Our Interview with M.D.R Gregg
M.D.R. Gregg, also known as Midniyte Gregg, is a novelist and poet who lives in Denver, Colorado with her nine year old daughter. She claims the tranquil scenery and the mountain air helps to inspire her daily. Midniyte has Asperger's, which has enabled her to have a unique and very creative outlook in life. She also has reading and writing disabilities linked to dyslexia. Some psychologists have argued over whether they need to be listed under Asperger issues or Dyslexia, but either way, it causes her words to move.
1. Your debut novel, Transient State, was released in December last year. Can you tell us a little about it?
Whenever I go back to describe it again, my mind feels like it is so far away. It's almost impossible to explain, only an experience to be experienced. Then I realize, that is also what the book is about. It is a distancing; because there is no other choice, and a misunderstanding that cannot be penetrated comes to life there. Even though my reasons for putting these feelings into character and place are not common, the feeling itself is common and alienating for everyone. Perhaps, by me having it in story, it can heal things in me, and the reader, that never could be healed via speaking. It is quite an experience. It is about two aliens lost in a world that does not think, feel or touch like them. It explores two different points of view as they try to live a life with that as their world, forever.
2. What was your inspiration for this book?
I was quite young when I got my first inspiration and it was well before I could put it down easily. It goes back to when I read Interview With the Vampire and watched the movie Life Force. It sat with me. I loved Poe and was beginning my skills at poetry. One night, I just saw a scene of a man, hidden, rowing a beautiful evil woman, across a great body of water; The Nile. I hand wrote several pages of what I saw at the time. This was when I lived as an adolescent in Huntsville, Alabama. It was years after that before I wrote my first draft, after I went to a writing convention that focused on script writing at a casino in Omaha, Nebraska.
3. How would you describe your writing process?
I have a spark that floats in and out of daydreams, then I sit down and dedicate myself to putting ten pages on my computer. So, I start, not knowing what will happen until each sentence ends. I go like that until I finish my ten pages, then I go again the next day, and on like that until it is done. Then I do several drafts and because of my dyslexic issues, an editor is a must after that. If I get stuck, I write micro poems on twitter or I journal. I do both of those in between as well, to leave my mind ready to paint words.
4. When did you first realise you loved writing?
I liked writing stories down as a child but I didn't realise the love I had for it until I was a teen, when, despite my lack of being able to communicate, my mind could put down some of the world inside me that I glimpsed. Something I could improve on, once it was out of me and on paper. It saved my life. I was in a state of great pain, not being able to communicate what I saw and felt all the time, and not belonging to the world I interacted with. Eventually, my mind found it easier to communicate because of writing and painting and this helped me find a different world to interact with.
5. Is there any book you wish you could have written?
I have notes of every story that has run across my mind as a possible book. As my health and mind work out my abilities, they get written and better than I imagined when I took my notes. So technically, no. If you are talking about a 'me wishing I'd written someone else's book' kind of scenario, then no, I don't think like that; Their stories are theirs and my stories are mine. All those wonderful stories that I have read only fueled me, because my mind continued those long after the book was shut.
6. What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Living. Many things have lined up in my life that may have killed another. I am thankful for all of it and for being alive. Everything happened to me so that I could learn how to love myself and that is what I do now. Love is my greatest accomplishment and without the beauty I feel about myself, I'd never be able to love my daughter the way I do or anyone else, or my work.
7. Do you have any advice for up-and-coming writers?
Write everyday. Set a number of pages and go back again and again. It is the same advice most give, but it is what gets you there. It is in the writing that we discover who we are and build the endurance to go back to it.
8. What is your favourite part of the writing process?
The letting go. As I've said before on twitter, I experience everything so intensely so that when I write, I let everything go. It really feels good afterward.
9. Are there any subjects / genres you would never write about as an author?
I always say, 'never say never,' as the saying goes, but I do have trouble with realistic non-fiction novels. It may be a challenge I come to and go through one day, but I prefer to get my stories down through fiction; the more unrealistic, the better. I think more truth comes out that way.
10.Why did you choose to write in your particular genres?
