Interview by Sarah Arthur
SA: Greg, what was the main inspiration behind Dominion?
GFG: Dominion is about the horror, loss and grief death brings; the idea that when someone we love dies they take a piece of us with them. I’ve lost a lot of people in my life I’ve loved, and that was the main inspiration. I wanted to delve into that to see where those thoughts and emotions took me. I realized those were going to be some very frightening places, but that’s what the novel is about, so in order for it to work I felt I had to really dig into my own experience and take it right down to the bone, so to speak, for the novel to mean anything. I also wanted to write a horror novel that dealt with various aspects of reality (or what we perceive to be reality), and how they impact us specifically when death occurs, during the grieving process, and what that all means and what’s actually happening to us – and the dead – once we get beyond the surface and go deeper into the human psyche.
SA: Dominion is considerably layered, and some of those layers seem to include hints of social commentary. Did real political climates motivate or influence your way of thinking when you wrote the book?
GFG: I’d like to think a lot of my stuff is somewhat subversive, so to a degree, yes. This novel is essentially one man’s journey into figuring out the truth behind his wife’s death (or if she’s really dead at all) and what that means and involves not only for her, but for him. It’s about love, acceptance, dignity and enlightenment, and the horrifying things human beings often have to fight through to find those things, not only in others, but in themselves. Some may see Dominion as anti-technology too, but that’s not really accurate. It’s more cautionary, if anything, in how it deals with technology replacing human emotion, spirituality and interaction and how it sometimes consists of things we have no real knowledge of. For example, much of what exists deep in the cyber world is completely unknown to most people, yet we wander into it blindly on a regular basis, trusting completely those who tell us using it is safe. Well what if it wasn’t? What if whatever controls that “reality” wasn’t friendly? Essentially we’re talking about blind trust or sleepwalking through life and believing what we’re fed without ever really knowing for sure (or until it’s too late). Politically, you can take from that whatever you’d like.
SA: Did you research the technical aspects of Dominion, or did you already have working knowledge of them?
GFG: Dominion required the most research I’ve ever done for a novel, actually. I did quite a bit on death and dying, quantum physics and the Internet. The last two I had some basic knowledge of but nothing extensive going in. I read several books, watched some documentaries, and spoke with an expert regarding physics and a lot of the scientific and pseudo-scientific angles so I’d have at least enough correct to make the novel plausible. I also did a lot of research into the whole online chat thing, which until then I wasn’t very familiar with and only had limited exposure to. What I found there was often pretty silly and harmless, but there are also some very disturbing aspects to it as well, much of it dealt with in the novel in one form or another. With few exceptions, that’s not an area I’d want to venture back into, but sometimes you have to research things you’d rather not because they’re important to the novel.
SA: Dominion is very unsettling and frightening, but it’s also a touching and often provocative read. What kinds of issues would you like readers to think about after reading the novel?
GFG: First, I hope readers are thoroughly entertained. From there, I think if they’re also still thinking about Dominion in any way after they’ve read it, then I’ve done my job and engaged them as I should. I just hope it gets under their skin and leaves them thinking and experiencing the novel long after they’ve finished it. A few advance readers have told me it caused them to question things they hadn’t previously, and that they found it deeply moving. They also said it scared and disturbed them to the point where they couldn’t (or didn’t want to) turn their computers on for a few days after reading it. What more could I ask for?
SA: Thank you for taking some time to speak with me. Good luck with Dominion!
GFG: Thanks Sarah, my pleasure.
Editor’s Note: Sarah Arthur lives in Chelsea, New York above a modern art gallery. A longtime writer and artist, she has published numerous articles, reviews, interviews, fiction pieces and poetry worldwide. In addition to her freelance writing assignments, she makes her living selling exotic quilts and paintings on the corner of Spring and West Broadway.
Additional Editor’s Note: You can still pre-order Dominion if you hurry: Dominion