Folks, please slap your eyeballs together for an entertaining interview with the talented Kathryn Meyer Griffith. I have enjoyed a few books of hers so far (The Nameless One & Dinosaur Lake) and have a few more queued up. Today we chat about writing in the horror genre for decades, family, cover art, and much more! Enjoy!
(1) What now-dead author would you like to interview? What are some of the things you would chat about?
I’d like to interview Edgar Allan Poe. He had such a tragic, short life and to this day the real reason for his death is a mystery in itself. Was it drink, drugs or suicide? I think of him as one of the early horror/mystery genre writers. I’d love to talk to him and know what his life had really been like. If he was as unhappy as history sometimes portrays him and why he decided to write the macabre and mysterious. Also at twenty-six he married his thirteen year old cousin. Wouldn’t the social networks and media have a field day with that these days?
I usually don’t or I breeze over them as a quick mention. Travel is easy to express; you only hit the highlights. People know, as humans, we have physical needs so why dwell on them in a novel unless they’re really necessary to the story or plot; most times they aren’t. Also, in my early writing days in the 1980s I bent to the times and my publishers’ pushy editors and sometimes put cuss words in my books. I was up against Stephen King, Koontz and others and they cursed in their novels, so I thought I had to also. Though I rarely used curse words myself in my real life. But as the years and books went by I stopped using the heavy curse words or profanity, because I wanted my novels to be read by people of all ages, and now days I hardly use more than a damn or a hell once and a while. I let a character’s actions depict their frustration or anger, not profanity.
Ha, ha…a lot of them. I’m afraid I’m one of these authors that like to read what’s current in fiction or my genres and not the real old stuff. I did read some of the old classics in high school as most kids did, but since I’ve been too busy writing to read anything I don’t really want to read…and the ancient works are some of what I don’t feel like reading. This is a secret I’ve kept for decades, but now I’m too old to care what others think of me. Writing good stories are all I care about. I was born a storyteller so all I feel I have to do is tell my stories.
In my life I’ve been, and am, an artist and when I was very young I sang out with my brother, Jim. Folk duo in the sixties and then in a few classic rock bands. Then I got married (way too young), got pregnant and dropped out for a while. Started writing out of despair and loneliness. My brother went on to sing out professionally, along with the real day job, as I had, for over thirty years and I went deeper into my art – I was a graphic artist for twenty-three years in the corporate world – and from age twenty-one on into my writing. I really loved singing but I wasn’t good enough (my brother always said) to do it for a living. Good thing. I wouldn’t have twenty-three novels, two novellas, twelve short stories published and eighteen audio books (soon to be twenty) if I would have continued on with the singing or the art career. But I had a passion for singing and miss it to this day. And my brother? He was a gifted musician and songwriter for over forty years but he’s been battling esophageal cancer the last two and can no longer sing or play. He’s such a brave man, but he misses the music, too. BUT if I couldn’t be any of those three, heck, I’d probably be broke and homeless because I’m a storyteller and that’s all I can be/want to be.
I’m a neat freak. Always have been. Everything has a place in my house and it stays there. I hate messes. I got that from my mother. She always said, “We might be poor but at least we can be neat and clean.” And that went for our home as well. And I’m the same way with my home now. I’m very organized and I don’t abide clutter. I like to write on my laptop in my living room, TV on for company and a fire in the fireplace, sitting on my plush sofa with a hot cup of my chocolate coffee on the side table. I used to write at a stationary computer in a writing room, but it felt too much like work, so these days I like the comforts of my front room. If I had a deck with a view (trees not neighbors) I’d write out there on nice days, yet I don’t have a deck. Darn. I also like to be totally alone when I write. It’s easier to go into my make-believe worlds and live what I’m writing.
Beats me. Are you talking about five of MY characters or someone else’s? I can’t right now off the top of my head pick five other author’s characters (except maybe the five main characters in Stephen King’s masterpiece end-of-the-world novel The Stand…which would be neat) but if I had to pick five of MY characters I would pick the main five from my apocalyptic end-of-days saga A Time of Demons. One’s an angel, Manasseh; one’s a demon, Rayner; main character Cassandra and her cohorts, her singer-songwriter brother, Johnny; a carnival clown named Walter; his psychic girlfriend Sarah; and another demon-fighter named Obadiah – all warriors for God fighting demons in the end days as the Rapture approaches. Now I’d LOVE to go on that journey with them in their RV all across the country and fight the good fight with the swords given them by the angels. And I’d have my homemade chocolate coffee with them and maybe bake them a chocolate cake, too. They fight hard so they could use the treats.
