Today, my guest is author, Kathryn Meyer Griffith. Her book, A Time of Demons, was recently released through Damnation Books, LLC.
1) Tell me a little about your book.
BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (www.damnationbooks.com) is an end-of-days, apocalyptic, novel. I loved Stephen King’s THE STAND so much back in the day that when (it’s been six years ago now) I had this idea about a woman, one half of a singing brother and sister lounge singing duet, who also take care of an elderly aunt and uncle, who suddenly sees demons behind her human audiences’ faces, I knew I had to write it. She sees these awful creatures, demons and what seems to be apparitions, because it signals the coming apocalypse and she’s one of the humans who are to fight on the side of the angels before and after the Rapture comes. This is a brother and sister who love each other and love the safe life they have now; she doesn’t want things to change. When children, there was a terrible fire and the rest of their family died in it. They’re all they have.
I decided not to make it too religious…more like a layman’s view of the end days. I loved the Left Behind series, too, but it was way more preachy and I didn’t want to do it that way. Mine is more a horror story. Though the woman eventually discovers, and accepts, she’s one of many who will have powers to see and fight demons as the end days draw near. She must seek out others like herself and convince them to join the fight. I tried to make this a story of family and human love as well as a survival story in the face of overwhelming odds as the world spins to its end. I love these characters! There’s supposed to be a second book…soon as I find time to write it.
2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I think I answered that fairly well above…I just wanted to write an apocalyptic saga that would have realistic characters a reader could care about. It’s also a piece of my life in some ways because when I was young my brother, Jim (JS Meyer), and I used to sing together – up until I was about nineteen, got married and pregnant with my son, James, that is. Then I branched off into illustrating and eventually writing. We actually sang together in places a lot like the ones in my book. The Johnny character is loosely based on my brother, too. Loosely. Ha, ha. Jim’s braver and more self-sufficient than Johnny and I’m not near as brave as Cassandra.
3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I’ve been writing full time now the last ten years. Before that I worked as a graphic designer for over twenty-three years at a large brokerage firm in St. Louis and a series of small newspapers doing brochures, ads, etc. All in all I’ve been writing 39 years; published for 26 of them and have had 14 novels and seven short stories published. I usually write in the mornings Monday through Friday from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; sometimes, rarely, on the weekends, if I have a deadline. I’m fairly disciplined.
4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Funny story. It was my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Riceall, who first knew I was going to be a writer. I mean, I’d always loved to read, and loved books, but I was going to be an artist. It wasn’t until I had a class assignment to come up before my classmates and give an oral speech on what I’d done over the summer that I first considered it. Over that summer my crazy brother (same one as above) and I had found what we’d affectionately called “wild ponies” in someone else’s pasture, snuck in, and tried to ride them. I told the story about being thrown into thorn bushes and Jimmy into a creek and when I got done telling it, after the applause (which I really liked as I was a plain shy child) my teacher walked up to me and said: “Kathryn…you’re going to be a writer someday! You’re a born storyteller.” I was surprised but pleased, as it seemed to impress everyone. She was right, though. Years later, at 21, I did start writing in earnest.
5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I hope they like the story itself, the characters and feel something for them when they read it. I hope my story takes them away from their own lives and problems, makes them smile, frown, laugh or cry. I hope it makes them think and feel. That’s about the best a writer can hope for.
6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I’ve written two murder mysteries, a few paranormal romances, suspense and (my first book published 26 years ago) an historical romance, time travel; horror and romantic horror.
But I love writing horror the most, but the traditional supernatural kind like werewolves, vampires and ghosts. I like to give a new spin on the old plots. Make the characters and situations new so that my readers will think: Wow, now that was a story!
7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Since I’ve been writing over 39 years it’s been different things at different times of my career. In the beginning it was actually finding time to write. I worked full time, had a husband and a son and a household to take care of. That finding time was real hard. To this day my son still dislikes my writing because of all the time it took away from him as a child. Mid career it was the rejections that were hard to take. I did real well for about ten years and then after seven books couldn’t seem to give one away…I went through a long slump and lost a lot of my confidence. Almost gave up. I worked through it and started getting published again in 2003. Now the hardest thing is putting all the time in I have to, to get two new books and seven of my old out-of-print books all rewritten and out again. A lot of work. At my age I sometimes think: I shouldn’t be spending this much time at the computer making up stories…I should be out enjoying life or being with my husband, family or grandkids. It’s a real balancing act because life is short and precious and you have to enjoy it. The actual act of writing is solitary. Very lonely at times. And I like people. Doing things.
