K.R. Griffiths is a former journalist and editor turned horror novelist. His bestselling debut horror novel, 'Panic' brings together two of his great loves, science fiction and horror, and was followed by a novella, 'Shock'. A sequel, 'Psychosis' is slated for release in late 2013.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Hi there! I’m Kevin Griffiths, a writer living in Wales after finally getting out of the rat race in London, where I worked for several years as a journalist and magazine editor. When I’m not writing I’m a movie geek, and a recovering videogame addict, and I like to cook.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I’d say horror. Maybe that makes me a bit traditional, but I think both of the other categories could still come under the horror umbrella.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Growing up it was Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Then I got into Jack Kilborn and Jack Ketchum, and Barker and Herbert, but really I’ll give any horror author a chance – and any horror director too, I’ll watch pretty much any horror movie and find some redeeming quality in it! Away from horror I’m very much into science fiction from the likes of Dan Simmons, Richard K Morgan and the sadly missed Iain M Banks.
What are you reading now?
Right now I’ve got a stack of books waiting on my kindle to be read – finding the time is the problem – and I’m terrible for starting a novel and then starting several others simultaneously. At the moment I’m reading Cuts by Richard Laymon, whose work I haven’t read enough of. After that I’ll be moving on to The Twelve by Justin Cronin.
How would you describe your writing style?
What I aim for is fast and fluid. I want to write a novel that the reader picks up, gets dragged into kicking and screaming, and then can’t get out until it’s done.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Right now my day consists of waking up, drinking some tea and then heading to the computer, and only leaving when my back starts to complain that I’ve been there too long or I need to sleep. I suppose I might be unusual in that I don’t really plan anything out – in fact I do everything pretty much backward. The first thing I’ll come up with is the back cover synopsis, which is the bit I gather most writers dread and leave til last. For me, if I can distil an idea down into three short paragraphs and it still holds my interest, I figure it might just have a chance.
From there, unless I have a particular idea for a scene I want to work towards, I get a feel for the characters I want the story to hang on, and then I type away, and let them tell the story for me. My first novel, Panic, was originally going to feature the CIA and an archaeologist in Peru and who-knows-what-else, and would almost certainly have been discarded as rubbish before I even finished it. When I started writing, the characters of Michael and Rachel took over, and the book changed course completely – and I’m far happier with the result!
What’s your favourite food?
Pretty much anything spicy really – virtually any type of curry will keep me happy! Same for snack foods – if you’re holding a bag of chilli peanuts in my vicinity be prepared to lose ‘em!
What’s your favourite album?
This question is unreasonably tough! Erm…it could be any one of hundreds, but I’ll go with Appetite for Destruction by Guns N Roses, or anything by Hendrix. Or Origin of Symmetry by Muse. Or…
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
The most important thing I’ve learned is to just do it. I knew I wanted to be a writer from the age of about six, and my teachers at school and parents and friends were certain that’s what I’d become, but unfortunately I’m also a terrible procrastinator. I wasted years sitting around ‘developing ideas’, until one day I heard a quote – the source of which I’ve shamefully forgotten – the gist of which was ‘Writers write’. Don’t sit and think, start typing. The ideas will come.
.Fame and fortune, or respect?
My only ambition financially is to make enough money writing to live - I don’t need all the accoutrements of fame and wealth, all of that stuff would probably drive me insane. So I guess respect, and a few quid to see me through.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I’d have to say Panic. Maybe it will always be the closest to my heart because it was my first release. I’m proud in that I got it done and got it out there, and of course proud and humble that people seem to really enjoy it, but in reality I’m never quite satisfied with anything I’ve done. I guess the day I think what I’m writing is wonderful is probably the day I should stop typing.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My last work was Shock, which I wrote once Panic started to take off. I always wanted Panic to be the start of something much bigger, but it wasn’t until I tested the water that I felt able to write Shock. Once Shock was out there too, it was clear to me that I was going to see the whole story – Wildfire Chronicles – through to the end. Where Panic focused on everyday people, Shock gives the backstory of a more traditional hero. I’m intrigued by the idea of dropping this hard-bitten, action hero-type character into the ongoing story and all the expectations he will bring for the reader, but which I might not necessarily allow him to deliver upon.
Next up is the third in the series, Psychosis, which should be out around November. It draws together the characters from Panic and Shock and introduces some new blood. It’s bigger and darker than both, and I’m pretty happy with where it’s at right now.
After that I’m working on a standalone novel, working title Whispers, which I’ll hopefully have completed by spring 2014, before returning to Wildfire Chronicles.