Thursday, 29 March 2018
Interview with G.A. Minton by David Kempf
When did you first become interested in writing?
Truth is stranger than fiction…so I’ve heard. I’m a believer in that adage, because it happened to me and it has changed my life! This is how my recently published novel, Antitheus, and my debut novel, Trisomy XXI, came into being. Antitheus, which was released October 16, 2017, is a dark, supernatural tale of horror that takes Good versus Evil to a whole new level. The way in which Antitheus and Trisomy XXI came into being is even more surreal than their storylines. Let me start from the beginning. A few years ago, I was rear-ended by a speeding, drunk driver, who totaled my car and landed me in the hospital emergency room with a closed-head injury. As a result of this devastating accident, I was left with memory loss and aphasia, resulting in problems with expressing my speech and communicating with others.
After numerous visits to a neurologist and months of taking medication used by patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease, my injured brain slowly began to mend itself. But when the damage to my brain finally healed, I noticed something very different in my thought patterns. Now, I had this overwhelming urge, this compulsive desire to put on paper a fascinating story that my mind had mysteriously created. I can’t explain it, but my thoughts were now primarily focused on writing this tale of horror. That’s how Trisomy XXI was born. One could only surmise that the damaged neurons in my frontal cortex had rearranged themselves into a different pattern, thereby enhancing the creative elements in my brain. God only knows…stranger things have happened! I didn’t choose to be an author…it chose me. Weirdly enough, it was a car accident that was responsible for my newfound passion for creative writing (a true story, even though it sounds like something conjured up from the twisted mind of Stephen King).
The definition of a savant is “a person who does not have normal intelligence but who has very unusual mental abilities that other people do not have.” Savant syndrome “is a condition in which a person with a mental disability, such as an autism spectrum disorder, demonstrates profound and prodigious capacities or abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal.” I do know that I don’t have savant syndrome, because I am not autistic, and my IQ has been measured at 161. Another form of savantism, known as acquired savant syndrome, is attributed to “a person who acquires prodigious capabilities or skills following dementia, a head injury or severe blow to the head, or other disturbance.” According to medical studies, acquired savant syndrome is an extremely rare condition, affecting very few people in the world. This is apparently what happened to me. I now regard my bizarre mishap as a gift, even though at the time I certainly didn’t, having concerns that I would be left with a permanent neurological deficit for the rest of my life. As long as I can retain this newfound ability, I will continue to write—especially since I do have a passion for it!
How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?
From my earliest recollections as a young child, I’ve always loved the genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy, so that’s probably where Antitheus and Trisomy XXI were spawned—from the deepest reaches of my inner mind. As a result of my savant-like experience, I am now able to pen novels in a freestyle fashion, almost in a stream of consciousness, relying on no outlines, formats, or templates for any assistance. Fortunately, the narrative is able to flow freely from my vivid imagination, ending up with a thrilling storyline that contains an ordered sequence of events for my readers.
Tell us about your publisher.
Both Trisomy XXI and Antitheus were published by World Castle Publishing, a traditional publishing press. I chose to traditionally publish my novels because I believe that a royalty-paying publisher is willing to invest their money in a book that is not only well-written, but also has an interesting storyline that will catch the attention of those readers willing to purchase it. A traditional publisher is in business to make a profit, so I felt that my book had the best chance of attaining success through the help of a publisher via their professional editing, financial backing, and marketing support. I’ve read horror stories (no pun intended) about authors dealing with their publishing companies, so I am very fortunate to have selected World Castle Publishing as my publisher. So far, my journey into the world of book publication is going smoothly and has been very enjoyable. All things considered, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer experience! Karen Fuller, award-winning author, book publisher, and owner of World Castle Publishing used her special artistic skills (along with some magic) to create the amazing covers for both Trisomy XXI and Antitheus.
How would you classify the genre you write?
First and foremost, I would consider myself a horror and science fiction writer, with my tales of terror containing anything of a dark nature. My novels are a combination/blend of genres that also contain elements of mystery, thriller, suspense, and the supernatural. Trisomy XXI is a sci-fi/horror/mystery/thriller story, whereas Antitheus is a supernatural horror/mystery/suspense novel.
Why do you think horror and fantasy books remain so popular?
Horror and fantasy books will always be popular with readers because they elicit emotions and feelings related to fear, horror, shock, surprise, and mystery. They also stir up a sense of wonder, awe, and interest in the reader by stimulating the imagination. Good horror stories tend to have one thing in common—fear—especially fear of the unknown. As H.P. Lovecraft, the master of the horror tale in the twentieth century once said, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” Horror is defined as an intense feeling of fear, great shock, disgust, and/or worry caused by something extremely unpleasant. A unique genre of fiction, horror has the capacity to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror.
The components of a good horror/fantasy story usually include fear, surprise, suspense, mystery, foreshadowing, and imagination. Fear is paramount to any horror story. Scaring the reader with fears they may or may not have (fear of the unknown) is key to writing a spooky tale. A strong emotion of fear sets horror apart from the other genres, and expanding on that fear can contribute to surprise. If an author is unable to elicit the feeling of fear in the reader, then the story probably shouldn’t fall into the horror genre.