8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
The singing. The brother, sister dynamic…the large family life (though my family, all but one brother who died young, is still all alive)…there is a lot of my life in all my books.
9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Like I said above, Cassandra is like me, but braver. She does a lot of things I could/would never be able to do. I think most of my (and any other writer as well) main characters have a big dash of me in them…or a big dash of someone I know/knew. We have to write what we know. It always seeps in.
10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Not much, really. Oh, I’ve had books I’ve had to research for. Ancient Egyptian research for my 1993 THE CALLING and 15th century research for my 1985 historical romance THE HEART OF THE ROSE that I set in England. But most of my horror novels are basically novels of emotion, feelings and characterizations. I make up most of it from my mind and memory. I guess you could say I research people themselves and what makes them tick for a lot of my work.
11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
They do and I usually keep things pretty tame. I don’t like extra gore, brutality, too much sex or cursing in most of my books. I have some, if the story needs it…but I prefer that the story, the characters themselves carry a book or a short story…not the shock value. If you can entertain a reader without all that stuff, then you’re a good writer. But that’s just my opinion.
12) What about your book makes it special?
I’ve kind of covered that…BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons isn’t just about the end times, angels and demons, the Rapture…it’s about a brother and sister who care for each other and love their family. It’s about friendships and surviving under terrible world conditions. It’s about the value of love when times are hard.
13) What is your marketing plan?
I’ve been publishing paperbacks, hardcovers and now e-books for a long time. My plan has changed over the years. Nowdays it’s a lot of marketing on the Internet. Reader and writer loops, chatrooms and blogtalks. My Space and Facebook. I have eleven social networks and a website. It’s handing business cards out to everyone I meet and going to talk, read and sit on panels at writer conventions when I can. It’s all that and more. There, too, you need a balance. I was once told by an established writer that if you spend too much time promoting you don’t have the time to write. That can be true. So I do what I can and still write. It’s also a balancing act.
14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
http:// www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith See all my new covers and self-made book trailers; some with my singer/songwriter brother Jim Meyer’s original songs!
http:// www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyerG See all my new covers and self-made book trailers; some with my singer/songwriter brother Jim Meyer’s original songs!
Oh, and I just did an hour blogtalk on July 17, 2010 on ONE WORLD ONE VOICE BLOGTALK …you can go to their website and pull it up and listen to it. I tell lots of stories of my writing life. Lots of stories, too.
15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Yes…go to that same recorded blogtalk mentioned above from July 17, 2010 on ONE WORLD ONE VOICE BLOGTALK…and the last ten minutes I give lots of advice to new writers. Never giving up is very important. Learn your craft. Learn to accept rejections. Love the writing itself and not the fame and fortune which most of us writers never achieve. Hey, I’ve been writing a long time but I’m still not rich and famous. But it makes me happy. And maybe someday…
Kathryn, thank you for stopping by and chatting about your book and your work. I enjoyed learning more about your writing.
Now, here's a short synopsis of Kathryn's book:
Since Cassandra Graystone was a child and her family perished in a fire she knows and sees things other people don?t?when someone will die or that a demon lurks beneath a human skin. She sees phantoms. Yet she craves a simple life singing out with her musician brother, Johnny, and caring for her elderly aunt and uncle; to be with her friends, Sarah, a psychic, and Walter, a clown in a carnival circuit. But when Sarah sees apocalyptic events in her tarot cards and demons are everywhere, Cassandra fears she?s going insane or something terrifying is happening in the world.
Rayner, an ancient blood demon, lodges next door. He becomes obsessed with her. Never having felt pity or affection for a human before he believes he loves her, would die to protect her. The demon realm gathers for the final confrontation between us, Rayner warns. The apocalypse comes. You and your friends must prepare.
Cassandra flees that knowledge until an angelic being, Manasseh, appears. Your powers will grow. You must fight for humanity?s survival after the first wave is taken. Seek out others like you. Persuade them to join the battle. Only these can see and challenge the demons until the end when all eyes see them. She doesn?t want her life to change; doesn?t want to be a nomad who battles demons. Doesn?t want to be anyone?s protector. Until a tornado flattens Sarah?s house. Johnny?s apartment. There are monsters maiming and killing everywhere. Demons persecute her and those she loves, burn down her home and force her family and friends onto the road, as everywhere cataclysmic weather and signs of the end days make things hellish for humans. Cassandra and her friends can no longer deny their destinies.
They must fight?or see the remnants of humanity engulfed in flames.