He received his Ph.D. in psychology from Michigan State University and set up practice as a consulting psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia --- though unable to resist writing part-time as his busy practice permitted.
Following several years of private practice, his two sons grown and away, Gerald eased into writing full-time --- non-fiction, fiction, and ghost writing, first turning out the published non-fiction work, THE SILENT MISERY --- WHY MARRIAGES FAIL. This was followed by his three published novels, THE CORRUPTORS, THE DEATH DISCIPLE, and THE LAST COMING, this last novel written in collaboration with Robin Moore. After this came his published non-fiction ghost writing works, TRAPPED IN THE LAWYERS' DEN WITH BLOODSUCKERS and GBI AGENT.
A nature lover, he relocated from Atlanta to the lake scenery of Gainesville, Georgia. He lives in a quaint home, high on a hill, surrounded by inspiring forest foliage not far from the waters of Sidney Lake Lanier; the forest floor a protective canopy for the passing deer. In this setting, Gerald wrote the novel OF GOOD AND EVIL, followed by its sequel A TIME OF RECKONING.
Nancy Cline, a member of MENSA, said in review of Gerald's writings: "In this age, yes, there is a nobility of spirit and the courage to preserve and to protect that nobility. In the field of fiction we have men of great stature... To that list add the name of Gerald Griffin..."
Gerald is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW). While in practice in Atlanta he was listed in Marquis Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Personalities of America and Notable Americans.
An interview with Mr. Griffin
1. What inspired you to write OF GOOD AND EVIL?
To begin, a combination of two things. First, world and internal events affecting our national security, especially, the 9/11 attacks. Second, the volatile stress on war veterans suffering from combat trauma to adjust to normal society (work, love, friendship, etc.) after discharge from service because of the persistence of this trauma. Then, the challenge of my inspiration was to combine these two aspects into a different and remarkable approach to the concept of good and evil that has never been attempted before; into a spellbinding story of action, surprises, love and nobility that was crisp, clean and clear, with vivid and vibrant characters resonating perfectly with an innovative galloping plot without a dull moment, keeping the reader on edge and glued to the book from start to finish. Apparently, I achieved this.
2. Why do you say, "Apparently, I achieved this."?
Because of the feedback I've received on the book from readers and reviewers, and the fact that the novel is to be made into a movie.
For example, one reviewer, Shane Porteous, said of the book: "Of Good And Evil is the very embodiment of what a paranormal thriller should be. This book is perfectly paced. It truly boggles my mind the sheer calibre of talent this author possesses. It is extremely rare to find such a skilled writer. Of Good and Evil is such a marvelous tale that you don't even have to be a fan of its specific genre to enjoy it, and to me that is the mark of a brilliant story. One of the best books that I have ever read."
And another reviewer, Rick Friedman, said: "In creating the character of Ron Sheffield, Gerald Griffin has proven himself to be a writer of extraordinary skills. Of Good And Evil is a novel that is so finely written, so well plotted and paced, that the reader is immediately drawn into the book from the first page. That Mr. Griffin is able to use mere words to introduce the reader to Ron Sheffield is nothing short of breathtaking --- it is not often that a writer can make so complex a character, a person with such internal torments and external gifts, resonate so perfectly with a plot and locations as to keep the reader so captivated. A must read!"
And still another reviewer, Tracey Alley, said: "In order to be able to engage the reader from the opening paragraphs and hold their attention throughout, to be able to let the reader suspend their disbelief for the duration of the novel, takes a special kind of talent. Gerald G. Griffin is an author with just such talent. In his brilliant thriller 'Of Good And evil' he takes the reader on a wild ride with the real world as his background and delivers it with the talent of a born writer. He also goes that step further that separates writers from great writers. Gerald's gifted but tormented main character, Ron Sheffield, is everything this great writer needs to engage the reader on an emotional level. This is one of the gifts of a great story-teller. The plot of 'Of Good And Evil' flows smoothly, the characters are believable and the reader is able to sit back and enjoy this page turning suspense thriller."
The producer of the movie based upon OF GOOD AND EVIL, Alexandria Altman, said to me in writing: "You have a Giant on your hands! When you have something to offer the world, it gives back in many splendid ways. Some things are meant to be...and your novel is a great masterpiece and I am honored to be associated with it!"
3. Can you share a little about your novel with us?
OF GOOD AND EVIL is a hard-charging suspense thriller. An unusual gripping tale of nobility versus tyranny, with vivid characters, harrowing action, international locales, and a captivating love story.
