Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Story Behind the Story with Guest Blogger: Kathyrn Meyer Griffith


Meet author Kathryn Meyer Griffith today at the Book Boost.

She's here to tell us the story behind the story and here's what she had to say...


In 1990 or so I’d just got done releasing my first three paperback novels with Leisure Books, a romantic historical (The Heart of the Rose, 1985) and two romantic horror books (Evil Stalks the Night, 1984 and Blood Forge, 1989), and because I wasn’t making much money on them, was looking, as most so-called restless young authors were doing, to move up in the publishing industry.

So I wrote snail mail letters to three established authors of the day – Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Peter Straub – asking for a little advice and a little help. What do I do next? I want to be one of the big dogs running in the big races. I want to make the big bucks. Be famous like you. (Ha, ha. I was so naïve in those days!)

Well, Stephen King and Peter Straub never answered my letters but one rainy fall night I got a phone call from Gerda Koontz (Dean Koontz’s wife) and she said Dean had gotten my letter and wanted me to have a name of a brand new agent who I should call or write to and say I was recommended by him. If I thought it strange that Dean Koontz himself wasn’t actually talking to me I was told by Gerda that he was a shy man and had had a particularly hard couple of months because of family problems (I think it had something to do with his father in a nursing home or something, but can’t exactly recall now) and he’d asked her to call me.

She often did that for him, as well as helping him with the business side of his writing career. He (through her…and I got the impression that he was actually nearby telling her what to say the whole time) said I had to have an agent (I didn’t have one) and then he gave me the name of an ambitious one, Lori Perkins, just starting out and his advice on what I should do to advance as a writer.

I do remember being incredibly touched that he, a famous busy novelist that I admired – I loved his Twilight Eyes – would take the time to talk to me, even through his wife. They were both so sweet and we talked for nearly an hour all about writing, books and everything.

I took their advice and contacted that agent and she agreed immediately to represent me on my fourth book, Vampire Blood, no doubt, because I said Dean Koontz had recommended her to me. Name dropper! But Vampire Blood was the reason I’d contacted those famous authors in the first place.

I thought it was the best book I’d done so far and wanted it to go to (what I thought at the time) would be a better publisher than Leisure Books, which contracted and hog-tied their writers with a horrible ‘potboiler’ one-size-fits-all ten year contract with low advances and 4% royalties. Yes, I got a whole whopping 14 cents a book in those days, but, I must confess, they did print thousands of paperbacks each run and had a huge distribution area. I thought I could do a lot better.

Anyway, Lori Perkins wanted me to send her the book and she did like it and eventually sold it, and then three others zip-zip-zip right after, to Zebra Books (now known more as Kensington Publishing) at 6% royalties and double the advances I was used to getting. They slapped a sexy blond vampire with a low dress on the cover and a hazy theater behind her. Lovely colors. I thought it was an eye-catching cover. I was so happy. I thought I’d made it! Again, so naïve.

Vampire Blood. A little story about a family of vicious killing vampires who settle in a small Florida town called Summer Haven and end up buying and fixing up an old theater palace to run, and pluck their victims from, and a divorced, down-on-her-luck ex-novelist and her worn-out father, who along with friends, help thwart them. I based it on this family I knew in our small hometown who ran a theater. It was their whole life. And they were delighted to be the template for the vampire family and novel.

So Vampire Blood came out and did very well for me, second only to my Zebra 1993 Witches. As the years went by it went out of print and when, twenty years later, Kim Richards at Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, Before the End: A Time of Demons and The Woman in Crimson, she asked if I’d like to rerelease (with new covers and rewritten, of course) my 7 out-of-print Leisure and Zebra paperbacks – and I said a resounding "yes"!

So…here it is…Vampire Blood…twenty years later, alive again and better, I believe, than the original because my writing then was done on an electric typewriter, with gobs of White-Out and carbon paper (I couldn’t afford copies), using snail mail; all of which didn’t lend itself to much rewriting. And in those days, editors told an author what to change and then the writer only saw the manuscript once to final proof it. Who knew what those sneaky editors were slipping in inbetween and before the final book was in an author’s greedy little hands.

Hey, and I was working full time, raising a son, living a life and caring for my big extended family in one way or another, too. Busy, exciting, loving, happy and sad times. Times and people I will never forget.


A Note from the Book Boost: This is an amazing story, Kathryn. This book has certainly come a long way. And as a fan of Dean Koontz--color me very impressed. So glad you found your way to Eternal Press (where I'm also a proud author) and as a former Leisure author myself--I can totally relate. Hey--I'd expect nothing less of Vampire Blood than to have it live on--vampires are immortal after all. Thanks for joining us and please tell us more about the book!


Blurb:

For years the vampire family lived in the shadows, hidden by the night and people’s disbelief; feeding on animals or throw away people who would never be missed. But as the family moves into an old theater, and uses it to cover up their crimes, the youngest of them are restless and determined to live as they like. Recklessly. Killing and feeding when and where they want. Feeding on who they want.

Only the parent vampires have managed to keep them in check.

But no longer.

Unaware of the night stalking menace, the townspeople of Summer Haven, Florida, blithely go about their daily lives until, one by one, they begin to disappear. Screams are heard in the night. Fear grows. The lost are never found…alive.

But Jenny Lacey and her father, who are hired to renovate the old Grand Theater, can’t escape when they find themselves caught up in the middle of the vampire’s war. And, in the end, it’s up to Jenny, her brother, Joey, and her ex-husband, Jeff, to get rid of the bloodthirsty fiends
that are destroying their town…if they can.


Want More Kathryn?

Visit her here: http://www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyerG

Check out her Eternal Press books here:
http://www.eternalpress.biz/people.php?author=422

And, pick up your copy of Vampire Blood today! Click here.

1 comment:

sashagirl said...

THANK YOU KERRI! The post looks great! I hope other writers find it helpful. Never give up! is the message. Thank you for all you did for me, warmly, author Kathryn Meyer Griffith rdgriff@htc.net