Sinisteria Magazine, May 2004 (used by permission)
Interviewed by Holly Catanzarita
SACRAMENTO, Calif.- Hailed by fans of horror/science fiction throughout the U.S. and Europe for a string of popular novels such as The Rag Man, Pray Serpent's Prey, Sweet Dreams Lady Moon and Halloween IV, Nicholas Grabowsky reclaims his stance in the forefront of genre literature with his most ambitious work, The Everborn.
Grabowsky captivated readers with mass market paperback fiction from the mid-eighties through the early nineties, establishing a large following while immersed in UFO studies and at work on The Everborn for twelve years. Aside from his writing career, Grabowsky has been in the limelight both as a gospel preacher and rock vocalist, teacher, and activist resulting from the abduction of his sister which reached headlines in 1995, and shares a pivotal role in establishing Michael Myers as an American horror icon.
Sinisteria: Thank you, Nicholas, for taking the time to have a talk with me. Let's start this rolling by telling us a little about your newest novel "The Everborn."
The Everborn was first conceived around about 1989 when I envisioned a short story about a woman in a motel room giving birth to a newborn son who was the reincarnation of his father. It turned into a serious undertaking, involving serial killers, demons, guardian angels, explorations of life and death and love and religion, all incorporating my take on what the whole UFO phenomenon is all about. It was a project of such epic proportions that it turned out to be my swan song of sorts, something I never imagined it would be when I started working on it, and I created a unique mythology that entertains and horrifies as well as makes the reader think.
Upon its initial completion in 1995, I still wasn't satisfied with it. I rethought the book from the beginning to end. I tore the whole thing apart; re-invented the characters, expanded and fleshed them out, painstakingly took the time to take the whole story line to a new level. On a personal level, it was a human outcry for me. God, you know...from the Magdalene Salvatia who is a wickedly evil antagonist, to the razor-slinging Scratch, to Andrew who ghostwrites bestselling novels for the druggie rock star wanna-be Ralston, to Andrew's genie-like protector Bari?..such concepts and fusing together those concepts and creations into a tangible piece of entertaining fiction made this a height in my writing career and an elevation of my writing into new standards, something I'm afraid everything else I write has to live up to. And I'm so intensely glad that it's been heralded as a great book along so many levels, and among such a diversity of readers throughout the world.
Sinisteria: What was your inspiration to write The Everborn?
Nicholas: The initial short story about the woman giving birth to a son who was the reincarnation of his father in a motel room. I couldn't go very far with it being a short story, so the whole thing came to a halt for a short time while I dabbled in other projects. Around the time that I returned to tackle it again, I was reading Whitley Strieber's "Communion" and God, wow...I paced night after night over the whole concept of alien abduction and I thought that this was a fantastic direction to go towards, to take the concept and make it my own. The rest is history. The book was going to be my take on the whole alien thing. After the first draft, I reinvented it into something fantastic, which was a Godsend, which turned the whole thing into the re-write that became what it is today.
Sinisteria: I understand it took you twelve years to write The Everborn, what was the most challenging part of writing it?
Nicholas: I had to take all of the plot twists and turns, and the bizarre mythology I was creating, and map it out into a perfect storyline the reader could follow so they could see exactly how I envisioned it in my mind and wow over it like I did. I had to arrange it and then re-arrange it until the events of the story were in perfect order, so I didn't reveal too much at the beginning and took the reader on a journey that unfolded precisely with the momentum I was looking for. My goal was to take this epic and make it seem mainstream enough to grasp the imaginations of even non-horror readers and make them love it no matter what genre they?re into. Also, it took so long to write it that for awhile there, the challenge was to actually finish it!
Sinisteria: Tell us a little about writing Halloween IV. How did it come about?
Nicholas: After my first novel, Pray Serpent's Prey was published, I was bombarded with all sorts of other projects, which I welcomed because they kept me out of a normal job and into the line of work I really wanted to be in. I did a romance, self-help books, all sorts of things. I was living in the back room of a friend's house, a room that my friend's mother had converted into a child care facility and I sectioned it off with curtains to make it seem more like an apartment. It was there I received the phone call from Critic?s Choice Paperbacks, and my publisher asked me "how would you like to write the book for the new Halloween movie coming out this Fall?" My reaction was I thought Michael Myers was dead, they're making another movie and bringing him back? Of course, I was thrilled, and accepted the offer. I only had a month to do it, and it was all I did for that time. I was thrilled, and it was an incredible break for me.
Sinisteria: Rumor has it that you're in negotiations to write the impending Halloween 9 book adaptation. How about giving the readers of Sinisteria and the fans of Michael Myers the scoop.
