Empire of Light.
Gregory pays the bills by steadfastly taking up valuable space at 20th Century Fox in the Feature Post Production Department. He’s a proud graduate of Norfolk State University and the American Film Institute, where he studied cinematography. He's an award-winning director who has amassed a reel of short films, music videos, and (yes) a wedding video or two. Steadfastly butchering the Italian language since 2002, he hopes to someday master the language just enough to inform his in-laws how much he loves their daughter, Stefania, who was born and raised in Milan, Italy. Gregory currently resides in Venice, California where he goes giddy every time he spots that dude who roller skates and plays the electric guitar at the same time. During football season, he can be found at the Stovepiper Lounge, a Cleveland Browns bar in the Valley where he roots for the greatest football team in the history of Cleveland.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Gregory. It's great to have you. Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
Thanks so much for the invite! I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio. The town used to be spelled with an “a”, as in Cleaveland. But the “a” was dropped so that it could fit a newspaper’s masthead. …Love this damn town.
I came out to Los Angeles to attend the American Film Institute as a Cinematography Fellow and I never left. I work at 20th Century Fox, where I hope someday somebody will notice I’m standing here. Until then, I’ll keep flailing my arms.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
You know you’re blessed when you have way too many memories to choose from. I always loved when my family packed up the car and traveled down to Virginia to visit my family. The journey down was a blast.
One summer, my brother and I got on a ventriloquist kick. We had these dummies, and we spent half the drive practicing throwing our voices. My dad finally had enough, slammed on the breaks, parked at a rest-stop, marched out the car, snatched our dummies and threw ‘em in the trunk.
My brother griped, “but dad, it’s hot. They’ll melt back there!” My father replied, “Good, I hope their %##&* heads melt together.”
My brother and I were rolling in our seats for the rest of the trip. I don’t remember ever seeing those damn dummies again.
When did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing screenplays since high school. I thought that a novel would be a nice change of pace, if for no other reason than I didn’t have to try and get Brad Pitt attached to it to get it picked. So I started writing Empire Of Light, my first book. Sorry, Brad.
What is this book about?
I like to think of Empire Of Light as a sort of a valentine to light. Light symbolizes knowledge and it gives us life, but it also has the energy to destroy us. Darkness leaves us full of anxiety and fear, yet it is in the dark that we also may find faith and love. The lighting in Caravaggio’s work captures all of this, and when Jason (the protagonist) taps into it, he is immediately launched down the rabbit hole.
What inspired you to write it?
During my first trip to Europe, I kept a travel blog. I hit Paris, Rome and Naples to track down Caravaggio paintings, sketch them and blog about the adventure. I have a good friend who got up each morning hoping to find another entry from me from across the pond. She said I should turn it into a book, and I thought it was a great idea. But my trip was too boring, so I used it as a jumping off point, and I just blew it up into fantasy.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
You can find Empire Of Light, in print and ebook versions, on both Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. Just search for the title and my last name, “Earls.” Or go directly to my publisher’s website at http://www.simonandfig.com/ and click through there.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
You can find me on Facebook at the following link…
And you can always hit me up on my personal site…
What is up next for you?
I’m writing a novella about an engagement plan that’s gone awry. I’m also working on a retelling of an old American Folktale, retrofit for modern times.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thanks for spending time with us today, Gregory. We wish you much success.