Coming to you from his backyard …

My guest today is the highly accomplished and talented, Chuck Sambuchino.

To most aspiring writers buzzing through cyber-space, Chuck Sambuchino is known for his incredibly informative blog, Guide to Literary Agents.  Every day, five days a week, you can read tips from accomplished writers, successful queries from literary agents, highlights of how debut novelist landed their first deal and interviews of your favorite authors and agents.

Chuck is a producer playwright, a magazine writer, and freelance editor. He is the author of Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript, 3rd Edition and his newest, How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack. He is the editor of Guide to Literary Agents and the Screenwriter’s & Playwright’s Market and was recently named the editor of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.

He teaches, lectures, writes informative articles for magazines and other blogs and has enough time for his family and his music. Besides that, he is also a husband, owner of a flabby dog, cover band guitarist, and chocolate chip cookie fiend.

Chuck’s Garden Ghome book is written with wry humor and presented with great illustrations. This is a wonderful selection for a stocking stuffer to anyone on your Christmas or Hanukah list. Give it to your best friend or cousin, give it to someone for their birthday or wedding anniversary, and buy a copy for yourself.

Move over zombies and adolescent vampires. There’s a new threat in town–and it’s only twelve inches tall. How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack is the only comprehensive survival guide that will help prevent, prepare for, and ward off an imminent home invasion by the common garden gnome.

Chuck, thank you for being with Ramblings today. How did you first become aware of the major threat posed by the innocent looking gnome?

I have always been very creeped out by the average garden gnome. It probably has something to do with the fact that I was attacked by a gnome as a youngster. Ever since then, I have been dedicated to spreading the truth about these dangerous lawn warriors.

You state in your book that urban dwellers have little to fear of a gnome attack. What of those in Manhattan with roof terraces and courtyard gardens? Drat. How can the most unsuspecting in the urban sprawl such as the Big Apple protect themselves from an invasion?

Granted, urban loft dwellers are low-risk targets, but they can still be killed by tiny, vicious garden gnomes. The fact is: Gnomes are everywhere, proliferating at an alarming rate. By 2020, they will outnumber humans and WWIII will begin. It will be just like the apocalyptic future in TERMINATOR 2, except instead of machines, it will be gnomes.

No matter what part of the country you reside, we suggest you make an effort to become familiar with how you can protect yourself and  your family from an unwanted attack. Chuck what are some of the early warning signs?

Animals acting strange. Misplaced wheelbarrows. Missing tools from outside and silverware from inside. Small footprints in wet mud. Garden vegetables stunted or discolored (a sign they’ve been poisoned!). And then, of course, you may actually SEE an animate gnome or two. They are usually crafty enough not to be caught moving around, but you never know.

I am thinking you were the kid in school who was known for being a prankster. How have you taken that mischievous kid and turned him into a mega-success?

First of all, I am not a mega-success, though you are very kind. I am simply a writer trying to make his way in the world. But yes, I was a class clown. Not much has changed. I am still a fan of stirring the pot and riling people up. Once a prankster, always a prankster.

I know that the busiest among us are those who get the most done. You balance your personal life with the demands of being a lecturer, teacher, editor, writer and musician. Do you have any tips or advice for those who want to pursue a career in writing, but can’t afford to quit their day job?

Find some form of writing or project that you really love. The thing is: When I get home from working at the publishing house, all I want to do is write. It’s because writing does not seem like work to me. It’s fun. I could work five hours on something and keep going. If you can have fun doing it, you will yearn to spend your free time writing. Otherwise, people just tend to veg out in front of the TV too much. Also, if your day job has nothing to do with writing, it will take you a bit longer in your journey, because you have less free time. Just be patient. All success is passion with hard work and patience.

What one aspect of your work gives you the most satisfaction?

 Two things. First is hearing people say “I got my agent because of you” or “I got published because of you.” That is so rewarding and gratifying. The second is simply walking into bookstores all over the country, from Miami to San Diego, and being able to find my books. That is a wonderful feeling.
 When was the last time you made a routine inspection of your garden?

I don’t have a garden because I fear gnomes. However, I always send my dog out into the yard first to scare off any prowling lawn warriors who may be visiting from other yards. My dog is not a fighter, but he’s certainly fat enough to scare gnomes away.

 It’s getting late, do you know where your gnomes are hiding tonight?

They are heavily sedated in my basement, locked in cages. I bring a few gnomes with me places to show as samples when speaking. 
I hope all my readers enjoyed meeting  and learning more about Chuck. Please leave comments and/or questions and thanks again for coming by.

Your Chance to Win

Chuck has generously offered to give away a copy of How to Survive a GARDEN GNOME ATTACK

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Chuck by midnight Thursday, December 9th (Eastern Standard Time).  

On Friday, December 10th I will hold the drawing and post the winners’ name here. The winner can get in touch with me to provide mailing information. We do not share your information with anyone.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. 

fOIS In The City



Filed under Christmas

26 responses to “Coming to you from his backyard …

  1. Great interview! As someone who frequents Chuck’s blog, it was great to get a glimpse of the gnome behind the man. I’m really, really, REALLY hoping to get lucky enough to win your book, Chuck! I’ve always loved the wit in your column.


  2. christicorbett


    You had me at the title! What a great concept and with the popularity of garden gnomes lately (commercials and pranks) your book is sure to be a great success.

