Today I have the honor and privilege of interview Gregory L Norris whose short story is the second feature in Wrapped in Black by Sekhmet Press titled Comes the Rain.
This story was truly near and dear to my heart. I absolutely LOVED the family bonds which tied this story together. Since it was so endearing, I needed to reach out to Gregory to learn more if he was writing close to heart.
I love how Jamison is so close to his grandmother. Did you also have this kind of grandmotherly influence while growing up?
In answer to your question, I was blessed to have two amazing grandmothers, both of whom took great interest in my dream of being a writer when I was a teen and struggling to figure it all out. My grandmother Rachel turned ninety-seven this past July. She wrote for the kid’s classic, HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN. That we had a ‘celebrity’ in the family really blew my mind growing up. It seemed surreal.
My grandmother put on the best Thanksgivings when we were kids. Since, we’ve honored that tradition by holding open houses for our writer friends every year for that holiday, with many of her classic recipes among the buffet offerings. She is a magical, vibrant woman.
On a shelf of honor in my Writing Room is the little file box that contains many of her unwritten story ideas. She taught me that invaluable trick — writing down the bones of a story idea on a note card instead of trusting your mind to remember so many details while working on numerous projects. I’ve maintained a ‘treasure chest’ of story ideas since she told me about the idea of a catalog.
For Christmas’s during my teen years, she gave me subscriptions to writer magazines. Throughout the early 1990s, we would hang out in her living room and watch the ABC soap operas, eat swordfish dinners from a restaurant that no longer exists, and talk writing. So yes, I am completely blessed to have had not one but two grandmothers who surely rate high on the list of finest/coolest human beings ever to have graced the planet.
If you received the chance to produce this short story into a movie, who would be your dream cast and why?
This is an excellent question, Killion—one for which I don’t have an excellent answer! The characters are portrayed in the feature film of my imagination by me in the role of “Jamison”, my late, great mother Diane Elaine Gauthier as “Momma”, my kid sister Lauren as “Kitten”, and my brilliant grandmother Rachel as the magical, mystical matriarch of the family, “Grammy Rae”. My grandmother, who is ninety-seven, is very much that nimbus of light and goodness portrayed in my story, “Comes the Rain”.
Have you considered your Jamison landing his own novella or novel one day?
No, because this short story—based upon a haunting dream I had—felt complete when I put down my pen after reaching the end.
What should Sekhmet Press produce next? Maybe a Wrapped in Green – for zombie stories or Wrapped in Blue for aquatic adventures. What say you – what content topic would also spark your pen?
How about Wrapped in Gray—tales of mummies and mummification? I’m a sucker for mummies. In fact, last year, I edited a collection for the fine folks at Great Old Ones Publishing. But you can never, ever have enough mummies!
What is the “must have” or “must do” before you sit down to write?
We have two beloved rescue cats, and it’s impossible to do anything before feeding them. That’s a ‘must do’. I like to make my coffee, check emails, and then get writing as soon as possible. I have a wonderful Writing Room—the walls covered in framed celebrity autographs from all of my childhood icons I’ve been lucky enough to interview, awards, family photos; my filing cabinets neatly archiving my longhand first drafts and glass bookcases filled with my contributor copies. Once I enter here, the Muse and I get courting quickly and efficiently.
How do you relax?
This year I wrote a feature film for a production company—the movie, Brutal Colors, was filmed in June and is presently in final color and audio correction in Los Angeles. When I got paid for the screenplay, one of the first things I did was invest in a new bed. The mattress is so thick and tall that I call it the Matterhorn.
Well, for the first time in my life, I am having a love affair with my bed. I have the perfect pillows, the ideal set up, and every night I crawl in and ease my head between two of the pillows—the way my other grandmother, the late, great Lovey Norris, used to sleep. Well, I’ve always been a super light sleeper since I was a kid. Now, I take a melatonin and twenty minutes later I’m unconscious, and I sleep through the night. It’s how I relax, because I am writing or thinking about writing for the rest of my day.
If you had a chance to live off the grid – would you do it?
Funnily enough, we’ve been forced off the grid a few times now by brutal winters in New Hampshire. The first time—the notorious Ice Storm of 2008—kept our town without power for almost two weeks. What I did was write during the day as soon as the sun rose, and by candlelight after. We read books by flashlight, stayed warm with the wood stove, and I produced page after fresh page. There have been two incidents since then, and both times, I wrote, listened to old cassette tapes on my battery-powered tape recorder, and did well without the distractions of technology. I like it when the lights are on, but when they go off, I’ve made due.
Silly Question: Essential oil or Poison – which one would you be and why would you be beneficial or harmful to people? What form of self-gratification to you receive?
I would guess Essential Oil. Last night at my writers’ group’s weekly meeting, a friend and colleague told me that she was addicted to my emails, which she finds uplifting. She is writing and finishing her murder mysteries and other short stories, so I guess that I’ve been beneficial. We have an amazing writers’ group, so I get a lot of gratification out of being part of such a talented organization.
What is your favorite meme?
Anything with cute cats.
What is your favorite mythological creature?
I’m such a sucker for Greek mythology, always have been. Medusa has always skeeved me out. I’m also creeped to the Nth by the Cyclops. Not necessarily my favorites, but certainly the most memorable.
What is the best killing scene you have ever written?
In my novella, “The Mushrooms” (appearing in the anthology Mal Contents by Grand Mal Press), the most repellent character I have ever written about commits suicide after stalking a celebrity chef, and is then reincarnated in fungus. My heroine, who is forced to do battle with this woman in life and after death, in desperation learns the one and only way to be rid of her once and for all: in an oven. I’m fond of that particular whack.
Have you ever killed your boss or a co-worker in a story because you didn’t want to go to jail for actually doing it? LOL
Oh, such a sweet, sweet question! I can only say that it’s wise to never, ever hack off a writer…else you may end up being eviscerated, emasculated, or enunciated in their next story.
What is your worst FEAR? How do you handle it?
I worry about dying before I have written all of the stories, short and long, that sit inside my card catalog of ideas waiting for me to give them my full attention. So I write every day and try to get as much done as humanly possible. It makes me fantasize from time to time about cloning myself.
Where can we learn more about Gregory Norris?
To learn more about me and my writing adventures, visit my tiny slice of virtual real estate at www.gregorylnorris.blogspot.com
Gregory’s Author Biography:
I am a full-time professional writer, with numerous publication credits to my resume, mostly in national magazines and fiction anthologies. A former writer at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), I once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager and am the author of the handbook to all-things-Sunnydale, The Q Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Alyson Books, 2008).
In late 2009, two of my paranormal romance novels for Ravenous Romance (www.ravenousromance.com) were reprinted as special editions by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape with Romance” segment – the first time HSN has offered novels to their customers. In late 2011, my collection of brandy-new terrifying short and long fiction, The Fierce and Unforgiving Muse: A Baker’s Dozen From the Terrifying Mind of Gregory L. Norris is being published by Evil Jester Press. I have fiction forthcoming from the fine people at Cleis Press, STARbooks, EJP, The Library of Horror, Simon and Shuster, and Pill Hill Press, to name a few.
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