Gary Demers has been passionate about the literary world as long as he can remember. He has always had a passion for reading and collecting books. Like many other readers, he started reading comic books at a young age, graduating up to reading novels. His favorite stories throughout the years were detective novels, mystery books and magazines. Gary read for fun and he never really felt the call to write anything, until he joined the Navy and had to write home to friends and family.
“My letters seemed to have touched others in profound ways as I wrote about the people and different ports that I visited. After the Navy, I continued to journal anywhere and everywhere, often using paper napkins at the local diner just to get a few thoughts out of my head,” says Gary fondly.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Gary at the elegant Eilan Hotel and Spa Resort in San Antonio, where he shared his past achievements and his current goals with me.
Gary was born at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, and he grew up near the Base until the Air Force relocated his family to Alaska – “the Land of the Midnight Sun”. His first job was at the ripe old age of 13 delivering the Anchorage Times to a hundred and forty homes by sled in the winter, and bicycle in the summer. He read the newspaper headlines before he set out to deliver them, thinking how cool the newspaper could be your voice to the masses. He spent most of his summers hiking the mountains around his hometown of Eagle River and Denali, often finding a glacial lake or river to navigate by canoe. He grew up in a home with four brothers and they all participated in sports, specifically the wrestling team. From an early age he studied martial arts and gradually earned his black sash ranking in Wushu at an event in Hong Kong during his Navy enlistment.
“I have always enjoyed traveling, photography, outdoor sports, and sailing on the open ocean is by far my favorite thing to do. In my marriage of twenty-nine years, my wife and I have been fortunate to travel with our three children to many interesting places. I suppose one of my favorite words is ‘journey’ and that is why I enjoy reading so much. A well-crafted story can take your imagination on the most incredible journey, each one completely different and memorable.”
Gary has had lots of career interests, but only two main careers in his lifetime and now he is launching his third. His military career as an air traffic controller and communications expert launched him into his civilian employment as an air traffic controller at Long Island, New York. In total he was in the air traffic control and communications field for 17 years. During those years, while raising a family and traveling, he preserved through the many challenges of academia to complete his PhD. in clinical counseling.
“I was working on that tragic September 11th morning when the hijacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York city. I had just received the meteorological data for the entire eastern seaboard, when I glanced up at the large television screen in the boardroom. On that incredibly beautiful sunny New York morning, our entire team worked as diligently as possible to ground all planes remaining in the air. Airline dispatchers and pilots worked tirelessly with alternative measures to ground every plane safely. It wasn’t just your normal hijacking or airline emergency situational protocol. I remember one pilot asking his dispatcher for an update. He wanted more information before heading to another airport. The dispatcher replied, “America is under attack.” That pretty much summed up what everyone felt. That morning changed America in many ways.”
After receiving his PhD., Gary launched his private practice as a Behavior Analyst. By day he was an Air Traffic Controller and by night he led several Christian ministries and facilitated counseling services. His counseling career overtook the first in a short time, which allowed him to move into a full-time counseling capacity. He has now retired his private counseling practice in order to launch his writing and publishing services.
“In the past I have had some unique odd jobs while supporting my family and going to school. One very unique work experience was while I was employed with NBC as an account executive and a nightly news weatherman for about two years. I met a lot of famous people in the television and film industry and realized that I didn’t want to be an entertainer. From behind the scenes I got to observe the insecurities of Hollywood stars, whose lives would rise or fall based on their last performance. After being in a few commercials and watching the chaos off camera, I soon realized that the entertainment business was not my calling.”
Gary says his worst part-time job was at a shipping and receiving facility in a local big-box store. He hated to see such a waste of clothing and household products that were thrown away every night. He argued that these items could have been given to the local homeless shelters, but company policy forbade it. He gave up that job just so he could sleep at night.
Several years ago, Gary created the Fellowship of Christian Writers and eTrendingNews wanted to know what was his main reason for doing this and what was his greatest accomplishment.
“Having lived and traveled to so many places in the world, it has been wonderful to return to my Texas roots here in San Antonio and settle down with my family. I knew that I needed to start a writers group in my area once I settled down for good. My original goal was to simply bring in inspirational authors to mentor aspiring writers, helping to educate them by collaborative efforts. It grew too quickly and left me with no choice but to break the meetings up by zip codes so that it was easier to manage. While I learned a lot about publishing and connected with agents and publishers, my biggest learning curve was in truly understanding the word ‘aspiring’. There were many aspiring authors who didn’t want to do the work towards publishing. I received hundreds of emails and letters asking for help with publishing and writing, but there are those who aspire to do great things, and then there are those who ‘sit down and bleed at their typewriters’. (To borrow an Ernest Hemingway phrase.) I started breaking down the groups into even more manageable groups to serve those who remained focused on their publishing goals.”
