... Kathryn Meyer Griffith
1. Tell me about your book Human No Longer and where you got your inspiration for it?
It’s my 17th published novel…yeah! First I’ll tell you where I got the idea for the book; then I’ll give you the blurb. About five years ago, I was still trying to please my agent (who I no longer have) and, because she didn’t seem to like any of my new potential concepts, I asked her what she would like to see. Out of the clear blue sky, she said, “You know your 1991 vampire novel, Vampire Blood? I liked that a lot. The characters. Well, how about writing me a sort of sequel with basically the same people, but with this premise: A woman, a mother, after being turned into a vampire, must learn to adapt and still be a good mother. You know, how would she deal with everything when she had children she loved and couldn’t hurt or leave them…but still had the need to feed on blood? Be a vampire?
Yikes. I hated the idea but, to please her, I went ahead and begrudgingly wrote the book. I tentatively called it The Vampire’s Children or something like that. I finished it. Not too happy with it. I had never liked writing what other people wanted me to write. Stubborn, I guess.
My agent, in the meantime, had started her own online erotic publishing company and when I’d finally gotten done with the novel was too busy to even read the finished book. She handed it off to an apprentice intern. An intern? What.? Who didn’t like it at all. Duh. So, disgusted, I tucked the file away on my computer and, fed up with the whole agent thing, went back to writing what I wanted to write. An end of days novel called A Time of Demons and a new vampire novel where the evil vampire wasn’t a mother. In early 2010 I went with a new publisher, Kim Richards at Damnation Books/Eternal Press, and she contracted not only those two new books but asked me if I’d like to rewrite, update and rerelease all 7 of my other older out-of-print Leisure and Zebra paperbacks going back to 1984. Heck yes, I said! So for the next 3 years I was busy doing just that. Then, in 2012, I decided to take a very old book of mine that was never published, and just for the heck of it, self-publish it to Amazon Kindle Direct. Just the ebook. A grand experiment. The first time I’ve ever tried self-publishing. See how it’d sell. Dinosaur Lake. I had my cover artist, Dawne Dominique make a cover for it…and it was stunning with a dinosaur roaring on the front. And I did everything else myself. With forty years and many publishers behind me I felt I was capable of it. And it’s been selling so well I decided to self-publish another one…and I remembered the mother/vampire book. Hmmm. So I completely rewrote it and just self-published it, as well. I retitled it Human No Longer. Got my fabulous cover artist, Dawne Dominique, to make me a lovely haunting cover and voila! I don’t think it turned out half bad. In fact, with the changes I made I think it’s not bad at all.
2. Who has had the most influence in your life? What lessons did this person teach you?
I guess it’d have to be my mother, father and my maternal grandmother. They taught me to love books and to want to be something special in the world. Try to shine. Leave my mark. My family also taught me love, the value of working hard and never giving up. Which is why after 40 years and 17 published books, through all the rejections, ups and downs, I’m still writing.
3. How would you like to be remembered?
Mainly as a good, caring person. Loved by my family and friends. A good author hopefully.
4. If you could interview anyone from your life, living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?
Now that my maternal grandmother, Mary Fehrt, has been dead for almost eight years…I really wish I could sit down with her one more time and get her life’s story. I tried the last few years she was alive (she lived to be 95 years old) but she’d shut down, was unhappy, and wouldn’t tell me about her life. Didn’t want to talk about it. She had an amazing, but to her an uneventful life, though I never thought so. At six she came to America on a boat from Austria, was a hard-working, wife and mother. She, along with my father, though, were the most loving, generous, unselfish people I’ve ever met. Someone who’d do anything for anyone. Someone who really loved their family. Those kind of people, I’ve learned, are very rare. Not many in the world.
5. Ninjas or Pirates?
Ninjas. They’re so…magically mysterious. Can appear out of nowhere and disappear just as fast. Kinda magical.
6. You’re given one million pounds/dollars/euros, what would you spend it on?
Hmm. My husband and I have talked about that scenario many times. No joke. After taxes, we’d have about $600,000 and I’d put $500,000 in investments for our retirement (which is 3 years away) and split up the other $100,000 among those in my family who really need the money. We’re always helping family members anyway.
7. How would you describe yourself in three words?
Tenacious. Hard-working. Loving.
8. How do you react to a bad interview of one of your books?
I cry a little behind closed doors. Feel hurt. Get a little angry if the reviewer attacks me as a person (which that has happened once or twice, though the person doesn’t know me from Adam)…then I get over it and go on. It’s only one person’s opinion, for heaven’s sake, and I long ago figured out what makes a good or a great book. Two things: An intelligent, sensitive writer to write it AND an intelligent, sensitive READER to read it. It takes both. I truly believe that. And it takes a mean-spirited person to really trash a book and its author. There’s enough meanness in the world as it is. If you don’t like a book, just say so, but never trash its author.
