Click Here to read a reprint of an online chat with Greg sponsored by Barnes & Noble on May 22, 1997 after the release of Greg's third novel, Mortal Fear.
their particular authors or books that you feel have influenced your
Yes, I have a great number of favorite authors and selected works
that I feel have greatly influenced my writing. Click
Here to view Greg's current list of influential authors and works.
you going to move out of Mississippi like John Grisham did? John
Grisham is in a unique situation, and should not be blamed for leaving
Mississippi for most of the year. Grisham is the Tom Cruise of the
publishing world, and he simply cannot lead a normal life in his home
state. I have not yet reached, nor will I ever reach that level of fame,
so remaining in Mississippi for me is not as problematic. The advent of
24 Hours (Trapped) has brought with it a different level of fame and
fascination, and has changed the way I am treated in my home town. But
at this time, my wife and I plan to remain here. Natchez is a wonderful
place to raise children, and we have much extended family here. This is
the Southern tradition, which I revere and believe should be
you consider yourself a Southern novelist? I
believe that many of the themes of the "classic Southern
novel" were explored and even exhausted long ago by Faulkner,
Robert Penn Warren, Tennessee Williams, Flannery O'Conner, Eudora Welty,
William Styron, Truman Capote, and others. That being said, I do feel a
deep "Southernness" in my soul which I can best express as a
profound connection to the land, to extended family, to the Mississippi
River, and to the black/white racial conflict which lies at the heart of
the moral conflict present in what it means to be an American. In a
nation of ever-increasing homogeneity, the South as a region stubbornly
retains its unique identity, both its dark and light sides. As Marshall
Frady put it, in the South, "the Old Testament and the Crucifixion
always seemed to count for more than the New Testament and the
Resurrection - a dire melodrama of thorns and betrayal and midnight
anguish, with nothing in the life of Jesus mattering quite so much as
his suffering and his death."
was it like working with the stars in your recent movie? Please
see the "Movies" section of Greg's website.
you write another World War Two novel? There
is a constant flow of letters from fans asking this question. In
particular, the character of Jonas Stern prompts great interest. After
the success of Spandau Phoenix and Black Cross, Greg did not wish to
become pigeonholed as the next Jack Higgins. He branched out into other
genres, but he retains his deep and abiding interest in the second World
War. Greg feels that from a moral perspective, World War II is the most
fertile source of material for thrillers. He considers Black Cross a
hard novel to match, and will only write another World War II novel when
he has a story of equal depth and excitement. One such story has brewing
in his mind for three years, and he will eventually turn his hand to
do you get your ideas? Stephen
King jokes about his question all the time, and I must confess that I
joke about it too. Ideas come out of the ether, from your subconscious,
from the smile on the face of a woman you saw once in your life.
Sometimes you're exorcising demons from your past, other times you're
painting the flights of your imagination onto paper. The more fictional
the idea is, the more true it's likely to be. The best neuroscientists
in the world don't understand how the human brain creates the things it
does, and that's good for all of us. It leaves some mystery and magic in
any more of your books be made into movies? Dead
Sleep has been bought by Warner Brothers for the Todd sisters, the
producers of "Memento" and the "Austin Powers"
series. Spandau Phoenix is much too complex to be made into a feature
film, and would have to be produced as a mini-series. I have rebuffed
all interest in Black Cross which I think will make a powerful film one
day. I am waiting for a producer I believe is capable of giving this
novel the respectful treatment that its themes require, rather than one
who will simply exploit it as an action film. There
is great interest in Sleep No More, but as yet, I have not agreed to a
deal with anyone. I feel fortunate that I am in a position to say no to
the wrong kinds of Hollywood deal, a luxury that few authors have.
you working on any more screenplays? The
script for 24 Hours (Trapped) made a good impression in the Hollywood
community, and has created opportunities for me. I am constantly offered
work as a "script-doctor" for films in production in
Hollywood. But, as yet, I have not found a script I wanted to work on. I
have nearly finished two original screenplays at this time, and they
will soon be up for sale.
am a new fan. In what order should I read your books? That
depends on what your interests are. If you like World War II novels, you
should read Black Cross and then Spandau Phoenix. I think this question
is really, which of my books do I think are the best. At this moment in
time, I would answer this way: The Quiet Game, Mortal Fear, Black Cross,
Dead Sleep, Sleep No More, 24 Hours, Spandau Phoenix.
of your books is your personal favorite? Either
The Quiet Game or Mortal Fear.
do you research your novels? When
I wrote Spandau Phoenix, I was a starving artist. I worked in an 8 x 10
room, with a computer, and library books stacked almost to the ceiling
on every wall. I did two years of extensive research on World War II,
and traveled to Germany to complete my research. The success of Spandau
Phoenix brought with it deadlines and great pressure. Over the years,
I've been forced to do less and less of the research myself, and hired
others to assist me . I do still talk to many experts in person, such as
doctors, police, soldiers, FBI agents, and "average citizens"
in my quest for verisimilitude and for true psychological portrayals of
do you have so much sex in some of your books? The
sexual drive is one of the most powerful in the human psyche, affecting
our behavior in many seemingly unrelated areas of our lives. I am also
fascinated with the human propensity toward "evil," which some
people commonly call sin. My books contain what life contains;
therefore, I do not shy away from sex, profanity, violence or illness. I
also include love, loyalty, sacrifice, pride, honor and heroism, some of
the "old verities" that William Faulkner said would always
comprise the backbone of good fiction.
I send my copies of Greg's book to be inscribed? Yes.
You can send them to Greg in care of I. C. Inc., 112 Main Street,
Natchez, MS 39120. Please include a note stating how you would like the
books inscribed, along with return postage.
Greg read his e-mail? Our
policy is to forward all email to Greg. He does read all of his email,
and when time permits, he responds to many.
Greg be interested in writing a book from my ideas? Unfortunately,
Greg does not have time to write books and screenplays based on his own
ideas! So, collaboration on projects with others is not possible. Also,
legal counsel has insisted that Greg not comment on other individual
works that have not yet been published.