‘It’s Never Too Late to Write’

INTERVIEW

Author K C Grifant was a fourth grader when she began writing. Interestingly, her first few stories focused on fantastical happenings (like a girl who shrunk in size to pilot a paper airplane); each ended with “it was all a dream.” 

Speaking with the Literary Tribune in an exclusive interaction, the Southern Californian author, who can also speak French and Greek colloquially, says she wrote her first novels later in grade and middle school in dozens of composition notebooks.

‘One was about a group of friends who were whisked off to a land in the clouds to fight alongside mythical creatures; another was about a girl who accidentally created too many clones of herself; a third was a slow-burn alien invasion tale,’ the writer lists out. ‘I also wrote lots of fan fiction before it was called that — mostly about X-Files, X-Men, and Frankenstein. Initially, I focused on adventure and fantasy stories, and I became more interested in sci-fi and horror in high school,’ she adds. 

Western and Weird

Speaking about her published works, Ms Grifant, who is also trying to learn Mandarin, says she has had numerous short horror, science fiction, Weird West, and fantasy stories published internationally in magazines, anthologies, and podcasts. ‘My debut horror fantasy western novel, Melinda West: Monster Gunslinger, will be coming out from Brigids Gate Press in February 2023,’ she lets on. The novel, she reveals, is like The Witcher meets Bonnie and Clyde in a re-imagined Old West with monsters, diverse characters, and adventure. ‘The story is considered a “Weird Western”— essentially an Old West tale with a fantastical twist, crossing genres with science fiction, fantasy and horror,’ Ms Grifant lets us know.

The story, we learn, centres around Melinda West, a 29-year-old stoic sharpshooter, who exterminates monsters for desperate towns in the Old West with her charismatic boyfriend, Lance. ‘During one of their jobs, they accidentally release a vengeful demon that steals their friend’s soul. They must travel across treacherous lands to pursue a dangerous outlaw and battle a menagerie of creatures — all before an army of soul-devouring demons descend on Earth,’ Ms Grifant explains. 

The author goes on to underline that Melinda West: Monster Gunslinger came about after writing short stories featuring the same Weird West characters. ‘These stories were well-received by magazines and anthologies, so I toyed with the idea of expanding their adventures into a novel,’ she tells us.

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Letting the Story Unfold During Everyday Writing

When asked whether she deems herself a plotter or pantser, Ms Grifant intimates she is not fully a pantser by stating she usually writes with some knowledge of what will happen. ‘Generally, I have a few characters in mind, a loose idea of scenes, and the ending. But it is during everyday writing that the story unfolds, and it is often different from how I originally outlined or planned,’ she tells us. 

And are there any authors from whom she derives inspiration? Ms Grifant says, ‘Growing up, I was in awe of Margaret Atwood, Anne Rice, William Gibson, Octavia Butler, L J Smith, and Philip K Dick for their beautiful language, fantastical world-building, and character development. Mary Shelly was also an inspiration; she was such a young author who had a huge mark on literature. Today, there are too many favourite authors to name, many from the fantastic indie horror community of writers.’

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On Productivity, Motivation, and Time Constraints

Working full-time and mothering two small kids, Ms Grifant avers that she has to be flexible with her schedule. She, ergo, writes stories before work, during lunch break, in the evenings, and on weekends as time allows. ‘Like many authors, I get snatches of ideas and lines throughout the day and sometimes night; I use the phone’s recorder or notes to capture for later. I usually have a dozen or so random notes to sort by the end of the day – some of them useful, others puzzling,’ she says.  

Asked if becoming an author was a conscious division, Ms Grifant says she has wanted to be a writer since she was a kid. ‘I wrote stories consistently throughout elementary school but hit a writer’s block once I was in college and grad school. Life then was more unpredictable,’ she divulges, adding that she had thought she would never get over that writing hump. ‘Once I had a stable career in my late twenties, I felt more grounded and returned to writing. Oddly enough, once I had a family and my time to write became more constricted, my productivity increased. Something about having limited personal time kicked me into gear and was a surprisingly big motivator.’

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‘The Only Thing You Can Control Is Your Writing’

Nevertheless, as the interview draws to a close, we ask Ms Grifant if she has anything to tell budding authors who lose motivation if a few of their works do not do well, and she answers the question by stating one writes for oneself in the end. ‘Of course, most of us want acknowledgement, publications, fame, etc., but those are external factors you cannot control,’ the author stresses. She then adds, ‘The only thing you can control is your writing and constantly trying to improve. That can be done by reading materials, trying new formats, finding a writing community, and exploring other non-writing areas of your life.’ 

The author says she also regularly meets people who want to write a book but feel like it is late for them. ‘Unlike many other things in life, it is never too late to write — you can always start or return to writing,’ she pronounces. 

Finally, is there anything she would like to change in this world? ‘Easy – reduce hate,’ Ms Grifant replies. ‘Thoughtful stories and art can help do that, chiefly by helping people get in touch with their empathy and live in another person’s shoes for a while,’ she adds, thus signing off on a thought-provoking note.

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PS: You can find author K C Grifant on Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, TikTok, and other social networks at @kcgrifant. You can also visit her website or sign up for her newsletter for updates.

One thought on “‘It’s Never Too Late to Write’

  1. Ms. Grifant is to be lauded for her love towards writing from her early childhood. I appreciate her knowledge of languages. Best wishes for her debut horror fantasy western novel – Melinda West: Monster Gunslinger. Admiring her management of time to write after working full time and mothering two kids. Reduce hate is her advice for better world. Thanks to the interviewer for bringing to limelight another good author.

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