Nicholas: Producer Malek Akkad has told me, through a few recent phone conversations, that I'm "the man for the job" as far as penning the novelization for 9, though the script isn't finished at the time of this interview and no contract has yet been signed. I can tell you one thing...the premise is not going to be the rumored Helloween with Michael Myers battling Hellraiser's Pinhead. Neither is it going to be the rumored remake of the original. There are all sorts of rumors going around the internet, but no real news has been released yet. The producers really want the film to be done and released by this Halloween, but we'll see about that. I'm supposed to be penning a series of Halloween novels, but everything is put on hold for this anticipated project.
Sinisteria: Tell us about some of your other work.
Nicholas: Pray Serpent's Prey is about a group of teenagers in a small Montana town basically ruled by a Penticostal preacher who raves about casting out demons, until real demons start infesting the town and his hands are tied over the whole thing.
The Rag Man and Sweet Dreams Lady Moon have also been novels I've been known for, which helped to put me on the book store map.
I've done dozens of smaller projects, including self help books, scripts, short stories, a Nancy Reagan bio (I needed the money). Reading my other stuff, you'll notice my life experience is really integrated into the subject matter, particularly my days as a preacher. You'll also see that good ol' fantasy/horror is what my body of work is all about, though I always explore things on a deeper level.
Sinisteria: How and when did you begin writing?
Nicholas: Back in the third grade, my teacher decided to get all us kids into tall tales. She brought in short Disney cartoons, pulled down the big white screen and flicked on the projector switch, and we were all exposed to Paul Bunyan and so forth, then we were all challenged to write our own tall tale. I ran with it. Long after the assignment was complete, I kept writing and presenting to the class dozens of my own tales. In the sixth grade, I had my own comic strip that I worked on every day, and a lot of the kids in school became fans. I continued on writing, even started Pray Serpent's Prey in my high school math class because I was bored, scribbling into my note pad when my teacher Mr. Coke wasn't looking.
Sinisteria: What type of writing schedule do you have?
Nicholas: I generally don't have a schedule by definition. The time I write the most is at night, when everything's dark and quiet. A lot of the time, I list everything that needs to get done on paper before the week or day begins, then work my writing around my other responsibilities.
Sinisteria: How has your background in acting and music affected your writing?
Nicholas: They haven't really affected my writing in any way I have noticed, except my life experiences involving that is mirrored in my writings from time to time. Often, when I write poetry, it evolves into songs that at times lead me into writing the music to accompany it.
Sinisteria: Do you have any advice for the novice writer?
Nicholas: Know what you are going to do and then do it. If writing is your pastime or hobby, then that's wonderful. But if you're serious about writing, apply yourself to learn your craft. Anyone that's literate can write. Anyone who can write can learn the mechanics of what it takes to create a story. Anyone who learns to inject their personal passion into their story can captivate the world.
Sinisteria: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Nicholas: Ramsey Campbell, Philip K. Dick, Lovecraft, James Herbert, William S. Buroughs, John Updike, H.G. Wells, Dean Koontz, Thomas Harris, Steven King, Robert McCammon, to name a few.
Sinisteria: What are some of the projects you're working on now?
Nicholas: I'm taking the best of my older short stories and combining them with lots of fresh material for my collection Diverse Tales, which should be released towards the end of this coming Spring. Aside from anything Halloween, I'm gearing up for special revised reprints of my earlier novels. Around the corner I?m going for an epic endeavor with The Downwardens, a very personal tale of horrors, but I might decide to take on Sirens, a more formula-based horror story from an idea about domestic animals and their ability to hear things that us humans can't. Tale of the Makeshift Faire, a modern dark fairy tale I've been dabbling off and on in for years, is on the horizon, not to mention other juicy novelizations I'm negotiating towards in the near future.
Sinisteria: Where might fans and readers contact you?
Nicholas: My official web site at Downwarden.com
Sinisteria: Is there someone you would like to thank?
Nicholas: Why--you, of course, for this opportunity to talk!
Sinisteria: It was my pleasure. Nicholas, you've done it all, acting, music, artist, writing, what's next for you?
Nicholas: More writing! I've got so many projects and promoting to do to keep me busy for awhile, but if things get successful enough for me to find myself comfortable enough to take a break, I'd love to go back into music for a short while and get a band together, write more song, perform, go on the road, maybe record an album. Down the line also, I'd love to dabble into directing film. Ultimately, I'd like to write, direct, and compose the score for an original motion picture, and that would be bliss!
Sinisteria: Nicholas, thank you again for talking with us. We wish you much success in your future endeavors.