Book Nerd Interview
Geoffrey Girard is an award-winning fiction author whose works have appeared in several best-selling anthologies and magazines, including Writers of the Future (a 2003 winner), Murky Depths, Apex Horror & Science Fiction Digest, and the Stoker-nominated Dark Faith anthology. His first book, Tales of the Jersey Devil, thirteen original tales based on American folklore, was published in 2005, followed by Tales of the Atlantic Pirates (2006) and Tales of the Eastern Indians (2007). Simon and Schuster will publish two Girard novels in 2013: CAIN’S BLOOD, a techno thriller, and PROJECT CAIN, a spinoff novel for teen/YA readers.
Born in Germany, shaped in New Jersey and currently living in Ohio. Geoffrey graduated from Washington College with a literature degree and worked as an advertising copywriter and marketing manager, later shifting to high school English teacher. He is currently the English Dept. Chair at a private boys school in Ohio and is an MA candidate in Creative Writing at Miami University.
He has presented seminars and workshops on creative writing at colleges, elementary schools, bookstores and writers’ organizations and can also be spotted speaking at various conventions/events.
Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
In the fifth grade, my teacher would hang up a new random picture each week and give extra credit to anyone who’d write a story about it. I probably wrote thirty stories that year. That same year, I wrote a rip off of Jaws meets The Crystal Cave (a Merlin fantasy by Mary Stewart) in a writing space I’d built in my bedroom closet, writing in longhand in a little notebook, feet hanging out the closet door. My goal then was to become a “real author” someday.
Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Even with seven billion people, it still often feels like you’re the only one in the world. We’re so driven by relationships and a need for love, there’s an inherent loneliness everyone carries. Storytelling creates bonds; shared between specific communities, but also across generations/cultures; and, between the reader/writer that often gives both of them that “Thank God, there is one other person on Earth who gets it.” And when there’s one, we secretly know there’re tens of thousands.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
Favorite is rough because there are so many amazing books. My first-born son’s middle name is Tolkien, and that’s gotta count for something. Shadowland by Peter Straub is the answer I’ve been giving of late. I’ve read it a dozen times. It’s a small story but broad in scope/theme; dark and terrifying and fantastical and beautiful. A coming-of-age story (my fave) and a heartbreaking love story and a good-versus-evil story. The writing craft and tone is perfect; everything exactly where it should be.
Outside the genre, I’m an English major and so have been exposed to some great stuff. I reread Dubliners every single year, adore A Prayer for Owen Meany and Bonfire of the Vanities. Favorite? My second-born son’s middle name is Rand, so I’ll go with The Fountainhead.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Jay Lake (very successful sci-fi/fantasy author) told me to “never start a new project until you’ve finished whatever it is you’re working on.” Suddenly, I was finishing and selling stories, books and novels.
In your new book; Project Cain, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
Project Cain is largely an “Introduction to Serial Killers.” If serial killers are something you’re kinda interested in but don’t really know much about the most famous ones, or the difference between a sociopath/psychopath, etc. then the book should interest you. If you’re curious about military science and what the government spends our money on, and the things we’ve done in the past to learn how to kill more people, then it should interest you. First and foremost, it’s about a kid who learns he’s the clone of a violent killer and he’s gotta figure out who this original guy was and how that may affect his own life. It’s a first-person account of this young man’s journey through pretty dark waters. Project Cain is written for teens and for people who like creative nonfiction and/or first-person tales. IF you’re an adult, check out Cain’s Blood, which tells the same story in a more traditional/commercial style (everyone seems to like that one). Project Cain, for adults, is either loved or loathed, so feel free to check out either and see which fits your reading tastes. They are very different books.
For those who are unfamiliar with Jeff, how would you introduce him?
Jeff Jacobson is shy, smart, curious, desperate for affection/love, yet sometimes detached emotionally, confused… a lot like what Jeffrey Dahmer was like at sixteen. Since it’s told in his voice, you’re either gonna love him or hate me.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
It’d be nice if Jeff could hang with the Three Investigators for a summer. Three guys solving mysteries from their secret headquarters hidden in a junkyard. Old school teens. Fun. Jeff could use a little of that, I think…
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
How are you doing?
What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
Gas-station attendant in New Jersey. Still probably the “best” job I ever had. All I did was read paperbacks all day, help people, and make pocketfuls of illicit cash.
Who was your first girlfriend?
Beth. Smart, musician, great friend, big N.J. hair that could stand up to my own big N.J. hair.
Tell me about your first kiss
I was a junior in high school. Kinda late to the game…
When was the last time you cried?
Watching Undercover Boss two nights ago.
Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
That’s just awful. Too Kobayashi Maru. Like Kirk, I’d find a way to make a third choice.
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
The 1970s, I suppose. Best music. Fun clothes. Chill times.
There, he was created entirely from Jeffrey Dahmer’s DNA. There are others like Jeff—those genetically engineered directly from the most notorious murderers of all time: The Son of Sam, The Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy . . . even other Jeffrey Dahmer clones. Some raised, like Jeff, in caring family environments; others within homes that mimicked the horrific early lives of the men they were created from.
When the most dangerous boys are set free by the geneticist who created them, the summer of killing begins. Worse, these same teens now hold a secret weapon even more dangerous than the terrible evil they carry within. Only Jeff can help track the clones down before it’s too late. But will he catch the ‘monsters’ before becoming one himself?
You can purchase Project Cain at the following Retailers:
And now, The Giveaways.