusson. In fact, the hero of every tale that I plan to tell is of that extended family, and in that way I hope to give unity to what I regard as a kind of epic cycle (encompassing a span of 13,000 years), the main characters of which together represent all humanity. I hope that I'll have time to complete this project along with all the other things that I want to accomplish.
Thank you for this interview, Gary. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?