Saturday, September 17, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Gregory Marshall Smith

Today we're continuing on the Hunters blog tour, with the help of Fangtastic Books, Bewitching Book Tours and the incredible Roxanne Rhoads.

Get ready for some old school vampire hunting, just like they did it back in the old days, but with a fresh and modern twist.

I want to thank you all for kindly dropping in to join me on this, my first-ever tour!

I hope you enjoy this interview.

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

Well, I was born in Somerville, Massachusetts and raised primarily in historic Medford, a suburb of Boston. I have been a journalist for 30 years and have been writing fiction since 1976 (yes, I was only nine, but I’m sure some of my cheesy stories would match some of today’s movies). As for the genre, I primarily deal with science fiction as I had fallen in love with science fiction going back to 1976, from programs like Creature Double Feature, Space: 1999, Star Trek and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

My dabbling in horror began much later and I think it was because science fiction and horror are so closely intertwined. Creature From the Black Lagoon, Them!, Tarantula and Godzilla, King of the Monsters, not to mention Alien and a host of others wouldn’t succeed without the horror elements. So, I decided that writing horror could only enhance my science fiction.

What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires, that fascinates you so much?

I wouldn’t say I’m fascinated by vampires. However, the rest of society seems to be and I think maybe there’s an overload. If anyone remembers those Burger King commercials where the teenage girls run around trying to get customers to vote for either Team Jacob or Team Edward, I thought that was too much. For a new twist, I think of the Blade trilogy.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to put out something that was a traditional vampire tale, but moved up to modern times. Previous incarnations of the vampire story on the screen almost always showed lone hunters or disorganized parties going after the night monsters. With all the fringe elements in society, I thought that, if vampires really existed, there would probably be an organized (via the Internet) resistance to them.

Please tell us about your latest release.

It’s called Hunters and it’s about a group of human vampire hunters who have banded together to stop one of the biggest threats to mankind. Vampires own the night and have organized themselves into Mafia-style clans that have thoroughly corrupted the landscape. Now, led by Louis Riordan and backed by his lethal enforcer Lin Tang, they are organizing themselves even further. If Riordan and Tang have their way, sixteen of the most powerful clan leaders will unite into the most powerful undead alliance the world has even seen. No one will be able to stand against them.

But, all is not lost for mankind. Rumors abound that Cantrell Ryker, Lin Tang’s most hated enemy, has literally returned from the grave. Vampires are being killed on Riordan’s turf with seeming impunity, destroying the confidence the other clan masters have in him and his proposed alliance. A brave band of humors, vastly outnumbered and outgunned, with dissension in the ranks and a traitor in their midst, will battle impossible odds to prevent the alliance. And they’ll do it with a weapon that may not only stop Riordan but could turn the tide in the age-old battle between vampires and humans for good.

Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

I can’t really explain it. I used to use the phone book, pick odd names and juxtapose the first and last names. Now, since you can’t really find phone books anymore, I just play it by ear. Literally. If I hear a name that sounds interesting, I’ll file it away for later use. One thing I’m leery of is fad names, like the monikers being made up for African-Americans. Hey, it’s a free country but they’re too hard to remember.

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

Probably Lin Tang. I don’t want to spoil things about the plot but I had to present different sides of her personality simultaneously.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

Cantrell Ryker. As my publisher, C.J. Ellisson, would tell you, I often put parts of myself into my characters.

Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
Amazingly, I play the plot by ear. I rarely use an outline and often make it up as I go. Therefore, no, I don’t have a formula. I do that old “amalgam” thing from Parenthood. You know the scene where Steve Martin’s character-as-a-kid explains how an usher is an amalgam or a blending of all the ushers his father left him with over the years in order to schmooze business clients at baseball games.

