Adam Lance Garcia is an award-winning writer featured in the Eisner Winning Puerto Rico Strong, the New York Times Editor’s Choice The Faking of the President, the bestselling The Obama Inheritance, and the upcoming anthology Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – From a Certain Point of View.
“His overall ease in directing talent and ability to create a comfortable environment that allows them to share their thoughts in a genuine manner is a gift.” says Jaci Hirschfeld, Senior Director of Marketing, Communications & Relationships at 14th Street Y.
“[He is]… the kind of person you want on your team… worked around the clock to satisfy every qualm our fickle client had,” offers Ruhiya Nuruddin, Executive Producer at Condé Nast Entertainment.
He is currently completing his Green Lama Legacy series and is a writer/producer for the audio drama podcast Radio Room. Adam worked as a television producer for over a decade and is currently a Creative Producer at Condé Nast.
Goldie Chan: Hi Adam, thanks for joining us. We’d love to hear about your cats.
Adam Lance Garcia: Puck Christopher Noodles is my “old man baby.” He’s my best friend, sleeps next to me with his head on my pillow, and is basically a teddy bear. I grew up with dogs in a family that hated cats, but fostering Puck made me realize I love all creatures. He got me through many difficult times, especially during my twenties when life just threw me every curveball. I realized no matter how bad things got, I had to get up and face whatever came my way because he needed me.
Pippin Thomas Copperfield is a big meaty boy who loves to love but is afraid of love. He came to us dealing with trauma from his first family. He was scared of being touched, would run if you approached, freeze if he had to pass you in a hallway, and was generally skittish. But after a lot of patience and care, he’s become a cuddle bug: jumps into bed, headbutts for pettings, and flops over for belly rubs.
I hope to one day get them a puppy so I can say, “These are my cats, and this is their dog, Bob.”
Chan: How has your identity factored into your journey?
Garcia: I come from a mixed-faith/race family. Beyond Christmas trees, menorahs, Passover dinners, and Easter eggs, my parents didn’t get very specific regarding religion. I was ostensibly raised Jewish but was never Bar Mitzvahed, nor was I baptized. I don’t speak Hebrew or Spanish. I had to ask my girlfriend what to do before sitting shiva and what blessings my Catholic father might want before he died. My parents wanted us to be proud of our mixed heritage but never tried to pin us down. Treating others with kindness was more important than attending synagogue or church regularly.
My Puerto Rican Eastern European Jewish American heritage is integral to my identity. Still, I am white-passing, so I have a sense of guilt that I don’t honor my heritage enough while acknowledging that, based on my appearance, I’ve not experienced the biases many of my family members experience every day.
This is all to say my identity is complicated, but whose identity isn’t? My experience has taught me that we are much more complex and wondrous than our bullet point descriptors. A person’s race, gender, sexuality, age, faith, etc., does not even begin to tell you who they are, nor does it denote their value.
We are all so much more.
Chan: What is a lesson that you’d share with your younger self?
Garcia: Be okay with the journey.
Chan: What books are you reading or podcasts are you currently listening to?
Garcia: I’m reading Star Wars: The High Republic – Path of Vengeance by Cavan Scott. The whole High Republic initiative has been such a fantastic exploration and expansion of the Star Wars galaxy, with every new story giving incredible new context to the stories we knew.
I don’t follow any podcasts, but I love listening to audio dramas, typically from Big Finish. Audio drama is a storytelling format I love. You can create an immersive and cinematic story with just voices, sounds, and music. Most of my weekend runs are so I have an excuse to listen to an audio drama.
Chan: How would you describe your personal brand?
Garcia: “Don’t be an asshole.” I treat people with kindness and approach everything with joy. Too often in the entertainment industry, people lead with their egos and can be cruel or cutthroat to advance their careers, and I’ve found that is a short-term gain for a long-term loss. The more you treat people with respect, the more everyone will be rewarded.
Chan: What is your attitude towards being asked to perform a skill or task that you haven’t done before?
Garcia: My high school photography teacher, Howard Wallach, once showed my class a documentary on Gordon Parks. For those who don’t know, Parks was an award-winning photographer who focused on race and segregation beginning in the 1940s. Someone told Gordon that he was a great photographer and that Gordon should write a novel. Gordon thought to himself, well, I never wrote a novel before, but why not? He wrote the bestseller, The Learning Tree. Someone said, “Hey, you’re a pretty great writer. You should direct a movie.” Parks had never directed a movie before, so he directed an adaption of his novel and would eventually direct Shaft.
At the end of the documentary, Mr. Wallach looked at my class and said that the one lesson he wanted us to take from this was: “When someone asks you to do something you’ve never done before: say yes.”
(To put it in more pop culture terms: “If someone asks you if you’re a god, say yes!”)
Flash forward to a couple of decades later; someone offered me a job in an area of the industry that I was…less than experienced in. I took a weekend and learned everything I could before starting the job the following week. I can draw a straight line from that job to where I am now. Because I was open to the challenge and open to learning, my daily life is doing things I once only ever dreamed of doing.
Chan: What are you working on now?
Garcia: I’m currently working on finishing my third Green Lama novel, Green Lama: Redemption. The Green Lama is a Buddhist superhero from the 1940s. My dad collected the Green Lama comics, and I’ve been writing the licensed prose series on and off since 2008. Redemption will be the culmination of every short story, novella, and novel I’ve written in the series.
I’m also working on the third volume of my original graphic novel Sons of Fire, which I’ve always described as “Stephen King’s Smallville.” The first two volumes are available now, and I need to start writing the fourth!
And my very first Star Wars story is coming out August 29th in the anthology Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – From a Certain Point of View. Writing a Star Wars is a lifelong dream of mine and I cannot believe it is actually happening.
This is all in addition to my day job interviewing celebrities for Vanity Fair and Teen Vogue, amongst other Condé Nast brands.
Chan: Any career advice for this year?
Garcia: Keep saying “yes.”
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