Kathryn Meyer Griffith is a name well known author, and there’s a damn good reason for that: Superb talent. With well over a dozen novels to her credit, she’s gained a strong following as a result of strong product. And frankly, we’re happy to have her share a few words with us!
John Wisniewski: What inspires you to write? What scares the reader and holds their attention?
Kathryn Meyer Griffith: Just something inside me makes me write. Don’t know what it is. I’m a born storyteller, I guess. I sit down at a typewriter or a computer and the stories just come out. I can’t help myself. I actually began writing at age 21, although I’d had a sixth grade English teacher tell me long before that that I’d be a writer someday after an oral story about when my brother and I rode some wild ponies as kids. I’d always been an artist; wanted to be a singer when I was a teenager when I sang out with my brother, Jim Meyer. But I’d always loved to read and after reading a particularly bad historical romance in 1971, I decided to try to write one myself. Ha, I was so young and really didn’t know what I was doing. I wrote my first novel The Heart of the Rose, my only historical romance (as all my others are more horror, suspense or mystery), and sent it out to endless publishers. I couldn’t sell it, so I tucked it away and worked on it on and off for the next twelve years. But I had to grow up, go through a divorce, remarry and get a full time job in the real world before I gained enough maturity to revise and sell that first novel. Over the next forty-two years I kept writing, no matter what else I was doing in my life (like working full time as a graphic artist for twenty-three years), and I kept publishing. Ah, the horror stories I have of publishers, editors and agents! I ought to write a book on that. And, as of today, I’ve published eighteen novels, two novellas and twelve short stories. So, though I began my life wanting to be an artist and a singer, I became a writer instead…and now realize it was my ultimate destiny. I feel my most complete self, my happiest, when I’m writing my stories.
And what scares my readers is what scares me…or any feeling human on this planet. Fears of the unknown or survival, fears of losing those we love, fear of losing the comforts of the lives we have, fears of the end of the world, fears of pain…or fears of supernatural horrors such as vampires, demons, witches, insane murderers or real live hungry dinosaurs. All those things scare the bejesus out of me – along with fears of driving at night and not having enough money to live on.
JW: Whom are some of your favorite horror authors?
KMG: The classic horror authors like Anne Rice, Dan Simmons, Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I also like Joe Hill, his writing reminds me of his father’s. Lately, though, I can’t seem to find any new horror writers I really love, but I’ll keep looking. I like the traditional horror where it’s the story and the characters that count, and believable motivation for what they do or don’t do…not profanity, graphic gore or sex. And I want excellent writing. Writers break the rules if you must, but keep me interested enough to continue reading.
JW: Are you interested in occult subjects, or maybe just vampires and witches?
Dictionary definition of the Occult:supernatural or magic: relating to, involving,
or characteristic of magic, witchcraft, or supernatural phenomena.
2. Not understandable, not capable of being understood by ordinary human beings.
3. Secret or known only to the initiated.
KMG: Funny you should ask that question. As I actually wrote a whole chapter on “Putting the Occult in to your Fiction” in a 2012 book of author essays by my publisher Damnation Books/Eternal Press titled Telling Tales of Terror. Yep, I wrote a whole chapter on that subject.
So the answer for me to your question would be: yes, I’m interested in other aspects of the occult. Early in my career (1989) I wrote about a demon-possessed Colt Python gun in my book Blood Forge. I’ve also written about demons in my 2010 book A Time of Demons. I’ve covered werewolves, ghosts, and almost anything else that goes bump in the night. So yes, I write about anything supernatural or magical. It’s the story that comes to me and if a ghost would be the best way to convey my concept then it’s a ghost I write about. If a live dinosaur (which is in some ways magical to me because they don’t/can’t exist) is needed, then I write about a dinosaur. The only thing I don’t write about in the magical realm are fantasy; fairies, dragons, etc.
JW: Are you a fan of horror films, Kathryn? Any particular favorites?
KMG: Yes, I love horror films. But they must not be slasher/sexy/mindless creations with no plot and no decent characterizations. I love the old-fashioned suspense/mystery/basic-good-versus-evil character driven films where the story is as important as the special effects. Movies like SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, GODZILLA, GHOST STORY and THE WOMAN IN WHITE. ALIENS. I liked the earlier SALEM’S LOT and THE SHINING from Stephen King. I don’t like a lot of blood and gore or sex just for their sake. And I want to feel something for the characters before the plot starts putting them in danger, maiming or killing them off. Simple, I like a well-made, well-filmed horror movie with a heart. Happy ending not required. Oh, and I love a good ghost story movie. I wish they’d make more of these types of horror films. Lately, they’re hard to find.
JW: Have you heard or read any true life accounts of Vampire Clans that exist in America?
KMG: No. And I don’t find people who believe/think they are vampires very interesting. There are no such things as real vampires…only people who are misguided enough to want to drink blood. I write about supernatural creatures, though I don’t believe in most of them. Oh, except ghosts…I have seen a ghost. Once. When I was sixteen I saw my great-Aunt Mary wandering my night time hallway the night before she was to be buried. Now that was scary.
JW: Why do you choose small towns as the locales for your stories, as places where anything can happen?
KMG: Well, not all my books are set in small towns. In my 2012 Epic EBook Awards Finalist, The Last Vampire-Revised Author’s Edition I have my apocalyptic survivor vampire-woman starting in St. Louis and traveling all across the United States in her quest to find her sister and evade other less friendly vampires. My 2014 Epic EBook Awards Finalist Dinosaur Lake takes place in Crater Lake National State Park. But on the whole, I set my stories in small towns because small towns are what I know. I’ve lived in small, quaint towns all my life and cherish their quirks and truths.
JW: Could you tell us about your projects for the future, Kathryn?
KMG: In over thirty years of being published I’d never had my books made into audio books. That changed last January. ACX made it possible for me to put all my novels into audio. Right now I’m finishing up the last seven of my nineteen audio books with ACX (where when they’re done they’ll be for sale at Audible.com, iTunes and Amazon). It’s taken over a year to get the first twelve out and I’m hoping my narrator/producers get the last seven done in the next five to six months.
I’ve began the sequel to my 2014 Epic EBook Awards *Finalist* novel Dinosaur Lake…Dinosaur Lake II: Dinosaurs Arising and I just self-published my revised sequel to my murder mystery Scraps of Paper, All Things Slip Away , with a stunning new cover by Dawne Dominique. After that I plan on finishing (I wrote half of it eight years ago but set it aside) the long awaited sequel to my 1994 Witches. Then I plan on writing the sequel to my end-of days horror novel A Time of Demons…and, hopefully, after those more horror novels and stories. If I have the time left.
JW: Has a film company approached you about a possible adaptation of one of your novels?
KMG: No. But I have high hopes that one day the representative for a film company or a producer will read one of my books and want to make a movie of it. I’ve had many reviewers say that they can see my Dinosaur Lake or my The Last Vampire-Revised Author’s Edition as a movie. It just hasn’t happened yet. I often wonder, though, how I’d feel if someone wanted to option one of them. Could I bear to see what they would do to one of my children? I’m not sure. I’d have to face that when it would happen.