Welcome to Geoffrey Girard, author of Project Cain and Cain’s Blood as well as several other books. If you haven’t checked them out I highly recommend pretty much anything he’s written. Let’s sit down and see what he has to say…
1] Could you tell us a little about CAIN’S BLOOD and PROJECT CAIN?
Cain’s Blood and Project Cain are two different novels written about the same fictional event. In both, scientists have been doing unpleasant things with clones and infamous serial killers and these unpleasant things escape. The two books explore the trouble/adventure that ensues — and simply do so differently.
Cain’s Blood follows the story from a dozen viewpoints; mostly from former-army-Ranger Shawn Castilllo’s narrative Point of View (the character brought in to fix things), but also via chapters/scenes from the POV of various killers, military schemers, evil scientists, and victims. All capturing the big picture as the full story unfolds. It’s rather “R-rated” and meant for fans of Crichton and King.
Project Cain is told from the first-person POV of one character: Jeff Jacobson, the sixteen-year-old clone of Jeffrey Dahmer who has recently discovered his true origins and who is recruited by Castillo into helping, we hope, save the day. It’s a much more personal story/journey told with the voice and reflections of a smart, lost and thoughtful teen. A thriller (and “Intro to Serial Killers”) specifically written for teen readers and those adults still interested in young heroes.
2] You also write a lot of short stories, what is the difference in the writing process between a novel and shorter fiction?
For me, not much difference in the actual process. But I built up to novel-length works after a decade of short-story writing first. (Not to say I didn’t type out my first “novel” while in high school.) So, for me, novels are just longer short stories that allow for more scenes and thematic depth. Taking on several ideas/issues as opposed to a short story which often focuses on just one. Still, I approach all tales the same: I first have a theme I want to explore, and research accordingly. I imagine some characters that I can throw into that theme for conflict, and then come up with a beginning and end; the first scene is always the start of the adventure and I see how these characters are doing once they reach the intended end. A lot of my story telling skills I’ve learned from film and comic books, so the length of what I’m doing is easy to adjust.
3] What would you tell teens who want to write but don’t feel confident in their work?
I’d first admit that feeling may never go away. I often think what I’m working on is terrible, stupid, won’t sale, everyone will hate, blah, blah. And most of my writer pals (professionals, all) admit the same. Still, you gotta just stick your neck out and go for it. I have a stack of rejection letters in a folder called “Getting Published.” A hundred letters, easy. Maybe more. And the first few did hurt. But you eventually learn it’s not personal. When you write something, some people will love it and some people won’t; doesn’t matter who you are. Which is a long way to get to: start sending stuff out. Contests at school, contests online, blog contests, some site where other new writers share fan-fiction or whatever… You’ll find most readers are super nice, and most writers are amazingly supportive of each other. Go for it! I’ve met too many writers who never share what they’re working on, and sharing your work/art with others is part of the process.
4] What has been your favorite project to work on?
I love, and sometimes dislike, them all when doing each. The Tales Of… books had me doing more hands-on research then I do now. I went to the birth house of the Jersey Devil out in the middle of the Pine Barrens and later spent a day with a real Indian chief, etc. And these I did with one of my sons, who was young then but old enough to road-trip properly. So, I’ve got memories of those adventures, him trying Taco Bell for the first time, silly stuff like that. That, in the end, will mean more to me, than the books, I suspect.
5] What do you do when you’re not writing or doing events?
I’m a high school English teacher by day covering everything from Romeo & Juliet to The Shining. I walk in various woods most days with our two dogs. I watch football with my college-age sons; and yell at the TV because of fantasy football. I binge watch WEST WING on Netflix. I play piano for my dogs. I read constantly. I see ghosts when I’m trying to sleep.
6] Do you have any different writing habits or rituals? Do you write with music or without? Have a special place to write? Eat or drink something specific while you write?
Can’t write two words with music on; don’t know how people can do that. I played semi-professionally in bands for decades and studied music in college and when I hear music, my brain is completely distracted. I mostly write out in public: the cliché coffee shop writer. The generic noise of people doesn’t bother me at all and if I were home, I’d be too tempted to read, nap or watch some movie on TV.
7] Do you think writing has changed you as a person at all? How?
Wow, great question. I know reading has. I primarily read to learn: about places, people, ideas. I suppose any writing project I’ve taken on has come with that same goal. Each book, I’ve researched almost a full year before writing a word. And even some of the short stories, I’d read several books before starting. Will revisit this question in a few years when I’m further away from simply trying to succeed at this business.
8] Is the writing process different for each of your novels? How was publishing two books simultaneously different from your usual process of writing and publishing?
All similar. Research, write. While the two CAIN books came out at the same time, I’d finished one (CAIN’S BLOOD) completely before anyone asked me to write PROJECT CAIN — which I “sold on spec” meaning they’d only seen 5k words of what I might do. My most-recent book sold was completely written before I submitted to publishers. I think I prefer that; knowing the darn thing is done as opposed to “owing” someone 90k unwritten words. <shudder>
9] What are you up to for the next year?
Promoting FIRST COMMUNIONS, my debut collection of short stories; sixteen tales of horror, sci-fi and fantasy. And editing TRUTHERS, a novel about 9/11 and a teen girl who discovers she might be part of the conspiracy/cover-up; which will be published by CarolrhodaLAB in 2017. Also finishing a new teen novel for 2018. The summer will be back to an adult thriller; something about Nazis, and demons and such; will even be in Munich a bit for some hands-on research.
10] Anything else you want to talk about that we haven’t covered?
I don’t like lakes. The water is too still and you can’t ever see the bottom. You know there are giant turtles down there, and skulls and caverns, and broken UFOs and stuff. Swimming in lakes was always the worst and I hope to never do it again.