I also use celebrities. I put celebrities into my characters, often employing that celeb’s performance in a particular movie or television show. It helps me remember the faces of my people. For example, for Lin Tang I imagine parts of Lucy Liu’s arrogance from Ally McBeal and her ruthlessness from Kill Bill Vol. I. I then add in the naivete and innocence of Ziyi Zhang from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

Probably the warehouse scene. Ian Hendricks, a cocky bastard afraid of seeing his favorite clients -- the Montoyas, leaders of the Hunters -- leave town concocts a horrible plan to lure Lin Tang to a warehouse to be captured. The Hunters have to save his bacon. However, they find themselves ill-prepared for the amazing strength and martial arts ability of Lin Tang, who puts them down for the moment. But, just as she’s about to dispatch them, she is interrupted by some unpleasant surprises, the ultimate being the arrival of Ryker.

At full strength and with her razor-edged swords ready, she is fully prepared to make her revenge on him as painful and slow as possible. Except, he has no fear of her. In fact, he reveals that he has met scores of vampires over the years and has destroyed every single one of them. He vows that only one of them will be left standing at the end of the fight and it won’t be Lin Tang. And it might not be just bravado that makes him so confident.

I devote an entire chapter to this long-awaited battle.

What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?

I often base my stories in the cities I live in or near (Hunters was started while I still lived in Fort Worth). So, I physically go out and scout locations for scenes. It can be fun and dangerous. Once, back in Fort Worth, I went up into the hills above a bank so I could see the Fort Worth skyline. The bankers called the cops on me and they tried to take my camera and notes under threat of arrest for trespassing on bank property. Except it was public property. Then, when they found out I was a reporter, they backed off.

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

The book is the first in a planned series. I plan to provide brief synopses of what transpired before.

Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?

Cantrell Ryker thinks he knows it all. He doesn’t, of course, but knows a lot more than most people think. He’s garnered this so-called “useless information” and now employs it to his advantage. He’s also got a short attention span and mild mood swings, going from affable to violent at the drop of a hat, as you’ll see in the garage standoff that threatens to get him both kicked off the team and beaten to a pulp by everyone else.

Now, I do have a short attention span but not the mood swings. Well, at least not so wild and not violent. Folks would just call me quirky.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Boy, do I. It took me more than 20 years to finally put Devereaux Marshall Fox -- my lead from Land of the Blind, due out winter 2012 -- into print. During Hunters, I often stopped and started. If I was a car, I’d have stripped the gears ten times over by now. I just have to get up and walk away from the computer. I’ll watch television, listen to iTunes, play a DVD or go out for a walk at the nearby dam. When I’m relaxed again, I’ll sit back at the computer.

Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?

I get up and walk away so much I make cats nervous. People will sometimes get freaked out because they’ll see me coming out of my room to watch TV and, thirty seconds later, I’ve gone back in. Then, they hear music or hear the front door open and close. That’s usually because I have to flesh out a scene in my head before putting in down on the computer.

Do you write in different genres?

Primarily science fiction and horror. But, I have short stories and story ideas covering drama, fantasy and westerns.

Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?

No problems for science fiction and horror because they’re so closely related. But, doing a western, for example, I have to fight the temptation to add in UFOs and aliens (as the makers of Cowboys and Aliens should have done).

When did you consider yourself a writer?

Age 9. I put pen to paper and started scribbling coherent sentences. I knew I wanted to be a writer when, during the summer, I’d wait to finish a chapter before going outside to play.

What are your guilty pleasures in life?

White chocolate, Maine lobstah and real clam chowdah.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

Exploring, hiking, mountain biking.

What can readers expect next from you?

I’ll be flipping back to science fiction. I’ve had an anthology of science fiction and horror called Dark Tidings: Volumes I & II and also a science fiction novella called They Call the Wind Muryah. And now Hunters. So, it’s time to get back to science fiction with the aforementioned Land of the Blind. It’s about people on a future Earth battling each other and their own demons to try to save their country, but at the expense of the rest of the world. However, a mysterious player threatens all that they hold dear. All have suffered greatly at his hands and they’re ready to do anything to destroy him. But, as Erasmus once said, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. And this player is ready to make that painfully clear to the entire world.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Right now, I have some short stories at under the name “futrboy.” I’m getting my own author page set up but it’s still under construction.

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

Dolores and Jesus Montoya watched via closed circuit television. Kelly White Cloud was with them, anxious for the serum to work because she knew how difficult it was to overcome the addiction of the vampire.

