Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Author spotlight shines on Kathryn Meyer Griffith


Today
t
he spotlight is shinning brightly on 2012 Epic e-book finalist, Kathryn Meyer Griffith.

Kathryn had generously offered three prizes on my blog today for three lucky winners so make sure you stay tuned and leave a comment.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer.

Truthfully, what started me off as an author was simply this: As a child, about eight or nine years old (the same time I began to draw pictures in pencil and years before I began to dream about being a singer with my younger brother Jim), I began reading books, science fiction, historical romances and scary books from the library. I had six brothers and sisters and though I had a loving mother and father, a loving family, there was very little money. I can’t say we were poverty poor, but we were poor at times. Sometimes our meals were scarce and we never had extra money for many toys or outside entertainment. I think in my whole young childhood my father only took us out to eat once. Try paying for seven kids and two adults. So we learned to entertain ourselves. Played outside. Climbed trees and hid in deep dirt gullies. Sang, howled really, outside at night on the swing set.

I loved to read. The library books were free and plentiful. I’d sit on my bed, especially during the long summer days and evenings (after chores were done, of course) and read one amazing book after another. If I was lucky, with a chocolate snack or cherry Kool-Aid nearby. Those books, those words on the page, took me away to other places, times and worlds. It was magical. I got lost in people-on-a-spaceship-going–to-some-faraway-planet science fiction books. There was this one horse book when I was a kid that knocked me out, made me cry, and laugh with joy at the end it was so real to me and so full of pathos because I loved horses so much. It was called Smoky. Loved that book. Sigh. I never forgot how those wonderful books made me feel…so free. So adventurous. So rich. Like I could be or do anything someday. And when I grew up I wanted to create that magic myself for others. So…that’s why I began writing. And when I get depressed over my writing at times, I remember that.

I remember vividly one day at school (I must have been about 10 or so) when a big box of Weekly Reader books were delivered and we each got to pick one to read. The smell of those new books in that box as I looked at them, the excitement and awe of the other kids over the books and the reverence for those authors, and I thought: Wouldn’t it be something if someday a box of these books were mine…written by me? Oh, to be an author. People respect an author. It was the beginning.

Then there’s also a second part to the question: Why do I keep writing after 39 years? Because I can’t not write. I can’t stop. The stories take over my heart and mind and demand to come out. It’s sort of like birthing a baby (I have one real son and two grandchildren myself). You carry them for a while, a short or long time span, and then once they’re born (published) they go on to be their own individual entities that sometimes continue to amuse and amaze you. Or disappoint you. Whatever.

It's funny how us writer all refer to our books as our babies, we nurture them and watch helplessly as they grow beyond what we ever imagined and then we have to let them free.

I know you write different genres like myself but do you have a certain theme or trademark to your stories?

Most of them have, at least, a touch of the supernatural. Ghosts, witches, vampires, eerie places, mystery and/or murder. A swirl of darkness. And that love or faith can overcome all that darkness in the end.

The happy ever after is a draw card in any novel for me.

Do you have an agent and how important do you think they are in the publication world?

I used to have one, but lost her about eight years ago. Getting, keeping an agent was almost more trouble than it was worth. It’s really hard to get a good agent. I spent months, years, trying to get another one but none believed in me or my writing enough to take me on. Then the epublishers and ebooks came into being and I decided to give them a try. So far so good. Damnation Books/Eternal Press, in the last 20 months, have rereleased (after I revised and updated them) all my old novels going back 29 years! And I’m going to actually self-publish my next book; see how that works. I, as many authors, are starting to learn that you can be a better agent for yourself, especially since the legacy publishers are losing so much influence these days.

How do your stories come to life, from fiction or fantasy?

I’d have to say fiction…or real life that morphs into fiction with a big dose of the supernatural. I like to think of my books (most of them, not the romantic time travel ones) as a slice of real life with a scary element tossed in. To me, at times, real life is even scarier than fiction, don’t you agree?

Abso-freakin-lutely! My life is one big amusment roller-coaster but it's worth it.

Are you a ‘go with the flow’ writer or do you have structure?

