Bewildering Stories

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Interview with Greg Gifune

by Eric S. Brown

Eric: How do you define yourself as a writer?

Greg: That’s an interesting question. I define myself as an artist. I try to never take myself too seriously, but I do take my work very seriously. I focus on dedication to craft and I’d like to think I’m a writer of dark fiction with something of value to say who can hopefully touch other people with my work.

What advice do you have to give to people who want to be a writer more than anything and are just starting out?

Study your craft and continually be in a learning mode, regardless of how long or short your resume is. Read everything you can get your hands on and learn as much as you can. Virtually anyone can write, but not everyone can write well. In fact, few people can. If you want to be a writer then learn how to write well and find your own voice. Writing is certainly an art, but it’s also a craft. Learn your craft.

What to you makes a person a writer and how does one define the term professional in today’s age of writing and publishing?

Well many people write on many different levels. To me, a professional writer is someone who has learned their craft and writes at a professional level, and someone who in some way earns their living (or part of their living) through their writing. To me, anyone is a writer who truly believes they are and works at it. Now, does that make them a pro? Not necessarily. But no one starts out as a professional. You work toward that; you achieve that in this business through dedication, hard work and experience. Be an artist first, dedicate to that and the rest will come.

What are your biggest accomplishments so far as a writer?

I suppose as a writer my biggest accomplishments are my publishing credits. I’ve had over 100 stories published all over the world, been nominated for numerous awards, have had six books published and have more on the way. But to me, the biggest accomplishment is in making it to the level I’ve made it to without having to sell my soul or compromise my beliefs, self-respect and dignity. I’d like to think my biggest accomplishment is that, and having produced work I can be proud of and that I believe in that has in some way touched other people.

How long have you been writing?

All my life. Professionally for more than ten years.

What do you have coming out this year?

So far, I have three books due out this year. By the end of February/early March, my novel Night Work will be available in paperback. It’s a dark crime novel and will be available at all the major online outlets and in stores, and also directly through the publisher, The Fiction Works. A bit later this year, my short novel Saying Uncle will be available as part of the new paperback line from December Girl Press. It’s a surreal, dreamlike dark mainstream piece that deals with violence, love and redemption. It too, will be available at all the usual places, and also directly through the publisher, December Girl Press. And then in October, my new horror novel The Bleeding Season will be released in limited edition hardcover from Delirium Books. It can be preordered now at a discount through the online retailer Shocklines and also directly through the publisher, Delirium Books, and once it’s released in October, it’ll be available at all the usual places as well. I may have other deals signed this year, but for now, that’s what I definitely have coming up. Updates and information can be found on these titles, and on my other books, Down To Sleep, Drago Descending, and Heretics at my official web site.

Do you have “fans” as such and how do you deal with them?

Obviously I’m not a household name or anything, but I do have a growing following of fans and readers I’ve managed to garner over the last several years, and I’m extremely flattered and grateful to everyone who reads and enjoys my work. In terms of “dealing” with them, I try to be as accessible to everyone as possible, and I’ve always had very positive experiences with fans. We all write to be read, so it’s always nice when someone takes the time to drop me a note or e-mail and let me know they’ve enjoyed my work. I find it very flattering, and often inspirational.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In the real world, just happy and healthy, hopefully. In the business, I’d like to continue to grow as an artist and a human being and hopefully continue to produce strong work people will enjoy and can get something from.

Are there any hard fast rules for writing horror, and what defines something as being of the horror genre?

Personally, I don’t think so. Horror is a wide genre, unless you’re talking specifically about traditional horror. To me, dark fiction is dark fiction, and that can encompass horror, crime, mystery, Mainstream, psychologicalówhatever. I tend to describe what I write as “dark fiction.” I’m certainly a horror writer too, but to me horror can mean many things and should mean an area of writing just as serious as any other. The idea that horror has to be of less value or somehow less literary than anything else, is a concept I reject. Good horror is no different than any other avenue of literature, or at least it shouldn’t be. To me, most fiction that means anything, most serious art for that matter, explores the darker side of the human experience, and horror certainly not only encompasses that, but often does (and should) lead the pack.

Is it hard being a writer today?

I think it’s always been hard to be a writer. A lot of it boils down to deciding what kind of writer you want to be, who you want to be and how you want to achieve it. This business, sadly, is not always about talent. It should be, but it isn't. It’s often a very difficult, very unfair business, but it can also be an amazingly rewarding one as well. Being a writer has always been hard and I'm sure it always will be, but that’s OK. It should be hard. Just, but hard.

How do you feel about agents and do you have one?

I don’t have any particular views about them, personally. I don’t have one at this point because I use a lawyer and have always negotiated my own contracts anyway. So far that’s worked out fine, but I wouldn’t rule out getting an agent down the road if I felt it was necessary and/or beneficial. I’m in no hurry, but I wouldn’t rule it out, either.

Tell us all about your magazine The Edge

The Edge is a small press magazine I edit. It began over five years ago. It’s a suspense and horror fiction magazine, and we’re very proud of the success it’s had over the years and the support it’s gotten from readers, contributors and subscribers all over the world. We’ve published many established writers as well as many new and up-and-coming writers, and it’s nice to be able to offer a venue where writers can showcase some of their work. For more info on The Edge, visit the official Thievin’ Kitty Publications site.

What do you enjoy when you are not writing?

I love film, art, love to read, love animals. I like sportsófootball and hockey mostly, and I enjoy music. I’ve been known to have a drink now and then (evil smile). I like spending time with friends and family, and with my wife and our cats.

What is your one big goal in life?

As corny as it may sound, my biggest goal in life is to be the best human being I can be. I’m a spiritual person and I try to strive for that as best I can. As a writer, my biggest goal is to simply continue to do what I do and to do it well and to have others enjoy it and hopefully gain something from it.

And lastly, is there anything else you just want to share with our readers?

Just thanks for asking me to do this, thanks for your thoughtful questions, and thanks to everyone who supports my work.

Copyright © 2003 by Eric S. Brown