Award Winning Author Winnie Griggs





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September 2007

Christine FeehanWG:  Welcome Christine.  Thanks for stepping into my spotlight this month.  To start off, please tell us about yourself. 

CF:   I spent a great deal of time in colleges all over taking English classes.  I loved literature and couldn’t seem to get enough.  I come from a large family, ten sisters and three brothers.  My dad is a retired fireman.  My mother stayed at home and took care of us (I doubt a babysitter would have survived).  We’ve always been a dog, cat and everything else kind of family.  You should see holidays with two hundred men, women and children, and twice as many dogs!

I hold a third degree black belt and Tang So Do as well as ranks in many other styles of karate.  I taught for twenty-five years and also taught women’s self defense as well.  My family is close and we gather together as often as possible to celebrate life!

WG:   Let’s talk about your own personal road to publication:
Is there some individual, group or event that you can point to as the catalyst/impetus that set you on the road to becoming a writer?  Explain.

CF:   The moment my mother read me stories and I knew that pencil wasn’t just used for scribbling on walls, but to string words together, I HAD to write.  (Please feel very sorry for my siblings as I demanded they listen to every single story I wrote no matter  how bad it was).

WG:   Tell us about your journey.

CF:   Of course during my teens I was certain I was going to grow up and become a writer, but work and children and the love of martial arts got in the way.  I wrote every day for myself, but gave little thought to publication.  Once I sent a manuscript to Silhouette and the editor really loved it but it had drugs in and at that time they weren’t taking anything with drugs.  My husband was in a terrible accident and to be honest, nothing else mattered and I never made the changes. 

Dark PrinceLife continued, was rich and full and my writing was my escape.  Once we both retired, a friend suggested I send in my work and I did basically to show her it wasn’t easy to get published.  Dorchester took a huge chance on me because at that time no one was taking anything with the word vampire in it.  Dark Prince sold out in two weeks.  I was lucky enough to have several wonderful authors sit with me at a conference and they advised me to learn the business.  They pointed out I was a businesswoman and needed to know what I was doing on that end, and it was the best advice I could have ever gotten.  I make every effort to learn as much as I can about the publishing industry.

WG:   How many books did you complete before you sold your first?  Have all/any of them sold since?

CF:   I have many manuscripts, maybe three hundred lying around, but no, I wouldn’t try to sell them because they are awful!

WG:   What changed most about your life as a direct result of selling that first book?

CF:   I learned to go out in public!

WG:    What  about your writing process:  Do you maintain a set schedule?  Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?

CF:   Yes, I absolutely have a schedule.  I start work around seven or eight in the morning, and write until noon.  I take a break and write until my daughter comes home from school.  I take a break and often write until dinner.  And yes, I write on weekends as well, especially around deadline time.

WG   Do you set writing goals for youself?

CF:   I set goals on everything.  I always have.  Learning to couples dance is the one that keeps being pushed back (that and a tattoo).  But seriously, yes, I set goals in my writing and surprise myself when I achieve them.

WG:   Do you have a ‘mood setter’, something (music, ritual, environment,etc) you use to get you going when you sit down to write?

Dark GoldCF:   No.  I can write anywhere, anytime with any kind of noise around me, except when I’m writing a love scene.

WG:   Do you do a lot of up front plotting before you start or do you just dive in?

CF:   I always know what I’m going to write about because my mind has been working on it for sometime, but I don’t outline.  I do my research and then begin with the first chapter.  That might take as long as the entire rest of the book.  If the first chapter isn’t written, the rest of the book doesn’t unfold for me.

WG:   Do you normally start with storyline or with character or with some combination of the two?

CF:   For me the characters come first and grow stronger and stronger in my mind.  Eventually they begin to tell me their story and once I get that first chapter, I can write fairly smoothly and fast.

WG:   Do you find certain themes or character archetypes making recurring appearances in your stories.

CF:   I love family and the strength that comes from that.  In life we all face the same problems eventually.  It’s how we handle those problems that define who we are as people.  I love to write about those types of situations, things we find ourselves facing that require courage and strength.   I wrap them in fantasy, but underlying all that is the truth that we can overcome and get through the worst times with love and laughter and family.

WG:   What do you see as your own personal strengths as a writer?

CF:   I’m a storyteller and always have been.  I read people very well.  I’m a great observer.  I love details.  And I have a boundless imagination!  I have a background in martial arts, know many alpha males, have worked with battered women and teens in trouble and I have a huge family with many types of personalities.  I also love research.

WG:   Are there any obstacles/conflicts, specific to your particular lifestyle, that get in the way of your writing? If so, how do you try and overcome them?

CF:   In one word…Children!  Rofl  I will always be a mother and grandmother first.  I can’t keep writing when one comes by or calls because they want to talk to me.  I have discipline in every other area, but quite frankly, no amount of money will ever be worth it to me to give up the joy of spending time with them.  So sometimes I make up the time by staying up all night writing, and I’m getting a little old for that! 

