Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 29: Among the Stacks with Greg F. Gifune


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Welcome back to The Gal, Greg.  It is always a great pleasure to have you on.  It's been awhile since we sat down together.  What's been going on since we last spoke?

Greg F. Gifune:
There's been a lot going on, actually - several new books out, some exciting deals with some new publishers, couple movie deals happening, one of my novels (CHILDREN OF CHAOS) is in development for a TV series, and I've got some new novels coming out in 2018 and several reissues.  All good things.  It's been going well.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Who are you outside of writing?

Greg F. Gifune:
A mysterious interpretive dancer known only as The Luscious One.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Greg F. Gifune:
Doesn't bother me, and to be honest, I don't give it any more thought than if and when anyone else reads my work.  I got over that a long time ago, from the start, really.  Once what I've done is out there, it's out there, and it's more about the people reading it at that point than it is about me.  I learned a long time ago that you need to be fearless when you write.  One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from a mentor was to always write as if I was the only one who would ever read the work, because when you do that, it frees you and you write from the heart and without fear, you don't hold back.  If you write censoring yourself and worrying about what someone might think or how they may react, friend, family, stranger - whatever - you're doing a serious disservice to both yourself and, more importantly, the work.  So, to be honest, I don't really think about it, beyond being grateful if and when people do read my work, regardless of who they are.  Whatever their take is, it's up to them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Greg F. Gifune:
Both.  It defies explanation.  Somebody either gets it or they don't.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Greg F. Gifune:
I'm sure it impacted it, because how could it not?  Those things certainly help to form who we are and how we see the world in some ways, but I'd say my growth beyond upbringing has had just as much, if not more, influence.  Writers - all writers really - need experiences, and they need to live and be out there and absorb the world for a while, and I've always done that, so I take all of my experiences from childhood right on through and use them all.  All of it colors my writing.  Yesterday, today, tomorrow.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Greg F. Gifune:
Some very dark parts of the web when I was writing my novel DOMINION.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Greg F. Gifune:
None of it's easy (at least not for me).  I'm in the love 'having written' crowd.  The process of actually doing it is often very difficult for me emotionally because I tend to method write and I'm almost always personally connected to the material in some way, shape or form, so it's not usually pleasant.  But when it's done, and I can take a breath and know I've gotten through it and hopefully have something wonderful and memorable for the effort, then I'm able to relax.  But the entire process is difficult for me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you outline?  Do you start with characters or plot?  Do you just sit down and start writing?  What works best for you?

Greg F. Gifune:
Sometimes, but when I outline they are VERY loose outlines.  Strict adherence to outlines is never a good idea.  They're too confining, absolutely kill in-the-moment creativity, and don't allow the characters or story to perhaps take you into areas or directions you hadn't initially thought of, or even sometimes, where the characters and/or story wants and/or needs to take you.  While you of course need to be disciplined, for me, an outline is only there so I remember basics.  It's a road showing where I want to go, but it's not set in stone.  Beyond that, no outlines.  I usually start with characters and the story is born from there, but I have started with plot now and then.  I never just sit down and start writing.  My concepts stay in my head for years before I write them.  I need to feel like I know the characters as people, and have a grasp of their story before I begin writing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do when characters don't follow the outline/plan?

Greg F. Gifune:
I listen.  Then I make a decision from there.  Sometimes they're right.  Sometimes not, but if I don't at least listen and try to assess it when it happens, I may miss something that could ultimately be crucial for the novel.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Greg F. Gifune:
You mean beyond my mortgage and the stack of bills that shows up in our mailbox every month?  I write when I can't hold it in anymore, to be honest.  It stays inside me until I need it out, and once it's festered long enough and I need it out, I write it down.  So sanity, the desire for peace and sanity - or as close as I ever get to either one - is likely the biggest motivator for me.  Writing is cathartic for me in many ways, so it's like a purge.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you an avid reader?

Greg F. Gifune:
Yes, have been since I was a kid.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?

Greg F. Gifune:
Works that move me in any number of ways, that in some way affect me - even if it's in purely entertaining me - I want impact.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about movies based on books?

Greg F. Gifune:
Most of them pale in comparison, but I'm a huge film buff so for me they're sort of companions to books for me, good or bad.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you ever killed a main character?

Greg F. Gifune:
Sure, a few times.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Greg F. Gifune:
I don't enjoy making anyone or anything suffer.  Even during a few moments of revenge that have manifested in my life a few times, I've never derived joy from it.  I find zero joy in deliberate cruelty and never have, whether it's in my work or real life, and I have a difficult time understanding those who do.  But it's necessary sometimes, and I know going in that, due to the kinds of things I write, the characters are likely on their way into a meat grinder of sorts.  I deal with it, I do it because it's what's called for and it's a natural extension of what I'm doing, but it's not something I get a kick out of or enjoy particularly.  Honestly just the opposite, actually.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the weirdest character concept that you've ever come up with?

