Guest Post with #Author Kathryn Meyer Griffith on The Last #Vampire
A note from me, Jennifer James about this post: I’m a total fan girl dork for other authors. I love to hear about their writing strategies, how they came up with ideas, their journey to publication. Kathryn Meyer Griffith is someone to watch and learn from, especially in a business that is subjective and sometimes cruel. Writers have to constantly be coming up with new ideas, new worlds to explore, new words. And then you have to convince people to buy them. Kathryn has been doing that longer than I’ve been alive. People like her are my rockstars. I reviewed THE LAST VAMPIRE recently and if you’d like to read what I thought of her amazing book , you can click here. Continue on for a very interesting post about how she came to re-release this wonderful novel.
The Story of The Last Vampire
Author’s Revised Edition by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
A rerelease of my 1992 Zebra end-of-the-world vampire novel
…and now a 2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS FINALIST NOMINEE for horror
Damnation Books Buy Link:
YOU TUBE BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZU77j_q4S8
The story of how I came to write, publish and rerelease my end-of-the-world vampire love story The Last Vampire-Revised Author’s Edition again twenty years after its initial release is a long strange tale. What’s new, though? Looking back over my forty year writing career most of the origins and journeys of my fourteen published novels are all pretty strange. Ask any author who published in the 1980’s to now and you’d get a lot of the same bizarre accounts. Publishing back then–and now–was not for the faint of heart.
In the beginning, as all authors had to do before the ebook publishers and the Internet, I dealt with the old legacy (traditional publishers) the slow-frustrating-time consuming old-fashioned way through snail mail, editors and agents. Sometimes between the writing, scouring for a publisher, getting a contract with that publisher, getting the manuscript ready to go on the book shelves and what you had to put up with during and afterwards could be enough to drive any sane writer crazy. I mean…it all took so long. So tedious and soul-killing at times. Oh, the stories I could tell. Well, but not here anyway. This is the story of one book.
I started writing The Last Vampire, oh, I guess, around 1990 or so. With the help of Dean Koontz (I sent him a letter asking for advice on how to get a better publishing company and deal and he and his wife, who did the actual talking though Dean must have been nearby by the way the conversation went, answered by kindly telephoning me one rainy fall night) I’d gotten my first agent in 1990. She’d already sold my fourth book, Vampire Blood, to my new publisher Zebra and I had begun work on my fifth novel, The Last Vampire. I know, I know. Another vampire novel?
But as I began writing it I realized it wasn’t going to be just another vampire novel. This book would be a saga about the end-of-the-world, about personal courage, the destruction and fall of society and about what humans–and vampires–would have to do to survive in the new merciless world after earthquakes and anarchy had taken their tolls. I wanted to transcend the vampire novel genre. Or, at least, try to.
I even threw in a little inside joke on the other top horror writers of the day by using their names for the other bloodsuckers in the ruthless vampire gang my main character goes to war against. Stephen. Dean. Anne. Chelsea. Peter. And so on. Hmm, though, no one ever got the joke…or never told me if they did. Oh, well.
I’ll admit it now because it’s so many years later, I’d also used the book as a sort of therapy to deal with an increasingly frustrating situation I was experiencing in my real life at work. Age discrimination. My new art director thought I was too old, I was forty-two at the time, to be a senior graphic artist, didn’t have but a two year college degree instead of four (but I’d been doing the actual job 13 years!), and had been making my life on the job miserable. He’d openly demoted me; was overworking me. Besides my regular workload, he put a couple younger artists over me who bossed me around. I spent half my day doing their copying duties and being their gofer. One of the artists, a woman, was openly condescending and cruel to me. So humiliating. I guess I got even by writing about it (imagine, my main character was a graphic artist, or used to be before the world fell apart) and killing the art director off in the book; then, for good measure, destroying the whole city of St. Louis (where I worked), the Arch, splitting the Mississippi River and decimating the Poplar Street Bridge as well. What fun I had! It was great therapy.
Well, between working full time as a graphic designer, raising a son, keeping a husband happy, and being there for my large family I struggled to finish writing The Last Vampire. Got it done and Zebra paperbacks brought it out in 1992 with little fanfare. I’d had the usual over-worked disinterested editor. I had to fight hard for the integrity of every word. And I hated the cover. A kneeling woman (supposedly my main character vampiress) in a blindingly white snowy background. So bland.
I thought it was the best thing I’d ever written. I truly believed in it and its story. It was my baby and I hopefully shoved it out into the world and…nothing.
It was long before the Internet, emails, blogs, web review sites, and editing on the computer. I didn’t know how to promote. Was too busy living my life. I left that up to my publisher. That’s what an author did in those days. Apparently, they didn’t know how to either. I never got one review that I knew of and never any feedback besides the dismal royalty statements…which never made any sense to me anyway. What in the heck were those huge amounts taken out for returns anyway? The book didn’t sell well, they said. Too bad. So sad. Go on and write another one.
Which I did. Witches. Came out in 1993 and did very well.
Over the next twenty years I went on to write and publish nine more books, seven short stories and a novella. The seven oldest of them went out of print. Then in 2010 Kim Richards at Damnation Books/Eternal Press contracted two of my newest horror novels and asked if she could reprint, with new covers and all in ebooks for the first time ever, revised editions of all my older novels. I said a resounding yes! and now all of them will be out again for a new generation to read and hopefully enjoy by July 2012.
And The Last Vampire-Revised Author’s Edition? It’s finally come into its own after all these long years. Most of the reviews have been glowing. People seem to get it, love it and it’s even a FINALIST nominated for a 2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARD in the horror category. On March 17, 2012 I’ll find out if it wins, though being nominated is honor enough for me. I’m humbled, vindicated, thrilled.
And so plays out the rollercoaster life of a writer. Never lose hope. Never give up. And never stop writing.
Written this day of February 29, 2012 by author Kathryn Meyer Griffith
Kathryn Meyer Griffith has been writing for nearly forty years and has published 14 novels and 7 short stories since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press in the horror, romantic paranormal, suspense and murder mystery genres… and all 12 of her old books, see below, (and two new ones) are being brought out again between June 2010 and July 2012 from DAMNATION BOOKS www.damnationbooks.com and ETERNAL PRESS www.eternalpress.biz again in print – and all in e-books for the first time ever! Learn more about her at www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or www.authorsden.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyergriffith and http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1019954486 .
Here’s a list of all my published novels and short stories:
Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure,1984; Damnation Books, July 2012)
The Heart of the Rose (Leisure,1985)
Blood Forge (Leisure,1989; Damnation Books, February 2012)
Vampire Blood (Zebra, 1991; Damnation Books, July 2011)
The Last Vampire (Zebra, 1992; Damnation Books, October 2010)
Witches (Zebra, 1993; Damnation Books, April 2011)
The Nameless One (short story in 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions;
Damnation Books, February 2011)
The Calling (Zebra, 1994; Damnation Books, October 2011)
Scraps of Paper (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2003)
All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2006)
Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007…out again from Eternal Press in
Winter’s Journey (The Wild Rose Press, 2008…out again from Eternal Press in
The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press, 2008…out again from Eternal Press in November 2011)
Don’t Look Back short story (2008…out again from Eternal Press in 2011)
In This House (short story 2008…out again from Eternal Press in 2011)
BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (2010)
The Woman in Crimson (2010) ***
Essay itself approx. 1000 words