Robert Griffen was born and raised in Portland, OR. He graduated from Jefferson High School in Portland and received his BA in Sociology from Columbia University in New York. He is the only White student to receive a Master of Divinity from Johnson C. Smith Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center of Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA. He was ordained to the ministry in 1977 by the Presbytery of the Cascades (Western Oregon) in the United Presbyterian Church, USA.
Griffen is the eldest of three siblings with a severe case of Eldest Son Syndrome, making him personally responsible for things over which he has no power (World Peace, Hunger in Somalia, The War in the Middle East, Global Warming…). While he does not walk on water, he does swim well and periodically performs minor miracles (not enough to qualify for Sainthood). Griff has eclectic tastes in food, music and friends; and has an appreciation for new and different things and ideas. He has a low tolerance for intolerance and deliberate ignorance, and cannot abide a bully. He has an odd sense of humor (just nod and smile when he tells a joke - and make no sudden moves), enjoys the outdoors (who doesn't?!), and is a skilled photographer (just ask him).
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I did not believe I would ever get published by a traditional publishing house.
My religious stories (The Gospel According to Griffen) and the attitude that underpins them would be unpopular with most people who read religious literature. They would probably become controversial in ecclesiastical circles, if they became widely known, which might actually help sales. (I recall that books which were "Banned in Boston" got a leg up in sales.) But who would want to gamble thousands of dollars in printing and publicizing an unknown, unproven author of Bible Stories? While "These Ain't Yo' Mama's Bible Stories" might encourage some readers, I believe they would have been too risky an investment for traditional publishers.
My other work tends to be of the "Dime Novel" shoot-'em-up variety. Again, once widely circulated, they could become popular. But I believe it would be more of a gamble than a traditional publisher would like.
So I helped to form a group of self-published authors who assist other authors get published - not just "in print," but with promotion and sales, too. It can be a steep learning curve at first, but very manageable with guidance. The Portland Publishing Group meets regularly to teach and coach fellow writers in the business of getting their work "out there."
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is new to me, and I am experimenting to see how well this opportunity will promote my work. I am very hopeful, because the site seems so helpful. This interview process, for instance, presents excellent questions that authors need to answer... not just here, but in press releases, bookstore lectures, etc. Clearly, there is more to publishing than writing a book and then printing it. (That is a great way to have a storage space full of boxes filled with books!) I believe Smashwords provides proper guidance.
Garrett & Dave Gantry are small-time con-men. In this first volume, they encounter sociopathic killers, corrupt lawmen, and an assortment of other colorful characters as they work their way toward the long con opportunity of a lifetime as Liberal Televangelists.