November 11, 2014

Made It Moment: Bob Gillen

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 10:14 am


We talk a lot here on the blog about the self-publishing movement and the way it has opened doors for many writers. What we speak less often about is when one of those doors is in the writer’s own mind. Bob Gillen had to walk through such a door to realize his creative capacities…that he could become one of the creative types he had nurtured and taught during an already prolific career. Helped in his journey by a book we all probably know, Bob has now come out on the other side, and entered a whole new world.

Bob Gillen

My Made It Moment is now. Right now! After years writing non-fiction, interviewing writers and other creatives, I published a novel on Amazon Kindle. Three characters came to life. Cabe Wray, whose twin sister disappeared 40 years ago. Turo Fonseca, a filmmaker who creates a video to help Cabe search for his sister. And Kelsey Graf, a young actor who portrays the twin sister in the video.

I moved from writing about writers, to sharing my own fiction with them and with all the world. It feels good!

You see, all my life I have been a non-fiction writer. An effective one. Back in the mid 1980s, my wife Lynn and I had our interview with Eddie Rabbitt, a country music singer/songwriter, published in Goldmine magazine. We published more interviews, then transitioned to writing teacher study guides for the historically-accurate TV show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. While the guides never got published, the project allowed us to spend hours working on the set with the staff and crew.

That experience in turn gave us the background to team-teach a media production class for 11 years at the high school senior level. While we did that, we also wrote a five-year series of online discussion guides based on magazine articles for a national print magazine.

Five years ago we transitioned into working exclusively online, creating and publishing our own website,, aimed at young filmmakers. And then in 2013 I began a blog called Creating Story. Between the site and the blog, we have interviewed over 60 media professionals. And we turned the core of our media teaching program into two filmmaking how-to ebooks.

Through the years I told myself, you’re a non-fiction writer. Forget fiction. A few years ago, while reading Natalie Goldberg’s Thunder and Lightning, I finally let go of my resistance. I began writing stories. Bits and pieces at first. Months of doing Natalie’s “writing practice.” And it  grew into two short novels. I am presently re-writing the first, Lie by Lie, in play format. The second, Apart, is just now launching on Amazon Kindle.

I’m happy to be in the community of creative writers. Natalie Goldberg helped me find the courage to reach inside myself and create a story. And what keeps me going, looking for more made-it-moments, is a quote I saw recently: keep writing until you’re empty.

Bob Gillen is a writer based in Los Angeles for the last 27 years. He was born, raised, graduated college, and lived in New York City prior to his move to LA. With his wife and writing partner, Lynn, he publishes a website for young filmmakers and a blog on creating story. He has written articles and teacher study guides for national magazines, taught media production to high school seniors for 11 years, and published two ebooks on filmmaking and an article on journalists in combat zones for Amazon Kindle.

Now a full time writer, his second novel, Apart, tells the story of a businessman who quits his job and his career to intensify his search for his long-missing twin sister. As he makes a video to help with the search, he discovers his own unwitting role in her disappearance.



  1. Excellent post, and a rather unique Made It Moment. I appreciate you sharing your story.

    Comment by Marja McGraw — November 11, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

  2. Thanks Marja. Years back, I never would have expected to be where I am now. It’s been fun!

    Comment by Bob Gillen — November 11, 2014 @ 2:10 pm

  3. Interesting post, Bob. Quite a journey you’ve had. I’ll check out your blog for young film makers. Our oldest son has a film script he’s peddling and a few pointers might help. Thank you, too, Jenny for introducing us to writers with such varied interests.

    Comment by Susan Sundwall — November 12, 2014 @ 3:08 pm

  4. Thanks Susan. The website has lots of info, tips, and interviews. Check out the interview with Nick Brennan, a young filmmaker. And the blog has interviews with global storytellers and writers. My best to your son. Tell him to hang in.

    Comment by Bob Gillen — November 12, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

  5. Hey, Jenny, this is a wonderful post. Thanks to Bob and his inspiring story. The major upheaval in the publishing world has encouraged writers to do just what Bob did. Writers found away around the gate keepers and into print on individual terms. Congratulations to Bob for an intriguing plot and characters.

    Jenny, I hope you’ll email me your interviews.

    Comment by Dorothy H. Hayes — November 14, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

  6. Thanks Dorothy! Now to get better at marketing my material. Always a learning curve, but it makes life interesting.

    Comment by Bob Gillen — November 14, 2014 @ 7:13 pm

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