Interview with Michael McGrinder

What are you working on next?
I'm always far in front of myself. I had the good fortune to be involved with Off-Off-Broadway in its early days, now referred to as Off-Off's Golden Years. I'm writing a book about my involvement in that time. I also have a lengthy novel I return to from time to time. I wrote, directed, produced, published a newsletter and hosted one of the first public access shows. i also reviewed restaurants for the impecunious community and contributed to a news and gossip column.

I have an extensive backlog of work, so I'm preparing for publication a mystery novel The No Name Murders set largely in Greenwich Village, a novella Mary about the mother of Jesus as a human being, a short story collection (maybe two), a collection of essays and a couple of plays.

I also publish plays from early Off-Off under the aegis of The Old Reliable Press, so I'll be bringing out the works of others. And of course I have some new poems in the works, probably another book of poetry.
What is your writing process?
Writing comes easy to me (once I actually sit down). Making it look easy is hard work, so I rewrite a great deal.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, It was called Crescendo, title derived from a Duke Ellington album. It was set in a jazz club. I entered it in a USAF short story contest while I was stationed in England. I won first prize which included dinner with the contest judge Agatha Christie.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway) for the simplicity and the power of the writing, Pale Fire (Nabokov) for the runaway genius of concept, writing and story-telling. Back To Methuselah (GB Shaw) for the vision. Collected Poems (Dylan Thomas) and A Shropshire Lad (A.E. Housman) for the beauty of the language. Collected Poems (T.S. Eliot) for language and vision. That's six, so it's clear the question needs to be reworded.
What do you read for pleasure?
Almost anything, though I mostly kick back with crime fiction.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
The South Bronx. It influenced early work, but I've moved on.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The freedom. I find the indie publishing movement as exciting as the Off-Off-Broadway revolution (and it was a revolution) of the sixties.
What do your fans mean to you?
I think more in terms of readers. Just as I consider those who go to see plays the most important people in theatre, I consider readers the most important people in the publishing industry.
Describe your desk
It's under there somewhere. Seriously, it's a long trestle table with great leg room. It also easily accommodates a printer, a scanner and an ergonomic keyboard.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
There's always something to do. I have found retirement is a myth. You have to meet someone, you have a doctor's appointment, you have physical therapy, you have to attend a luncheon (I don't do breakfasts), you have to pee. Oh! and the writing doesn't self-actualize; neither does the editing.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
We were taken as a class to the New York Public Library (Mott Haven branch in the South Bronx). I found, on my own, "How the Rhino Got His Skin" by Rudyard Kipling. I had a thoroughly good time reading it and became a regular patron of the library.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle. It's what I own. I do read on the PC, but don't like it much. I surprise myself being OK with reading on my cell phone.
Published 2018-05-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Mystical Trio
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,540. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Religious, Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
Three beautifully crafted short stories, each from a mystical perspective.
We Hate To See You Go
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 4,270. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2018. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Plays » Religious & Liturgical
An Irish wake. A reluctant corpse. A few drinks. A few laughs. A few tears. Some bickering. Some fighting. An Irish wake.
A Wounded God: A Poem of Ideas Spiritual and Practical
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 2,060. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Religious philosophy, Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
A beautiful longer poem—a work of remarkable spiritual power with a practical call to action.
The Confessions of Isobel Gowdie
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 30,360. Language: English. Published: August 14, 2016. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Plays » European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Michael McGrinder tells Isobel Gowdie, The Witch Queen of Scotland’s story on a grand canvas spanning a period of 17 years. This full-length play is not for the prudish nor for the faint-hearted, but neither is it for those without a sense of humor or deep compassion. It is for those who like a good story well-told and for those especially who enjoy a love story and who appreciate great theatre!
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 18,650. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Historical, Fiction » Historical » General
The story of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Contrary to some recent depictions of her, Mary is presented here as a loving, gentle woman who happened to be the mother of the most famous person in history. The story of Jesus' nativity is honored, but so is the fact that Mary was the mother of several children as started in gospels canonical and apocryphal.
Snow Business
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 860. Language: English. Published: April 19, 2016. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
Here's a little play that's as light as a snowflake. A cranky boss experiences the miracle of his first snowfall. A charmer that can be performed without a set, and the only prop needed is a flash camera. (The author won't mind if that's mimed.)
The Share: A Monologue
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,950. Language: English. Published: April 16, 2016. Categories: Plays » American / African American
In the guise of an AA share, performed as an audition piece. Humorous and heart-wrenching by a playwright whose hallmark is compassion.
The Foreigners
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,920. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2016. Categories: Plays » American / African American
Cited by Other Stages as “One of Off-Off’s Best” Two people meet at a bus stop, neither able to speak the other’s language or the language of their new country, fall in love and live an entire life cycle. Or do they?
Poet's Model
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 3,810. Language: English. Published: March 19, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
Contemporary American poetry spanning more than half a century, covering a wide range of subjects and moods. Depth, originality and perceptive insights are pervasive throughout the collection. Read these poems quietly to yourself, or aloud to another person, or to a room filled with people. Michael McGrinder is also a playwright: a deeply compassionate writer who entertains, even through pain.