The following interview with Greg F. Gifune is courtesy of Cemetery Dance Publications and Joe Howe.
We’re back with another short author interview. Our requirement is that the author has a current or forthcoming book from Cemetery Dance and no currently enforceable restraining order against me. It’s embarrassing to say which one is the more restrictive, but in my defense, Cemetery Dance publishes a lot of writers.
The author we’re pulling away from work this time is Greg F. Gifune. A Massachusetts native, Greg is the highly-regarded author of such works as The Bleeding Season and Children of Chaos. His current release from Cemetery Dance is Catching Hell.
Joe Howe: Your new release from Cemetery Dance is Catching Hell. Tell us a little about it.
Greg F. Gifune: It’s set in 1983, and is about three young actors and a stagehand from a summer stock theater who take off from Cape Cod to visit a resort in Maine as a kind of last hooray before they either go on to college or move to New York City to chase their dreams. On the way, they encounter a bizarre storm and wind up in a peculiar town that seems to be stuck in the 1940s. But the town is anything but the quaint and harmless little hamlet it appears to be at first glance, and once they become trapped there they realize the locals are harboring some horrible secrets and that they’ll have to fight their way out to survive the night, or risk falling prey to a cycle of depravity and violence at the hands of a demonic creature so horrifying few will even speak its name.
JH: Compared to many of your peers, you are quite prolific (Your website shows 14 books written by you). How do you manage to be as productive as you are without sacrificing quality?
GG: Do nothing but work and have virtually no life? No, seriously, it may appear that I’m a bit more prolific than I really am, as I’ve been writing professionally now for more than a decade full-time, so when you spread my list of published novels out over a 10 or 11 year timeframe it’s probably not quite as impressive. And also, usually (not always but usually) my novels sit in my head literally for years before I write them, so by the time I’m putting them to paper I have a solid grasp of what I’m doing with it and what I want. Still, I have managed to produce a good amount of work, you’re right. Much of that has been because I’ve been in demand from the publishers I’ve worked with so I’m very grateful to them and the fans for that. I’ve learned how to juggle projects and to do the things required of a professional novelist these days, and to do them in a manner where quality is not sacrificed. I also work very hard at what I do and strive for that quality. The harder I work, the more it pays off.
JH: Now that you’ve been writing for a while, how has your style changed over time? Does the process come easier to you now?
GG: Although it took time to find my voice and develop my style, because I wrote for years before I ever wrote a novel, I was able to have both established by the time I did. Since then I think my style has remained the same, more or less, but it has evolved, and continues to (hopefully for the better). The only thing is that I’ve had to speed my process up a bit, which is not entirely natural for me, but it’s a shift I’ve learned to live with because it’s necessary.
JH: Everyone wonders what the chef eats when he’s away from his restaurant, so what do you read for entertainment? Who are some of the writers who have had an influence on your work?
GG: Unfortunately I don’t have the time to read for pleasure like I used to, but when I do have the time I tend to mix it up between fiction and nonfiction. I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to just about everything, so it’s a wide range in both. I read The New Yorker too, have for years, and I enjoy that. As for writers who have influenced me, there have been many, but I rarely list them because I always forget some. Here’s a few: Virginia Woolf, Jim Thompson, Tennessee Williams.
JH: Writing can be lonely work, and sometimes it takes a while to receive positive reinforcement for what you do. What made you decide on writing as a career?
GG: Very true, writing is very isolating at times and can be very lonely, and it’s also (at times) a very brutal business. I never really decided on it though, it decided for me. I’ve always known what I wanted to do, always wanted to be a writer and an actor, and from the time I was a little kid, I mean, I don’t ever remember not knowing what I wanted to do. I studied, worked in and pursued both for years. Sounds corny but it’s true, it’s who I am. The literal decision came in my early 30s, when I decided if I didn’t commit and really go after a career as a writer, I never would. So I did and fortunately it paid off.
JH: What should we be looking for in the near future from Greg Gifune?
GG: More novels coming later this year and next, and recently I’ve had quite a bit of interest from Hollywood (and some indi filmmakers as well) regarding several novels of mine, so we’ll see what happens there. My website is probably the best way to stay on top of things: Greg Gifune.
Editor’s Note: Joe Howe was born, raised and lives in Alabama and has been a horror fan since he read his first book — Dracula. When not wasting your tax money as a government employee, he reviews good books and (mostly) bad movies on his website Dead In The South as his web alter ego Kent Allard. He previously worked as a history professor and a lawyer, and has already heard your lawyer joke.