Author Spotlight – Sean Grigsby
Joining us for today’s Author Spotlight is Sean Grigsby!
Sean Grigsby is a professional firefighter in central Arkansas, where he writes about lasers, aliens, and guitar battles with the Devil when he’s not fighting dragons. He grew up on Goosebumps books in Memphis, Tennessee, and hosts the Cosmic Dragon podcast.
Sean is the author of SMOKE EATERS, ASH KICKERS and DAUGHTERS OF FORGOTTEN LIGHT.
Welcome to the Hive, Sean. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
I recently finished Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton. It’s fantasy in a classic style that I can appreciate, given my own experience writing about people slaying dragons.
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
I’ve always had an affinity for rogues, but I also like to be able to go Hulk in battle like a barbarian. My weapon of choice would be a double-ended glaive.
Nice! When you’re not charging through dungeons, how do you like to work? (In silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps? Do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit?) Tell us a little bit about your writing method!
No writing session is the same. Sometimes I’m at the firehouse, sometimes I’m at home or the library. I like to listen to music (without words) that encapsulates the theme or vibe of the book I’m writing. So with my robot detective noir, it was smoky jazz from the 40s. With my planetary western, I’ve been listening to Ennio Morricone and other composers of Italian westerns. I need coffee, either before or during. I love the feel of a typewriter, so I have both an Alphasmart Neo and a typewriter-esque keyboard for my laptop.
I’m a total gardener/pantser. I like to be surprised where the story goes. It’s more fun and imaginative for me. Clothes are optional depending on the location and local laws.
What (or who) are your most significant fantasy influences? Are there any creators whom you dream of working with someday?
Scott Lynch, author of The Lies of Locke Lamora, has always been a favourite of mine. I was super excited when he told me he owns a copy of Smoke Eaters. Grady Hendrix hasn’t written a book I didn’t love. I highly recommend his books, especially My Best Friend’s Exorcism. Fonda Lee also writes great stuff, most recently Jade City and its sequel Jade War.
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? Alternatively, what games have you enjoyed recently?
As of this writing? The Handmaid’s Tale because my wife loves it and it’s compelling stuff. I always like to rage at dystopian societies and hope for their downfall. Good Omens is damn good so far as well.
I’m still making my way through The Witcher 3. I wished I could play more, but writing and reading take priority. I also really want to play Red Dead Redemption 2, I’m writing a western so it could be a tax write-off. Right?
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write. How do you choose to spend the day?
Travelling; either floating on a river or walking through somewhere new, like Amsterdam.
Can you tell us a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
I have lots, so I’ll pick the two recent novels. Robots Don’t Cry is a detective noir about a city split in two by a wall. One side is all robots and the other all human. When a human ends up dead on the wrong side of the wall, Detective EZ-42 has to take up the case, but nothing he knows is true. Not even the year.
The Call of the Void is about a family that moves to a planet much like the American West. They’re seeking peace after a life of violence. Their neighbour is a former bandit and when his old gang rides in to coerce him to saddle up once again, it causes hell for everyone. Much bloody revenge will be had.
There is also a car that eats people.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
There’s a lot of crap advice out there. Some tips are timeless and deal more with work ethic than technique. I prefer those. No one can tell you exactly how to write and you wouldn’t want to do it someone else’s way anyhow. I say, stay true to yourself and your story. When you read (and please do read a lot in fiction, nonfiction, and writing books) I think it’s best to take what works for you and leave the rest behind. Writing is a very individual journey. No one does it exactly the same way.
Persistence, though. That’s the one thing everyone can use.
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
The only things that prevent me from writing are life obligations and being tired. You really can’t work around either of those. Best thing you can do is get a nap in and try again later.
I’m motivated by an undying, fiery love of writing. I love telling stories. I love people reacting to them. It’s truly what I’m meant to do, and it never gets old. I always have an idea for the next book brewing in my mind. Pure enjoyment of my craft is what drives me forward.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
If I had to pick…Sweden in the 1980s? ‘Cause why not?
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
I’m not sure how obscure or underappreciated it is, but Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon is one of my all time favourite books and everyone should read it.
Excellent! Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with an elevator pitch? Why should readers check out your work?
I write pulp with a purpose, which means you’ll get all the emotional gut punches, characters you’ll love and remember forever, but you will also get action, adventure, mystery, and whole hell of a lot of fun.
Fantastic! Thanks again for joining us, Sean, and good luck with your latest release!
Sean Grigsby is the author of DAUGHTERS OF FORGOTTEN LIGHT and the SMOKE EATERS series. His latest novel, ASH KICKERS (Smoke Eaters #2) will be released on July 9th 2019 by Angry Robot Books.