Kathryn Meyer Griffith Chats About How Her Writing Ambitions Turned Into a Forty Year Career

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Meet Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had seventeen (ten romantic horror, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance and two murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books/Eternal Press and Amazon Kindle Direct.

I’ve been married to Russell for almost thirty-five years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.

Find the entire list of Kathryn Meyer Griffith's novels currently available through Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Kathryn-Meyer-Griffith/e/B000AP9HXQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1374505033&sr=1-2-ent
Egyptian Heart Audio Book now available at ACX here: http://tinyurl.com/cgyhl66

Once again, I'm thrilled to welcome prolific author Kathryn Meyer Griffith, author of eighteen novels, two novellas and twelve short stories, back to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Ms. Griffith was kind enough to write a guest post for me and here it is below in her own words:

'Yes, I’m a Horror Writer…'
But forty years later I’m so much more.
by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

I never started out to be a horror writer. I mean I never said one day, “I’m going to write horror like Stephen King and Anne Rice.” It just sort of happened. But, if I would have looked, the signs were there early on. I grew up loving scary movies and ghost stories; intrigued by tales of vampires and werewolves. My fondest childhood memories were of my Grandmother Fehrt dropping my younger brother, older sister and I off at the afternoon movie matinee at the grand old-fashioned movie palace to watch the horror or monster flicks in the early nineteen-sixties. For some reason I was always drawn to anything concerning the supernatural and read everything on it I could get my hands on, though I also devoured science fiction and historical romances as well. 

But years later, in the 1970’s, when I was a restless young wife with a baby son gurgling in his crib; no longer in college (I dropped out to have my child), I found myself, out of pure boredom, writing a sexy historical romance, which was all the rage at the time. I’d just read one I thought was awful and believed I could do better. Well, that’s what I thought. So arrogant. I had a lot to learn…and over the next forty years I learned it well.

Writing a book, any kind of book, isn’t easy, not cut-and-dry, and it rarely takes a straight course or a set amount of weeks or months to complete–and, wow, did it take me a long time to learn this. On an electric typewriter, I pecked out that first novel I eventually titled The Heart of the Rose in under a year but it took me over twelve to sell it. Life got in the way and, to be perfectly honest, I had to grow up some first. I went through having a child, getting divorced, finding a real day job as a graphic artist, meeting and marrying the man who’d be the true love of my life…and experiencing years of everyday life.

And somewhere in those twelve years, during the early days of my second marriage, as I was waiting for that revised historical romance to make the fiftieth or so slow snail-mail publisher rounds, I began another novel, a straight fiction, based on my idealistic childhood in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. 707 Suncrest. It was a story which wouldn’t let me rest until I finished it. But the publishers I sent it to didn’t want it, or at least, not like it was; though some of them commented they liked my writing and to not give up. In 1978, a kind editor at Towers Publisher advised me I should add an element of the supernatural to it, as my writing had a spooky ambiance to it anyway. She said I wrote like a horror writer so why not be one? Since horror, the pack being led by Stephen King, was so big by that time. 

It was the turning point for me and my writing. I added an ancient evil in the woods behind the family’s home and had it knock off all of them but a sister and a brother, then I fast forwarded the narrative twenty years and followed that grown-up brother and sister as they returned to their childhood home to fight that same evil which had begun killing children again. Ta-da! I renamed it Evil Stalks the Night and sent it to that kind editor. She loved it. Towers was going to publish it, but went bankrupt before they could and a paperback company called Leisure Books bought them out. My Tower’s editor hand delivered my manuscript to the new Leisure editor before she left, recommending it…and that editor bought it in 1984. They asked if I had any other books and I sent them the historical romance. And after a series of requested rewrites, they bought it, too, and brought it out the year after they released Evil Stalks the Night

So my third novel, released in 1989, was a horror, too. About a possessed gun. Leisure Books saddled it with the inane title Blood Forge (not my first choice, but in those days you took the title and the cover your publisher gave you). Then in 1990 and for the next four years came a new publisher, Zebra paperbacks, and they released my romantic horror novel Vampire Blood, my sf/horror The Last Vampire, a novel called Witches, and my ghost story, The Calling
 
After that I endured a long dry spell of eight years (again life and a new job got in the way) before two hardcover murder mysteries, Scraps of Paper and All Things Slip Away, came out from Avalon Books

And the years went by. My life went by. Twenty years. My ancient Egyptian ghost story, Egyptian Heart, came out; followed by a romantic suspense, Winter’s Journey, and a paranormal murder mystery, The Ice Bridge. Thirty years. A Time of Demons, a horror novel, and my vampire novel, The Woman in Crimson followed and Damnation Books/Eternal Press rereleased most of my revised older books between 2010 and 2012…this time in eBooks as well as print. I slowly kept writing and selling, like pulling teeth some years, my stories. Forty years. I tried something new and self-published another sf/horror, Dinosaur Lake; a vampire tale, Human No Longer and then republished my mystery Scraps of Paper. Oh, I kept writing horror, vampires, witches, and ancient Egyptian ghosts, but every once and awhile I found myself penning a time-travel romance, a suspense, or a love story; a few murder mysteries or short stories.
 
One day I looked at the old woman in the mirror and, smiling, said, “I’m not just a horror writer…I’m a storyteller.” Just like I heard Stephen King was calling himself. “I write stories and it doesn’t matter what genre they are. They’re my stories. The way I see and feel the world around me and try to explain it. The way I see and appreciate the beauty and the magic of life.” I was happy to be a storyteller. 

Now eighteen novels, two novellas and twelve short stories later, I’m content with my career as I gaze back over it. All its ups and downs. Defeats and triumphs. Sadness and joys. At the moment, my sixteenth novel, Dinosaur Lake, my first of three self-published with Amazon Kindle, is selling very well. I’m in the middle of working on eight ACX audio books of some of my novels and thinking, for my nineteenth novel, of writing a sequel to Dinosaur Lake when the audio books are done. If some narrator/producer doesn’t offer for another one of my other ten novels, that is. Even listening takes time and work.

Yes, I still consider myself a horror writer…but I’ve realized I’m so much more. I’m a writer. I’m a storyteller and proud of it. 

Thank you, 
author Kathryn Meyer Griffith 
rdgriff@htc.net


May you read well and often

2 comments:

sashagirl said...

Mareena,
as always, you're one of my greatest fans. Thank you for having me on your lovely blog again! Warmly, "storyteller" Kathryn Meyer Griffith rdgriff@htc.net

Emeraldfire said...

You are more than welcome, Kathryn! Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. :)