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Author Of The Week: November 15 – November 21

November 15, 2010

Dan Gutman [our holdings]

About Dan {From his site]

My Story (And I’m Sticking With It!)

I was born in New York City on October 19, 1955. When I was about a year old, my family moved to Newark, New Jersey, where I spent my childhood. It was pretty uneventful until June 1, 1968, when I came home from a Little League game and found that my dad had suddenly abandoned my mom, my sister Lucy, and me. It was pretty traumatic, as you can imagine, but we all survived.

I attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, graduating in 1977 with a degree in psychology. After spending a few unhappy years in graduate school, I decided that psychology was not for me. What I really wanted to do, I decided, was to be a writer.

I wanted to write humor, like Art Buchwald and Erma Bombeck. So I moved to New York City in 1980 (where all starving writers go) and began cranking out “humorous essays.”

My essays weren’t all that funny, though I did publish some in a Staten Island newspaper, the Advance. My first check (for $15) is on the wall over my desk as I write this. I also had some of my photos published in the children’s humor magazines Cracked and Crazy.

I tried writing magazine articles, with little success. I wrote a few screenplays, but never sold them. I thought I had some good book ideas, but publishers weren’t interested. I received hundreds of rejection letters. It was very frustrating, but I was very determined and persistent. I felt that I had some ability as a writer, but I didn’t know where to direct it.

In 1982 the video game Pac-Man was a huge craze, and I started a video games magazine called Video Games Player. This was the first (and only) job I ever had. The magazine sold pretty well, and two years later it was renamed Computer Games. Most importantly, I met my future wife Nina while working on the magazine. She was working as an illustrator, and we hired her to draw game screens. We got married in 1983.

Whether I deserved it or not, I became known as a “computer expert.” This was astonishing to me, because I knew next to nothing about computers (I still don’t). But being the editor of Computer Games enabled me to write articles on the subject. I even wrote a newspaper column that was syndicated in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, and many other papers. I felt like a fraud the whole time.

When Computer Games went out of business in 1985, I decided to take a gamble and become a full time freelance writer. At first I wrote about computers, but gradually I started tackling other topics. Eventually, my writing creeped into Esquire, Newsweek, Science Digest, Writer’s Digest, Success, Psychology Today, New Woman, USA Today, and The Village Voice. I was gaining confidence as a writer, but I still hadn’t found the type of writing I really wanted to do.

Continue reading at his site.

 

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