As a ‘ghost’, Gary has written and collaborated on six novels since 2010. (When people are looking to contract with a ghostwriter, they often say they are looking for a ‘ghost’.) Gary’s first book publication is written in an Epistolary format, about true events that took place in the mid-1970’s. He says the update for the book release is scheduled for Christmas 2017.
“Other writers have contracted with me solely for the reason that I have an extensive background in psychology and theology. They want depth to their characters and continuity throughout their story. There was a time that I was an atheist, but as a Christian with a strong Apologetic background, I also provide a balance to inspirational story themes that other writers have questions about.”
Gary’s main focus today is on his publishing services company – Notable Press. Notable Press is a publishing services company that evolved out of the original Fellowship of Writers organization.
“My main focus has always been to help writers get their work published. Over the years, I received many requests to help review a book, or to help with a struggling writer’s book development. Due to demand, I have decided to launch Notable Press as a full-time service to help writers achieve their goals at a fraction of the cost that many other outlets charge.”
Notable Press mission statement: “Notable Press is an author’s advocate between the constant struggle of self-doubt and creative success.”
For a writer that considers contracting the services that Notable Press offers there are significant advantages.
“There is no doubt that Notable Press is a much more personalized, service-oriented publishing option. We are a professional team, driven to bring our client’s creative prose to unimaginable success. Our team has skill sets that are diverse in all areas of traditional and nontraditional publishing. When a writer chooses Notable Press, they become part of our publishing family.”
With the new trends in publishing and the so-called eBook revolution, the publishing industry has been on a rocky road. However, Gary does not think this is going to affect the way people continue to read books.
“I don’t know if I would call it an eBook revolution, however, digital media is here to stay and is a necessary learning medium for future generations. On the other hand, a hardback or paperback book is like a living person. You look up on your bookshelf and you see that old dogged-eared friend still smiling back at you, without that red blinking-light warning you to plug it in. I don’t believe there is a war between eBooks and traditional books, but I do believe it’s more about the psychology of having access to something humanly tangible versus something robotic. The eBook has been a great medium to help keep traditional publishing costs down and has been a great tool for those who self-publish their work. Many eBooks are very short in length and profitable to the author who publishes frequently and having already built up their author platform. However, many authors and book buyers want a quality product that is humanly tangible, like an author’s firm handshake in the grip of the reader’s hand.
When it comes to the bottom-line, many authors use both mediums in order to broadly reach across their targeted demographics. It all boils down to the author’s marketing goals and planning.”
The late John Igo, was known as San Antonio’s Literary Uncle and Gary had a very special friendship with him. Igo’s creative storytelling and passion as a Wordsmith influenced Gary profoundly.
“My literary relationship with John Igo began in 2006 during a luncheon I invited him to attend. We talked mostly about his iconic literary career, his published works, and his difficulty writing due to severe arthritis at the age of seventy-nine. I surprised him on one particular occasion with a coupon for a writing instrument that he could grip much easier with his fingers. (I wanted to make sure he was okay with it before I purchased it.) His writing took on a new life after he started using that pen and he had a bounce in his step for the next ten years. Sadly, he passed away in August of 2016 with three unfinished manuscripts sitting on his desk. At first he called me by my last name and in time, he introduced me as his friend Dr. Gary, and just a couple years before he died, he introduced me as ‘family’. In his low gravelly voice, John would say, “Oh, him? He’s family.” For those that knew him, he changed their literary outlook just by uttering a few mentoring words. John was firm, very generous, and always sharp as a tack. On average, I would visit with John about twice a month, setting up my camera to film him as he told many stories. In August of 2016, I sat next to his hospital bed and took his hand to pray. I found myself thanking God for him and the gift that he was to thousands of people. And that is all I could do for a man who was small in stature but a giant in the literary world. In John Igo’s honor, Notable Press annually presents The Notable Writers’ Book Award for Best in Poetry. John had many friends, fans, and thousands of grateful students throughout his teaching career. One recent item of interest is the development of a John Igo documentary which will utilize the film, photos, and interviews that I kept for posterity purposes.”
For fun, one of Gary’s favorite things to do is visit the classrooms of various junior high and high schools, teaching students how to overcome their fears of test taking, and learning new subjects that they find difficult. He has a fun unique approach in educating students to open up their minds quickly to learning, instead of setting up their minds for failure. He uses this approach with his Notable Press clients as well. It helps to identify their struggles with writing and to move past those obstacles, away from their fears, toward a focused goal.
Gary would like to see the Notable Writer Book Awards grow each year, becoming a Notable Literary event. The first Awards ceremony was held in 2017 at the main branch of the San Antonio Library.
“We already have bestselling authors in partnerships, library organizational sponsorships, and we are working on award sponsorship development with literary businesses across the U.S.”
The literary world is certainly appreciative of everything that Gary Demers has accomplished to help writers achieve their dreams of being published. And now with the creation of Notable Press many writers will see that dream become a reality.
You can follow and contact Gary on the following social media sites and on the Notable Press website: