Friday, June 17, 2011

Author Interview: McCarty Griffin

Our interview today is with McCarty Griffin, author of Monstor Story, The Tribe, and Half-Inch.

Comment on this interview, and you could win a copy of your choice of her three e-books!

Jennifer Walker: Where can we find out more about you and buy your book?

McCarty Griffin: I have a website at I’m on My author profile is found at You can find links to buy all three of my books on this page. I’m also on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Diesel and Apple. My story Half-Inch is on Kobo, but for some reason, they have never listed Monster Story and they haven yet to post The Tribe. I’ve been told they have a huge backlog, so I’m hoping they’ll get on it and list all three of my books.

Jennifer Walker: Tell us about your books.

McCarty Griffin: Monster Story is a werewolf story set in West Virginia.; Half-Inch is a story about an abused woman who decides to kill her husband, which also takes place in West Virginia; and The Tribe is about a colony of feral cats rescued by a young couple, and once again, takes place in West Virginia. I suppose I have a theme going here, don’t I? West Virginia is my home, regardless of where I’m living. I’m not certain I could set a story anywhere else.

Jennifer Walker: What do you find most rewarding in writing a book?

McCarty Griffin: When someone reads it and loves it. Especially when they “get” the book in the way I meant it to be understood and appreciated. I feel a deep sense of satisfaction when that happens and an intense desire to do even better on the next book I write.

I love creating a whole other world, with lives and people and events quite separate from my own life. They seem real after I spend so much time with them and when I’m really into the writing, I feel as if I’ve slipped into their world and am living their lives with them. I want anyone who reads my books to feel exactly that way.

Jennifer Walker: What is your writing process like--do you outline first or just start writing, etc.?

McCarty Griffin: The story forms in my thoughts over time as a loose outline with an overall theme to it. I write from that mental picture when I feel like it’s “ripe” enough to be written. This process leaves a lot of room for surprises in the plot, even for me, the writer.

Jennifer Walker: Do you work with a writing group or mentor? Why or why not? If you do, what do you get out of it?

McCarty Griffin: No. I’ve joined some things with the best of intentions, but I’ve known since at least high school that I’m just not a group kind of person. I don’t mind occasionally drifting in and out for some intellectual exchanges, but I can’t do the “group think” thing and crowds, even virtual ones, make me uneasy. I’d rather stay friendly with other indie authors in general, participate in a few activities that interest me, but mostly just keep to myself. In other words, I’m an indie author loner. I was horribly shy as a child, which was often misinterpreted as unfriendly, I think. I hope that’s not true for my interactions now, but I can’t be certain.

Jennifer Walker: What have you done to develop your writing craft?

McCarty Griffin: Oh, the usual. I read a lot. I’ve studied print books and online resources about writing. Once, in a fit of extravagance, I paid a professional editor to look at a book I’d written, and I learned a lot from the things she had to say. I think the process of writing, re-writing, editing, re-writing and editing again, ad nauseam and ad infinitum, is a learning experience, albeit a tedious one. I also have an undergraduate degree and a law degree, which require a lot of research and writing in several courses in order to earn the degrees. I still think I have a lot to learn and no matter how much I study grammar and style, I have some quirks in my writing style that I’m certain I’ll never shake.

Jennifer Walker: What was the hardest part: writing the book, getting it published, or marketing it? Why?

McCarty Griffin: If I were still trying to go the traditional publishing route, I’d say that’s the hardest, for the obvious, universally known reasons. Since I’ve opted for self-publishing, it’s not a problem anymore. Writing is the hardest, simply because of the difficulty in getting oneself to actually sit down and write, then apply the mental gun to the head for editing unto death. Marketing is not a skill I have learned yet. I’m really quite flummoxed as to how to convince other people to buy and read my books. Plus, there are so, so many ebooks coming out every single day. Virtual needles in an infinite electronic haystack doesn’t begin to describe the situation. And marketing is a time-eater. Since I decided to get as many bloggers as humanly possible to look at my books and write about them, that’s all I seem to have time for these days. Here’s where I want to say I deeply appreciate the bloggers who take the time to read my books and then write a coherent review for their readers, and I admire them. I don’t see how they do it. Keeping up a daily blog seems on par with writing a thousand-word essay for your high school teacher every day. Talk about torture. These brave, generous souls must truly love reading ebooks and discussing them with their followers. I don’t know what indie authors would do without them.

Jennifer Walker: What have been your most successful marketing techniques?

McCarty Griffin: Nothing. I’ve hardly sold any books, although when I participated in Read an Ebook Week through Smashwords, by providing coupons for readers to download my books for free just for that week, my books went like proverbial hotcakes. As soon as they cost actual money again, no one wanted them. I’ve had some great reviews of all three books, so I don’t think the lack of sales is because the books aren’t good. Some or even a lot of it may have to do with being an unknown. I can understand a buyer being unwilling to plunk down actual cash, virtually speaking, for a book she or he may loathe. I think my books are well worth the risk, but then I would, wouldn’t I?

Jennifer Walker: Tell us a little about your non-writing life. Family? Pets? Hobbies?

McCarty Griffin: My non-writing life is mom, wife, cat mommy, dog mommy and goldfish mommy. I’m up early, taking care of animals and getting kids off to school. At times, I have feral cats I help care for and sometimes trap for rescue. Right now I’m feeding a group of cats who were abandoned by the woman who was feeding them, because her trailer, under which these cats lived, burned. I’ve trapped several, who have been neutered and released to a person who volunteered to maintain them as a feral colony. I still have at least three left I need to catch. Meanwhile, I keep them fed and watered every day. As for hobbies, the closest I come is begging bloggers for reviews. Sad, huh?

Jennifer Walker: If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would it be, and with whom?

McCarty Griffin: I’d go home and I’d take my family with me. I miss West Virginia terribly. We moved west to escape the bad economy, which worked at first. Now, the bad economy has followed us cross country and is affecting everyone around us. So, since I can be poor in West Virginia just as easily as I can be poor in the Pacific Northwest, I might as well go home. I’m a hillbilly, heart and soul. Although the Pacific Northwest is a beautiful, interesting place to live, I feel as if I’m living in exile right now. That’s part of the reason my stories are all set in West Virginia; no matter where I am physically when I’m writing, at least in my heart, I’m home.

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