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Interview with Ray Garton

A little Q+A with author Ray Garton...

When did you first decide you wanted to become a writer?
I've been writing my whole life. Before I could write, I drew stories in panels, like in a comic book. Then, once I learned to write, I wrote constantly. By the time I was eight years old, I knew I had to be a writer. It was the only thing at which I had any real confidence, and I loved doing it so much that I couldn't image not being able to do it all the time.

Which books did you enjoy reading during your childhood?
Among my favorites were L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, the works of Paul Zindel (like Pardon Me, You're Stepping On My Eyeball), anything by Richard Matheson (I Am Legend, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Hell House) and Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan, John Carter of Mars). I read a lot of science fiction and horror, some fantasy, lots of thrillers—Ian Fleming's James Bond books, Robert Ludlum's spy novels, Mary Higgins Clark, Dean Koontz. I've always loved the work of Charles Dickens, I'm sure I'm neglecting to mention some other favorites. It's hard to narrow it down because I read constantly when I was a kid. I read everything I could get my hands on.

Do you have an 'all time' favourite book?
I don't. Again, it's hard to narrow it down when there are so many books I love, so many books that have such a big influence on me. Among my favorites, in no particular order, are Catch-22, The Shining, A Confederacy of Dunces, Bleak House, Ghost Story, The Haunting of Hill House, The World According to Garp, Dune, Picture of Dorian Gray—I could go on and on. But I can never seem to pick an all-time favorite.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your own books?
I've never really had to look for it. It comes to me. It floats around in the air. I've always got more ideas for books and stories than I could possibly write. At this piont, I've written over 60 books—I think I'm at 63, but I haven't counted in a while, so I'm not certain—but if I had the time to put to the page every idea I had for a book in that amount of time, that number would skyrocket. The trick is picking the best ones and then focusing on those, one idea at a time. I hope this doesn't sound boastful because I don't mean it to. I don't think inspiration is any talent of mine, or any writer's. It's everywhere we look, everything that happens to us, conversations we overhear in a shopping mall, something we see on the news—it's endless.

Out of all the books you've written, which one would you recommend to somebody who has yet to discover your work?
My personal favorite of all my books is Sex and Violence in Hollywood. Most of what I've written has been in the horror genre, but this book is kind of a comedy thriller. It's hard to categorize, which is why I had such a hard time selling it back in 2000. Publishers want to be able to market books, and if they can't put a label on it—mystery, science fiction, thriller, romance, horror—they don't know how to market it. was that kind of book. It resists a label. It's been optioned by a producer who is now trying to adapt it into a TV miniseries for cable. Fingers crossed.

You've written novellas for various TV series' tie-ins - did you watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch before contributing to the series?
I had watched the show once or twice and enjoyed it, but I didn't become a regular viewer until I started writing the tie-in novels. When I agreed to write my first Sabrina book, I was sent several video tapes and I caught up on all the episodes I'd missed. After that, I watched the show regularly.

Are you working on anything at the moment?
I'm always working on something. My new novel Meds, a thriller, is about to be published by E-Reads as a paperback and ebook. I'm starting work on a new novella that's going to be published by Cemetery Dance Publications (it doesn't have a title yet, but it's in the horror genre). I'm putting the finishing touches on my first nonfiction book, The United States of Jesus, which is about the efforts of Christians to transform the United States from a secular nation and an open society into a Christian theocracy (they've already had a good deal of success), and I've got a couple of novels kicking around in my head that I'm dying to write once my schedule loosens up a little.

What advice would you give to those working towards a career in writing?
When it comes to writing, there are two different kinds of people. There are those who love the idea of writing but simply don't have the patience or dedication to get through all the rejection they will face once they try to get serious about it—and most won't even get serious about it. No amount of encouragement will help them become writers. Then there are those who must write. They can't help themselves. They write in their spare time, and when they're not writing, they think about writing. It's a need for them, and they will continue to do it no matter what. No amount of discouragement will ever sway them or slow them down. If you have an interest in writing, find out which of those two you are.

What are your favourite TV shows? Any particular you'd like to write a tie-in story for?
At the moment, I have a few favorites. I'm hooked on Fringe/i>. I think Showtime's Californication and Weeds are brilliant and have some of the best writing I've ever seen on television. The Big Bang Theory, South Park, and Family Guy never fail to make me laugh. I wish tie-in books were still in vogue. They've fallen out of popularity and aren't nearly as common as they used to be. I would love to write tie-ins for any of those shows.

Before we go, is there anything you'd like to add?
E-Reads is currently in the process of releasing my entire back list. All of the books are available as paperbacks or as ebooks for Kindle, Nook and a variety of ebook formats. To see what's been released so far and keep up with new releases, you can visit my page at the E-Reads website: http://ereads.com/ecms/authorname/Ray-Garton/

Amy x

This interview was originally posted on Amy McLean's Blog, but is no longer availabe there.