The protagonist, Ron Sheffield, a gifted but troubled Green Beret, plagued by suicidal guilt because of "special abilities", is discharged from the army for going "crazy" and from there the fireworks begin. Almost immediately, Ron is brutally beaten and shot by the Mafia and is hospitalized near death. His life is dramatically saved by Amber Ash, a young wealthy woman whom also possesses "special abilities" not unlike Ron's. This is the spark for them falling in love and from there the two are propelled into unending danger, among them battles with mobsters, terrorists and a government cell out to kill them over secret, alarming Iraqi documents Ron possesses from his army service. In the midst of these battles, with surprising twists at every turn, Ron, to save his sanity, is forced by his own mental demons, with the strange help of Amber's estranged billionaire father, to become a specialized hit man for the Mafia. This, in turn, brings Ron and Amber face to face with an extraordinary secret society with powers beyond the imagination and with a different mind-set from their own, confronting them with a different type of conflict.
Through all of these unnerving battles, none of them really settled, some remaining in mystery, Ron is eventually confronted with the imminent nuclear obliteration of a major American city --- and Amber and the secret society as well --- by a suicidal terrorist cell that only Ron can possibly stop, but finds it impossible to do so. The ending is a cliff-hanger!
4. You mentioned that your book is to be made into a movie. What details of this endeavor can you share with us?
Regarding specifics, other than to say that the Prime Producer of the movie is Alexandria Altman, I'm presently under non-disclosure. I'm on a film slate, and the film is being negotiated in Hollywood. I can say that the movie is being handled by a major movie company in Beverly Hills.
Making a movie from a novel is a world of its own. Aside from doing the screenplay (script) --- which for me is a story in itself --- the next step was getting the "right" Producers for the script (there's always more than one), this task handled by the Prime Producer, including obtaining the Executive Producer, the one who arranges for the money to film the script. Part of this money is "seed" money to take care of attorney fees, market out to the press, make movie and TV posters, and add on to the movie project a few key people such as the "right" Director, a CSA Casting Agent, other producers right for the project, and maybe one or two actors to play major roles in the movie. The seed money also includes money for myself to travel and go to meetings to speak with these people and go over the project. The remainder of the money goes to the actual production of the movie itself, involving the selection of actors, design person, music score man, film editor, and finding locales and shooting scenes, polishing the script as needed.
5. How much will you be involved in the actual shooting of the movie?
I'm in negotiation to be a Co-producer. In this capacity, among other things, I would have a voice in changes made to the shooting script as well as determining how true the movie will be to the novel; and perhaps have an influence on which actors are to be chosen to play the major roles.
6. You mentioned that your novel has a captivating love story. As Co-producer, what excerpt from your book, presenting the essence of this love, do you feel would be vital to be seen in the movie?
From all the excerpts I could choose, this presents a difficult decision. But following is a major excerpt addressing your question:
Suddenly Amber was unable to think. She felt confused and frightened. "What about Gino, Vic and Vinny? Was that self-defense? Or was it evil?"
The reasons for her emotional upheaval weren't lost on Ron. He eased quietly into his answer. "They'd have killed me, you know that. They tried. Whether it was evil or not, I don't know. But it was essential. It assuaged my guilt. I think you're confusing good with evil. I simply gave good a helping hand. How can that be evil?"
"It's evil because your helping hand could kill you."
"Then no more guilt," he said gravely,
Amber flinched, dropping her coffee cup onto the carpet. "That's crazy!" She looked startled, then fearful, that he would even imply that he would be better off dead. "Don't ever say that!"
"It's time these things were said. You want to talk about evil, I'll give you evil. Guilt is my evil."
"That's even crazier." Suddenly looking very fragile, Amber said, sitting back down on the bed, "Forget about this evil talk. What I'm really talking about is you. I want you alive, you hear me. Alive!" She started to tremble, attempting to hide her tears. "I'd be lost again without you. I know it's selfish, but I just couldn't face that." Near hysterics and sobbing, she was close to collapse.Ron quickly set aside his coffee cup, and with an indulgent look of infinite patience, leaned forward, taking Amber's hands. "Sssh. Now calm down," he whispered, cradling her in his arms. Then he pulled away and just looked at her, his hazel eyes never failing to rejoice in her beauty, tears and all. "This is the tough going," he said softly, "calling for tough love. We are both what we are, evil or not, and tears simply can't change it. We've accepted one another, with everything on the table ---- well, almost everything, and we've bound ourselves with that covenant. Each of us is going to have to live with it the best we can, whatever the risks, and without hysterical reaction while we attempt to protect the well being of each other.
"Now, once and for all, can you live with this?"
By now, Amber was dry-eyed, knowing that this was the moment of truth between them, calling for her to set aside her fears and uncertainties permanently. She gave a nod of acceptance. "Yes."
