Friday, January 1, 2016

Author Interview: John Grey

Hello, and welcome to an all new series of author interviews.  The long anticipated anthology "We Were Heroes" will be coming out in 2016, and in preparation for this release we'll be running interviews of various contributors.

MTI:  Today I'm interviewing John Grey, who contributed "Return of the Star Squad."  Thank you for being here.  Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

JG:  I was born in Australia and moved to the US in the late seventies. I’m married with no children and live in Providence RI.

MTI:  Moving along, what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?

JG:  I’ve spent most of my writing career churning out poetry and songs. It’s only in recent years that I’ve had the time to dedicate to writing fiction. It’s always been in the back of my mind that I wanted to do it but work commitments didn’t allow. But I’ve always been surrounded by books and an avid reader of them. Though my poetry comes in a wide variety of styles and topics, with short stories I’ve stuck more to genres, especially horror and scifi. And I enjoy tweaking them with a slice of humor.  

MTI:  Tell me, if you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?

JG:  That’s not easy. At fifteen I would have said Dickens, at twenty, Sartre, at 25, Dostoyevsky. Lately, I’ve been reading a Library of America edition of the works of Elmore Leonard. I can’t say it inspires me but it sure keeps me waitng to read on.  

MTI:  "Return of the Star Squad" appears in We Were Heroes, an anthology devoted to the theme of aging, retired, or out of their element superheroes and villains.  Tell us a little bit about your contribution to this collection.

JG:  It’s really a tongue in cheek account of the return to action of some over-the-hill super heroes whose powers are kind of off-the wall to begin with but who somehow succeed despite themselves.

MTI:  Who's your favorite superhero (or villain)?

JG:  I’ve always been a Batman guy. I’m into the dark undercurrents of the character. To me, Batman/Joker is the pinnacle of super hero/super villain warfare.  

MTI:  If you, yourself, could have any superpower, what would it be?

JG: I’ve never had x-ray vision or super strength in my dreams but I do leave the ground a lot so my subconscious is telling me that I really do want ot be able to fly.

MTI:  Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?

JG:  I’m working on a novel, a slightly futuristic tale set in New Jersey. I continue to write a lot of poetry. I try for at least 8 a day. And I always have a couple of short stories on the go, typically one pn its first go round and a second in rewrites.

MTI:  Other than Return of the Star Squad, appearing in We Were Heroes, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?

JG:  I have some coming up in Electric Spec, Macabre Maine, Fifth Di and Weirder Science.

MTI:  On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?

JG:  I just finished watching a series called “Top Of the Lake,” a series filmed in New Zealand and starring Elisabeth Moss of “Mad Men” fame, Holly Hunter and a host of British, Australian and New Zealand actors. It’s ostensibly a mystery but is much, much more than that.    

MTI:  How about music?

JG:  I’ve been listening to the latest in the Bob Dylan Bootleg series, a fascinating glimpse into the recording of his classic mid-sixties albums. I’m also very much into an English band called the Unthanks. 

MTI:  Can you name three movies that you could watch over and over again and not be bored?

JG:  Three is tough. I have a large movie collection on DVD and some of my favorites include “Chinatown”, “His Girl Friday” and a French film called ‘Children Of Paradise.” 

MTI:  Readers love samples.  Do you happen to have a story excerpt you'd like to share with us today? 

JG:  Here’s a few lines from an unpublished work, “The Texas Chainsaw Macrame.”

            Alison needed to get help. But there was no sign of life anywhere: no houses, no traffic, no subconscious fears, no repressed homosexual desires. She began walking toward Henry’s Gas, Grub and Taxidermy. Hour after hour, she trudged. She hadn’t felt so alone since she lost her last group of friends to the Bye-Bye Camp Massacre. Wind blew fiercely. Ominous clouds moved in. She could hear the distant roar of a lion. She trembled. She blabbered. She moaned. She sobbed. She was not happy.
            But eventually, she saw lights ahead. She could make out gas pumps, rats, a stuffed mountain lion devouring a stuffed Pekinese. It was definitely Henry’s. But the sign was different from when she had pulled in there for gas earlier that day. It now read “Mabel’s Gas, Grub and Taxidermy.”
            “Must have changed hands,” thought Alison.
            It was almost midnight but there appeared to be a lamp burning in the office.  In fact what was burning was Henry. He was tied to a large spit over an open fire. An old woman slowly turned the handle.
            “Oh my god!” exclaimed Alison as she watched Henry’s flesh turn medium rare. “Are you okay?”
             “I’m fair,” he replied. “This is Mabel. She’s the new owner.”
            Mabel and Alison shook hands.
            “You’re plum tuckered out my dear,” said the old woman, looking most concerned.
            “I was in this strange house. I was attacked by a crazy woman with a chainsaw.”
            “Some people are so inconsiderate. Would you like a lemonade?”
            “Do you have something stronger?” asked Alison.
            “Stronger than my lemonade? I don’t think so, dear.”

MTI:  Thank you, John, for that fantastic interview.  Those who want to read more of his work can pick up We Were Heroes, coming out in February 2016!

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