Monday’s Friend: Griffin Hayes
Today I am pleased to welcome horror writer Griffin Hayes to my blog. Griffin interviewed me on his blog last month, so I am reciprocating by interviewing him today. Welcome, Griffin.
GH: I came to writing in a roundabout way. I majored in History in University and all my research papers were finished and edited several times weeks before the due date. That should have been my first clue. I also tried writing my first novel at fifteen and didn’t get more than a page into it before I realized I had no idea what I was doing. The more people that email to ask me when my next book is being released, the more I know I’m right where I should be.
SJT: Can you tell us a little about your published novel?
GH: Part mystery, part horror thriller, MALICE follows a 17-year-old goth named Lysander Shore as he begins to unravel a series of grisly murders made to look like suicides. Something is getting inside people and making them do unspeakable things. Lysander meets a girl named Samantha Crow, maybe the one person who believes he may be onto something. Together they peel away the layers to a mystery that leads all the way back to a Witch’s harrowing execution in the 17th century.
SJT: Have you ever been inspired to put people you know in real life in your books?
GH: My characters are usually a composite of several people I know. Only one is based completely on a friend of mine. I won’t say which character or who the friend is though. Often I develop a mental image of the character and their traits and then cut pictures out of magazines of people who look like them. That way I always have a quick reference on days when my brain’s feeling sluggish.
SJT: What do you think is the enduring appeal of horror?
GH: People like to have the crap scared out of them. I think it’s really that simple. Also, with horror, the audience knows it isn’t real and can sit back and appreciate the ride for what it is.
SJT: Stephen King wrote lots of books about kids and was never considered a YA writer. Nowadays, it seems if anyone writes a book with a protagonist under 18, it’s billed as YA. Do you consider your novel MALICE to be a YA novel?
GH: Not really. But unfortunately, as you said, stories with teenage protagonists are labelled YA right away. Some agents and publishers I approached suggested that I make the characters in MALICE older, but that would have destroyed the themes and messages I was aiming for. Truth is, I didn’t have anyone but myself in mind when I wrote MALICE. I write for me. Sounds selfish I know, but I figure if I’m bored, my audience will be bored.
SJT: What are your views on the e-book revolution? Do you think e-books will kill off print books, as many people seem to fear?
GH: Perhaps eventually. Right now we’re seeing a repeat of the Beta-VHS wars. Two competing formats. At some point there will be a clear winner. I can’t imagine that winner will be print books, but they’re here for now.
SJT: Your website mentions your journey from the submission treadmill to independent publishing. Do you think that e-books are making it easier for authors to go down this route?
Oh for sure. I’d never considered self-publishing before e-books started making a splash and mostly because I didn’t like the idea of filling my house with thousands of books I needed to sell myself. All that running around would have taken too much time away from my writing.
SJT: What advice would you pass on to other writers considering the self-publishing route?
GH: Edit, edit, edit. In my view, the number one thing that will turn people off of self-published books is poor editing. There really isn’t any excuse either, especially these days with beta readers and thousands of freelancers around.
SJT: Thanks for your time, Griffin! Anything else you’d like to add?
GH: Just wanted to say, thanks so much for having me and stay tuned for my newest release coming in February. HIVE: A Post Apocalyptic Zombie Novella.
Griffin Hayes spent most of his adolescence watching grainy reruns of The Twilight Zone and rereading worn-out copies of Raymond Chandler novels. His taste for the unsettling and the inexplicable eventually found outlet in his short stories; two of which have been published: THE GRIP with Black Ink Horror and LAST CALL with Alienskin. His first novel, MALICE, is currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Itunes. In February of 2012, he’ll be releasing a post apocalyptic zombie novella called HIVE and an adult horror novel tentatively titled NOCTURNAL.