Today's interview is with Gregg Luke, author of Bloodborne. Visit him on the web at www.greggluke.com.
Gregg Luke biography
Gregg Luke, R.Ph. spent his childhood and young adult life in Santa Barbara, California. He began college studying art and cinematography before serving an LDS mission to Wisconsin. He then pursued his education in Natural Sciences at SBCC, UCSB, and BYU. He completed his schooling at the University of Utah, College of Pharmacy. His novels include The Survivors, Do No Harm, Altered State, and Blink of an Eye.
Jennifer: Tell us about your book.
Gregg: Bloodborne is about a sociopathic genius, Dr. Jacob Krantz, who has developed a way to spread his deadly designer virus using mosquitos. His former partner, Dr. Erin Cross, is the only one who could thwart his evil plans. But since they have not worked together for more than two years, she has no idea he is in league with a secret organization, or that they want her dead before she can blow the whistle. Barely escaping their first attempt on her life, Erin unravels the mysterious threats with the help of former Special Ops Marine, Sean Flannery. But the closer they get to finding answers, the more questionable Sean’s behavior becomes. His erratic moods and suspicious cell phone messages are more befitting an enemy than a friend. As the crisis comes to a head, she can’t be sure who harbors more secrets—the bioterrorists pursuing her or the one man who can protect her.
Jennifer: Where did you get the idea for the story?
Gregg: The idea for Bloodborne came from studying the H1N1 pandemic a few years back. I found some very interesting facts about viruses in general and which viruses and parasites can be transmitted by mosquitos. At the same time, there was lots of media coverage about bioterrorism and the potential for world-wide outbreaks of uncontrollable diseases. Everything seemed to line up for a story involving a sociopath bent on world domination via a bioweapon, and thus my novel was born.
Jennifer: What is your greatest writing challenge?
Gregg: Because I write for a religious-oriented publisher, I cannot cow to national standards of scenes which include graphic violence and sex, or vulgar or suggestive language. I honestly don’t feel those are necessary in most stories anyway. Anyone can drop an F-bomb; a good writer can deliver the same punch without being offensive. My challenge comes in creating a tale that is thrilling, suspenseful, and entertaining, as well as reasonably clean.
Jennifer: What do you find most rewarding in writing a book?
Gregg: I love learning. I love reading a book and find myself thinking, “Wow, that’s fascinating!” Most people hate being lectured to, so if I can teach at the same time as I entertain, I have succeeded. I also love to elicit emotions with words—be it fright, happiness, anger, sadness, etc. I find those aspects of writing very rewarding.
Jennifer: Tell us about your previous work.
Gregg: My previous novel was Blink of an Eye. It is a though-provoking story of a young man with repressed memories which come to the surface after a near-fatal traffic accident. Not only does he relive many heartbreaking events from his brutal childhood, he also realizes for the first time that he may have killed his own father. It was a Whitney Award finalist for best fiction novel in 2010.
Jennifer: What other projects do you have coming up?
Gregg: I am currently working on a story that’s sort of an offshoot of Bloodborne. It’s not a sequel but it involves blood. Lots of blood. A would-be med student discovers that most centenarians (people 100 years old) have a similar blood type. He assumes blood has everything to do with their longevity. What he does with that assumption is truly creepy.
Jennifer: Do you write full time? If so, tell us how you manage it. If not, what is your day job?
Gregg: Writing is my second career. I work in a community health center as a Clinical Pharmacist. However, I am also a self-professed nerd; therefore, I don’t participate on sports, hunting, fishing, or waste time in front of the TV. That frees up a surprising amount of time to read and write, two of my favorite past times.
Jennifer: What is your writing process like--do you outline first or just start writing, etc.?
Gregg: I begin each work with an idea spawned from a Continuing Ed course or an article in a medical magazine. I then formulate a beginning and an end, with a few crucial plot points along the way.
From there, I am mostly a “discovery writer.” I know I need to get from point A to point B, but I have no clue how until I sit down and start typing. It’s simply more fun that way.
Jennifer: What have you done to develop your writing craft?
Gregg: I do not believe I will ever attain the level of “perfect writer.” I don’t think anyone can. I learn something new about writing every time I pick up a book or magazine just by examining the prose of another author. If there’s something I like, I try to emulate it; if there’s something I hate, I try to avoid it. I also attend writer’s conferences as often as occasion permits. I hope I never feel like I know it all. Learning new technique is too much fun.
Jennifer: What was the hardest part: writing the book, getting it published, or marketing it? Why?
Gregg: Each novel presents its own challenges. I love the writing process but it can also be the most daunting. I am a stickler for accuracy. I realize every author will use a certain amount of literary license, but when someone writes about a certain drug causing a certain affect, and they get it totally wrong, that detracts from the story. Even if what you’re trying to create is impossible (according to current knowledge) it needs to at least be plausible. As far as publishing, I think the toughest part is getting your foot in the door. And I believe the only way to do that is to create something fresh, or a unique way of presenting something already told, or find a way to fill an empty niche. Marketing presents a challenge in that it is a time-killer. I am lucky to have a publisher that does most of the marketing for me, but I still try to do as many book signings, classes, and interviews as possible.
Jennifer: Where can we find out more about you and buy your book?
Gregg: Please feel free to visit my website: http://www.greggluke.com/.
And here's the link to my book trailer on YouTube: