My return guest today is multi-published author, Kathryn Meyer Griffith. Ms. Griffith has been quite busy the past few months re-releasing her out of print books. Blood Forge, which she talks about today, is one of these books.
Blood Forge-Revised Author's Edition by Kathryn Meyer Griffith will be on VARIABLE PRICING (starting at 25 cents and continuing on sale in increments of 25 cents until it reaches its full price) for the first 24 HOURS of its release day, March 1, 2012 from 12:00 AM to 12:00 PM from Damnation Books at: http://damnationbooks.com/
AUTHOR: Kathryn Meyer Griffith
BOOK TITLE: Blood Forge-Revised Author’s Edition
PUBLISHER: Damnation Books
Please tell us about yourself?
Since childhood I’ve always been an artist. And I’ve worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21 and have had fourteen (nine romantic horror, one historical romance, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel and two murder mysteries) previous novels and eight short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press.
I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-three years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have two quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha and live cat Cleo, and the four of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die – and I’m a 2012 Epic EBook Awards Nominee for my romantic horror novel The Last Vampire-Revised Author’s Edition.
Tell us your latest news?
I’m almost at the end of a long arduous journey because I’ve spent the last 24 months rewriting, updating, editing, proofing and promoting nearly my whole backlist of older novels and short stories for Damnation Books/Eternal Press….going back 29 years. And on July 1, 2012 I’ll rerelease the last and oldest of all my novels, Evil Stalks the Night-Revised Author’s Edition, the first novel I ever had published, though it was actually my second written book. The Heart of the Rose, an historical romance, was actually my first novel. So my over forty-year writing career will then have come back FULL CIRCLE, and I’ll be where it’d all begun so many, many years ago. I can’t believe I’ve been writing that long. Where has the time gone? The years are smoke. I’ve learned so much over the time and, lately, have been writing essays on it and my writing, the publishing industry, my individual books and…life.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I started writing The Heart of the Rose (my first novel) after my only child, James, was born in late 1971. I was staying home with him, not working, and was bored out of my skin. I read a horrible historical romance one day and thought I can do better than that! Yeah, I’ve heard that happens all the time. Ha, ha.
So I got out my old typewriter with the keys that stuck, my bottles of White-Out, carbon paper for copies, and started clicking away. I tentatively called the book King’s Witch because it was about a 15th century healer loved by Edward the Fourth who was falsely believed to be a witch. At the library (no computers or Internet back then) I did tedious research into that period of English history: the War of the Roses, the poverty and civil strife between the Red (Lancasters) and White Rose (Yorks); the Earl of Warwick and Edward the King. His brother Richard the Third. A real saga. Well, all that was big back then. I was way out of my league. Didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I just wrote. Reading that original version (a paperback released from Leisure books in 1985) now I have to laugh. It was pretty bad. All that archaic language I used (all the rage back in the 80’s). Yikes! But people, mainly women, loved it.
And so my writing career began. That was over four decades ago. It took me twelve years to get that first book published as I got sidetracked with a divorce, raising a son, and having to get a real job. Life, as it always seems to do, got in the way. The manuscript was tossed into a drawer and forgotten for a while.
Then one day years later I found it in my bottom drawer and decided to rewrite it; try to sell it. I bundled up the revised pile of printed copy pages, tucked it into an empty copy paper box and took it to the Post Office. Plastered it with stamps. I sent it everywhere The Writer’s Market of that year said I could. And waited. Months and months and months. In those days it could take up to a year or more to sell a novel, in between revising and rewriting to please any editor that would make a suggestion or comment. Snail mail took forever, too, and was expensive.
In the meantime, I wrote another book. Kind of a fictionalized look back at my childhood in a large (6 brothers and sisters), poor, but loving family in the 1950s and ‘60s. I started sending that one out, as well. Then one day an editor suggested that since my writing had such a spooky feel to it anyway, why didn’t I just turn the book into a horror novel. Like Steven King was doing. Ordinary people under supernatural circumstances. A book like that would really sell, she said. Hmmm. Well, it was worth a try, so I added something scary in the woods in the main character’s childhood past that she had to return to and face in her adult life, using some of my present life (I had just gone through a divorce) and my childhood as hers. I retitled it Evil Stalks the Night and started sending it out. That editor was right; it sold quickly. Then the publisher, Leisure paperbacks, that had bought the first book asked if I had any other completed novels, and I said heck yes and promptly sent them The Heart of The Rose…which they promptly bought and published as my second novel. Ta da!
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? (Has anyone ever realized it?)
Blood Forge, yes, as some of my first few novels, does have some of my real life, experiences, woven into it. The cop murder in the beginning of the novel was something that actually happened in my circle of cop friends and cop wives. My first husband was a police officer in a small town, and one of his cop friends shot his best friend (another cop) to death because his wife was leaving him for that other cop. I think I finally wrote about it all as therapy. It was quite a horrible scandal at the time; it affected all of us. The woman in the middle of it was one of my best friends. Oh, and as far as I know, no one has ever realized that connection….or no one has ever told me they had. Good thing. Now I look back at it and shudder that I put it all down on paper for everyone to see. The murder is in the distant past now (over 35 years ago), so no worry now for the rerelease.
