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Interview with Grant Palmquist + Giveaway

June 23, 2012

Grant Palmquist lives and works in Houston, TX. He holds a BA from the University of Houston. His writing has been featured in Chizine and Underground Voices.

1. Hi Grant! Thank you so much for agreeing to let me pick your brain. I’m kinda afraid to ask, but where did you get the idea for A Song After Dark?

Initially, the idea for A Song After Dark was more along the lines of a character study of a drug-dealing high-school student . . . but then it turned into what it is now. The idea morphed after I started writing it, and I began to ask myself questions, like: 1) Why were most of the popular people in high school such assholes? 2) What if a really nerdy guy, who dreamed of popularity, were taken under the wing of one of these popular people? 3) What if this popular guy turned out to be a charming, intelligent sociopath?

2. All good questions! And good questions are the best tool a writer can have. How long have you been writing for? What were some of the first things you wrote?

I’ve been writing off and on since I was fourteen or so. I’m thirty-two now. It started out as aborted attempts at novels and screenplays. I think my first try at writing was something about a sacred stone that gave whomever found it great powers, followed by some kind of crime screenplay. Oh! And in eighth grade I wrote a story about a man who walked into a town with a shotgun and wiped everyone out. My teacher gave it a D and said it was like a bad Stephen King story.

3. Who inspires you?

Ryu Murakami, Jack Ketchum, Haruki Murakami, Craig Clevenger, Cormac McCarthy, Leo Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Radiohead, My Morning Jacket, Wilco . . . the list goes on.

4. I’m delighted not to know some of those names, now I have something to look up! What’s your “process” like? Are you a pantster or plotter or a bit of both?

Definitely a pantser. I only have a vague idea of the what if? situation and run with it. I can’t do an outline to save my life. I don’t see the whole story at once, just a little at a time, so that’s how I have to work. It keeps it fun and surprises me. However, I do write character notes and sketches to refer back to while I’m writing.

5. A Song After Dark was decidedly Horror, Permanent Winter felt more Dark Fantasy. Do you intend to explore other genres as a writer, if so, which ones?

Yes. My next novel is a mix of horror and dark fantasy. It should be out in September. I’d also like to write action, mystery, crime, science fiction, and literary novels and stories. A little bit of everything!

6. Is there something you absolutely couldn’t write?

Yes, anything regarding pedophilia.

7. Do you pursue other creative endeavors besides writing?

I used to write poetry from time to time, but not so much anymore. So no . . . but I’d eventually like to paint and draw, among other things.

8. Do you have favorite words? Most of mine tend to be censored on Television and the others make me question my sanity.

There aren’t any words I could single out and call my favorites. I’d say whatever the best words are to create a clear picture in the reader’s mind without overloading him/her with detail – depth in simplicity.

9. I agree. Some of my favorite writers have turned brevity into an art. If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?

The Workaholic. I feel like I should always be working on something or I’m wasting my time. I get up at 3:30 AM just to have time to write. It can be brutal at times, but it’s most definitely worth it.

 10. Now that’s dedication! Do you have a WIP on the backburner or any ideas for future books you wouldn’t mind sharing?

Yes. The dark fantasy/horror novel referenced above is called Dirge. Without going into too much detail, I’ll say it’s about a man who thinks he has it all, only to lose it and fall into another realm ruled by a Satan-like figure. The world is full of cannibals and killers and freaks. I’m also always writing short stories – have four or five on the backburner right now – and have given some thought to writing a novella before writing my next novel.

Being the generous man that he is, Mr. Palmquist has offered to give away one of his novels to one lucky commenter! Here’s what to do, go read my reviews for A Song After Dark and Permanent Winter, then come back to this post and tell me which of the two you’re dying to read. I’ll draw one name from the magic hat, and the owner of that name will be awarded the title they selected. Contest ends June 30th, 2012.

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