What inspires your stories?
Prior to my accident, I had neither the desire nor the ability to write anything of a creative nature. It was only after my brain had healed from the closed head injury I sustained that a number of dark tales spontaneously erupted from my newly-acquired neuronal network. It’s hard to put into words, but these story visions came to me from out of the blue, much like an epiphany, or something spawned de novo in my mind. I’ve now amassed a long list of new concepts for tales of the macabre…I only hope that I’ll have the time to write them all! Antitheus, like many of my other ideas for stories, appeared to me while writing Trisomy XXI. As soon as I finished penning Trisomy XXI, I immediately started composing my second novel, Antitheus. Like Trisomy XXI, Antitheus was written in a stream of consciousness-like manner, taking me around three months to finish. I don’t use any outlines or notes, and my writing inexplicably flows in a freestyle fashion, starting with chapter one and ending upon completion of the novel. Coincidentally, when I finished writing Trisomy XXI, it ended up having 21 chapters…while the evil Antitheus has 13!
What do you think the difference between American horror and British horror is?
There are some exceptions (i.e., Clive Barker), but it appears that British horror hasn’t quite yet reached the level of violence, sexual content, gore, and sadism that American horror has attained, all things considered. British horror also seems to be based more on British culture, as compared to American horror, which includes folklore, superstition, and myths from all over the world. Presently, I think that the innate differences between the British and American cultures tend to drive their variances in horror, but in time, this will probably change as the two countries become more connected.
What are your favorite horror books?
They are too numerous to list, but generally any works by Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Shirley Jackson, H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, Michael Crichton, Mary Shelley, Jack Ketchum, Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, plus a host of other great authors.
What are some of your favorite horror movies?
From my earliest recollections as a young child, I have always loved the genres of horror and science fiction. I’ve seen so many amazing Sci-fi and Horror movies over the years that it’s hard to remember them all. Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Dracula, War of the Worlds, Psycho, Night of the Living Dead, Mysterious Island, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, A Nightmare on Elm Street, From Dusk Till Dawn, Alien(s) series, The Exorcist, Halloween, The Thing, Hellraiser, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Silence of the Lambs, Jaws, Planet of the Apes, The Shining, RoboCop, The Fifth Element, Blade Runner, The Matrix, Terminator, Predator, IT, along with so many other great tales of horror are only just a few of the great movies that have left a long-lasting impression on me.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?
I am humbled that both Trisomy XXI and Antitheus have garnered several prestigious book awards and have been well-received by their readers and reviewers. I would also consider it a great accomplishment if I am fortunate enough to have Trisomy XXI made into a feature film…please keep your fingers crossed for me! If readers derive as much enjoyment out of reading Trisomy XXI and Antitheus as I had in writing them—and I truly believe they will—then I have accomplished my goal as a writer. Just being able to put your thoughts down on paper, creating an entertaining story that can both be shared and enjoyed by others, will give you an adrenaline rush that no amusement park ride can even come close to. For me, it’s all about pleasing the reader!
Do you have any advice for new writers?
In my humble opinion, there are three important things needed in order for a writer to become successful: writing talent, discipline, and creativity (a little luck along the way never hurts, either)! Language is how we communicate. If you don’t pick the right words to use in a sentence, then you risk not being able to connect with the reader. Words to an author are like colors to a painter—you have to choose the most effective ones in order to create a masterpiece that will be enjoyed and appreciated by its observer. Read, read, and then read some more—it’s all about learning and fine-tuning your craft. Select any pertinent information about writing on the web, in book form, or through a workshop that you think will be beneficial for you, and would help make you a better writer. In order to hone your craft, read as many books by different authors as you can.
Novice authors looking to get their work published by a reputable book publisher need to first write a great story, then compose a compelling cover letter and synopsis to catch the eye of the submission editor. If you truly have a love for writing, don’t allow yourself to get discouraged—and most importantly, never give up! Since the publishing industry is very competitive and constantly changing, it is extremely important that authors do their homework. Be sure to research any publishing companies or small presses that you are considering submitting your work to. Check to make sure they are reputable and that they will remain in business. Unfortunately, there are publishers and literary agents out there who are just lying in wait, ready to scam the unsuspecting author at the drop of a hat. Don’t ever forget the old adage, “a fool and his money are soon parted!” Approach all book dealings/contracts carefully, along with a healthy pinch of paranoia.
You’re probably never going to get rich as an author, so write because you love to. Authors, like all artists, should perform their craft because they have a passion for it, and not just for the money or fame. Like some other famous writers, Edgar Allan Poe wasn’t recognized as a great poet and horror author until after his death. Unfortunately, he died homeless and destitute, the exact cause of his death still unknown to this day.
What is your opinion of the new self-publishing trend?
Nowadays, it is very difficult to get your novel accepted for publication by a traditional publisher, especially considering the fierce competition involved. All authors have experienced their fair share of rejections by publishers, a reason why many choose to self-publish their own books. There are definite pros and cons involved with traditional vs. self-publishing, so learn as much as you can about each one before making your decision. One of the problems that I have with self-published works is that the formatting and editing of the text may not have been done properly or professionally.
