"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
A.W. Gryphon is a novelist and screenwriter living in Southern California. Her first novel, Blood Moon, was released in April of 2008. Ms. Gryphon has recently taken home the honor of ‘Best Picture’ at both The Beloit International Film Festival and the Los Angels Backlot Film Festival for her screenplay La Cucina, which premiered to an enthusiastic audience at the Hollywood Film Festival in October of 2007. She is currently working on the follow up to Blood Moon as well as raising money for various causes with Charity Folks and other organizations. For more information on A.W. Gryphon, Blood Moon and the Witches Moon Series please visit www.awgryphon.com
An Interview with A.W. Gryphon
PNR: Welcome, I’m excited to have the opportunity to talk with you about your Witches Moon series and your writing.
A.W. Gryphon: Thank you. I’m very excited about being on PNR.
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
A.W. Gryphon: I’ve always been a storyteller. Then at one point I started giving ideas to a screenwriter friend of mine. I told him he could have them. That he should write them down. Make a movie. He responded by challenging me to write a story myself. The rest is history.
PNR: Could you tell us about your writing routine, how do you balance writing and personal time?
A.W. Gryphon: I don’t balance writing and personal time very well. I actually consider the time that I have to write and not be bothered by anything else my most precious personal time. I go through periods where all that I want to do is write all day every day. I do tend to do most of my work very early in the morning. More often than not I’m up at 5am and done with my writing for the day by noon, so there is time for other things in my life.
PNR: Who or what has been the biggest influence on your writing? Who has been your biggest support?
A.W. Gryphon: I think that my biggest influence on my writing is me. I’m compelled to do it. It completes me. As far as support goes, I can’t begin to tell you how many wonderful people have supported me. The encouragement I’ve received from family, friends and co-workers has been amazing over the years. I’m eternally grateful to all of the wonderful people who have stood by me through the ups and downs.
PNR: Most writers are avid readers, is this true for you? What titles would we see in your TBR pile?
A.W. Gryphon: I do read quite a bit. I’m usually caught up in a book that somehow relates to my research. My current TBR pile is fairly high and includes One River by Wade Davis, Haunted by Heather Graham, Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan, The Bird Woman by Kerry Hardi, Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts, Witch Child by Celia Pees, and toping the list is a book that a friend lent me this morning called Transformation by Robert A. Johnson, which I’ll probably sit down and read this afternoon.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
A.W. Gryphon: Great characters and interesting situations.
PNR: Congratulations, readers are excited about the April 2008 release of BLOOD MOON from Sense of Wonder Press; this is the first book in your new Witches Moon trilogy. Could you tell us what inspired this dark fantasy series and a little about your vision for the project? What direction will the series be taking?
A.W. Gryphon: I’ve been fascinated by the fantasy and lore of witchcraft as well as the actual Pagan practice for as long as I can remember. I’d always wanted to write a story about a witch. What exactly I was going to do simmered in my mind for a few years. Then one day I woke up and knew what I wanted, and that it was time to start the process. The series is going to follow in the footsteps of the first book, winding the story deeper and deeper into The Craft, the mystery and the complexity of Amelia and her personal journey.
PNR: You are an award winning screenwriter, recently winning ‘Best Picture’ at The Beloit International Film Festival for your screenplay, La Cucina. How do you feel this experience has helped with writing your first book? Or are we talking apples and oranges here?
A.W. Gryphon: In many ways it is apples and oranges. When I complete a novel and hand it over to the editor and publisher I’m close to done. When I complete a screenplay and hand it over to a producer, I’m just getting started. As the director and actors are brought on I need to mold the script to compliment each of them and still manage to keep a good story intact. That being said, the process of each does help the other. Writing a novel after writing a screenplay is absolutely liberating because I get to say how someone looks, or feels or how something smells or tastes. It’s fun, and in a movie, all of that is left to the actors and director. I do like the process of both. I like going back and forth. It keeps me on my toes.
