On Wednesday, Feb. 17, author and West Chester University alumni Jake Gerhardt spoke to students in Main Hall about the trials and tribulations of being a writer.
Gerhardt recently published his first novel, “Me and Miranda Mullaly,” which is a children’s book about three boys who all fall for the same girl.
At his recent talk, Gerhardt explained how difficult it is to get published as a writer.
“This is not my first book. This is my first published book,” said Gerhard. “I always make a point of saying that.”
When he addressed trying to get published, he said, “After 66 agents rejected [the book], I stopped counting. Every person who is a successful writer, who has sold a lot of books, started out with someone taking a chance on them.”
Gerhardt said that, all things considered, he was still optimistic that aspiring writers such as himself can be published if they are willing to work for it and are able to persevere through rejection.
“In creative writing, if you’re really going to go for it, I would just think that the great writers got up in the morning and just wrote great stuff. It doesn’t work like that,” said Gerhardt.
When asked by a student if he writes every day, Gerhardt replied, “I wrote ‘Me and Miranda Mullaly’ every single night after I put the kids to bed. It took me about 10 months to write.”
Throughout the discussion, Gerhardt narrowed his focus and talked specifically about how to write for children.
“The first thing I learned was that I had to write from a kid’s point of view,” said Gerhardt. “No one cares about an adult in a kid’s book. You have to focus on the kids.”
He continued, “I love writing from the point of view of a kid because everything they’re experiencing is for the first time… Publishing is now making its money off of children’s books.”
Gerhardt explained his love for literature.
“I love to read,” said Gerhardt. “On my honeymoon my wife and I brought 25 books with us.”
Gerhardt spoke about how he originally moved to Los Angeles in order to write movie scripts and how easy he thought it was going to be to get published up until he actually moved there.
“I thought I would just hop off the plane, meet an agent, and say ‘Here’s my script,’” said Gerhardt.
Although he explained how difficult it was for him, a couple of his scripts were picked up by major networks, including a movie titled “A Date with Murder,” which was picked up by Lifetime. Gerhardt joked, “If you want something to help you fall asleep at night, watch that movie.”
Born and raised in Cheltenham, Pa., Gerhardt majored in history at WCU and graduated with a degree in history education. He currently lives and teaches in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and two daughters.
For anyone interested in reading “Me and Miranda Mullaly,” it can be purchased on Amazon.com.
Chris Cox is a third-year student majoring in English and minoring in journalism. He can be reached at CC764721@wcupa.edu.