Kathryn Meyer-Griffith began writing novels at age 21 and now has had fourteen previous novels and eight short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press. She writes in a variety of genres including romantic horror, historical romance, romantic suspense, romantic time travel and murder mystery - wow! An artist and graphic designer, Kathryn worked in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before quiting to concentrate on writing full-time. Her horror story Blood Forge was recently published as an 'Author's Edition' by Damnation books, and two short tales released in one novella, Don't Look Back, Agnes and In This House, by Eternal Press. Welcome Kathryn!
If you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?
Spotty, my little black and white stuffed toy dog. I slept with that little worn, torn eared critter until I was almost twelve years old. Couldn’t sleep without it. I remember one night I couldn’t find it anywhere (I was about eleven) and, afraid to admit to anyone I was still sleeping with a stuffed animal, in desperation, I finally told my dad….and he looked everywhere – under the beds, all over my room and everywhere we could think of – with me until he found it. He never once laughed or made fun of me for needing that toy so much. Remembering that now brings tears to my eyes. It was just one of the many kind, loving things he did to show me he loved me. Loved all of us. My dad’s been gone 13 years. Such a good man. Good father to me and my six siblings. I still miss him so. I don’t recall what happened to Spotty, but I’d do anything to have that little stuffed dog back.
What’s the worst job you've ever had?
I’ve had a few in my lifetime. Many years ago when I was first divorced and trying to support my six-year-old-son son and myself, working at a trucking company for minimum wage doing their billing; where my supervisor tried to sabotage me over and over because she thought I was trying to steal her job. As if! But the worst job was when I was a child (about ten or so). My family was very poor, so my brother and I always went around went around to help them, my younger brother, Jim, and I would go around the neighborhood offering to clean up the yards, sweep snow off driveways and sidewalks in the winter, or I’d offer to babysit or…clean up people’s houses for money. We always desperately seemed to need money. For milk. Bread. You know. This one neighbor woman, the mother of one of my brother’s little friends, hired me to clean her house one day. So I did. I worked like a starving-child-for-food and cleaned up a storm, with her one step behind me all the way nit-picking on everything I did. Wanting more and more. Ha. But at the end of the day when I stuck my tired grubby hand out to her, so happy I was going to be taking cash home to mom, she produced, with a flourish and much fanfare, a tiny gold chained necklace with a tiny pearl on the end. “Here’s your payment for all your hard work! It’s a real cultured pearl. It’s it lovely?” Here we were, starving, and this clueless rich woman gives me a necklace for my hard day’s work! I was timid back then and so ashamed; couldn’t bring myself to ask for cash, please…so I took the necklace without a word and slunk home. I was never so humiliated. I never forgot the way that incident made me feel. Afterwards, I swore I’d grow up some day, work hard and shine at something, and never be broke and desperate again. And though I’ve had really hard times in my life, none ever made me feel that bad again.
Those lessons we learned as children stay with us, don't they? Kathryn, now - tell us three surprising things about yourself, one of which is a fib - and we'll try to guess the fib!
(1) I was a folk singer with my brother and later we sang in a rock band. I wore crazy patterned bellbottoms, Cleopatra eye liner and a strip of rawhide around my head.
(2) I went to New York and lived there alone on the streets for a month just to see what it’d be like to be homeless.
(3) I drew pictures for a living for many years.
What would be your perfect day?
Once it would have been a whole day left alone to write…but that was when I was a working mom and wife many years ago; now I write full time and have all the time I want alone to write. So now it’d be…spending the day on vacation with my husband (of 33 years) on Mackinac Island or on Bar Harbor wandering along the waterfront…going out to lunch there together and then driving home that night to a big party with all my family of brothers and sisters, son and family, nieces and nephews. A huge chocolate cake with white wedding icing and other tasty snacks. Heaven.
It sounds like sheer bliss! On a similar theme, who would you invite to your ultimate fantasy dinner party?
Ha, ha. My husband, of course, and a few of the big writers I adore…Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Dan Simmons…and musician Tom Petty (I love his music) and Steve Perry (of Journey). Wow! I’d be in seventh heaven!
What talent or skill would you love to have that you don’t have now?
I’d love to be able to play a guitar or the violin expertly. I love to sing, but have never had the gift of being able to play a musical instrument.
That’s sooo easy. A smart, sassy, fat cat of course. I think I was one in my last life. Meow.
Back to my childhood, circa 1960….to see my family again all young and just starting out….my six siblings, my mother, beloved father and Grandfather and Grandmother Fehrt still alive, young and laughing and smiling with us kids around the dinner table; then later us kids out playing in the fields after dark and afterwards watching Twilight Zone and Zorro on a summer’s night. Oh, for just a day to watch from the shadows, smiling, at my long-ago family, I’d give about anything.
I’ve had many, many 5 Star, great reviews, especially over the last year and a half since all my old novels (12 now and 14 by July 2012, going back 29 years…and all in eBooks as well as print, too) are being rewritten and re-released; and I love it when they say, “I couldn’t put it down” or “She’s a master storyteller.” Ha! It only took me 40 years and endless heartbreaks along the way. But the review that really touched me was when a reviewer read my romantic apocalyptic vampire novel THE LAST VAMPIRE-Revised Author’s Edition (originally it was a 1992 Zebra paperback) last year and called it “the best end of the world novel he’d ever read,” and that he thought, “and no one, I believe, could ever write a better one!” Yikes. My head was as big as a prize pumpkin for a week. Then to top it off now that same novel is a FINALIST for a 2012 Epic EBooks Award in their horror category. Top winner to be picked in March, but just to be nominated is a great honor, I feel. I’m so happy. At long last, vindication!!!
Aside from writing achievements, family, etc - what are you most proud of?
My long and happy second marriage to my husband, Russell. Thirty-three years and still counting. And that I never gave up my writing through the awful dry years and the years that I couldn’t sell anything, through the working and family problem years and all the other usual setbacks…and now it’s been over forty years and – look! – I’m still here and still writing!
Thanks Jane for having me here on your blog today…it was fun! Warmly, author Kathryn Meyer Griffith.
Kathryn, it's been a pleasure! Thanks for sharing your answers with us - and your fib, which was No. 2 - you went to New York for a visit but never lived there, and, thank goodness, have never been homeless. Your One-Link today is this one to your page at Eternal Press Publishing with details of all your publications with them, including the two-for-one Don't Look Back, Agnes and In This House.
Great to see you - good luck with all your future projects!