Positively, go with the flow. I hate outlines; always go right off course immediately as the characters redirect me to what they want to say, do, feel. The concept and the characters come first and then I just ride along as they spin out their tales.

Me too, although right now I'm filling out a timeline and character charts because it's turned onto a series.

Have you always wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?

I wanted to be an artist, the drawing and painting kind, when I was very young, nine or so and into my teens; then in high school I wanted to also sing with my singer/songwriter brother Jim. Be a folk singer/rock star. We even had a duo and then a band for a while. Then at 21 after my son was born I was at home with him, bored, and read a really bad historical romance. Thought I could do better. (Yeah, sure. Was I naive.) Got out my old typewriter with the sticky keys and started typing merrily away. And the bug caught me big time. Took 12 years to get that first novel published because life kept getting in the way and I’ve been hooked ever since. Though I’m still an artist and worked for many years in the world as a graphic designer for a pay check, and I still love to sing, my writing takes all my free time. It’s my obsession; my butterfly stage.

I have a big 'live it' list which is my version of a bucket list and my latest add is Tough Mudder and learning the guitar. lol

How much marketing do you involve yourself in and with the mass consumption of social media, does this play a part in your marketing choice?

The publishers these days, epubs or legacy, want you to self-promote to beat the band. They expect it. I have so many websites: My Space. Bebo. Facebook. Author’s Den, etc. And I’m on so many writer/reader loops; I beg everywhere for reviews, that I feel like I spend most of my time lately just keeping up with the Internet promotions. Truth is, I don’t know how much it all helps, but I have to do it because everyone else does.

I think everything helps Kathryn but you just need to find the balance which you will be happy with.

Here’s a random one for you. If you could be one animal, which would it be and why?

No hesitation. A cat. In a nice loving home. I love cats. I think I must have been one in some other life. Ha, ha. I’ve always had cats. Usually two at a time. My husband and I just lost one, Sasha, whom we loved sooo much. She just disappeared one day. We still miss her every second. She was such a character.

You're talking to someone who has a cat, three dogs and recently two gunie pigs, I couldn't bare to think of them going missing.

With your titles and covers, did you get much of a say in this matter and how important is it to you to have input?

I’ve been writing now for over forty years so I’ve seen a huge change in publishing. With the old legacy publishers an author (unless you were a Stephen King or one of the top sellers) had NO say in their covers. You got the title and the cover the publisher wanted you to have–no debating. No concessions. And I had some I really disliked. But now days with the epubs I have full say in a cover. The cover artist for Damnation Books/Eternal Press, Dawne Dominique, who did my last 13 covers asked for my ideas from the beginning…and tried to give me exactly what I envisioned. It was great. I LOVE my covers now. Aren’t they beautiful?

Grin. I must agree, eternal press drew me in with their covers.

Do you have any tips for other aspiring writers or authors out there?

Gosh, I hate that question and I’m asked it all the time. I could write a book–no, ten books–on all I’ve learned and gone through over my forty year career. I mean it. I had so, so many ups and downs. Sorrows. Frustrations. Triumphs. All I can tell a new writer is that….expect to pay your dues. Even if you make it right out of the gate and think you’ve made it. Payment will come due sooner or later in one form or another. Expect that there’ll be difficult times and accept them when they come. Enjoy the victories. Swallow the defeats. But never give up. Think of your writing as a marathon, not a sprint. I believe a writer is born to be a writer. You must love the act of writing itself and not ever be in it for the riches or the fame. Most of us only get those in dibs and dabs, if ever. Write because you cannot not write. My advice, take it or leave it.

So, I think we’ve gotten to know you a little now. How’s about we step it up a notch. Are you panicking? Lol. Do you have any dirty little secrets or confessions you’d like to share with us- what’s on the blog stays on the blog, right guys. (wink)

Don’t we all have secrets? I have a few. I doubt myself all the time. Think my book, my writing isn’t good enough…no matter how many books I get published (14 now), or glowing reviews and acclaim I get. I also at times wonder: Have I wasted my life writing these endless words onto paper or electronic formats to entertain strangers? Have I lived in near poverty all these years for any reason at all? What was I thinking! Some days I hate being a writer and some days I love it. Sigh.

