Greg Dutilly: Author
Greg has spent years transforming his life from lost street thug to teacher and coach. He is a gifted motivator, inspiring others to step out of their comfort zones and into their fears.
TSM: Hi Greg…it’s really great to have you in TSM, and thanks for doing the interview.
What inspired you to start writing?
GD: I went through some really rough times during my early teens. My family life was quite simple and normal. I went to private school where I took creative writing and theatre, and advanced a couple of years past my peers of my age. When my family split up and I moved far away with my mother, I didn’t have any friends and didn’t know how to cope. I began writing in journals as a coping mechanism and continued to do so throughout my turbulent teenage years.
TSM: Can you recall the very first piece of writing you wrote?
GD: I actually used to burn all of the first things I wrote, the ones that I kept were stolen in a backpack in New York when I was taking the bus to visit my dad. I remember waiting in Penn Station in NYC all night, and begging them to search the bus for my journals when I was fifteen. That’s why I began blogging on MySpace and elsewhere because no one could steal it. The earliest thing I wrote came back to me a few years ago by memory.
a fallen star.
Its been so close,
I’ve come so far.
her rocky hills
my earth unfolds,
my shadow spills.
My voice was lost, I held it back,
only to feel my whole world crack.
Yet now I’m free, yes free at last,
To live today, forget my past.
Funny that it is actually the one I remembered. There are a few others that come back from time to time.
TSM: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
GD: I always knew I was going to be a writer. I was reading and writing pretty well at five. I love stories. Honestly, I always liked the stage more and spent most of the time when I was younger trying to cultivate that. Writing was just something that I always did. It served as an outlet. Eventually, it just kind of chose me.
TSM: What led to you writing your book, Many Roads?
GD: At some point, I realized that when I pieced together the blogging and journaling that I had done, it made a story. I decided to take my own experiences and spin them in an interesting way. Writing a book was something that I planned on doing later in life, but I just took a leap and started it. Not long after that the Royal Society popped up, and the encouragement from the community gave me the strength to complete it. I honestly never believed I was able to finish something that big.
TSM: What process did you go through in creating your book?
GD: First, I took my blogs and writings from a three-year period where I was on a journey, and drew a timeline with a series of events like conflicts and resolutions. After that, I just did a lot of free writing. I made segments or chapters (they weren’t really chapters yet), and free wrote 5000 words a day until I had about 80,000 words. After that, I began re-writing with more structure, organizing and changing things around. I created characters and more dramatic events from my experience, and moved around the timeline. After that, it became rewrite, rewrite rewrite. I was never fully satisfied, and changed the ending a lot, and I think the story suffered from that part. It is my first big book, I’m still learning.
TSM: What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
GD: Honestly, in writing a story that was based on my life, I was forced to look at myself a lot. I uncovered a lot of trauma, which would lead me to a great place of healing, but the process was often very hard for me. I also thought it was terrible often. Later, l came to an understanding that my experiences as a child had instilled in me some terrible self-talk that was sabotaging me. I truly didn’t believe I could complete the task and if I did that it would be awful. It made me see my work as awful quite a bit and dread doing what I loved. I made a lot of mistakes during the process. It was like I had to force myself to complete it, even though I love writing because I had to overcome this mentality that I never would complete anything, and that I would ruin it because I ruin everything. I almost did. In the long run, it led me down a path of better understanding of myself and best of all I DID IT! I almost sabotaged everything a few times during the process though.
TSM: What do you hope your readers take away from Many Roads?
GD: I hope that it can be something that is fun to read, but also that someone can read it and realize that no matter what is going on outside of them, they can control what is inside of them, and forge their own path through.
TSM: What is the first book that made you cry?
GD: Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. It is story about a family, more specifically a boy and his dog which later had to be put down with a shotgun due to rabies.
TSM: What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
GD: Jack Keouac, Joh Bunyan and Hunter S. Thompson.
TSM: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?
GD: Get people to stop being used by technology, back into nature and using technology.
TSM: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?
GD: “Leap and the net will appear”
TSM: Are you working on a new book right now?
GD: I started a sequel to Many Roads called Just Down the Road, which was based on my childhood, and written in the third person as fiction as opposed to first person like I did with Many Roads. I decided that it was not time and took a break. I am now newly inspired, and writing an unrelated story about a man who escapes society and civilization to a deserted island who tells his story in the final hours before he is captured or rescued.
TSM: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can readers find out more about you and your work?
GD: You can find my books on Amazon in ebook format or request them anywhere books are sold or borrowed.
TSM: Thanks so much again for doing this interview and wish you all the best in the future.
GD: Thank you so much for staying on me. I have been very detached and really wanted to do this. I appreciate you very much!