I’m happy to share another author interview. Nancy M. Griffis has published two novels, Eternal Investigations, published in 2010, and Mind Games, published in 2006. Nancy and I go way back, and she was the first friend I met who also wrote (um, I think that was fifth, maybe sixth grade). So it’s so exciting that we are now both published authors. Nancy is also a screenwriter and working on that aspect of her career. And she is a prolific writer. If you like paranormal, you’ll want to check out Eternal Investigations. I’m about halfway through it now and it’s a fun and creepy read!
Helen has the ability to speak to spirits, and she heads to Atlanta on an emergency haunting job. Helen’s dead-ghost twin sister, Brenda, tags along.
When a small-time demon takes over Helen’s mind, Jacqueline gets a ghostly visit from Brenda asking for her help. Together they try to overcome the evil spirits and find themselves falling in love. When a new assignment sends them to Nevada, Helen and Jacqueline team up, in more ways than one.
They help investigate a haunted ranch in Wild Creek, Nevada, a town filled with mysterious happenings, including the infamous Ranch. The ranch is steeped in evil, the grounds for many, many gory deaths over the last hundred years. Helen and Jacqueline are caught in the house’s alternate reality, alone, frightened, and trying desperately to harness their powers against evil.
Now on to our interview.
Q: Where were you born? How many places have you lived? Are you the kind of person who likes to move around a lot, or do you prefer to live in one place?
A: I was born in Massachusetts. At last count, I’ve lived 42 places from birth til now. And yes, that’s more times moved than years I’ve been alive. I’ve never lived in one place for long, as you can see, but I wouldn’t mind giving it a shot. You know. For at least five years. That’d be interesting.
Q: Since you’ve been in LA a number of years now, how would you describe the differences between the East Coast and West Coast? (By the way, the DC area has now surpassed you and become #1 for gridlock!)
A: I actually looked that up to make sure you weren’t pulling a fast one! It sure feels like we’re still number one, but apparently we’re not even number two! Aside from the obvious one of weather (of which LA rocks), I would say the main difference is attitude and focus. Each coast definitely has their own attitude and what they’re going after, even when the end result is the same.
Q: What sparked your interest in writing? How long have you been writing?
A: My nana! She had stacks upon stacks upon bookshelves just filled to brimming with Harlequin romances. I was probably reading the naughty bits a lot younger than I should’ve been, but I think I’m pretty well adjusted withal. I’ve been reading ‘real’ books for as long as I can remember. My fave book when I was 12 was Taming of the Shrew and The Wizard Children of Finn by Mary Tannen. You can’t love to write without a love of reading. I wrote my (no doubt very bad) first novel when I was 14 years old, but did shorts for English class before that, too.
Q: How long did it take you to finish the book? How many drafts did you write before you were satisfied?
A: The first draft only took a month. Of course, the first draft turned into 3 drafts before I was satisfied. Unfortunately, it was written for an anthology that fell through and I had 3 novellas tied together through the characters, but not a “real” novel. It took six months of solid, banging-my-head-against-the-desk of editing to get to the current version that I submitted to be published. (Here I have to thank a couple of friends, Juli and Louise, who poked me with sharp sticks to get it done) And then the editors got to it and, three versions later, Eternal Investigations was published. Thank God, because I was ready to shoot myself at that point.
Q: Do you have a favorite genre to write? To read?
A: The answer to that is the same: action/scifi/horror with the occasional spot of romance. And there has to be some decent angst going on somewhere, too.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
A: Find a couple of “cheerleaders” who will love everything and a couple of “Really? You sure you want to do that?” friends who poke you with sharp sticks and keep you grounded. You need both. Even more important: Keep at it. I have so many rejections from agents it’s not even funny. Still trying to get one, really. Most important? Love it. Embrace your passion because often that’s your only satisfaction.
Q: You’re also interested in scriptwriting. How does the scriptwriting process differ from writing fiction?
A: Screenwriting is deceptively difficult. I say deceptively because for a limited page format, features no more than 120 pages (140 if you absolutely have to in some kind of period piece) and tv no more than 65 pages, it’s often more difficult than novel writing which has no limit. Every word has to count where in novels, you can take 10 pages to get to a point. Well, as long as you keep the reader’s interest. I will say first drafts come out a lot faster though. The short page count comes in handy for that first vomit draft, which is really nice. ;o)
Q: Name a few authors who have inspired you and why.
A: Marion Zimmer Bradley totally opened my eyes to the world of scifi when I was 13ish. I adored her, even when I hated her writing because it tore my guts out. Shakespeare for the sheer wordsmithing. Wow. How many writers are still relevant/translatable hundreds of years later?
Q: Tell us about your current writing project.
A: LOL! Which one? Okay, for novels I’ve got Fluctuations which is a scifi adventure in final draft mode. Got a good start on the sequel’s first draft, too. As for active, in-progress novels, I’ve got a “real life” novel about life in the public transportation system (of which I’ve been a very reluctant participant the last 6 years) and a fantasy novel involving dragons and a heroine who doesn’t want to be one. My in-progress scripts include a scifi/horror, a time-travel, and a present-day noir. I bet you can tell I don’t have much of a life, right?
Q: Coffee, tea, or hard liquor? (or all three?)
A: I’m actually allergic to coffee, so that’s a no-no, but sure! I’ll take some liquor in my tea. I’m not that much of a purist. ;o)
Q: What books are you currently reading or on your to-be-read list?
A: Currently reading:
Good in a Room by Stephanie Palmer (being the partially social-phobic writer that I am)
The Tempering of Men by Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear
All the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout
Q: And now for the bonus fluff question: If you could be a character in one of your favorite novels, which character would you be and why?
A: I think Horatio Hornblower. Talk about living the live of high adventure!
Nancy M. Griffis writes novels and screenplays of the scifi/action/adventure/urban fantasy genres, adores tv and movies, and is a fangirl at heart.
You can get your own copy of Eternal Investigations from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Eternal-Investigations-Nancy-M-Griffis/dp/1610400992/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2) or from Torquere Press (http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=97&products_id=2936).