Where I talk about the moral theme in my work, my weakness as a writer, and the four literary characters I’d like to have dinner with. Scarlett O’Hara, Hannibal Lecter, Harry Angstrom, and Marilyn Monroe (as imagined by Joyce Carol Oates). Click here to find out why.
Ty Johnston, Life on the written page, June 11, 2012. Click here to read more.
TJ: Which one of your novels or short stories makes you the most proud? Why?
CG: One that hasn’t yet been published … yet! – “I Was Young Once” … It received an honorable mention in the 2007 Zoetrope All-Story short fiction content. Joyce Carol Oates, one of my favorite writers, judged the contest that year. Knowing she enjoyed my story still gives me a thrill, almost 5 years later.
I had taken the story to my critique group and received a wide range of feedback. One person in the group gave it high praise and suggested not changing a word, but I re-wrote it based on the other responses, which were much less positive. My husband said I’d ruined it. I decided I agreed with him and submitted the original to the contest. That experience taught me a lot about being true to my voice.
David Sharp, A Wee Adventure, December 2, 2011. Click here to read more.
DS: The Madison Keith novellas have a supernatural element whilst your other work tends to be fairly grounded in reality – why the change?
CG: I write first drafts with just a brief character sketch or two and a few markers for where I’m headed because it’s so much fun to see what develops. Sometimes, that can be startling. In the middle of the first draft of the first novella, a pair of ghosts showed up. When I looked back at what I’d written so far, I saw that I had a good setup for the supernatural and hadn’t even been aware of it (consciously).
I struggled with it for a month or two, worried about confusing my “brand”. However, I’m very interested in philosophy, religion, attitudes about death and other things that lend themselves to the supernatural. In fact six or seven years ago, one of my short stories was rejected by Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine specifically because their readers weren’t interested in the supernatural. (You can listen to the podcast on my website – The Healer).
Since my fiction deals with the disconnect between characters’ internal worlds and what they reveal to others, taking that concept to an entity being seen/unseen seems to fit (at least in my mind). Like my novels and short stories, my novellas focus on the “why” behind the crime and are set in suburbia. There’s also a touch of dark humor, so I think Suburban Noir fits.
Suzanne Conboy-Hill, finding fiction, August 7, 2011. Click here to read more.
SCH: Demise is a story about friends whose relationships unravel to show the deep scars of personal trauma beneath a veneer of ‘soccer mom’ respectability. I found them convincing and awful, but somehow oddly able to evoke sympathy. How do you come by your characters? Is there an internal closet somewhere in which they sit, lifeless, waiting to be animated? Do they dash, fully formed onto your page without asking? Are they opportunistic encounters in supermarkets and cafes? Or do you have to construct them, watch how the pieces work together (or not), tweak out inconsistencies? Do they make you work for their living?
CG: I’m so glad to hear that you think the characters evoke sympathy. Beta readers really hammered me with feedback that my characters were “unlikeable”. Although I worked a long time incorporating that feedback, at the end of the day, I didn’t change them significantly because theirs was the story I wanted to tell.
SCH: I like that view. There are people in the real world that I don’t like much but that intrigue me. Why should fiction be any different? Or are we not supposed to truly represent the real world?
David Wiseheart, Kindle Author, May 16, 2011. Click here to read more.
DW: What can you tell us about The Demise of the Soccer Moms?
CG: The novel is about a single mom battling the dark side of suburbia. The world she encounters is populated with women who desperately want their children to be safe, and men who think their wives should chill out just a little. The story follows three women—Charlotte wants to make a fresh start, Rachel’s loyalty is split between her best friend and her husband, and Amy’s fears threaten to undo them all.
Christi Craig, Writing Under Pressure, February 9, 2011. Click here to read more.
“People often leave behind the city life and take up residence on a quiet cul-de-sac in the suburbs. They expect to find the camaraderie of neighbors, and they brag about a low crime rate. But, under every silver lining there’s a dark side. And, maybe even a killer.”