Interview With A.W. Gryphon

A.W.Gryphon

A.W. Gryphon is a novelist and screenwriter living in Southern California. Her first novel, Blood Moon, was released in May 2008. Ms. Gryphon has recently taken home the honor of ‘Best Picture’ at both The Beloit International Film Festival and the Los Angeles Backlot Film Festival for her screenplay La Cucina, which premiered to an enthusiastic audience at the Hollywood Film Festival in October of 2007. She is currently working on the follow up to Blood Moon as well as raising money for various causes with Charity Folks and other organizations.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Gryphon for this website.

Welcome to Women's Book Reviews!  Please tell me a little bit about your childhood. Where did you grow up and where did attend school?

I was born in New York and grew up between the San Francisco Bay Area with my mother and New York with my father. I had the best of both worlds and found myself in the perfect situation with my affection for art, storytelling, music, movies and fashion. Doing something creative with my life was inevitable. I spent a great deal of time exploring different avenues and eventually I settled on making movies. I attended the University of Southern California where I studied film and Literature. I landed a job making coffee and running errands for TV writer/producer, Larry Hertzog, after a brief post graduate stint as a salesgirl in the Nordstrom’s Lingerie Department. I took the time to learn the business and the craft of writing, and quite a few years later, here I am.

At what point did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in writing?

I was always a storyteller and I’d always scribbled short stories down, but writing for a living had not occurred to me until a friend pointed me in the right direction. Not long after I began working in the Film & Television business a lovely writer/director pointed out to me that I was in fact destined to be a writer so I should start putting words on paper. We were in New Orleans for some kind of event and I had an idea for a movie. I told him the idea and asked if he wanted to produce it and help me find a writer to do the screenplay. He said okay and asked me to tell him the whole story as I saw it. After a lengthy dinner at The Columns he ordered a couple of glasses of champagne and announced that he knew the perfect writer. We toasted and he told me the perfect writer was me. I didn’t see that coming at all.

He pointed out the details and story telling points that I had used, and how spot on they were. He said I had already completed the story I just needed to learn the craft and formatting of a screenplay. I trusted him entirely and he was right. It took a while, but when the first draft was done I sent it to an agent, who sent it to a producer, who sent it to a network that was interested right away. It was wonderful and empowering. After that I could not stop writing. I felt like I had found the rest of me when I hadn’t even realized there was something that had been missing.

Unfortunately Hollywood is Hollywood and so many years after all of this happened, the script that began my career is still waiting in line to get made, but that’s okay because Hollywood is Hollywood and there is a right time for every movie to get made. My favorite part of that story is that I was in such a wonderfully open place that when my friend said I should write for a living, it felt good, and I just did it. I didn’t question it. I didn’t think about it. I didn’t do anything besides jump into the deep end of the pool and try the idea on, and everything happened… just like that.

I understand that Blood Moon is your first book. Can you give a brief synopsis about the book? How long did it take you to write it?

Blood MoonThe idea of Blood Moon was swimming around my head for a few years before I began to write. Once I did start typing it was about 6 or 8 months of writing. I was working on a rather hectic film at the time so I didn’t have the opportunity to write on any kind of consistent schedule.

A synopsis… Okay. Honestly, I’m horrible with a synopsis. When I start talking about what Blood Moon is about, I go on and on about the characters and little details, so I find it’s always best to stick with the blurb on the back of the book.

An ancient line of witches…
An undying love…
A coming revolution…
One woman at the center of it all...

"London, England. Mysterious. Beautiful. Full of legends and lore. It is home and a safe place for Ameila Pivens Kreutzer. For an ancient society of witch hunters, and practitioners, it is an easy place to go unnoticed. And for Scotland Yard’s Denny Carlisle, on All Hallows Eve, when the Full Blood Moon reaches its highest point in the sky, it will become a city of awe and mayhem as the most powerful witch in modern history rises, to avenge her lost love and forever end the ancient war among the witches and those who hunt them."

Blood Moon is the first book in the Witches' Moon Trilogy.

As the theme of the book revolves around witchcraft, I am interested to know if you were always interested in the occult. If so, please tell us why this topic interested you so much. Did you spend a lot of time performing research on the topic?