Greg F. Gifune:
Probably the character of Monk in my novel BABYLON TERMINAL, Bernard in THE BLEEDING SEASON, Dignon Malloy in BLOOD IN ELECTRIC BLUE, and Marcus Banyon in GARDENS OF NIGHT.  Readers may have a different answer, but for me, it's them.  
            The entire world of sleep and dreams Monk inhabits made him unique, and with his peculiar morality and ethics (if you can call them that), he and his world were the strangest thing conceptually I've done.  Bernard is so complex and shattered and ultimately evil that he literally moves in a different reality (if you can call it that), conceptually that whole thing was really different.  Dignon's story is sort of told in reverse (without giving too much away), and the entire concept behind the novel is very different, so he definitely fits the bill, and the same for Marcus Banyon, because his pain and shattered world/life/self is the story itself in many ways, so delving into that (again, without giving too much away) was a very odd concept.
            Some of my other works, like A VIEW FROM THE LAKE and ROGUE and a few others, like DEVIL'S BREATH, all required really strange concepts for them to work - and certainly my upcoming novel, A WINTER SLEEP, falls into this category, as it's a fever dream of a novel, to say the least.  So it's a road I've been down many times, and one I'm sure I'll continue to walk.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the best piece of feedback you've ever received?  What's the worst?

Greg F. Gifune:
The best is a tie: 1) Be fearless, and if you're still afraid, do it anyway. 2) Never take yourself too seriously, but always take the work very seriously.
            The worst: Do something else because you have no talent and will never make it in this business.  The last one was from an agent that is now no longer in the business herself, and meanwhile I'm doing quite well, but I never forget what she said to me when I was first starting out.  It only motivated me more, and I used to send her signed novels (beginning with my first, which she said would never be published) whenever they were published.  Eventually she started refusing them. Apparently she didn't find that funny, but I guess I made my point about which one of us had no talent and didn't make it in this business.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do your fans mean to you?

Greg F. Gifune:
Everything, I love my fans and readers.  I tend to have very passionate fans, and that's always meant a great deal to me.  Even with all my years in this business, I'm still flattered and grateful to them for the support - that never wavers - and I often enjoy interacting with readers and fans on social media or in person.  Without them, I'd still be writing, but nobody would know and no one would be reading it or care, so they mean the world to me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, who would it be and why?

Greg F. Gifune:
I wouldn't do this as it wouldn't interest me, and in this case specifically, I doubt I could improve upon it, but if I look at it from the perspective of 'Damn, I wish I'd written this character,' I'd likely go with James Leo Herlihy's Rico 'Ratso' Rizzo from MIDNIGHT COWBOY.  He's a great character (in both the novel and film, by the way), and although he's a petty grifter, he's just trying to survive and is crippled (literally) with physical and emotional pain.  It's his great depth and (albeit a bit twisted) almost childlike humanity that's always moved me, though.  You want to save him, but you know you can't.  He's doomed.  It's one of the great American novels, in my opinion, and he's an amazing character.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?

Greg F. Gifune:
I don't usually read series, to be honest, and haven't written any series, but I do have a loose trilogy that includes my novels GARDENS OF NIGHT and BLOOD IN ELECTRIC BLUE.  The third novel, SMOKE IN CRIMSON, isn't finished and is one I've been working on, on and off, for years now, so probably that one.  Mostly because I'd like to finally complete the trilogy and finish a novel I've wanted to complete for a long time.  They're just all very personal and difficult works for me, so part of me is probably putting it off too, but I know eventually I'll get it done.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?

Greg F. Gifune:
I've never done that, mostly because I tend to be very precise with what I do and I'm a control freak, so it makes that kind of thing difficult.  I have a vision in my head of these emotions I use and experiences and whatnot and that's what I tap into when I write, so it's virtually impossible for someone else to do that with you, or for me to sort of assume whatever their process is.  
            But, interestingly enough, I am in the process of doing a novel collaboration right now for the first time.  Another author and I are currently writing a novel together, and it's going really well, which I think surprised us both to a degree (pleasantly).  It's been a great experience so far and one I've learned a great deal on (as has he, I'm sure).  It's taught me how to utilize a slightly different process, and so far, while we're both still figuring it out and getting this sort of thing down, it's working well.  Unfortunately I can't tell you who it is or what the project is, but suffice to say, it's a person everyone reading this will know and I think we've got a really strong piece of work underway. Stay tuned.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Greg F. Gifune:
I've got some new novels coming out in 2018, including my new horror novel, A WINTER SLEEP (Independent Legions), and a new crime/coming of age novel, DANGEROUS BOYS (Down & Out Books), and a couple others I can't talk about yet, as well as several reissues of novels and novellas that were previously published and will be back with new publishers.  Also developing a couple screenwriting projects with my friend and colleague Eric Shapiro, and I've also got some other interesting potential developments on the horizon regarding my work as an editor, but I can't talk about just yet, so stay tuned.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (STaLKeR links.)