What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?
A book of Stephen King’s short stories, Everything’s Eventual. I love the fact that it’s King, well-written and scary and that the stories are so varied; not all exactly horror. Pure dark fiction. Story telling at its best. What I don’t like is that it’ll end too soon. I’m quite picky as a reader now days. My standards are high. I can’t tolerate bad writing at all. Too many adjectives, adverbs, and clichés drive me insane.
What are your current projects?
Like I said, getting these last old books out and writing backstory essays. I’ve also been writing short stories and sending them out to magazines. I’m looking forward to July when I’ll be free to start working on a new book. I’ve purposely not begun one as long as I was getting these old ones out. But after July, I hope to either write that childhood novel (a sort of fictionalized autobiography of my growing up in a big, poor family in the 1950s and ‘60s) or another horror novel.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Truthfully, what started me off writing 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. That was the beginning.
Do you ever have problems with writers block? If so how do you get through it?
Never. I only have trouble balancing the solitude of writing with wanting to live my life. Do I write today, all alone, in my own little make believe bubble….or do I go out and enjoy the day, the clouds, the warm air and sun on my face…do I mingle with live people or make up fake ones between the pages of my books? As I get older that decision seems to get harder and harder. We only have so many years given us. How do we want to spend them? Alone or with real human beings?
What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I love to take walks, watch television dramas (I love those Channel 9 English series and their mysteries), read good books or be with my husband and family.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Oooh, I have to put my thinking cap on and look back through all those years. Blood Forge was written between the years of 1985-1989. I was working full time (as a graphic designer in the corporate world…twenty-three years of that), had a young child at home and a husband. The hardest thing back then, I do remember, was finding the time to write with everything else I had going on. My family, mother, father, sisters and brothers, were demanding and so was my day job. My son and husband. Housekeeping. Cooking supper every night, etc.
That and writing about events that actually happened, like the cop murder.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Well, at first and even later, you’d better have a day job that pays. Or a part time job. The publishing world is a roller coaster at best and a bottomless poverty pit at worse. Most writers never make a good living at it. I know, I know, everyone says that, but it’s true. The big boys like King and Koontz might make the big bucks, but the rest of us, the hungry pack, run far being. Think of the writing life as a marathon, not a sprint. Love the act of writing and creating; never do it just for the money. I’ve always believed that an artist, a musician, a writer is born an artist, a musician, a writer. It’s a passion, second nature and we write because there’s something deep inside of us that has to produce the endless words. Tell the stories. A need. Write because you cannot not write. That’s my advice. Take it or leave it.
Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
Two years ago, while I was in another of my I’m giving up…I’m never writing again phases I saw a notice on some site – can’t even recall which one now – asking for horror novel submissions. The person wanted true horror, was starting a new eBook/print publisher from scratch that would fill the vacuum that she thought was no longer being filled for SF and horror. Her name was Kim Richards Gilchrist. Her new company was Damnation Books. Something made me send her my next book (a book I couldn’t seem to sell anywhere though I believed it to be the best thing I’d ever written…and the great reviews since its publication have proven me right) BEFORE THE END: A time of Demons (an apocalyptic end-of-days saga about a musician brother and sister who must fight demons with the help others like them and angels) and she loved it. She got it. We signed the contract, and she contracted my next novel, too, The Woman in Crimson, a vampire love story. Then she took over ownership of Eternal Press. Then she emailed me one day and said, “I notice you’ve got a lot of out-of-print books, a backlist, and I was wondering if you’d like to rewrite them and rerelease them with us? In print and in eBooks?” I was thrilled. Most of the twelve novels weren’t in eBooks. It’d be a lot of work. I mean the earliest books hadn’t been done on a computer, but on a typewriter, and there’d be a lot of rewriting. But, always a glutton for punishment, of course, I said yes. Kim offered to scan the old paperbacks in for me. So kind of her. I started rewriting. She started rereleasing. Competent editors helped me polish the old books; some stories really needed it! Dawne Dominique did most of my amazing covers. And here we are now…two years later and the work is nearly done! Blood Forge-Revised Author’s Edition is the second to the last one of twelve and it’ll be out on February 1, 2012. I’m dancing a jig.
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.
http://www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith (to see all my book trailers with original music by my singer/songwriter brother JS Meyer)
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org I love to hear from my readers. ***
Thank you, Penny, for having me here again on your lovely blog!
Warmly, author and 2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS FINALIST NOMINEE for her romantic end-of-the-world horror novel THE LAST VAMPIRE-Revised Author's Edition, Kathryn Meyer Griffith
BLOOD FORGE-Revised Author’s Edition: An ancient evil lay trapped in the darkness of hell, enduring an eternity of pain and desolation. Then, suddenly, it discovered a pathway back into the world of men--forging itself into a .357 Colt Python, making itself capable of incomparable destruction.