PNR: You have been complimented on your skilled world building. Tell us about the challenges you face in world building with paranormal elements in a contemporary setting and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the series? Do you write your characters to fit the world you have created or vice versa?
A.W. Gryphon: That is a great, but somewhat complicated question for me to answer. What I do is submerse myself in the world and the people I’m dealing with. I generally begin with a situation then I think of what kind of person would be in that situation and where that kind of situation would take place. From that point I step into the world I’ve come up with and become part of it so I’m telling the story from within it. I hope that makes sense. I don’t know how else to explain it.
PNR: BLOOD MOON has historical undertones based in legends and lore. How much research was involved?
A.W. Gryphon: I did a great deal of research. I like to settle into facts and places and let a story rise out of it. I think it’s important that historical undertones come from a real place – don’t hold me to the facts – but I do think a bit of history makes a more convincing world for the story.
PNR: BLOOD MOON has been described as an action packed roller coaster ride; do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
A.W. Gryphon: I love that description. The balance between plot and character in Blood Moon really comes from the fact that they drive each other. One doesn’t exist without the other and everything going on in the plot of the story and the depths of the characters is fairly intense. I’m guessing that’s where the, “action packed roller coaster ride” description comes from.
PNR: Amelia Pivins is a complex character with a difficult past; could you tell us about her development? Who has been your favorite character to write?
A.W. Gryphon: When I decided that Amelia was going to be a powerful witch who had no desire to be a witch at all, her life became complicated because it had to be. In other words for her to be the woman that she is in the present day story, a complicated and difficult past was the most natural way to get her there.
In terms of my favorite characters, Amelia is my favorite because she’s the center of the story and I’ve had to become so involved with her. I love everyone else, of course, but I do have to say, I have had a magnificently, wonderful time playing with Dorian. The bad boys are always exciting.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; how much of a role do romantic relationships play in your writing?
A.W. Gryphon: I think that the underlying motivation for all of us at the end of the day is love and passion. In Blood Moon the main character, Amelia, is completely driven by the love and passion she feels for her husband. It makes for a strong, sexy and incredibly compelling character.
PNR: Urban/dark fantasy is one of the fastest growing sub-genres of paranormal fiction, and BLOOD MOON contains a healthy dose of mystery and suspense as well. It seems everyone has their own definition of “Urban Fantasy”, how would you define this sub-genre? How does this differ from traditional fantasy?
A.W. Gryphon: That’s a tough question with all of the subgenres these days. I think that we need to let, “Urban Fantasy” exist as a subgenre, but still give it room to be used as a broad term. I’d say that Blood Moon is a little outside the box, in terms of what readers expect, because it’s a supernatural fantasy with strong historical roots combined with the twists and turns of a traditional mystery.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
A.W. Gryphon: At the moment I’m working on the next two books in the Witches Moon Series. Readers can expect a lot more mystery, passion, travel, history and supernatural happenings.
PNR: Thank you, Ms. Gryphon, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
A.W. Gryphon: Thank you! Readers can find out what’s new on my website www.awgryphon.com or on my MySpace page. I regularly update both sites and I try to check my MySpace email every day. On-line is the best way to find me and I love hearing from readers. I’m actually starting a new page on my site called “People Reading” where fans can send in a quote that expresses their reaction to the story or a photo of themselves reading the book, and we’ll post it.
Sense of Wonder Press
April 28, 2008
Witches Moon: Book 1
An ancient line
London, England. Mysterious. Beautiful. Full of legends and lore. It is home and a safe place for Ameila Pivens Kreutzer. For an ancient society of witch hunters, and practitioners, it is an easy place to go unnoticed. And for Scotland Yard’s Denny Carlisle, on All Hallows Eve, when the Full Blood Moon reaches its highest point in the sky, it will become a city of awe and mayhem, as the most powerful witch in modern history rises, to avenge her lost love and end the ancient war among the witches and those who hunt them forever.
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