Interview with Gregory Marshall Smith
* When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I'd say it was back in 1976. I used to watch a Saturday afternoon anthology series on WLVI-Channel 56 in Boston, called Creature Double Feature. The films were cheesy and laughable, but I loved them. I also liked to say I could do better. My mother finally called me out on it and said why didn't I actually write a story instead of just talking about it. Sometimes, I think she regrets that advice because I got into science fiction. I think she loathes any Toho monster movie now.
* What genre do you write and why?
Again, thanks to Creature Double Feature (and also shows like Star Trek, Space: 1999 and In Search Of...), I found a great interest in science fiction. Though I write horror as well now, science fiction is still my first love. It really lets me be creative. And I can get away with so much more in terms of plot and with characters.
* Tell us about your latest book.
It's called Hunters and is a refreshing change from the "vampires as romantic interest" sub-genre as shown by Twilight, Vampire Academy, Blue Bloods, Vampire Beach et al, and also by TV shows like Vampire Diaries and True Blood. And while my book does have a female vampire warrior sort of like Kate Beckinsale's character in Underworld, Lin Tang is a villain.
Literally, a powerful vampire clan master named Louis Riordan aims to create an alliance of 16 of North America's most powerful masters, with himself as head of it thanks to his lethal enforcer Lin Tang. A small band of humans sets out to destroy not only the alliance, but Riordan and Tang as well. They're outnumbered and outgunned, with a traitor in their midst, but they've got surprise on their side, as well as Cantrell Ryker, a man who is supposed to be dead but isn't. He's Lin Tang's most hated enemy, with a legendary reputation for destruction that makes even his allies fear him.
I'll be very honest and tell you that I wrote the book as an answer to Twilight. I grew up on vampire films like Dracula (the Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing versions for Hammer Studios), Salem's Lot, The Lost Boys and The Night Stalker. I don't view vampires as romantic interests (we're their food source, as Brad Dourif explained in Blade). There might be a psychological reason for this, but vampires are bad guys or tragic figures who might be redeemed if they give up their evil ways.
Anyway, there is lots of action and drama in the book. Readers tell me they love the characters, especially the level-headed Marcus Van Niekerk, the fiery Dolores Montoya, the efficient warrior Lin Tang and even the borderline psycho Ryker. And the finale is something that must be read to be believed.
* What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
Much of my marketing has been on the Internet, such as with ebook tours by Danielle Gavan and Roxanne Rhoads. I use Facebook a lot, along with Twitter. I have promoted the book on my radio show. I have even used word of mouth, especially when I have been on my various movie and television shows.
* What formats is the book available in?
It's an ebook, available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes, Apple and Lightning Source.
* What do you like to do when you're not writing?
You mean there's more to life than writing? Well, let's see. I bowl, mountain bike and volunteer at a local food bank. I also do work as an extra on whatever movies and TV shows are around. My last movie was Flight with Denzel Washington and that was in Atlanta. The most recent TV show was Homeland, which won Golden Globes as Best Drama and Best Actress in a Drama for Claire Danes. In the season 1 finale, you can see my face all over the place when the assassination goes down (somehow, I am passed by Claire one second, then behind her the next and then in front of her right after that; I can be fast, but that episode was ridiculous).
* Who are your favorite authors?
For old-school authors, I like George Schuyler (he's a distant relative of mine), Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, S.M. Stirling, Robert Heinlein, C.J. Cherryh, Philip K. Dick and Marion Zimmer Bradley. On the horror side, there's Robert Bloch, Robert McCammon and, of course, fellow New Englander Stephen King.
For modern writers, I have to go with David Weber, Maurice Broaddus, Steven Barnes, William Gibson, Starlene Stringer, Elizabeth Moon, David Drake and C.J. Ellisson (an exception to my dislike of romantic vampires).
* What advice do you have for other writers?
Funny you should ask that. The other day, after I finished my latest YouTube radio program What's Out There?, I stuck around for a session with an up-and-coming singer. I won't name her but you could see she had writing talent and could play a mean acoustic guitar. Yet, her voice trembled and faded. She needed to build her confidence a lot more before putting her songs to tape.
Though I'm not a singer, I've been where she is. I was very nervous when I first submitted news stories for my high school paper and then professional publications. Some stories came back with so much red ink, I thought someone bled out on them. But, I took the advice of my editors and continued honing my skills. Now, my sports articles and news stories rarely need editing and people even ask me to vote in national college polls. Had I not taken the advice and let my fears get me, I wouldn't be here chatting with all of your readers.
So, my advice to other writers is to keep writing and, most importantly, learn as you write. Learn from your mistakes. Read books on writing or take creative writing classes and learn from pros. And, of course, keep on trying when you don't succeed. There are tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of would-be writers thanks to the Internet. You want to be like a job seeker and do something to rise above those teeming masses. Being the best writer you can be will do that.
* What's your favorite quote about writing/for writers?
"You've got the perfect face for writing."
Yeah, one of my editors at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram told me that back in 1999, but it was true. TV news reporters worry more about looks. Radio reporters worry about their voice. Writers don't have vanity issues like that. We just have to write and write well.
* What's the best thing about being a writer?
Freedom. You can write from anywhere. When I act, I'm stuck on set for up to 14 hours. But, I can still write. When I'm on the air, I'm basically behind the microphone. Yet, I can still write. No matter where I am, all I need is a pen, paper and my mind.
* Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Besides finding my books on the aforementioned websites (I currently have Hunters, They Call the Wind Muryah and Dark Tidings on them), I have short stories at Writing.com, on Lulu.com (with my novella Crawl -- about giant spiders), in the anthologies Far Side of Midnight, Rebel Tales, Mini-World Magazine, Aussie Horror, Texas Tales, SFH Dominion, Separate Worlds, Writer's Bump Vol. I and Farspace 2. And of course, there is Digital Digest, also available on Amazon.com.
* Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks for having me here on the blog to talk to your readers! I should also mention that I am part of a great 4,000 ebook giveaway that your readers can check out. They can get a FREE book just by entering their name, email, and type of eReader into a form!
Stop by the Red Hot Readers page on Facebook to get books delivered within 48 hours, directly from the participating author! If your readers aren't on Facebook much, they can stop by the website instead and sign up for their twice a month newsletter telling them when more authors have been added to the giveaway (http://www.redhotreaders.com/index).