Interview with William Grabowski

Who are your favorite authors?
How much time DO we have? Well, here are my all-time favorites: Michael M. McDowell, Jacques Vallee, John A. Keel, Dylan Thomas, Colin Wilson, Thomas Ligotti, Paul Bowles, Brian W. Aldiss, John Sladek, Shirley Jackson, Joyce Carol Oates, Mark Danielewski, Norman Mailer...I'll stop at thirteen! But these writers have genuine vision...thrill, educate, and disturb me over and over. I've gone through many versions of their books--literally worn them out.
What are you working on next?
I've just completed a short novel (known to fellow scribblers as a novella) titled JOHNNY FLASH, set in the "mythical" southwest Pennsylvania township of Seven Pines. I use mythical ironically, as the setting is based on Penn Township (considered part of Jeannette, in Westmoreland County) where I once lived. A somewhat remote, sometimes eerie, but beautiful place ruled by trees, hills, streams, and endless back-roads. Also a nexus of UFO and "entity" sightings--what investigators call a "window area."
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, cooking, watching DVDs of THE X-FILES, BURN NOTICE, and assorted bands (dark, heavy stuff like Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, to mysterious minimalism like Low--who recorded stuff for my pal Mark Pellington's film THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES). Above all, I am a huge fan of sleep....
How do you discover the ebooks you read? friends and associates. I prefer print books, even though I must use the tools of digital publishing for my own work. I like having my own fiction and nonfiction available in print and digital. Let's not forget that the only thing that's changed is the delivery system--not the underlying ART and CRAFT of writing...hence storytelling. Just because you CAN publish doesn't mean you ought to. Learn and respect the craft!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Afraid so...something about a Guardian of Time. That may have even been the title. Here's the great part: it was published in the newsletter of Case Western Reserve University's school of dentistry. No kidding. Somewhere along the line, I lost my 3 copies. God, I hope none survive. Now that's REALLY scary....
What is your writing process?
For clients commissioning me for ghostwriting, editing, etc., most work is composed on the computer, beginning with hand-written notes. My fiction--across the board--is all handwritten for first drafts, then composed in the MACHINE. I find computers way too intrusive to the freedom, silence, and time necessary for creative reverie. Too business-like.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No. Just peak experiences while reading certain authors, and the sheer joy of tracking down everything they've written.
How do you approach cover design?
Verrrrry carefully.... Sorry--couldn't resist. Usually I don't have to deal with that--the publisher does. But on Smashwords, it's (usually) all me. I prefer photos and collage to paintings--far more realistic and striking.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. THE ELEMENTALS, by Michael M. McDowell. The first time I read it, I was afraid to be alone--especially at night. McDowell's prose is tight as a time-lock, and he remains unequaled (as noted by horror legend Ramsey Campbell) in creating scenes of spectral dread and horror.
2. THE OUTSIDER, by Colin Wilson. My personal bible. A study of alienated genius in such figures as Rimbaud, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Blake, Hemingway, Hesse, Nietzsche, and others. A work of towering insight. Wilson poses the question: why do so many men and women of genius (sensitive creative types) so often mentally implode?
3. MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS, edited by Carl Jung. Another towering work, insisting that imaginative/creative life must be taken seriously in its own right, as humankind's most distinctive characteristic. Jung's writings on the collective unconscious alone are among the scariest things I've ever read--and explain most, if not all, so-called paranormal phenomena.
4. THE BOOK OF THE DAMNED, by Charles Fort. An omnibus by the first compiler of reports on anomalous events, and consisting of THE BOOK OF THE DAMNED, NEW LANDS, LO!, and WILD TALENTS. These books originally were published between 1919 and 1932. Anyone who thinks they "know" a lot about "weird" phenomena, and hasn't read Fort, is in for a BIG shock. The term "Fortean" was coined in honor of Charles Hoy Fort.
5. THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, by John A. Keel. If you want your mind blown wide open, read this book--THEN see the movie.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly nonfiction. I have a restless, searching intellect, so devour books on philosophy, food, espionage and spycraft, the occult, anthropology, movies, music, popular culture, writing, art, biographies, history, and many others. The older I get the less fiction appeals to me--perhaps because it sometimes makes me an architect touring some unfamiliar building and seeing only the flaws.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Only my conventional computer display. I do not like reading text on screens. Gimme paper, man!
Published 2013-12-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Broken Symmetry
Price: Free! Words: 4,580. Language: English. Published: February 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Occult, Fiction » Horror » Occult
After a bizarre sighting, a middle-aged man's spiritual despair over the death of his son explodes into a dark, emotional quest for meaning...and another's soulless craving for proof of the existence of a terrifying, godlike entity.
The Apple-Howler
Price: Free! Words: 6,090. Language: English. Published: December 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
A dying widower's obsessive ritual, interrupted by two men, unleashes a vicious force which might be connected to guilt—or even the earth itself....