Steve Grilliot, Author of “Immolation Finale”

The Author

Stephane GrilliotSteve Grilliot is an author who has a particular affinity for macabre horror, touches of gore, and stories to remind you of the atmospheric terror in the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. He is a native of southern Ohio and grew up on mainstream horror movies since a young age. When he was old enough (although not old enough for most households), he started reading Stephen King and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. He has many more horror tales coming, and plans to add science-fiction to his oeuvre. His paramount aspirations in his writing consist of dynamic, concise storytelling, vivid imagery, and engaging characters with whom the reader can develop a sincere bond. He has spent his life developing his voice and fine-tuning his skills. When he isn’t writing he enjoys spending time with his blonde boxador Mr. Picklefeather.
You can follow him on Twitter: @SteveGrilliot

The Book

 Immolation FinaleImmolation Finale
The news reports in New Orleans have been quite grim for the past two weeks with stories of what have become known as The Red Lake Murders, a series of killings taking place in the heart of the city. Rumors have spread throughout the city that the victims were all disposed of in a particularly gruesome fashion and that a witch is behind the killings, more specifically, a practitioner of Voodoo.
Whether he likes it or not, a paranormal investigator named Dirk is about to be dragged into a daunting series of events that may very well bring him face to face with a killer who abducts his victims off of the streets and murders them in the most horrible ways.
Dirk’s best friend Susan is an apprentice investigator on the case who is sure that his expertise in the paranormal will lend a hand to the lead Detective Maxwell Simms. Begrudgingly, Dirk agrees to accompany Susan if an when the next corpse shows up, setting himself up for events more dramatic than he had anticipated. Along the way, he meets his fair share of fortune-tellers, Voodoo priestesses, self-proclaimed werewolves, and similar denizens of New Orleans. He also meets back up with Sabrina, an old love, who left New Orleans years ago and seems to disfavor her current return to her home city. What secrets does she hold, and why does she seem so ready to avoid Dirk?

