I lived in Providence, RI until my large family moved to Alexandria, VA because of the Department of the Navy promoting my father to an aircraft logistics job there. My mother sometimes taught sewing but usually worked as a stay-at-home mom. When I graduated from High School, I attended Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA. I became a Ranger & Mechanized Infantry Officer Ft. Benning, GA; then was assigned to the First Infantry Division’s Ranger Battalion (combo unit) at Ft. Riley, KS. My wife says I’m still not grown up, however.Why do you write? What does writing mean to you?
I write to intrigue readers in my practical advice (financial), my imagination and mystical & genetics suspicions, and my humor.When did you decide to become a writer? Do you ever regret not making the decision earlier?
I wrote financial marketing pieces and articles from 1987 up through & beyond my 2017 retirement to help people make better decisions and to demonstrate how I could help them. Currently, as a freelancer, I write more of these than ever! But I love writing humor and adventure fiction ever since college days. I decided that I would pursue writing as a professional undertaking with my first novel, researched and written in 1996. As time went on, my desire to write adventure fiction and humor professionally only grew.How often do you write in a week? Do you prefer writing in the day or at night?
I do not have a preference as to when I write, except that I must wakie-wakie in the morning first. I write for an hour every weekday, starting around 7:00am, then again after lunch and just before supper for a regular client. I write for myself or other clients in between these times, but supper and later is family time; I rarely write then.How many stories have you written that remain unfinished and/or unpublished? Do you plan on publishing any of those stories in the future?
I have a dozen finished but unpublished and one unfinished. These are spin-offs of my novel, Ancient of Genes (Liberty Island Media, NY, Feb 2020). I tend to write one tale at a time even when I re-wrote my novel.What are some important issues you hope to discuss or bring to light through your books and your writing?
The potential for genetic warfare weapons of mass destruction is real. I have seen what measure our government took to stop a Soviet attempt at this, but the potential remains. The spiritual world is real. The continuum of development in a fetus is such that there is no point in development that can possibly be shown as the day when humanity is real, and the evidence is so plentiful that it almost rises to proof. Therefore, there is no day prior that can be identified as licit for its destruction; one cannot scientifically or ethically assert—with any degree of validity, anyway—that there is a point when destruction cannot be destruction of a human being. Oh, the list goes on and on.What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I am from Mars, a former Army Ranger, military college grad, Infantry officer, outdoors-type, 31-year husband, family man and all-around testosterone-influenced kinda guy with traditional values. So, I write in a hard-hitting and manner, often portraying women in my first-drafts as a tad too-gentile; definitely old-school. Luckily, my wife is from Venus, and she smacks me upside the head a few times and we eventually get the female characters right, more intelligent, interesting, courageous, crucial to the plot and to male character development.How was the experience of writing "The Dawn of Reason” and “From the Reliquary of Job” in Millhaven's Tales of Adventure anthology, which includes nine thrilling adventures?
I really enjoy writing my adventure stories because I actually imagine—almost meditate and hallucinate—that I’m really in the story. The experience is real for me, and often is based in actual anthropology, paleontology, scriptures from various traditions. So I feel I must make my exploration—what really might have happened and its ripple effect into the future—felt in the mind and soul of readers. I make them share my experience vividly and emotionally.What challenges did you face while creating worlds for Millhaven’s Fierce Tales: Lost Worlds?
The biggest challenge is editing after the first draft; other work aspects seem to not really be challenges. That’s because I write very quickly, as my imaginings work out in my mind. This causes numerous errors such as repeated words in proximity, missing the conveyance of a character trait or all aspects of a scene and the cues that enable the reader to see what I may take for granted as a causative or connecting action. So, my editing is extremely extensive: Again I make believe, in that I ask questions of the manuscript that a reader would ask if he/she were unfamiliar with various assumptions and connections and traits. I fix those errors and start editing over again and repeat this process over and over until I cannot find flaws or word things more intriguingly or vividly. Then, I take the work to a mutual critique group or two and let them have at it. Finally, I read the draft allowed to family members or other who have not read it. Readers and listeners must show that new mysteries fascinate them, and the implications dawn on them; otherwise, I have more work to do. I absorb their questions and critiques and then perform final edits.How important do you think a character's name is to the plot and as a reflection of who they are?
