Today I am happy to host an interview with the author of The Woods - Ronald Geigle! He is currently on a virtual blog tour with Sage's Blog Tours.
Why did you pursue writing?
Why did you pursue writing?
That’s a hard question. I had two teachers in high school who conveyed their love of literature to me, for starters. They also taught English composition—basically essay writing—in a way that really stuck with me. And though the assignments were hard, and I sometimes struggled to get through them, I liked the results. I realized that I actually could write. That led to a degree in journalism. I might add that I also developed quite a love of John Steinbeck’s work in high school. There was something about his expressive style and his presentation of hard times in America in the 1930s that drew me in.
My father. I spent a lot of time with him in his later years, and he began telling me about his experiences working in the woods as a teenager. He used words like “riggingslinger” and “whistlepunk” and told about the bigger-than-life loggers who brought down Douglas firs that were sometimes twelve feet thick—and about the logging railroads that teetered on the edges of mountain ledges. That was the start. By the way, a riggingslinger is a fellow who connects the logs to the main cable so they can be hauled-in. A whistlepunk was the one who ran the steam whistle in a logging operation.
How long have you been publishing your work?
Not long. The Woods is the first piece of fiction I published. That was this year.
What’s your writing environment like?
Cluttered. Piles of papers, usually previous drafts. Today’s newspaper—and yesterday’s and probably the day before that. I also use many original texts about the 1930s and labor unions and such, so those books are on my desk. And on my computer, I usually have websites open that I’m using, such as the New York Times archives or even the Chicago Manual of Style. Finally, there’s the iPod, since music is an important part of the writing process for me – often Gregorian chants, actually.
What projects are you currently working on?
I just recently finished a children’s book for early readers. It is a story about little people who live in the walls of a boy’s house and are in charge of all the heating and electrical systems. Everything is fine until the boy’s father decides that he is going to renovate the house. Also, I am now sorting out whether to write a sequel to The Woods. The original took me 20 years, on-and-off. Maybe I can speed that up a little next time.
Ronald Lee Geigle grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He was born in Monroe, Washington, and attended Meadowdale Senior High School. After graduating from the University of Washington, he headed for Washington, DC, where he has spent the past 30+ as a speechwriter, congressional aide, and public relations consultant. He worked for Washington State Senator Warren Magnuson and US Representative Norm Dicks, and founded the public relations firm Polidais.
"You learn a lot about people over that many years," says Geigle. "And you learn a lot about politics. It is always a surprise to me, despite all these years in DC, what those two forces do to one another—and not necessarily in a good way."
Geigle makes politics a central part of his novel, The Woods, which tells a coming-of-age story set during a period of labor unrest in the Pacific Northwest during the late 1930s. As the nation emerges from the Great Depression, both haves and have-nots struggle for financial survival and, more importantly, to achieve their dreams in the face of adversity, danger, and political ambition.
Geigle won fiction writing awards from the National Press Club in Washington, DC, in 1997 and 1998 for two chapters from his novel.