The Interview

Q. This is your first novel, an exciting time for any writer. What inspired you to write it?
A. The inspiration for this novel may seem strange at first, but it soon becomes clear after a brief explanation. I was always a comic book kid, and the initial interest I had that led to writing this book was Gambit from the X-men. I have been working on Immolation Finale since I was young, about thirteen or so I would say. In that time, I was busy finding my voice, and I evolved from writing what was clearly written by a child to writing the finalized, mature story that I have to share today. Gambit was always the most intriguing of all the X-men to me, and when he introduced me to New Orleans, I was hooked. From there, I was introduced to the Voodoo of the city, and I found myself watching every movie or TV show that was set in New Orleans. I was inspired to write a book that showed off every beautiful aspect of New Orleans that I loved, and I was determined to do the city justice. I was also determined to do Voodoo justice. I didn’t want to write the typical story that makes Voodoo the bad guy or disregards the tenets of the religion. I wanted to write a compelling murder story that had one foot in the supernatural. I wanted to tell an entertaining story that also spoke of humanity to anyone who was interested in something more than simple entertainment, without getting in the way of those who simply wanted a fun ride. As a nod to my original inspiration, my main character Dirk wears a long, brown coat and has disheveled, reddish-brown hair. It reminds me that it has been a long, wonderful road in the evolution of this novel, and it makes me feel satisfied with the results in a way that is empowering.
Q.  Your novel includes paranormal and psychological horror elements in that you have both ritualistic murders and a paranormal investigator involved – not to mention voodoo. How much of the horror comes from otherworldly things and how much from the evil that humans do?
A. Most of the horror in this work comes purely from the human element. I have a sociopath that enjoys tearing other people apart and has managed to find a way to get followers to help him with this endeavor. The actions he takes against other living creatures are what really spell out the terror for anyone who is compassionate. With his extreme, frightening agenda in place, it creates a new fear in just what kind of people are willing to help him act so heinously. The idea of condoning his behavior for one’s own selfish needs raises the question of just how responsible someone can be for something they didn’t physically do. The spiritual world here acts as a zero on the scale. It is neither good nor evil, but is used by characters to perform acts for either cause. At first, the supernatural is unfamiliar and frightening, but when given a closer look it becomes a comfort and even a tool for good in the fight against a madman. The question of evil is then shown as with a litmus paper. How heroically or horrifically this magic is used shows just what kind of horror a sentient being can be capable of.
Q. Do you think that supernatural terrors are more frightening, or the type that follow themes of realism such as serial killing or psychological dramas?
A. I think that both can be equally as frightening. When you look at a human being who takes pleasure in robbing others of their right to life it creates a fear of what can happen in society to create this killer. Are we responsible? Is it a fluke and unavoidable? This level of terror is also clearly evident as being entirely possible. It’s a universal fear to imagine someone creeping into your home when you are asleep and robbing you of your life while you are defenseless. No one wants to die in a brutal way, and when confronted with the idea, everyone feels fear for at least an instant. On the other hand, the supernatural can illicit fear in a way that is inexplicable. When confronted with something terrifying that a person doesn’t understand, the fear of the unknown immediately strikes. In its place, most people will attempt to fill this fear with something they do understand, which can make the experience all the more frightening. Ultimately, displacing this fear in such a way will distract someone from the real fear itself, and it will never be confronted and, hence, abolished. Only in confronting fear itself can one dispel this fear, and that can be the most daunting task of all. People like to be scared because it speaks to a primal part of them and gives them a chance to become brave. I enjoy creating a situation that both makes people shiver and tempers their will in the long run.
Q. What are some of your personal favorite horror writers?
A. Anyone who knows me knows that my absolute favorite horror writer (and favorite any-kind-of writer) is Edgar Allan Poe. He created such beautiful images with his words, and his style inspires me to attempt to create an oil painting with my own prose. Poe was capable of creating pure terror and salvation in the same piece. The truer meanings of his works are what are most remarkable to me. To create horror that is also symbolic has become a paramount task of mine. He was also quite capable of writing hilarious works, and I encourage everyone to read The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether. It is one of the funniest things I have ever read. Thomas Harris–who created Hannibal Lecter–is also a favorite of mine. His blunt delivery of horrific words and concision in his work have inspired me to attempt to write the perfect sentence every time, to titillate the reader without becoming overly verbose. Also on my list is possibly my favorite living artist: Guillermo del Toro. He tries to create a deep, artistic meaning to his work that is also meant to be utterly terrifying and disgusting. If you haven’t read The Strain books, which he co-authored with Chuck Hogan, I highly recommend the trilogy. It’s a different, creepy take on vampires, and it is highly satisfying.
Q. What types of writing were you involved in before the novel?
A. As I have been involved in writing Immolation Finale since I was quite young, I’m sure plenty of people can imagine the types of stories I was writing beforehand. My seventh grade teacher introduced me to creative writing in a new, fresh way that I had never considered before. As such, my sense of humor was my first medium for this creation. I was writing stories that I should have gotten in trouble for, but the lack of censorship allowed me to want to keep writing. One of the few stories I can recall involved a group of school kids who found a treasure map. I’m sure there were plenty of scenes along their journey that wouldn’t have been allowed in most classes, and in the end they learned that the X marked a broken condom machine that was constantly giving out free wares. Being able to write stories like this was more than important to my life as a writer. If I had been in a class with a teacher who was constantly telling me I couldn’t do that, it would have potentially made me dislike the craft itself. It was only when I was older, and I had found old hand-drawn books that I had created as a child, that I realized I had been a writer as soon as I could write. The reintroduction I had to writing in seventh grade made me realize that writing could be both fun AND professional. That’s what made me the writer I am today. It’s also worthy to note that my sense of humor has managed to sneak its way into my adult works exactly where it is needed.
Q. Immolation Finale is subtitled (Volume 1) – does this mean we can be expecting a sequel in the future? Is it part of a longer series?
A. Yes, there will be a sequel. I have been writing it for the past year or so, although it has been cooking in my head for almost as long as Immolation Finale. There will be almost an entirely new cast of characters, with one exception. The returning character is a secret, for all potential readers out there, but the sequel will delve into the supernatural matters happening behind the scenes of the first book that were only hinted at and kept mysterious. I hope that readers will be excited to learn more, while still not quite learning everything. I do plan to write a third in the series, but it will not be set until thirteen years or so after the first two, and I plan to write other books while those years transpire in the real world. If readers like my work, I’m sure that will be a giant tease, but rest assured, it will be worth it.
Q. Do you think the horror is of a more brutal and gory in your face sort in Immolation Finale, or a creepy, sneak up behind you shivers down your spine type, or some combination of the two?
A. There is no doubt that the horror in Immolation Finale is in your face at times. As stated before, I try to create an oil painting with my words, and that goes for the gore as well. I grew up with Mortal Kombat, and gore has always been a wicked thrill for me. I enjoy making people cringe, or making them smile gleefully as I do. Certain images were an attempt for me to emulate the ghastliest scenes ever to be described of Hell, sights straight from your worst nightmares. That being said, I do at times try to create the feeling that there is some dark shadow standing over your shoulder, watching you as you read, coming ever so close to placing its twisted fingers on your frame. I enjoy creating a scene that sends shivers down a reader’s spine, and I try to do it whenever possible.
Q. Where can our readers find you, and your writings on the internet?
A. Immolation Finale is an independently published book available from my Createspace e-Store, Amazon.com, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble. If anyone would like to read a brief preview of Immolation Finale, you can find it at this address:https://www.createspace.com/pub/community/give.review.do?id=1121882&rewrite=true Interested readers can find my page on Facebook and can follow me on Titter: @SteveGrilliot . I may start a blog in the future, but I currently don’t have one. If I start a blog I will direct readers to it through my Facebook page and Twitter. I hope that I have piqued interests here today, and I hope that I see some new followers online.
Q. Is there anything you’d like our readers to know that we haven’t covered yet?
A. If you are a reader who is interested in subjects of horror such as witchcraft, werewolves, vampires, and ghosts, I think you will like my work. Take a shot with my first book; I’m sure you will be satisfied with the time spent reading, and I hope you will end up longing for more. I plan to write some sci-fi works in the future as well, so if you are a fan of that genre, you may be interested in taking a look at my horror works as they come out. And if you are interested in what I have said here today, feel free to stop by on Facebook or on Twitter. If you have any questions, I’ll try to keep up with answering them. I hope to create some future fans, and I will enjoy seeing each new one I get. Thank you all for reading my words this far.
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~ by Sumiko Saulson on March 28, 2013.

2 Responses to “Steve Grilliot, Author of “Immolation Finale””

  1. Great intervie the book sounds good.

  2. Excellent interview Steve! I am very proud of you!

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