I’ve been fascinated by the supernatural and the female driven power and mystique of witchcraft for as long as I can remember. My parents divorced when I was very young and I spent the majority of my childhood with an incredibly strong, single, no b.s., take-on the-world mother, and her “way” runs in the family. My Grandmother, my Mother’s three sisters and their children we’re all born with the independent, girl power gene, so in many ways we’ve all fueled each other’s fire.

That being said, I’ve always been drawn to strong female figures so I think much of my interest in The Craft began with the strong female images and the secret powers that generally represent it. Over the years I’ve read a lot about of legends, lore and actual practice. Growing up in the very liberal San Francisco Bay Area, I was also exposed to a number of different cultures and Pagan practice and Wicca were among them. When it came time to do the research for Blood Moon I took what I knew, narrowed down the focus and did more research, then I went to London to soak up the city while the story unfolded.

The main character, Amelia Pivens Kreutzer, is a powerful witch. As a dynamic female figure, was there any particular message you were trying to relate by defining her as such? Do you feel as though you connected with this character very much?

I’m very connected to Amelia. She’s wonderful. I wasn’t consciously trying to convey any particular message when I was creating her I simply wanted to present an honest and whole character. Amelia is powerful, strong, sexy, smart, foolish, fragile, angry, ugly, beautiful, sad… invincible. She experiences an incredible range of feelings and personalities, and I let her do that because, as women, we all do.

Was it difficult getting the book published? I would think that finding a publisher for the first book would be an extraordinarily difficult task.

Yes. Publishers don’t talk to writers without agents and getting to an agent without having a book already published is next to impossible. I sent queries to anyone and everyone who would take one. Eleven months after I contacted James A. Rock & Co. they called back. It was a wonderful and surreal phone call… and one of the best days of my life.

Now that your first novel is completed and published, what is your plan for the next book? Will it be a sequel with the same characters?

Blood Moon is the first book in the Witches Moon Series. The stories will all stand alone, but the main characters will remain the same. Amelia has a lot more living to do and there is much more about The Craft and her past that she has to learn. She’s just warming up and so is the series. With Amelia leading the way there are many more interesting characters, intriguing scenarios, unexpected connections, mysterious twists and turns, a lot of witchcraft and maybe even a man in Amelia’s life. You’ll have to wait and see, but I’ll tell you what – I’m having a great time writing it!

What other types of books do you see yourself writing in the future?

At the moment, the Witches Moon Series is all that I have planned, but there are a few more supernatural stories with strong female characters in my future as a novelist. I’m also sharing my writing time with motion pictures. I have a few stories up my sleeve that I’m working with producers on. It’s all very exciting, very busy and a lot of fun. I’ve got vampires and witches and ghosts coming from every direction!

When you are not writing books, what other activities are you involved in --- I guess that is if you have time for other activities!

I read, write and watch movies every chance that I get. Writing is a great job. It’s allowed me to set my schedule in a way that gives me time to do other things that are important to me. Through a dear friend and fellow motion picture producer, I’ve become involved with parents working to make the lives of children with Autism better in any way possible. Going to conventions and working with the company TRP Wellness has been both educational and rewarding. There are also a few organizations that I am getting involved with which work to preserve our oceans and the amazing creatures that live in and around the water. I’ve always been very connected to the ocean so being a part of making things better is extraordinarily important to me. It’s busy, but my life is a lot of fun!

Is there any message you would like to leave with my readers?

Thank you for reading Blood Moon… and for reading this interview. Without passionate readers, where would we be as writers?

Tell me about PEOPLE READING at www.awgryphon.com.

About a month ago I received a letter from a fan via email. She included a photo of herself reading Blood Moon. I thought this was wonderful and asked if I could put it up on my website. She gave her permission, up it went, and within a few days the idea expanded and I put out a call for “People Reading Blood Moon” photos on my website and MySpace page. The response has been great. I’m going to keep it up for as long as people keep sending photos in. To view the page, visit “People Reading” at www.awgryphon.com. Photos can be sent to awgryphonpress@aol.com.

I understand that you are an advocate for Women's Health Inititiatives.

This October I will be auctioning off a personalized copy of Blood Moon and a character named after the highest bidder in the second book of the Witches Moon Series! The auction is in support of breast cancer Month and EIF's Women's Cancer Programs. The bidding will begin on September 30, close on October 14, 2008, the night of this year's Full Blood Moon. For more information please visit the Events Page at www.awgryphon.com.

To Read More About A.W.Gryphon:

Check out her website at www.awgryphon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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