Greg F. Gifune:
My website is down for the time being, as I've found the majority of my interaction with the public is on social media now, and that's where people tend to look for me and find me and updates on my work.  So Facebook mostly, and Twitter as well.  I'll be bringing back my website at some future point, I'm sure, but for now, it's social media.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview or the last?

Greg F. Gifune:
Just a big thank you to everyone for the continued support and interest.  And thanks to you for having me.


About the author:
Greg F. Gifune is a best-selling, internationally-published author of several acclaimed novels, novellas and two short story collections.
            Working predominately in the horror and crime genres, Greg has been called, "The best writer of horror and thrillers at work today" by New York Times best-selling author Christopher Rice, "One of the best writers of his generation" by both The Roswell Literature Review and horror grandmaster Brian Keene, and "Among the finest dark suspense writers of our time" by legendary best-selling author Ed Gorman.
            Greg's work has been published all over the world, translated into several languages, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus and others, and is consistently praised by readers and critics alike, and has garnered attention from Hollywood.
            Two of his short stories, HOAX and FIRST IMPRESSIONS, have been adapted to film.  His novel CHILDREN OF CHAOS is currently under a development deal to be made into a television series, and his novel THE BLEEDING SEASON, originally published in 2003, has been hailed as a classic in the horror genre and is considered to be one of the best horror/thrillers novels of the decade. 
            Greg resides in Massachusetts with his wife Carol, a bevy of cats, and two dogs, Dozer and Bella.  He can be reached online via email, or on Facebook and Twitter.

About the books:
Alan, Tommy, Rick, Donald and Bernard were best friends living in a small, coastal town.  Their world was simple and unhappy until the day Tommy was killed.  Years later, Bernard commits suicide.
            Within weeks of Bernard's death, several mutilated bodies are found in town.  The three remaining friends attempt to solve the riddle of Bernard's suicide and come to realize that he may have been a savage ritual killer, a bleeder of young women.
            To find the truth about Bernard, they must delve into the darkness that cradles an unspeakable evil so terrifying it could forever trap them in the shadows of the damned and shattered the very concept of their existence.

In a torrential downpour, Phil, Jamie and Martin - three teenage boys - encounter a strange and enigmatic man covered in horrible scars who will change their lives, their destinies, and the very fate of their souls forever.  When their encounter mistakenly leads to murder, they realize that eerie stranger may not have been a man at all, but something much more...
            Thirty years later, the boys - now men - lead tormented lives filled with horrifying memories of the scarred man and what they did all those years ago in the rain.  Phil is a struggling writer, divorced, with a daughter and a mounting drinking problem.  Jamie is a defrocked priest with depraved secrets and horrible addictions, and Martin, a madman who thinks himself a god, has vanished into a desolate desert region of Mexico and established a feared and violent blood cult.  When Martin's dying mother hires Phil to find her son and bring him home, Phil embarks on a perilous journey that will take him from the seedy streets of Tijuana, to a dangerous and allegedly haunted stretch of Mexican desert road known as The Corridor of Demons.  At the end of the road, in and old and previously abandoned church, Martin and his followers wait in the Hell-on-Earth they've created deep in the desert.  There will be only one chance of redemption, one chance for salvation, and one chance to stop the rise of an antichrist's bloody quest for demonic power.  From the void, came chaos.  These are its children.

In a dying coastal town near Cape Cod, Stanley Falk lives a quiet and unassuming life as a dishwasher.  A shell of what and who he once was, Stanley is a man with a dark and violent past who does his best to forget by drinking it all away.  But one morning he awakens to find his meager bank account emptied and his memory of the drunken evening prior wiped clean.
            Vague memories and terrible nightmares of evil gods, distant planets, and a hideous room where torture has been practiced and blood flows like water haunts his every waking moment.  Something depraved is intent on dragging him back into the same pit of darkness he's fought his entire life to crawl out of, and now there are others, in the shadows, watching his every move and luring him closer to a truth beyond comprehension... beyond evil... beyond anything he's ever imagined possible.
            You worship what you do not know.

It began as a vacation to the Cook Islands.  But when severn friends are lost in the South Pacific after their boat goes down in a storm, they must survive at sea for several days in a small raft.  Blown miles off course from their original position, and deep into open waters, they eventually encounter a small uncharted island.
            Grateful to be alive, they begin their quest for survival, hopeful they'll be rescued sooner than later.  But the island is not the paradise it appears to be.  Instead, it is a place of horror, death, torture and evil, of terrible secrets thought long buried and forgotten.
            And they are not alone.
            Something guards those horrible secrets, something evil and relentlessly violent, an ancient horror born of rage and vengeance, a blood-crazed predator that lives to kill and will stop at nothing to protect the island from those intruding upon its dark legacy.
            The savage is loose, and there is no escape. 

No comments: