5 for Friday with Greg Mitchell
Greg Mitchell is the author of The Coming Evil trilogy and the new Release Rift jump. He’s also my friend and guinea pig for my 5 for Friday interview segment. You can find out all about Greg and his books at his website - www.thecomingevil.blogspot.com.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your family outside of writerly life.
Sad truth is, these days, it’s almost all “writerly life”. I’m really ready for a break, but I’ve got a number of projects I hope to clear up first.
Meghan and I have been married for ten years. It’s crazy really. We met back in December of 2001, at an audition for a local play. I was actually taking a friend to audition and had NO intention of trying out, but I was there, I was bored, so I gave it a whirl. Meghan was there, too, as an assistant to the director, with her little clipboard taking her notes, keeping everybody in line. Man, looking back, that’s so Meghan. I saw her and thought she was pretty cute. Then the director who was a friend of both of ours told me a couple days later that A) I had a part in the play, and B) Meghan thought I was swoon-worthy (not his exact words). I asked her out on Christmas Day because I couldn’t wait to see her again. Three months later, I asked her to marry me. July 2002 we were married and I’ve never looked back. It’s been the best. We have two wonderful daughters with boys’ names—Jo and Dani. Jo Beth is 6 and is a princess-in-training who loves pink, and dance, and wants to open a bakery when she grows up. She promises she’ll bake me a cake every year for my birthday when she does. Dani is 2. She’s a little daredevil. I swung her around a lot as a little baby, and I think I’ve burned the fear out of her. Which is good—I was always a fearful child, but Dani seems impervious to pain or fear. Maybe she’ll make a good Marine or stuntwoman. We have a pretty busy life. I’ve got a full-time day job at the family business, silk screenprinting caps. Meghan works as a secretary for our church. And, yeah, there’s this little writing thing I do.
2. What do you regret most about your teenage years?
Yikes. I had a rough spot in high school, senior year. I mean, I wasn’t like into drugs or anything that drastic, but I got really dark there for awhile. I decided I wasn’t going to college (I still don’t regret that one iota), and I just kinda blew off everything. I gave my heart away to this girl I barely knew and pretty much turned my back on everyone else—including my little brother and my parents. A lot of tears and anger during that time. Then me and the girl broke up and I was lost for awhile, trying to figure out my place in the world. Plus, there was this thing with drag racing, but the less said about that the better. An expensive lesson.
3. How does music shape your creativity?
Despite my grim exterior, my emotions are just beneath the surface, always ready to bubble to the top. And music has always made me emote. It makes me cry, it makes me riot, it makes me hurt, and it makes me glad. I write from a place of raw emotion, so I rarely write without listening to music. And it’s not classical either. I crank up the AC/DC for some big good guy action scene or listen to Radiohead when I’m trying to write something introspective. Or maybe I’ll pop in Christopher Young’s score to Hellraiser. Whatever fits the scene. Whatever dredges up the emotion I need to throw down on the page. Some songs I listen to on repeat for hours until I get a particular scene just right. The music totally keeps me in the zone.
4. Be honest now. How obsessed are you with Star Wars?
Well, see, I have to make this distinction here. Because I am totally obsessed with Star Wars, but not in the way people usually think. I’m not sitting over here in Luke Skywalker pajamas, surrounded by posters and action figures (though I have a few, that I play with my kids, obviously). I’m not a collector of Star Wars memorabilia. I love the stories of Star Wars. I love watching the movies and dissecting all the mythological beats. I want to know the names of all the ships and who that weird three-eyed monster in the background of that one scene in Jabba’s palace is (and, yes, he DOES have a name and a backstory). I love the comics and the novels and the new Clone Wars cartoon. I sometimes get lost and spend hours on Wookieepedia (online Star Wars encyclopedia) just learning names and how so-and-so knows so-and-so and what book that one thing is found and how it connects to this comic strip that came out in 1979. I love the minutiae of this amazing tapestry of myth that George Lucas started and so many people have crafted over the last three decades. I love it! So, yeah, totally obsessed, but don’t buy me a Boba Fett pez dispenser. I’m not into that kind of thing—but if you do, make sure it’s Coca-Cola flavored pez.
Well, interestingly enough, many people know Greg for years without even knowing that he has a sense of humor. I’d say Greg is sort of aloof oftentimes in person, pretty anti-social and grim. But yes, inside he is a riot (nevermind that scowl on his face). Though Greg doesn’t usually show his silly side in public, he is pretty goofy at home with me and the girls. He does have dance parties with our daughters, and while I would love nothing more than to upload a video to prove it, that would probably guarantee that my date nights for the next five years would be spent at cheap fast food joints sipping tepid water, so I’ll restrain myself. To fully understand the depth of Greg’s sense of humor, you would almost have to see the video that he and I made for our church a few years back to promote the Men’s Camping Trip, which Greg has never attended, and which consisted entirely of us poking fun at Greg’s being not at all the typical Southern manly man. It gets replayed every year.