"Fine. And I agree, enough talk about evil. We've had ---" He hesitated, unable to complete his thought, becoming distant. When he spoke again his voice was strained and tortured. "One thing for sure: I'm never going to go berserk again."
She had never seen him so distressed, except in the hospital with Vandiver, after ---- That's all it took to arouse Amber's intense feelings. "No. Never," she cried out, shaking her head. Her voice had risen and strengthened. "I won't allow it!"
7. What did you find were the major differences in writing the novel, then writing the screen script for the movie based upon the novel?
At the root of these differences is the fact that, for the mind, a novel is more internal and meditative, whereas a movie is more external and visually expressive. This difference dictates that the writing for the movie is more restrictive; more limited in scope compared to the novel.
Though the screen script ended up being amazing in its own right --- still captivating, moving with graphic lure, sticking to the gist of the storyline, it necessarily lacked the perfect resonance between the characters and plot found in the novel, at times being choppy and abrupt, this dictated by the constraints of movie making reality. Some major scenes in the book, and some minor characters, had to be cut, as well as some essential character threads, nuances and development for story cohesion in the book. These compromises in the screen script were necessary else the movie would be too long. As it is, the movie is expected to be two hours in length Though I thought some of the novel's magnificence was lost in the final screen script I arrived at, my Producer still said to me: "Griff, you are amazing! The script looks and reads perfect!"
To obtain the full spirit of the book's story, its true essence, what the author was striving to accomplish, the Director and major actors of a good movie always read the novel beforehand and strive to see that the movie reflects this as best they can, I recommend that the reader do this as well to get the full impact and scope of the novel's story before seeing the movie.
8. What inspired you to become a writer, and can you tell us about your writing history this inspiration prompted?
Really, I think I was born a writer, with the inspiration to write already in my DNA. This became evident early. While reading about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in the 9th grade, I said to myself, "I can write like that!" And so I did. Beginning right then, I wrote a book with a similar theme entitled, 'Sir Griffiin and the Fair Princess Velva' --- Velva a girl in my class I had a crush on. My teacher found out about the book and read it chapter by chapter to the class, a new chapter each day. She was so surprised by the story, my classmates so amazed, that afterwards my inspiration to become a writer was never in question.
That book, of course, was never published, but as to my writing history since, I've written many articles (magazines, newspapers and so forth) and short stories, but my first published book, non-fiction, was THE SILENT MISERY--WHY MARRIAGES FAIL (Charles C. Thomas, publisher, 1974), written while I was a psychologist in private practice. This was followed by the three novels, THE CORRUPTORS (1977, THE DEATH DISCIPLE (1977) and THE LAST COMING (1978), all three novels published by Condor, New York. (These three novels are now out of print --- the publisher out of business, and can only be obtained as used in bookstores or online at Amazon and other sites). After this I ghost-wrote the two non-fiction books, GBI Agent (Copple House Books, 1987) and TRAPPED IN THE LAWYERS' DEN WITH BLOODSUCKERS (Indie Publisher, 1988). Then, after critiquing books for a literary agent and trying my hand at screenplays, I wrote by far my best literary work, the published novel OF GOOD AND EVIL (Eloquent Books, 2010). At present, I'm putting the final touches to its sequel, A TIME OF RECKONING.
9. Could you tell us a little about A TIME OF RECKONING?
This sequel is another jarring, breathtaking, action-packed suspense thriller --- with periods of comic relief from two disgruntled FBI agents whom were disgraced in OF GOOD AND EVIL, as well as tragic comic relief from an unbalanced, one-sided , impossibly hoped for love relationship amidst impending catastrophe --- where secret cells of Al Qaeda terrorists in the U.S. are bent on annihilating 24 major American cities simultaneously in suicide missions, pursuing a plan impossible to stop.
10. Where can OF GOOD AND EVIL be purchased?
Among other online sites, the book can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and through the Publisher.
To order, go to my author blog, http://geraldggriffin.blogspot.com/ . On the home page, at the top, click the "Buy the Latest Book" box. Then on the page that comes up, go down to Amazon.com, and to the side of it click "Paperback & Kindle," or go to the side of Barnes & Noble and click "Paperback." In either case you will be taken directly to the page where the novel's book cover apopears and from where you can order the book. Or you can order there from the publisher by clicking "through the publisher book page" in red.
Or, by using the search box, you can order on Amazon by clicking http://www.amazon.com (for UK, http://www.amazon.co.uk) and for Barnes & Noble by clicking http://www.bn.com
In addition to Kindle, the eBook version can be ordered on Ipod, Iphone and other eBook providers.
I would like to thank Mr. Gerald Griffin for his time, trouble, patience, and kindness during this interview process. If you have any questions of Mr. Griffin, please post them in the comments and I will forward them to him.
Thank you for stopping by and reading!