That depends upon the story, but sometimes the name is crucial. In “The Dawn of Reason”, names were crucial because it had to dawn on readers, SLOWLY and in intriguing steps, that the tale is a re-imagining of the Fall in Genesis and not merely be a re-telling. So D’Mea is Adam, angels are “they who leave no footsteps” and Satan is Samaya, a name found in The Book of Enoch. In my novel, Ancient of Genes, the protagonist Dr. Kevin Gamaliel Harrigan needed to have any Irish name with a Hebrew middle name. That is because the Irish may actually be substantially from the gene pools of the tribe of Benjamin and Ephraim. He must disdain his religious-related middle name because he resists the slowly emerging evidence that God has been reaching into human history—especially his—via numerous actions. These include the diasporas…and the “Chosen People” really being chosen for a potentially real and crucial reason for humanity. They carry a genetic trait the world needs for the Resurrection of all human ancestors. Also based in fact, the trigger for that physical regeneration has potential as a genetic weapon of mass destruction by which the user and his allies can subvert enemy gene pools, enhance their own, and inherit the earth. So there are nonfiction genetic potentials that could implement “Eden’s new dawn…or the sunset of humanity.”What are some hard lessons you learned as a new author that nobody could've prepared you for?
Don’t self-publish, as I did in 1997 (what a nightmare and stigma). Don’t assume you are finished with a work until you have been through numerous rounds of critiques and edits. The problem is that many will love your storyline and give you the impression that you are finished when, in fact, far more goes into a story to make it a success than a cool idea or plot. Also, don’t get attached to scenes: they may entertain, but if they fail to meaningfully contribute to the plot—at least characterization; best both—then they must be removed or re-worked. Place these in a notebook; they may need to be in other stories.Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years? What are some goals you hope to accomplish by then?
I hope to have finished a trilogy with Ancient of Genes being the initial book. I hope to have finished at least two anthologies of short stories that are related: One a spin-off of Ancient of Genes and the other a cryptozoological anthology with minor connections to AOG. I hope to land a TV series with AOG, with the help of screenwriter Charlie Boyles and publisher Liberty Island Media. There may be additional business or financial books and articles as well. And my wife and I had better get some grandchildren, or there’ll be hell to pay!What are some things you always mention to any fan that contacts you and says they want to be a writer?
I always offer three items of advice: Outline your work because that helps the quality and elimination of logical errors, but it also helps defeat writer’s block by providing yourself a writing assignments, section by section, and we are better able to write from such ‘prompts” than from some grander idea that we hope will just automatically flow from our brains. Research, even if you have a strong background in your subject; never write fiction from total inexperience. Edit, edit, edit!Are you working on anything right now?
Yes, the anthologies noted above, and I am working with Charlie Boyles to help shape the TV- pilot screenplay and associated pitch materials that we hope and pray will become a TV series or feature film.How do you manage all your social media accounts and write promotions? Have you had pleasant experience with AllAuthor so far and is this a platform you might recommend to others?
I have scant time, due to freelancing obligations, the projects I noted, and various promotional work to-dos (website improvement, LinkedIn and Facebook to do much other promotion. This will get tighter after February 2020, when Liberty Island publishes Ancient of genes (hope it is not delayed). So, I do recommend AllAuthor as an inexpensive and tremendously time-saving tool for creating and publicizing graphics for my nonfiction (so far) and, soon, my fiction.Since I started AllAuthor, my web traffic has increased about twenty percent and Skyhorse Publishing (my nonfiction publisher) informs me that Amazon visits have increased the same.
Dan Gallagher writes to intrigue readers in his practical advice (financial), his imagination and mystical & genetics suspicions, and his humor. Dan is the author of a novel, a licensing manual, and numerous articles in journals such as Virginia Lawyers Weekly, Financial Planning, The Daily Press and The Virginia Gazetten. He loves writing humor and adventure fiction ever since college days.