This week, the accent falls on one of my favorite people, Kathy Griffith. I am fascinated by her biting wit, her ill-concealed impatience with fakes and flakes, and the extreme pithiness of her personality. Reading her work is akin to a quick bite, or a sinking in of the fangs before you realize someone’s sneaked into your jugular…
…Kathy, what ten words do you think best describe you personally?
Liberal, empathetic, imaginative, obsessive, happy, angry, appreciative, grateful, religious, tolerant (except for willful stupidity)
…Will you share a brief overview of your life?
I’m a child of the Sixties and was raised to be politically active and extremely liberal— no Susan Sarandon liberal, more Bernie Sanders. I’m retired, married to the same man for 48 years and have three daughters and six grandchildren. I write for enjoyment, and to lessen the anger of today’s political climate. I’ve been a solitary Wiccan for over 20 years.
…Give us a quick look at your homoerotica novellas or novels. I’m supplying a cover here and there throughout your intervierw.
Here they are, major titles:
Chicago Circle https://amzn.to/2MXCXCK
Las Vegas Circle https://amzn.to/2zl3ZlC
Denver Circle https://amzn.to/2KD7KrY
The Ancient https://amzn.to/2KHcXiw
Heart’s Embers: Book Two of The Ancient https://amzn.to/2KBKcDI
Talk of the Town https://amzn.to/2ueOnKH
Sins of the Sire https://amzn.to/2zhUVhk
Hayden and the Handyman (short) https://amzn.to/2m2keux
Vows Of Heaven: A Modern Retelling Of The Bard https://amzn.to/2m2kidL
…Would you describe yourself first as a writer of gay themes/characters; or first as a writer, period, without limiting yourself to any genre or sub-genre?
I’d say that I’m a writer first, with my work usually featuring gay characters. I just find myself drawn to LGBT themes. Most of my books are taken up with vampires, but my latest has a ghost featured—my re-told Hamlet treatment Vows Of Heaven.
…What is your opinion of exploring the angst of the gay lifestyle in your writing? Or do you write about characters who happen to be gay and whose sexual preference is not their most defining characteristic or even an important part of the story? Maybe some of both?
Some of both, but the majority of my work is about characters who happen to be gay. Human first; gay next. 😊
…Many romance/erotica authors struggle with the bedroom stuff. Do you get turned on writing sex scenes?
No. It’s the opposite for me (wink). I write them, then I—edit them 😊
…What excites you most as a writer?
It’s the story seed, the spore that’s drifting and it happens to land on me. It’s the What If? It’s the reading of a news article, and ideas and images start playing in my head like a movie 😊
…I like that! The spore… very organic and descriptive!
By the same token, what turns you off? What are the nuts-and-bolts part of writing that you’d rather skip, but that have to be confronted and conquered?
Grrr—I hate changing the gender of a character that I penciled in, only to change my mind later because it’s not working. All those pesky “she’s” to turn into “he’s.”
Line editing—tedious but absolutely necessary.
…Describe your proudest moment or crowning achievement.
In my writing life? Holding an actual, physical copy of The Ancient and telling myself, “I did that.”
…Why did you decide to stress the “loner” aspect of your vampires instead of building them a separate world with royalty and hierarchies?
To me, vampires are by necessity and their very nature loners. The coexist with humans, falling under their radar. They appear quirky and eccentric, but they’re certainly not fearsome bloodsuckers. Vampires charm their food, they don’t command it—unless you want them to. As Dr. Van Helsing said, “The strength of the vampire is that men do not believe in him.”
…Tell us more about your kilt-wearing Vampire Alasdair. How did he spring from your imagination?
I ran across a newspaper article about finding the oldest house in the world (at the time) in the highlands of Scotland. Well, it blew up from there with my “What if” imagination. How would the oldest vampire in the world be spawned? Where would he come from? And so on. I wrote the first draft in about six weeks, then got to the end and told myself: this is a piece of crap. Where’s the conflict? Where’s the—yes, the blood? I ripped everything out and started over, and it took me seven months and 20 K more words to tell his real story.
By his very nature Alasdair was meant to be alone, or so he thought. He emigrated with his family from Bhutan and crossed into Britain over Doggerland, the land bridge that connected Europe to England. He’s always known what he likes, what he needs, and his huge ego never argues. He’s had countless lovers, wives, husbands, through his endless evolution, but he refused to see what was in front of him for too long. No one could be his equal since Mayra; he hasn’t found anyone worthy. Or has he?
…And now a segue into one of Alasdair’s favorite pastimes. My own favorite word, beyond a doubt, is an f-word. So I ask you,
…What is your favorite f-word? Why?
Fuck, let me think— I don’t fucking know, but if I had to give a fucking guess… 😊
…Hahahaha. Now sell a book, Kathy. Give us a reason to buy it. Present an excerpt.
I have to go with my crown jewel, and my favorite, The Ancient. We have Mr. Alasdair Connery, sophisticated recluse and the father of all nightwalkers. He has been a Scotsman for ten thousand years, and his human memories of Bhutan are all but gone. He’s vain, his ego is huge, and women and men (especially men) can’t help but be fascinated:
“You were just–thinking, picturing thoughts from your past. It was very enjoyable to me, and I want to thank you.” Alasdair stood and held out his hand.
Incredulous, Bruce took it. He closed his eyes again for a brief moment, smelling him. God, it was intoxicating, the odor of old herbs, and a whiff of–what was that? Frankincense? It smelled like the inside of a Catholic church, just like he remembered. There was another smell, a masculine smell that made Bruce excited and aroused. He felt himself getting hard again underneath his clothes.
But there was another smell underneath them all, one of great age, decay, and corruption. It reminded Bruce of the wet, rotten smell that arose when you lifted up a crumbling log in a forest to see all the creatures scurrying away from the light; or perhaps the sweet decaying stench of a mouse that had died trapped in a wall, only to leave a lingering odor when its corpse had finally dried and decomposed.
Bruce shivered as if he were chilled or scared, or a child anticipating something both wonderful and terrible.
Readers will find a review (on one page) of both The Ancient and Heart’s Embers on this blog, here: https://bit.ly/2KPpCPx