    I have two gnomes in the backyard, and on occasion have been suspicious of both their antics during the night. Now I know what book I need should they decide to creep into the house 🙂

    Seriously, I really enjoy your blog and you do a great service to writers with all the information you provide.

    A special thanks to you and Florence for today’s interview!

    Christi Corbett


  3. Pingback: Chuck Sambuchino Interview! « Christi Corbett's Blog

  4. What an enjoyable interview! Your book sounds like a lot of fun, Chuck.


  5. Ooooh Chuck was already one of my heroes. I almost always quote an interview from his blog in my query letters.

    And now I know he’s a heroic warrior against the creeping gnome menace! I live in a community with a lot of retirees, and they seem to be especially susceptible to gnomic infiltration. I suspect the gnomes may be conspiring with outlaw plastic flamingos as well….gee, I’d love to have that book, just for self-protection.


    • Anne, it is just like you to add another concern to the growing list of hazzards faced by the modern-day gardner. Celebration City in Orlando had a pink plastic flamingo conspiracy not too long ago. I suspect they are moving downstate. 🙂


  6. I bet that Travelocity gnome is the global ringleader.


  7. haha! Totally cute! Love the snow BTW.

    Sounds like a funny book. WOuld love to win it. There’s a movie coming out called Gnomeo and Juliet … about gnomes at war … lol.
    We have one in our front flowerbed that we move around at random. The kids are convinced that he comes to life at night. 🙂

    Great questions, Florence!


  8. Great interview! (No contest entry needed for me. I already own a copy of Garden Gnome! The review is posted on my blog in case anyone is interested.)

    I hope to see more interviews like this in the future. Fantastic!


  9. Thanks everybody for the kind words. @PK I would watch your back with a gnome around! They are not to be trusted under any circumstances.


  10. I seen a sequel in the works. I read recently that a 911 call came into a call center about a line of gnomes on a favorite hiking trail. Seems like other hikers were intimidated and didn’t want to test their luck. So, police were dispatched and arrested ten gnomes for disturbing the peace and public intimidation. Loved the review and interview, Chuck. Come back and see us at Smith Mountain Lake again.


  11. Rick, PK, Stephanie (my little Mesmorix) and Besty … I can see how the proliferation of gnomes has raised concerns, about the threat of a Gnome terroist attack, or the sequel to the Borne series … The Gnome Identity.

    Thanks to each of you for stopping by today and sharing your sharp observations and dry wit.


  12. Thanks for all the nice comments, everybody! @Betsy I am back there every summer. Maybe we can do another speech in 2011. @PK Beware that gnome!


  13. David McClure

    Thanks, Chuck, for your always helpful blog. I am a first time novelist and I am finding it very helpful and on-point for issues that concern me.


  14. I completely identify with the urge to write for hours. Only problem: it interferes with my garden time! But with this Florida freeze…

    I think I’ll be writing full-time come Wednesday. That’s the good news, right?!?!

    Keep up the good work, Chuck! Your interview with Florence was a pleasure.


  15. Laura Drake

    I’m looking forward to being among the ranks of those who can say, “I got my agent through you!” Chuck, your Guide to Literary Agents is the best out there – can’t wait for it to show up in my email each month!

    Thanks for all you do for the prepubbed!


  16. As always, great interview, Florence! Chuck, you always make me laugh! And although I do not share your fear of gnomes, I am a little freaked out by Santa Clause. I mean that dude comes in your house! He doesn’t stay in the garden, he crams his body (Speaking of fat: Santa makes your dog look like an AIDS victim!) down your chimney, messes with your stuff, eats your cookies, drinks your milk; and then to add insult to injury, his stupid reindeer leave crap all over your roof!

    Well…anyway, thanks, you two, for a wonderful interview! Chuck, good luck with your new book! Check out Where Are the Cocoa Puffs? when you get the chance.


  17. As always, great interview, Florence! Chuck, you always make me laugh! And although I do not share your fear of gnomes, I am a little freaked out by Santa Clause. I mean that dude comes in your house! He doesn’t stay in the garden, he crams his body (Speaking of fat: Santa makes your dog look like an AIDS victim!) down your chimney, messes with your stuff, eats your cookies, drinks your milk and then, to add insult to injury, his stupid reindeer leaves crap all over your roof!

    Well…anyway, thanks you two for a wonderful interview! Chuck, good luck with your new book!


    • Got’cha both times and two times the fun. Santa? If you want to look at it that way we can also indict the Easter Bunny and my all time favorite “The Tooth Fairy.”

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂


  18. My daughter had an aversion to garden gnomes while growing up. Now I finally understand! I’ve picked up a copy for her, and it’ll be under the tree. The look on her face when she tears off the paper will be priceless!


  19. Should the folk at Cairn Studios be investigated as terrorists for increasing the Gnome population?

    More importantly, what is it the Gnomes want? Can’t we just give them some garden tools and hope they’ll go away?

    Finally, is it true that the Chihuahua is the Gnome’s natural enemy? With both being 7″ tall and all.

    Thanks and stay safe!


  20. As always Chuck is a joy to read and learn from. His live lectures captivate the attention of all who attend.


  21. Thanks for all these nice comments. Any dog is a gnome’s natural enemy! And Laura, yes I am looking forward to that, too!


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