So I hope you are all having a great Halloween!
I have for you today an interview with the author of the series that has scared me to death this year.
The author is Patrick W Marsh and the series - The Greenland Diaries.
|Patrick W Marsh|
Hi Patrick! Thanks for being on the blog today and for being my Halloween guest! I'd also like to thank you for scaring me to death with the amazing Greenland Diaries!
For my readers not familiar with your work, can you tell them a little about yourself and your books?
Thank you for having me on your Random Redheaded Ramblings. I'm ecstatic that you liked my books so much and really appreciate the support.
I write dark fantasy and horror, and have been published primarily in these genres, but I've also published some nonfiction and poetry. Though I tend to write in the popular and sometimes saturated genres, I tend to write my novels based on nonfiction events and emotions from personal life, and use symbolism through horror and fantasy to represent things I've been through. One immediate example with my most popular series the Greenland Diaries is my lifelong battle with depression being represented by the nightly drum that appears every evening that summons the Unnamed. What scares me are monsters, but only if they mean something metaphorically and emotionally to both characters and narrators. All my books and stories have monsters in them, but the morals the characters use to interact with these abominations are what interest me. I can write monsters, and they allow me to be honest, which I strive to do in all my writing and books.
How did the Greenland Diaries come to light?
The Greenland Diaries came to light in a few different ways. The Unnamed and the drum have always been around me and my monsters for the last ten years. I invented them a long time ago and they never worked in a story until now. The journal entry style started as a simplistic blog I would write on BlogSpot in the effort to practice past-tense writing. My family and friends supported me at first, but soon the views crossed into the tens of thousands and I decided to make it into a book series. I always wanted to write a series that would end the apocalyptic genre, that would consume it and drown out the noise of zombies and mutants. I like civilization, and I want it to be around, I'm hoping to scare people into believing in the human species, and not imagining it falling into rot. The Greenland Diaries is littered with personal references to my life in Robbinsdale, Minneapolis, and Saint Paul, in fact you could take a reality tour if you wanted to. Every place I write about in the book series is 100 percent real and I have been.
As a dog lover, why the heck did you put Snowy in the books!!! I was so scared she was going to die at any point!
I love dogs myself. I have dogs as well. Snowy is a representation of my late dog Millie, who was also a light brown mini dachshund. She got me through a lot of stuff, and I think regardless of the dog's shape and size you can always find solace in man's best friend. In the Greenland Diaries, much of that is based on me, so I thought including her would only be right. I also wanted to put a dog in that would be "useless" in an apocalyptic setting. She's not some fiery German Shepard, but a small delicate dog with a curious disposition. She almost represents innocence in this heinous environment. Dogs are a nice flare in the night that kindred exists out there, and I wanted to honor Millie and what she meant to me.
The monsters really are the stuff of nightmares but they became extremely real to me when I saw this picture on your Instagram feed, did this picture inspire your writing?
My writing inspired me to find pictures similar to what I was thinking, if that makes any sense. The abstract and distant are always more terrifying to me than the concrete and gory. When you can't actually tell what's happening, like in this photo, and fear dictates every bodily function, then you're actually in a nightmare. Gravity and theory are thrown aside, and this happens in the Greenland Diaries. You're completely at the mercy of the narrator, and his ability to face the Unnamed, which increases as the story goes on. I'm proud of my monsters. The Unnamed not only are distant but concrete, but they are also driven by the need to reproduce, and piece humans together through pieces of flesh and plant. The need to reproduce and the problem solving abilities of the Unnamed are human qualities, which terrify me completely. I'll take a brainless beast over a shadow that listens to the walls any day.
My entire life. It is the only way I can honestly express myself without considering others. I find myself diluted by everyday interactions with human beings. I can't tell whether or not I'm saying something to them to appease their view of me, or if it's for myself. Writing eliminates that paradox. Monsters are representations of my physical and emotional damage. They dwarf the monotony of daily life, but are still a part of it like the main character from the Greenland Diaries. I've not written, and any time I haven't I'm a huge asshole and tend to act out. Like water to fish, like air to breathe.
How do you manage to maintain a happy work/life/family/writing balance?
It's nearly impossible with the amount of projects I'm doing. Recently, I've had to axe my literary magazine Calamities Press because I don't have the time or money to keep it going. I have two new born twin boys as well, and I was just recently married. I write the Greenland Diaries everyday by hand, but I would like to expand the universe into a prequel and side stories, especially as I write the third book. I want to reward the awesome audience that has supported me by fully rounding out the story. Granted, I have other stories I want to write too besides the Greenland Diaries, but here and now, this is the time for this tale.
The end of the world is everywhere just now, why do you think people are fascinated with the world's demise?
I think people are bored and dishonest about how unhappy they are, and that's why they're okay with the world ending. They think scavenging for food and water instead of buying it from a store would be adventurous. It's not. It can be a novelty once in a while like camping, but it's just a glimmer of the primal. We romanticize the destruction of the world, but we freak out without WiFi. I'm scaring people away from the genre with reflections of my own damage. I like the conveniences of the modern world. I don't want them to go anywhere.
Will we hear more from The Greenland Diaries?
Overall, I plan to write the Greenland Diaries in six books, which will equal 365 days in the narrator's world. I changed my life drastically in one year, as is happening to him. In the next book, or the third book I'm writing, he will finally encounter the character who will lead him to Duluth, where the drum happens to be. The narrator is changing along with the environment. The Unnamed will not stay the same either, and will evolve to be more effective. There will also be some information about what is actually happening in the story, though it will be small. The Reanimated will be featured as well, along with puddles.
Do you have any other books in the pipeline?
I'm working on a prequel to the Greenland Diaries, but I'm not sure how I'll do it, I just want to. I've kicked around some ideas, but they've kicked back, which means they're not ready yet. I might have a collection of short stories released again, but we'll see. I have some other stories planned for the future, I just want to get there.
How do you deal with negative reviews?
Negative reviews are great in a way because that means people are at least reading the books. It lets you know you have an audience. Granted, good reviews make you feel like the whole world loves you, but just one negative review makes you think the internet hates you. There is no perfect equation for this stuff, but it feels like their should be. We have so much science now, but what hits a person's interest and what builds an audience is still a rare thing.
What books have been a big influence on you?
Books that have influenced me are sort of across the board. Calvin and Hobbes, Of Mice and Men, Grendel, the Hobbit, Ender's Game, Robotech, Irish Fairy Tales, Robert Frost's Poetry, Wallace Steven's Poetry, and many more. I'm sort of a hodgepodge of influences, but Grendel is a big one since it showed me what fantasy, fiction and horror could be.
What are you reading just now?
Right now I'm reading a collection of Kafka's short stories, with an introduction by John Updike. I think short stories will become very popular with the new audience of readers who have short attention spans. Kafka had some crisis of the human existence dictating his behavior. I like that.
Finally, what book should everyone read in their life?
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Shows the true nature of loneliness, compassion, and what people need to survive, which is simply someone who cares about them without question.
A big thank you to Patrick for his fantastic interview, you can find out more about his work at his webpage https://patrickwmarshauthor.wordpress.com/