Getting to Know the Author: George Polley

Welcome, George. Let’s learn more about you …

What is your genre? Why did you choose it?

“Until recently, I’ve not thought in terms of genre, I’ve just written stories and novels for adult readers, some of which will also appeal to young readers. My novella, “The Old Man and The Monkey”, is a fable about friendship that appeals to both adults and younger readers. In terms of genre, I suppose both would find themselves in literary fiction.”

Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?

“Not usually. An exception would be if I need to work on revising a manuscript before sending it off for publication.”

Do you work with a writing/critique group?

“Several, in fact. I work with a small monthly writing group here in Sapporo, plus belong to several online groups, MasterKoda being one of them. Beta readers are picked from those groups. My first writer’s group was in Minneapolis in the 1970s that published a literary magazine (The Lake Street
Review). Before that, I was fortunate enough to meet Frederick Manfred, a well-known Midwestern author (“Lord Grizzly” and other novels), who critiqued and mentored me. And I got to know a group of Minnesota poets, who were also helpful. Today, living overseas as I do, Facebook is a godsend. Don’t know where I’d be without the writers and authors I’ve come to know there.”

Can you remember your first reading book?

“Probably Jack and Jill. Later it was Edgar Rice Burroughs for his Mars and Venus novels, and Zane Gray for his western and cowboy novels. Most people know Burroughs for his Tarzan novels, which I wasn’t that interested in. Exploring other planets? Oh, wow!”

Do you nibble on snacks while writing?

“No, though I do keep a cup of water next to my computer desk.”

Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.

“Very cluttered. To the left of my computer desk is a three-level stand with my printer on top. Below that I have my big Starbucks mug, manuscripts, a large Spanish dictionary, and a number of other things. The bottom level contains printer paper and a box filled with music cds, plus two more boxes filled with miscellany. (Never know when I might need one of those.) My iMac computer sits in front of me, with a metal book and document holder that I’ve had since the mid-1950s, and a clutter of papers, a pair of reading glasses, and other items. Makes my wife crazy. To the right is another table with two suitcases on the bottom level (my wife put them there; I have no idea what is in them), all of the poetry books that I own, a pen and pencil holder, and more clutter. The top shelf has two of my wife’s photos on it, one of my mother’s miniature paintings, some small figurines, a hand carved owl, and a greeting card. To the right of that is a tall cabinet with drawers filled with this and that.”

ImageAre you published in the traditional manner, or self-published? Share your journey.

“Both in the traditional manner and self-published. Both “The Old Man and The Monkey” and “Grandfather and The Raven” are published by an Indie publisher (Taylor Street Publishing) in San Francisco, California. I will likely publish my next novel, “The City Has Many Faces: A Love Story About Mexico City” using Tortoise & Hare Publications, which I own and have used in the past for the mental health booklets that I published several years ago. I like having more responsibility and control over what happens to what I have published than is possible with the traditional approach, but we’ll see.”

Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?

“Frederick Manfred, Nikos Kazantzakis, and Jorge Amado. I’ll start with Frederick Manfred, as it was he that suggested that I send a short story, “Jonah’s Birth”, to John Milton, editor of The South Dakota Review, who read and published it. That was back in 1969. As you say where you live, I was chuffed! Me, a published writer! Wow!

“Nikos Kazantakis’s influence was the power of the imagery he used in his novels (“Zorba the Greek” being perhaps the most well-known). His images were gripping, mesmerising. Jorge Amado, the great Brazilian novelist (“Gabriela”, “The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell”, “Teresa Batista” and others) because he grabbed me and plunged me into every one of his stories. From there, I plunged headlong into the magical realists. Whoo, what a ride!”

What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript?

“Learn what needs to be done in writing a manuscript (format, etc.), make it as clean as you can, find a good editor to correct spelling, typos (a writer friend calls them cockroaches, because when you think you’ve got them all, they appear again), grammar (English grammar being a lifelong mystery to me), and other things that a good editor will do for you. Then, and only then, send it out for publication. I like to have my manuscripts as clean as possible when I send one out. Amazing how those cockroaches hatch after I’ve killed them all off.”

ImageIf the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?

“Haven’t a clue, as I’m almost totally out of touch with who is even around these days. When it comes to movie producers, and if The Old Man and the Monkey’s movie rights were purchased, I know exactly who that would be: Koizumi (don’t recall his first name), whose movie “Letter from the Mountain” is one of my all time favorites.”

I was on my way to the supermarket, when . . . Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?

“I’m having trouble with that one, probably because I don’t believe I remember the boring ones. (Too boring.) I do remember relaxing in a shopping mall here one day, reading a book, when I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. Glancing over, there was this tiny little boy with a huge smile on his face, waving at me. So I waved back at him as he passed by, then looked up to see his mother smiling at us. I returned her smile, and waved again as he went skipping off with his mother. It was one of those unforgettable events that happen that never go away. I love ‘em!”

Ah, that was lovely. A smile can go a long way!

My website:

My books:


About Glynis Peters Author

I write Historical saga style novels featuring mystery and romantic twists. HarperCollins/HarperImpulse publishers of my novel, The Secret Orphan. I live in the UK, in a coastal town in Essex. When I am not writing, I enjoy making greetings cards, Cross Stitch, fishing and the company of my little granddaughters. I also write Victorian novels under my own name, Glynis Smy,
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3 Responses to Getting to Know the Author: George Polley

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Glynis – Thanks for introducing us to George.

    George – I’ve always thought that fables make for such wonderful ways to tell stories. Thanks for sharing the background to yours. I wish you success.

  2. Nice to meet you, George!

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