Gordon Warnock has a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Combined with his industry knowledge and respectful manner, he works diligently with authors to develop and polish their manuscripts and book proposals. With a zest for fresh, new writing and a deep love of the classics, Gordon always has his eye out for works which will not only thrive in the current market but will also withstand the test of time. In that spirit, he seeks to establish involved, long term working relationships with talented and dedicated authors in such areas as memoir, political and current affairs, health, humor and cookbooks. His eclectic taste in fiction focuses on a commercial narrative with a literary edge. His 2010 conferences include the San Francisco Writers Conference, Algonkian’s inaugural Write and Pitch Conference and the American Independent Writers Conference, among others.
Since this blog is about offering inspiration to writers and artist, my first question for you is, do you have a favorite quote? If so, why is it your favorite?
I would have to go with, “He told me not to worry about being him or being me. That if I learned how to begin everything I do or say with love, to fill my heart with it, everything would look different. That it doesn’t matter to be right.” – Tanya Chernov.
Gorgeous and poignant. It kind of embodies what it means to be an artist. Not only is it the kind of quote that I try to live by, but it was one of many that made me fall in love with a manuscript that is currently getting a lot of attention from New York.
What did you want to be growing up? Now that you’re an agent did this come as a surprise?
As a kid, I was in the odd position of knowing, yet never having an answer to that question. I simply wanted to not be an asshole. But since that wouldn’t satisfy the question (and would likely get me in trouble for swearing), I would make something up or just agree with whatever that adult wanted me to be. The agenting thing came as quite a surprise. I was a writer looking to learn about “the other side” of publishing for my own personal use, and it just stuck. I love working with authors and helping them achieve the success they deserve.
How do you encourage your clients when they are having moments of self-doubt?
A good agent knows his/her writers as well as their manuscripts and knows that they are all wired differently. Some perk back up with gentle encouragement or a joke, others need more of a tough love approach, and some require dairy products. It’s like any relationship. If you pay attention to what they do and say, you will know how to make them happy.
Has there ever been a writer that made a long lasting impression on you but you never took them on as a client?
My specialty in memoir often has me reading touching manuscripts that for one reason or another have no chance in the current marketplace. I do my best to point them in the right direction, but I simply don’t have the time to work with them (and most likely come up empty-handed). I have also been offered the occasional manuscript from a former writing mentor, which is an odd experience, but they usually aren’t of the type that I work with.
I find it fascinating that you are also a musician. Could you describe the instruments you play and if you write your own music?
I have been writing and recording music since before I knew how to play any instruments. Right now, I pretend to know how to play guitar, organ, drums, harmonica, ukulele, thumb piano, and whatever else I can get a hold of. I quite enjoy using non-instrument items, such as cell phones and remote controls to add character to a song. And as if I didn’t have enough to keep me busy, I am currently writing music for my new band, Lovesies.
Are there ever moments when you feel your creative spark is dying? If so, how do you light it back up?
It’s funny you should ask. I was just discussing this with Tanya. She says it well on her blog, www.tanyachernov.com. Sometimes I’m just not able to power through it, and I need some sort of drastic change to regain perspective and fuel inspiration. I am a big proponent of putting something away and coming back to it whether or not you are having difficulty with it, but she took it one step further and removed herself from the physical environment that she was writing in. That is a good practice, especially if you work and write in the same place.
If you could pick one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
“I,” or possibly “me,” depending upon the grammatical context. I’m really big on grammar, so perhaps “nerd” would be more appropriate.