Since I’ve been writing now for over forty-three years and published since 1984, I do get people who say: “I read your 1993 book Witches when I was in high school, ages ago, and have never forgotten it.” Or someone will email me and gush over my very first horror novel published in 1984, Evil Stalks the Night, and how much they loved it…as a kid. Makes me feel so old but it’s also flattering that they remember one of my books decades later. I love it.
I’m going to be absolutely truthful…there are lots of great covers out there, too many to list, but my favorite are the covers Dawne Dominique has done for me the last five years. They’re amazing, especially my Dinosaur Lake covers. And yes I also believe a cover, and a good blurb, is a necessity for selling books, particularly self-published books. I’ve had so many awful covers when I had no choice in the matter with my legacy publishers, but now I get to pick and design my own (because I started self-publishing in 2012) and Dawne seems to read my mind she’s so good. To me a great cover not only conveys the essence of a novel but has dynamic colors and a haunting ambiance. It’s got to jump out at you, bite you and then haunt you after it’s gone.
Lately (since 2010) I’ve been so busy bringing out my old novels, rewriting, writing new stories and working with narrator/producers creating the audio books that I have had little spare time for anything else. I hope to be able to slow down when all my books (fifteen are still with a publisher until 2015-2017) are finally self-published and I completely own their rights and have them all out again. But I try to spend time with my husband, of thirty-six years, and my family. I have five siblings and I try to spend as much time with them as I can, especially Jim. I love TV. Dramas and PBS or BBC America mysteries. Game of Thrones type stuff. Star Trek. I like to go to the movies. I love to read, of course. Horror and murder mysteries or anything spooky. I like to bake, sugar cookies and chocolate chip being my favorites, and I enjoy walking in the woods and marveling at nature. Colorful sunsets, ocean or lake vistas can mesmerize me. They give me a sense of peace that as I’ve gotten older soothes me.
I remember, way back in the dark ages of the mid 1950s, reading the Dick and Jane Primer books and having such a feeling of accomplishment being able to decipher them. I was very young and I had no trouble reading the words. I was so good at it as well as spelling. I loved reading from then on. I began reading everything I could get my hands on, going to the library for free books because my family was so poor, and developed a great love and respect for the written word and authors. But one of the earliest recreational books I ever read that left a real impression on me was a novel called Smokey. I’ve looked it up recently but it no longer exists and what a pity. It was about this horse and all the travails of its life. So many sad things happened to the horse but in the end the animal came home and grew old happily. It was so poignant it made me cry. I never forgot that book and years later it was one of the reasons I became an author myself. Imagine – being able to make people feel something that much that they cried, or laughed or grew angry. Now that was power. When I was young I thought authors were gods. Now I know they aren’t, they’re just people – storytellers – like me.
Thanks for having me here, Susan and Dab of Darkness.
And thank you Kathryn!
A short author bio:
Kathryn Meyer Griffith has been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before she quit to write full time. But she’d already begun writing novels at twenty-one, over forty-four years ago now, and has had twenty-two (10 romantic horror, 2 horror novels, 2 romantic SF horror, 1 romantic suspense, 1 romantic time travel, 1 historical romance, 2 thrillers, and 3 murder mysteries) novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books/Eternal Press; she’s self-published her last 7 novels with Amazon Kindle Direct. Her Dinosaur Lake novels and Spookie Town Mysteries are her best-sellers. She’s been married to Russell for thirty-six years; has a son and two grandchildren. She has one cat, Sasha, and the three of them live happily in an old house in the heart of a small quaint town in Illinois. Though she’s been an artist, and a singer in her youth with her brother Jim, writing has always been her greatest passion, her butterfly stage, and she’ll probably write stories until the day she dies…or until her memory goes. 2012 & 2014 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS *FINALIST* for The Last Vampire–Revised Author’s Edition and Dinosaur Lake.
Places to Find Kathryn & Her Books
All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s books can be found here:
All her 18 Audible.com audio books here: