“Getting published is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s those writers who understand that and continue to persist, despite all the rejection along the way, who will succeed.”
A member of the Writers’ League of Texas who recently rejoined after having previously been a member in the early 2000s, Walt Gragg lives in Georgetown.
Walt Gragg: Military thrillers.
Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?
WG: Tough question. It would likely be James A. Michener, Leon Uris, or James Clavell. Question — “How in the world were you able to write the incredibly complex stories you so masterfully wove together?”
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
WG: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
WG: A tremendous amount of things. Attending a number of the annual conferences really helped me to learn how to interact with agents and pitch my work. That paid off when I pitched my soon-to-be agent, Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency at ThrillerFest in New York in 2014. If asked to give advice to an aspiring writer, I would probably say the most important thing you need to learn is getting published is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s those writers who understand that and continue to persist, despite all the rejection along the way, who will succeed.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
WG: If you ask my agent and editor, they would tell you the sky’s the limit. I was lucky enough to sign with a vice president and editorial director (Tom Clancy’s editor) with the Berkley Publishing Group at Penguin Random House. So I have one of the most highly respected editors and the force of the world’s largest publishing house behind me. My debut The Red Line comes out on May 2, 2017. In the February 13 edition of Publishers Weekly, I not only received a glowing “starred” review, but out of the 100 or so books they reviewed, The Red Line was one of only two books to received the highly coveted “boxed” review. I’m getting up in age so will probably only write another five books or so, but I hope to eventually be on the New York Times bestseller list. On top of that, we’ve already signed with a producer in Hollywood who is looking to turn The Red Line into a blockbuster movie trilogy. So — so far, so good.
Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?
WG: The Right Side of Wrong by Reavis Wortham.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
WG: I’m told The Red Line is a great book. Something really special. Big, bold, and unique. Publishers Weekly confirmed that in their review. I hope it really is a novel everyone will want to read. We are having a huge release party hosted by Gather at 5540 N. Lamar in Austin on May 6, from 1 pm to 4 pm. Food, drink, free parking, and music by Austin’s great Beatles cover band, The Eggmen. There will also be 2-3 guest authors signing their work. We would love for the Writers’ League members to come out, have some fun, and chat a bit with us about writing.
If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!