Inside the room with Patel was Lee, monitoring the various machines that showed Heidi’s life functions, which currently consisted of just a slow heartbeat and some brain waves. A few feet away, holding a submachine gun, stood Cantrell Ryker, just in case Heidi rejected the serum and had to be killed. Dolores knew Ryker saved the woman, but she also had no doubt that he could kill her without too much remorse. That much she learned from her friends at Moonrise.

Jesus murmured a silent prayer. Dolores heard it and smiled quickly to reassure her wary husband. He took a deep breath and leaned down to the microphone.

“Do it, Doctor Patel.”

Patel moved over to the gurney. He heard a sharp sound and looked up to see Ryker taking the safety off his gun. Taking a deep breath, he turned back to his patient and raised a hypodermic syringe filled with a red liquid. He wiped an area on Heidi’s throat with an alcohol swab, to kill germs, and then injected the full contents of the syringe into her carotid artery.

Almost immediately, she woke up, screaming like a banshee, strained against the heavy leather straps holding her down. The straps could hold down a young bull – yet they stretched to their limit to keep Heidi on the table. Patel jumped back.

“Cantrell!” he called out.

Visit Gregory on Tour

Sept 16 Tour Party
Roxanne’s Realm

Sept 16 Guest Blog
Mad Moose Mama

Sept 17 Interview
Fang-tastic Books

Sept 18 interview

Sept 20 Guest Blog and review
Lissette E. Manning

September 21 Interview

Sept 27 Guest Blog and Review

Sept 30 Guest Blog

Oct 5 Interview
Laurie Thoughts & Reviews

Oct 11 review and guest post
Beverly @ The Wormhole

Oct 10 Vampire Awareness Month

October 11 Guest Blog
1000 + Books to Read

October 13 Guest Blog The Write at Home Mom

October 14 Guest Blog and Review
Back Of The Book Reviews

By Gregory Marshall Smith

For centuries, vampires have owned the night. And in Fort Worth, Texas, master vampire, Louis Riordan, aims to keep it that way. With the help of Lin Tang, his lethal enforcer, he will unite sixteen of the continent’s top master vampires into the most powerful undead alliance the world has ever seen.

Rumors abound that Lin Tang’s most hated enemy, Cantrell Ryker, has returned from the grave and there are hunters in town, ready to take back the twilight. Vastly outnumbered and outgunned, with dissension in the ranks and a traitor in their midst, these hunters fight for humanity side by side. They now have a weapon that could turn the tide of the age-old war between man and vampire once and for all.

Caution: Book contains scenes of violence, mild sex and a few expletives.

Gregory Marshall Smith has been writing fiction since the tender age of nine and has also been a professional journalist for 30 years. He loves Golden Age science fiction, as well as traditional horror but with a modern twist. His work has appeared in Spectacular Speculations, Far Side of Midnight, Writer’s Bump, Farspace 2, Mini-World Magazine, Asian Sci-Fi and SFH Dominion. The author of anthologies, short stories, novellas and novels, Greg is working on Land of the Blind, a science fiction actioner due out Winter 2012. He currently resides in West Columbia, South Carolina where he freelances covering college sports and also does background for movies and television shows. Never married (yet), he uses his plethora of spare time to develop new projects.

Feel free to drop him a line at

Greg is giving away an ebook to a commenter

if you'd like to win a copy, please comment and leave your email address for notification purposes


Roxanne Rhoads said...

Thanks for sharing today- Hunters sounds like a great vampire book.

Danielle D said...

This sounds like an amazing book, thank you so much for the interview :)

Tanya1224 said...

Sounds good. I like hearing about new reads. I see it says his publisher is C.J. Ellison. Is that the C.J. of Vampire Vacation and The Hunt. If so she is awesome too. Thanks for sharing the post.

C.J. Ellisson said...

Great interview, Greg! Here's to hoping you have a successful tour and meet some readers along the way.

Tanya - yup, it's the same C.J. Greg is a close friend of mine and I was proud to support him and publish his book. Thanks for the kind words and I hope you'll give Greg's stories a try, too.