And…I’m scared to drive. I drive but I hate it and avoid it whenever I can. Spent most of my life hiding that phobia, but now at my mature age (ha, ha) I finally own up to it. Who cares now?

I love driving with the music up loud enough so I can't hear my own singing. I went out last night to pick up chinese with Pearl Jam up so loud and I loved it.

Where’s your favourite place to write?

On my sofa with my laptop in my lap, a cup of chocolate coffee and a snack nearby. Though my dream writing place (that I don’t have now but pray to have when my husband and I retire and get our forever house) is being on a deck outside under a spread of shady trees with my laptop…with a cup of chocolate coffee and a snack nearby.

Chcolate....coffee. My desireables. drool

Tell us of your releases- where and when can we buy them?

Evil Stalks the Night (Damnation Books, July 2012)

The Heart of the Rose (Leisure, 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition 2010)

Blood Forge (Leisure, 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2012)

Vampire Blood (Zebra, 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)

The Last Vampire (Zebra, 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out 2010)

Witches (Zebra, 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out 2011)

The Nameless One (Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)

The Calling (Zebra, 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)

Scraps of Paper (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2003)

All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2006)

Egyptian Heart (Eternal Press 2011)

Winter’s Journey (Eternal Press 2011)

The Ice Bridge (Eternal Press 2011)

Don’t Look Back, Agnes & bonus short story: In This House (Eternal Press 2012)

BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Damnation Books 2010)

The Woman in Crimson (Damnation Books 2010)

The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction)

All of these above books can be found at either Eternal Press: http://www.eternalpress.biz/people.php?author=422

Or at Damnation Books: http://damnationbooks.com/people.php?author=79

It has to be said- wowzers!

In one word, how would you best describe yourself?

Persistent.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?

Only that my romantic end-of-the-world horror novel THE LAST VAMPIRE-Revised Author's Edition, is a 2012 Epic Ebook Awards Finalist in the horror category, so cross your fingers or say a prayer for me! Though being a nominee is a great honor in itself. I’m happy with that.

So you should be, congrats!

KERRI, THANKS FOR HAVING ME ON YOUR LOVELY BLOG!

Thank you, Kathryn

If you would like to learn more about Kathryn here are her links.

rdgriff@htc.net www.myspace.com./kathrynmeyergriffith www.authorsden.com/kathrynmeyergriffith


9 comments:

BLCSDina said...

Big fan of Kathryn's. Hope to win! Terrific interview! Dina Rae

Linda Hays-Gibbs said...

I can not believe all the books you have written . What a great legacy you have already and you are still writing. Tell me which books are harder to write the horror, murder mystery, or romance love stories and which do you prefer?

Linda Hays-Gibbs said...

I know I should have asked earlier but can you get your book on how to write a book at Eternal Press or Damnation Books? I think that book, Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction might help me a great deal as an author.
Linda Hays-Gibbs
My Angel My Light As Darkness Falls

sashagirl said...

Kerri,
Thank you for having me today! I sounded pretty good, ha, ha. Not too smart and not too dumb. Eccentric like most writers.

Linda? Any book (genre)I write is easy because I write what I want and then figure out what genre it is...usually my books blend 2 or more genres. I love romantic horror the best, though.
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction is from Dragon Moon Press. Kim Richards edited it and I did the Introduction. Warmly, author Kathryn Meyer Griffith rdgriff@htc.net

Kerri Williams said...

It's fantastic to have you here and a great distraction in m all day meeting. Lol
Kez

Sherri A. Dub said...

I'd love to win (Egyptian Heart).
Nice interview. Thanks for sharing so much about your childhood.

SJ Drum said...

Pick Me! *Waves arms in air*
Great interview, loved the honest answers.

S.J. Drum/Clara LaVeaux

Kerri Williams said...

Okay, here goes... Are you holding your breath with anticipation? Everyone here will be a winner. Gasp
Yes, everyone here gets a book. I will be in contact with you all with your prize today.
Congratulations!!!
Kez

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