WG:   Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your process?

Safe HarborCF:   Only that writing for publishing does take discipline, not only yours, but your family’s as well.  When I wrote just for myself I could do whatever I wanted, leave a story unfinished or unpolished and it was fine because it was for my enjoyment.  I still write for me, but then I have to finish, clean it up, polish it and make it enjoyable for everyone else and that requires discipline, especially near deadlines.  Be aware you will have to have family support.

WG:   Do you have a favorite sub-genre as a writer?  as a reader?

CF:   Well of course I love fantasy and it creeps into my writing all the time.  I think that really shows.  I read just about everything.  I love the combination of fantasy and romance and action and romance.

WG:   Is there a genre you haven't been published in yet that you'd like to try your hand at someday?

CF:   I like to write contemporary, edgy and very hot action/thrillers.  Romance of course.  I still do for myself, but don’t offer them for publication.

WG:   Do you have any advice to offer writers still striving toward publication?

Dark HungerCF:   Never give up your dream.  If you want to be published, keep pursuing it, but write for the love of writing.  Don’t let other people take it away from you.  There’s an editor out there looking for you, wanting to find your voice and your ideas.  You just have to have the courage to keep going.

WG:   Is there some piece of advice you received or bit of ‘conventional wisdom’ that you wish you had ignored?

CF:   I believe I am a business woman and the mistakes I make are mine.  I wish that I had learned the business from the very beginning instead of listening to people tell me my agent could handle everything and make the decisions.  My agent is someone who can give advice and guide me, but ultimately I need to know what I’m doing so I can decide for me what is best for my career.

WG:   What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about being a writer?  What aspect do you struggle with the most?

CF:   The biggest gift of being a writer for me is knowing my books helped someone at a terrible moment in their life.  When they needed someone or something to get them through a difficult moment or time, that book saw them through.  I receive so many letters from soldiers in Iraq, heart-breaking letters sometimes, and men and women waiting for a loved one, or watching a family member struggling with cancer, or caring for a beloved spouse who has had a stroke, I can’t even begin to tell you about all the letters and when I read them, I know it was a good thing to publish. 

I struggle the most with public appearances.  I’ve always been painfully shy.  It was easier when I was growing up and had all my sisters around me.  I’m actually grateful that I do make the appearances, because in many ways it has helped me overcome that side of me.

WG:   When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun?

Dark CelebrationCF:   In my younger days I would list all kinds of things here, but now I enjoy a walk on the beach with my husband.  Or in the woods.  Or seeing my mother and sisters. 
My self-indulgence is reading and sunflower seeds. 

WG:   I love to collect quotes, all kinds of quotes - inspirational, quirky, motivational, profound, etc.  Do you have a personal favorite you'd like to share.

CF:   I have always told the children to live their life, don’t stand on the sidelines.  If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t living. 

WG:   Please tell us about your current project.

CF:   I’m currently working on Joley Drake’s book.  She is a singer and a little on the wild side.  She has a weakness for liking bad boys and she’s determined that she will not make that mistake.  Along comes a truly ‘bad’ boy and she’s a goner.  She has magical gifts and usually that is enough to protect her, but this particular man has the same gifts.  They make an explosive couple and she finds herself falling whether she wants to or not.

Of course all my Drake sister books are set on the coast where I often live and visit.  I have ten sisters and seven daughters so the unique bond of sisters is very strong and easy for me to write about.  I love weaving the small village of Sea Haven and it’s people as well as the Drake sisters because family is so important to me and these books really showcase that.

WG:   Tell us about plans for future books.

Dark PossessionCF:   I will be writing another Dark book after Joley’s book.  I have a story that simply won’t let go and is demanding very loudly to be written, so I’m giving in and writing the story even though it isn’t the couple I wanted to write about.  *sigh*  My Carpathian males can be very demanding when they want something. 

My current release is Dark Possession.  The hero is caught between two worlds, the living and the dead.  His lifemate, MaryAnn, must find a way to bring him fully back into our world.  He’s in the rainforest and the dangers there are compounded by the fact that he can’t always tell which world he’s traveling in.  The story is full of surprises and is very fast paced.  The chemistry between MaryAnn and Manolito was wonderful, making them easy to write about.

My next release is Predatory Game, a GhostWalker book.   Jess Calhoun was terribly wounded in Mind Game and this is his story.  He appears to be a lamb to the heroine.  A former SEAL, now in a wheelchair and owning a radio station.  He’s kind and gentle and even when she finds out he was a GhostWalker, she sees him as vulnerable and sweet.  Jess sees her as fragile and in need of care.  Neither understands or recognizes that they are two predators living in the same house and about to find out the real person living under that lamb’s appearance!

WG:   And before we close, tell us how your fans can get in touch with you.

CF:   Anyone can find me by going to   There is a contact form.  You can reach me through   as well.  I have a myspace but can’t answer all the mail there, so it’s best to contact me through the website.

WG:   Thanks Christine!