I kind of said it in the previous question, but I think that you can go deeper into the mind and let go of gates and fences. When you let go like you must do to bring a story to life in these genres, it enables you to get to the real hidden truth of ourselves and everyone, even the world.
11. You're also an artist. Would you like to tell us a little about your work in this field and maybe where we can see your work?
I currently don't have anything in a show. I am working on some things in Denver, but I had to get through my current contract and get my health better to move more on that. I have a good fifty paintings ready to go for it and I've done all my book covers, along with any interior art. I mostly do paintings because it communicates all that can't be put into words, not even a poem. It frees me. Painting is all that writing does from my mind and is extremely physical for me. So it is like my body is also speaking.
12. What kind of audience do you think will enjoy your work?
My art? Anyone who enjoys expressionism, or an artist that frees themselves in the process. The same, I think, as the people who'd enjoy my writing: Self labeled freaks and weirdos; fans of darkness and horror; fans of fantasy and science fiction; fans of the 'different' that is so different it makes the oddest, loneliest person feel like there is someone out there that thinks things like they do, and that they are never alone. I have very sexual art too, those draw a different audience: People that mostly want to free their own libido or heal it, or discover what theirs is. It can also help them embrace the strength they already have there and inspire them to do their own work.
13. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Overcoming not being able to communicate in the way that most people find simple.
14. Are there words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers? Define some of those.
It starts with breaking rules, I guess. I broke some writing rules there. You are supposed to show and not tell, at times I do this well. Other times, I must tell, everything on his mind. It is about madness. You can't just show madness. I think it keeps you wondering just who is mad, even after you've finished it. That is the mystery of madness, isn't it?
15. Do you have any unusual quirks or creative rituals that help you write or give you inspiration?
Beyond my own existence being a quirk? Hmmmm, I think I have many little things no one else does. A usual, important constant that helps me create, is to continuously check myself into authenticity: Am I giving everything? Is anything hidden? Can I heal something? Can I know something more? I regularly participate in Laura Day's Circle games on her FB page. She really knows what she's doing, keeping the blocks broken. I consider her a great healer. I also do Julian Cameron's suggested Morning Pages.
16. What authors do you enjoy and how do you feel they have influenced your writing?
Anne Rice. I think she taught me that it is okay to describe in great detail, as well as not going anywhere near her descriptions when I want and seeing what less of a description would do to the story. Also Edgar Allen Poe, who was a great supporter of the invented writing styles and the geniuses of women writers. He was a writing critic and beyond his wonderful dark works, I read those and was moved to see an entirely different man. I read local fantasy, to see what they did to the surroundings I know, like Carrie Vaughn's werewolf named Kitty I'm also influenced by some directors and the way they see a script and put the detail in. We are our own directors in a novel after all, we have parallel interests without direct competition. It is an interesting point of view to see our work in.
17. Before you were a writer, what other jobs have you had?
I've been a graphic designer in the US Air Force, all the way to taking bodies to the morgue in a hospital.
18. Are you a paperback reader or an eBook fan?
Because of the way I see words, it is easier for me to read paperbacks. I have used eBooks at times. I think they will keep improving until it is the same, even for my eyes. Then, it would probably go to both. A book in your hand feels different and can't compare, but a small light casing that can hold a library is also convenient.
19. What process did you go through to get your book published?
I wrote to many agents, mostly getting rejected because of the different way I wrote and mixed genres. This made it hard for them to think of a way to sell my books in their usual way. While I was doing my inquiries, I was doing micro poems and gaining a following on twitter. A publisher discovered me there and asked if I had other work. I sent him some queries and a link to the blog I had then, that contained short stories involving Jane. Because I wrote in more than horror alone, he passed me on to his sister company that was open to a list of genres I had.
20. What makes your book unique in your opinion?
I managed to describe a world, using another world, that most who experience, cannot speak (literally, those who are mute in some way).
M.D.R Gregg's novel, Transient State is out now at amzn.to/12zpVnp and createspace.com/5146790 . You can find her at http://twitter.com/Midniyte and http://www.facebook.com/WriterMidniyte