H. Terrell Griffin whose new mystery, Blood Island, is being published this week by Oceanview Publishing visited with MB4 recently. Blood Island is the third book in the Matt Royal series featuring a retired attorney living on an island off the coast of Florida.
You can find more about H. Terrell Griffin at his site over on our sidebar under guest of the week.
1. Do you write everyday?
No. I tend to write when the spirit moves me. Some days I don’t write at all and other days I’m at the computer all day long.
2.How does each session start and how do you proceed? How, where and why does it end?
I usually have an idea of where I want to take the characters for the next few pages. I stop when I run out of ideas. I’ve found that a long walk tends to get the juices flowing again and I go back to the computer to write some more. Sometimes I just quit when my fingers get tired.
3.What is your latest book about?
Blood Island is a mystery/thriller that takes place in Florida, mostly in the Keys. It involves Matt Royal’s quest to find his ex-wife’s missing stepdaughter. The hunt becomes dangerous when people he talks to about the girl end up dead. When somebody tries to kill Matt, he becomes the hunter. He stumbles onto a cult in the Keys that is bent on starting a world war. There’s a lot of action as Matt tries to find the girl and defuse the bad guys’ plans.
4.How long did it take you to write it? Where and when was it published?
I wrote the book in about six months and it was published and released on November 1, 2008.
5.Tell us about your publisher-- How did you choose a publisher for the book? Why this particular publisher? What advantages and/or disadvantages has this presented? How are you dealing with these?
The publisher, Oceanview Publishing, sort of chose me. A friend who owns a bookstore submitted my manuscript to Oceanview and they decided to publish it. Oceanview is a fast growing independent publisher who is willing to take a chance on new and unknown authors. I have heard complaints of other authors about the horrors of dealing with their publishers. I have found the Oceanview people to be wonderful to work with; professionals who put the author’s needs at the top of their list every day. I think the great advantage to a small publisher is that the author is not just another number or a profit center. The Oceanview people take good care of their writers. Their marketing is superb and so far I’ve found no disadvantage to working with them.
6.Which aspects of the work that you put into the book did you find most difficult? Why do you think this was so? How did you deal with these difficulties?
The discipline necessary to write a book seems to be my biggest problem. I was a trial lawyer for 38 years and that is a job that requires an enormous amount of self-discipline. When I retired in 2006 I found that I thoroughly enjoyed the undisciplined life, the ability to come and go as I please, to sleep in, lie on a beach, go fishing, read a book, without worrying about the next case. I deal with that problem in my writing simply by ignoring it. When I’m in the mood to write, I’ll sit at the computer until I’m too tired to go on. I find that writing comes easy and is enjoyable. I like my characters and sometimes can’t wait to find out what they’re going to do next. I’m always aware of deadlines, but so far my lack of discipline hasn’t kept me from meeting them.
7.Which did you enjoy most? Why is this?
The writing is fun. I enjoy the creative juices that flow when I’m “in the groove.” I like working with a sentence to make it better, to build the paragraph that reads well. I think my enjoyment comes from crafting a story that people want to read, that the reader appreciates.
8.What sets the book apart from the other things you have written?
Each book is a new adventure that gives me the chance to build on my characters. I want them to be real people with all the nuances of personality that we see in the real world. The circumstances in which the characters find themselves are not your everyday situations, but this is fiction. Yet, I want the characters’ reactions to be those of ordinary people. I hope in Blood Island I have explored the characters a little more deeply, let them grow some, but leave room for them to continue to thrive in the next book.
9.In what way is this book similar to past works?
Some of the characters are the same, and one of the locales, Longboat Key, is the same. However, the adventure is completely different and the characters continue to face adversity and deal with it in different ways. The story moves to venues that I haven’t explored in my writing before, and I introduce a group of really strange people.
10.What will your next book be about?
My next book, Wyatt’s Revenge, is finished and will be published in the fall of 2009. The three main characters are back pursuing bad guys, this time in Europe. There is a historical context that is important and timely, given the events of recent years. I explore the connections between World War II and today, all in a fictional context.