Anyone can self-publish their work, whereas traditionally published stories are usually held to a higher standard of review. There are always exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, (unless a reader is familiar with an author’s work), one who buys a self-published book has no idea whether or not it has been professionally edited. I totally understand the reasons why some authors choose to self-publish their work, but if you are a novice author, I would encourage you to initially seek out a reputable, royalty-paying publisher to submit your work to for consideration. If you are unable to traditionally publish or don’t wish to go that route, then by all means self-publish your books—just make sure that you have your work professionally edited. Some writers (both novice and established authors) are now choosing a “hybrid” approach by both traditionally and self-publishing their books.
What are your current projects?
I’m a horror/sci-fi author who has published two novels thus far (World Castle Publishing). My debut novel, Trisomy XXI, was published on June 6, 2016, and my second horror novel, Antitheus, was released on October 16, 2017. I’ve recently completed the screenplay for Trisomy XXI, and am presently working with a movie producer to turn it into a feature film. Currently, I’m busy at work writing my next novel, a story of the macabre with some bizarre plot twists that should both mesmerize and horrify its unsuspecting reader. One of my trademarks is that my novels contain an O. Henry or Rod Serling surprise ending—hopefully intended to baffle even the most astute of mystery readers! I have several other dark stories in mind, so hopefully I will be able to find the time to put them all down on paper…if only I could write faster!
Please in your own words, write a paragraph about yourself & your work.
I write because it gives me the freedom to openly express my creativity—a way to transcribe my thoughts and allow my imagination to go into overdrive. I love the sense of fulfilment received while penning a story down on paper. Writing has allowed me to connect with others through my novels, hopefully stirring up those emotions that will bring excitement and entertainment to all of my readers. Writing also gives me peace of mind, a sense of accomplishment, and teaches me patience—a necessity for any author who wishes to write well. Just being able to put your thoughts down on paper, creating an entertaining story that can both be shared and enjoyed by others, will give you an adrenaline rush that no amusement park ride can even come close to. To me, that is what’s great about being a writer!
Quotes by G.A. Minton:
“Words give you power, so use them wisely.”
“Fear of the unknown is a horror writer’s best friend.”
“Try to live your life in the present and not in the past.”
G.A. Minton Biography
From his early childhood, G.A. Minton has always been a diehard fan of science fiction and horror. Whenever a scary movie was playing down at the local theater, he was there in attendance with his friends, loudly screaming in terror alongside them. G.A. enjoys many hobbies, but the game of golf is one of his favorites, having lettered on his high school golf team. Besides writing, he also enjoys reading, traveling, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, working out, listening to hard rock music, and watching great movies—especially those genres that encompass horror, science fiction, mystery, and comedy.
Strangely enough, it was only after G.A. was rear-ended by a drunk driver and suffered a closed-head injury that he developed a newfound passion for writing (even though this story has the makings for a bizarre Stephen King horror novel, it is nonetheless true). After numerous visits to a neurologist and months of taking medication used by patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease, his injured brain slowly began to mend itself. When the damage to his brain finally healed, G.A. noticed something very different in his thought patterns. Now, there was an overwhelming urge, a compulsive drive to put on paper fascinating stories that had formed de novo in his mind. That’s how Trisomy XXI, his first novel and recipient of multiple awards, was born. One could surmise that the damaged neurons in G.A.’s frontal cortex had rearranged themselves into a different pattern, thereby enhancing the creative elements in his brain (a rare medical condition, known as “acquired savant syndrome”). God only knows… stranger things have happened! G.A. is now referred to as “the savant horror writer” by many of his friends.
G.A. has recently completed his second novel, Antitheus, a dark supernatural tale of horror that takes Good vs. Evil to a whole new level. Currently, his brain is busy at work, meticulously processing the text for another story of the macabre that will both entertain and horrify its unsuspecting reader. One of G.A.’s trademarks is that his stories contain an O. Henry or Rod Serling surprise ending that would baffle even the likes of the great Sherlock Holmes! G.A. lives in Texas with his wife, a son and daughter, and two Bengal cats named Phinneas and Shamus.
You can find out more information about G.A. Minton and his books at:
G.A. Minton Author Website: https://www.gaminton.com
G.A. Minton Author Webpage at World Castle Publishing Website: http://www.worldcastlepublishing.com/author_g_a_minton.html
Goodreads author page for G.A. Minton: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15065482.G_A_Minton
ANTITHEUS by G.A. Minton on Amazon: www.amzn.com/B0744XJ11K (Kindle), www.amzn.com/1629897620 (Paperback), or www.amzn.com/1629897647 (Hardcover).
TRISOMY XXI by G.A. Minton on Amazon: www.amzn.com/1629894443 (Paperback), or www.amzn.com/B01D3OSZ38 (Kindle).
G.A. Minton Facebook Pages: https://www.facebook.com/TRISOMYXXI and
G.A. Minton Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/horrornovelist
Barnes & Noble link for ANTITHEUS:
Barnes & Noble link for TRISOMY XXI:
ANTITHEUS Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/71HtB1dHyZY
TRISOMY XXI Book Trailer: