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?
My name is Gerry Griffiths and soon I’ll be 70.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Paget, Bermuda and grew up mostly in California.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Well to put it all in a nutshell, I served in the U.S. Navy in submarines, I worked at a company for 32 years called Eimac that made vacuum tubes, I received a Bachelor of Science degree from San Jose State University, I have a wonderful wife, four daughters, four dogs, a cat, and I like to write. Life is good.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have just completed the third book in a series called Cryptid Country, the sequel to Cryptid Zoo and hope to have it available soon by Severed Press.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always been an avid reader so I guess the natural thing was to try a hand at writing. I started writing for myself maybe forty or so years ago. At the time my wife was working swing shift so I would stay up at night pounding on a typewriter. I was so engrossed with my first manuscript that when the black ribbon ran out, I put in the red ribbon, and when that began to wear out, the pages began to look like braille. In 2016 I took that story idea and developed it into a book entitled SILURID. So my advice, never throw anything away. Before that I self-published a short story collection entitled Creatures in 2010.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s a tough question. Even though I’ve had over ten novels and thirty short stories published I still feel like it’s been a fluke. Maybe it just takes time for it to really set in. I truly believe ‘You’re only as good as your next book.’
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well my first book was a compilation of 22 short stories called Creatures. I love creature features and thought it would be fun to write a full length book. That’s when I dusted off the story for SILURID.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
SILURID is also another name for catfish. I thought the title sounded kind of catchy (no pun intended). Some readers embraced the idea of giant catfish terrorizing the California coast and attacking tourist at Fisherman’s Wharf; other readers, not so much. At least I had fun with it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I like to keep my characters engaged with dialogue and try not to overburden the story with too much description. I always find that if I have to wade through too much description it bogs everything down. I like to try my hand at speculative fiction which is always fun to explore. Horror has always been my bag. I think all writers are influenced by their favorite authors. Mine are King, Laymon, Little, Koontz, and Keene.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think as a writer we evoke a part of ourselves into our characters whether it is our mannerisms or our witticisms. If you ever watch a horror movie that really resonates there is always that element of humour. Eight Legged Freaks is a good example.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Research is a very important part of a book. I wrote Deep in the Jungle about a family’s adventures in the Amazon jungle andThe Next World about them having further adventures in Africa but have never travelled to either location. When I decided to do another book of the family in Battleground Earth I did decide to travel up to Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton for my research. I took my wife, daughter, and grandson along. The ride up (and down) was the most scariest we’ve ever encountered. The road was unbelievably windy with sheer drop-offs. My wife vowed never to go again. I used that experience in the book.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I am not sure who the actual designer is as most of my books have been published by Severed Press and always have phenomenal covers.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think we all want to play a part in addressing important hot button issues and influencing change. In Cryptid Island I wanted readers to be aware of the threat of over logging the Amazon jungle. In The Next World it was addressing heinous poachers killing wildlife on the African savanna. I just had the opportunity to be a contributing author for Tales of the Camp Fire: A Charity Anthology Benefiting Wildfire Relief which I felt was important as my brother-in-law and his wife lived in Paradiseand are survivors of the tragic firestorm that destroyed the town, killed 85 people, and displaced 250,000 residents. Hopefully the donated profits from the sale of this anthology can help toward the efforts of restoring the community.
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?
I have been collecting books through the years after reading them. If I look at my bookshelf I can count 20 books by Richard Laymon, 16 by Bentley Little, 12 by Linwood Barclay, too many to count of Stephen King’s and so on. I do have my favorite books which I would gladly share that are not these authors and I think everyone should read. Here are just a few:
Among Madmen by Jim Stalin &DainaGraziunas
The Fungus by Harry Adam Knight
Red by Jack Ketchum
Passenger by Billy Cowie
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
Killing the Boss by Brian Pinkerton
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I have an old photograph of my dad smoking a pipe and sitting behind his typewriter. He liked to write and I suppose I got the bug from him. I can’t think of any outside influence that would have played a part in my writing unless there is some strange entity invading my dreams at night and putting these crazy ideas into my brain. With that said, I do owe a debt of gratitude to Lori Michelle of Dark Moon Digest for publishing so many of my short stories and getting me started.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It wasn’t until I retired that I began having my work published. I know it sounds taboo to call my writing a hobby but I already had a career. I feel fortunate to have come this far thanks to a lot of great folks in the industry.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not my latest book but I think if I had it to do over again, I would have changed the ending on Battleground Earth. Just so you know, I wrote a four-book series: Death Crawlers, Deep in the Jungle, The Next World, and Battleground Earth. These books were about an entomologist who takes his family on adventures and are plagued by giant insects that eventually take over the world. I thought it was time to wrap up the series and at the last chapter I jumped ahead 20 years which some readers found upsetting and were disappointed but at the time I thought was a nice closing. I should have left it open for a possible fifth book.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Whenever I read a book I like to learn fun facts or something new. I like to do that with my books. In the book I just finished writing, Cryptid Country; I learned about statistics about the tallest buildings in the world and used that in my story. As the book is all about cryptid creatures that have escaped a zoo and are terrorizing the nation, I had to do some extensive research to bring these creatures to life. Sometimes compiling the research can be just as much fun as the actual writing.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
In the Cryptid Zoo book series there are the cryptid hunters Jack Tremens and Miguel Walla. I think Jack could be played by Wyatt Russell and Miguel could be played by Michael Pena. One of my characters is Allen Moss who is known as the ‘Botanist’ as he has transformed into a plant-like creature and would make a great CGI special effects character.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
I heard this one and thought it was pretty good. READ, WRITE, REPEAT.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Always remember when rating an author’s work that your opinions are appreciated but know that they can also be damaging to a new book coming out of the gate.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just received my copy of Tales of the Camp Fire and plan to jump into that.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Sorry, I don’t.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Whenever it is someone’s birthday, I’ll go to the store to pick out a humorous card. If I read one and I laugh out loud, that’s a keeper. Maybe getting poked in the eye by a stick.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Maybe not so book related. I’ve always followed famous directors and watched movies because of their work. It would have been wonderful to meet Toby Hooper, Wes Craven,and George Romero to get their spin on horror. I do wish my dad was around to see my books. He passed in 2005. I didn’t publish my first book until 2010. I think he would have been proud up there smoking his pipe.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Did I mention writing?
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
There are so many wonderful shows and great films out there. Here are just a few of my picks:
Banshee (the series)
Game of Thrones
Overload (the movie)
The Walking Dead
Black Summer (the series)
…you get the idea…
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Fried chicken, ribeye steak, green, Imagine Dragons is cool.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I would cuddle with my wife and our four dogs, daughters included, maybe play some Scrabble.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Pop always ordered a Black Russian.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
You can visit my books on my Author Central page on Amazon.
Armen Pogharian said:
Vacuum tubes – now there’s something I hadn’t thought about in years. Best of luck to you.