Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Steve Grogan, almost 41 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Originally from Troy NY, but now I live in Stillwater.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I spent most of my life in Troy, although while I attended SUNY Albany I spent 3 years living on campus. I lived in Denver CO for about a year and a half. Came back home because I missed my friends and family. Today I am a father of four kids: twin daughters and two sons.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
This past May finally saw the publication of my magnus opus, a webcomic called REDemption. It is to zombie fiction what KILL BILL was to kung fu movies: everything I love about the genre thrown into one story, with the voice of my artist and I thrown into the mix to give it a unique spin.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I always wrote short stories, even as far back as grade school. Granted they were only one page long, but they WERE stories. However, I didn’t get truly bitten by the writing bug until I was in seventh grade. I read Stephen King’s IT, and I was amazed. As for why, well…I’m not sure how much personal detail I want to air here, but I had a very miserable childhood. There was so much that was beyond my control. I think writing was a way for me to not only vent these feelings, but also to feel some power. I decided who lived or died. It was therapeutic.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I wrote my first mini-novel called VAMPIRE TRAIN. Looking back, it was kind of lame, but I felt accomplished.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The horror fiction of Stephen King, although Clive Barker quickly overtook him as a bigger influence.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Well, I want to move on from VAMPIRE TRAIN to the webcomic now because honestly I don’t remember many details about that story. As for REDemption, I came up with the title when I looked at the outline and realized redemption was a theme that ran through the entire story.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that youfind particularly challenging?
I think everyone has writing styles, although I am not sure how to verbalize mine. The only thing that is challenging about it is I cannot start until I know exactly where the story is going and how it will get there. I can’t let the story throw me any curveballs; I need to be in charge, and I won’t set pen to paper until I know everything.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Considering it is post-apocalyptic zombie fiction, I would say none of it is real.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Here is the shortest answer ever: no.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Since we are a webcomic, we don’t have covers, but my artist’s name is Johnny Carruba.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. I have never been a fan of “stories with a message.” By that I mean where the author purposely tried to teach a lesson. They usually come off as preachy. However, if someone learns something unintentionally from this story, that’s great.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
New writers? Not lately. My favorite author is probably William S. Burroughs, for the way he could write something nightmarish and yet funny.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My English teacher Donald Eldridge. I haven’t seen or heard from him since I was 17. In fact, he may be dead, but he encouraged me more than anyone else I have ever met.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I already have. If you look at the comic book, we go from the scene of a little girl on a hillside to some American soldiers in the jungle in Vietnam. Originally, there was supposed to be a different sequence, showing some Vietnamese scientists creating the zombie virus. We have relocated that scene to a later point in the story.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned how to pace a story to last for a really long time. The entire tale of REDemption is over 2000 pages. None of it reads like filler.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
For the role of Vincent, I’d want Denzel Washington. For the role of Molly Burroughs, that is tough because physically she is modeled after Johnette Napolitano (lead singer of Concrete Blonde), who has a way of being tough, sexy, dark, and yet vulnerable and feminine all at the same time. However, I don’t know if she can act, so she might not be best for the part!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write from your gut. Pass on writing groups. If there is a part of your story that you think is weak, just put it aside and to the back of your mind for a while. Someday you will achieve the answer on your own.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Be patient. Right now we are setting up the rules of our zombie world, but soon this story goes off on all kinds of crazy, cool tangents.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
None. I have so many to read that I don’t know where to start! I am open to suggestions.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
THE MAD SAMURAI, although I don’t remember the author.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My children and girlfriend do both. Movies. THIS IS US (cry), MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER (laugh).
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I cannot narrow it down between these two men, but I would say Bruce Lee and Billy Corgan. To me they are both shining examples of what one can achieve when you do not box yourself into a corner. In Bruce Lee’s case, he refused to adhere strictly to the dogmatic way some people have of thinking about martial arts. Billy did the same thing with music. He showed me that you can be an amazing guitarist who plays metal-like solos, but then the next song on your album can be a sweet love song.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Well, wing chun, exercise and writing are my passions, so I would have to say hobbies would be watching movies, going to concerts, and browsing the internet to learn more about whatever subject interests me.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
TV shows: THIS IS US, MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, FORENSIC FILES, and BIG BANG THEORY.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I’ll eat just about anything, except I am not a pasta fan. Too much in the way of carbs makes me balloon up something awful. Colors: red, black, purple, blue, forest green. Music: alt-country, shoegaze, dream pop, some classic rock. If you want bands, I would have to say the Smashing Pumpkins, the Beatles, and the Jayhawks.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Practice wing chun kung fu and work out.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“What do batteries run on?” (It’s a one-liner from quirky, monotone comedian Steven Wright.)
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Not only is this the main website for the comic, but if you browse around you will also find articles that I write on a weekly basis, plus links to our YouTube channel AND our availability for freelance services. (https://redemptionwebcomic.wordpress.com/freelance-services/)