9. Are the names of characters in your novels important?
Yes. I tend to like biblical names like Matthew and Benjamin for men. Or there’s a few men’s names that sound, feel strong to me. Frank. Jonathan. James. They have to have meat on them. For women? I like the old-fashioned names: Sarah. Jenny. Abigail. Cassandra. Meanings are important, too. Like one of my evil vampire/demons is called Lillith (means demon).
10. Would you rather write for children or adults?
Adults. Always. Only. Traditional PG rated stories. All my life, because I was an illustrator and artist, people told me I should write and illustrate a children’s book, but I’ve never had the desire to, ever.
11. Which do you find more embarrassing to write, violence or sex?
Sex and violence both, really. But the violence I can tame down and show off scene. I’ve done a few erotic stories (only and always to please an agent or an editor and regretted it later to no end) in my time, but I don’t like to. Love is far better than sex anyway.
12. Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever experienced it?
Of course. It happened between me and my second husband, Russell, 34 years ago. I met him that first night and felt like I’d known him forever; that we were meant to be together. Not to mention, the physical attraction was over powering and magical!
13. If you could ask your favourite author one question, who would it be and what would you ask?
Ray Bradbury. I’ve loved him since I was a child and first started reading. I’d ask him if he ever doubted himself or his writing? And if he ever felt he had to choose between his writing and living his real life. I’d like to know that.
14. How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
I went through so many titles for Human No Longer. Since it centers around the love a vampire/mother has for her children as she’s turning into a creature of the night I beat my brains out trying to get that connotation in it (The Vampire’s Children or Vampire Mother, ech) … but finally gave up. Then No Longer Human popped into my mind. That’s it! I did a Google search for book titles and someone else had used that title recently! Darn. Then I thought: Turn the words around and that’s how I got Human No Longer. It seemed to fit.
15. What are your current projects?
After this book I’m going to rewrite and self-publish my original eighth novel, an Avalon Books hardcover murder mystery called Scraps of Paper, that I just got the rights back to after 10 long years with a publisher that, I feel, really cheated me. Avalon Books. In that whole decade they claimed the book never made me another penny above the advance; not having sold through the 3,500 hardcover copies ceiling they had. I never got one royalty statement in all that time, either. And when I asked for the sales figures two years in a row in an email and both years the numbers were exactly the same… I knew something was fishy. I’m so happy to have it back and be able to publish it myself. Maybe in the next three months.
16. Do you recall how your interest in writing occurred?
As a child, I loved to read everything, especially SF, scary books and historical romances. So it made sense I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I wanted to create that magic of different worlds, that feeling of being able to be anyone or anything that the best authors had given me.
17. If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
That becoming a writer wouldn’t happen overnight, not in a few years or even a few decades. That becoming a writer takes a lifetime. That I should never feel discouraged but remember it would take that long. So live my life in between the words and published books.
18. Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?
I love them all. No joke. Paperbacks and ebooks the best, though. Hardcovers can be bulky and heavy. Hard to carry an armful of around. But I’ve found I like ebooks a lot more than I ever would have thought since I first heard about them…way back in 1990 or so. Me and all my writer friends were scared to death of them back then. Thought they’d end our careers. We were so silly.
Jenny and Jeff Sanders on a summer night become the victims of a bizarre crime, leaving Jeff dead and Jenny in a coma. Their attackers aren’t caught.
She returns to her children and her life. With Jeff’s death his business and their income are also gone. Jenny, a novelist, hasn’t written a book in years, so she must move back to her childhood home in Summer Haven, Florida, where years before she and Jeff destroyed a sadistic family of vampires.
At least her brother, Joey, who owns a local diner, is there to help them.
But Jenny has no appetite. She’s edgy. Her eyes hurt. Could be trauma from the attack, or grief. Until one night, after they’ve moved into the rundown family farmhouse, she can’t resist the night woods or drinking animals’ blood.
Gradually she accepts the truth. Her attackers were vampires. Now she’s becoming what she once hunted and fears she must either kill herself or run. She can’t abandon her children, but promises herself never to drink human blood; to find a way to live in the human world. It’s not easy. They settle into the farmhouse, which local gossip says is haunted, and renovate it. At night she hunts and hides what she’s becoming from everyone. She fights to be a good mother and not let the bloodlust overpower her. Gets a job and attempts to fit in.
People, bodies brutalized and emptied of blood, begin dying. Like years before. With her blackouts, she fears she may be their killer and confides in Joey. While a Detective, investigating her husband’s and his daughter’s murders, complicates things.
Jenny suspects it’s her attackers doing the killings. They’ve found her and demand she joins them–or her family will die. When she resists, they kidnap her children; to save them, she becomes part of their killing spree. Becoming a monster like them…until she finds a way to outwit and ultimately destroy them. In the end it takes supernatural intervention, a ghost, and the help of a childhood friend to set her, and the world, free from the vampires once and for all.
Kathryn Meyer Griffith has been a writer for over 40 years and has had 17 novels, 1 novella and 8 short stories published with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, the Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press since 1984. And her romantic end-of-the-world horror novel THE LAST VAMPIRE-Revised Author's Edition was a 2012 EPIC Ebook Awards Finalist Nominee