Greg Ballan is a graduate of Northeastern University holding Bachelor’s degrees in Marketing and Management. He lives in Hopedale with his patient, tolerant and sometimes bewildered wife, Teresa and his three children: Tom, Rachel and Christie. Greg enjoys several outdoor activities such as hiking, archery and shooting. When he’s not working his full time job as a Financial Analyst or getting lost in some unknown woodlands, he’s crunched over his laptop putting his warped imagination into words or penning a column about politics, hunting humor or his latest tale about avoiding house work and yard work.
Rayna: What project are you currently working on? (C’mon, give us a hint!) Right now I’m working the final edits on Hybrid: Forced Vengeance with Lachesis Publishing. The book is due out Feb-March 2010 timeframe. My current project is Lost Sons of Atlantis. Lost Sons is pretty much a character study of two immortals; one bent on conquest and one simply wishing to find happiness and belonging in mortal society. The novel is Sci-Fi/Adventure (My favorite genre.)
Rayna: What is your favorite snack? Tostitos Con Queso dip with pretzels and RC Cola. I’ve been known to imbibe Oreos under extreme social pressure.
Rayna: I have heard from numerous authors that chocolate is the staple of their diet. Is it in yours? Reisin Chocolate chews… I have to eat the whole bag one after another. Chocolate is a stress food / guilty pleasure for me.
Rayna: Will electronic readers ever take the place of the humble paperback? I hope not. There’s something intimate and personal about a paperback. I like holding a book and the sensation of flipping through the pages. The best part of going to a bookstore is being able to browse the covers and peek at a few pages of a new release or something that just tickles my fancy. I can’t see dong that in a store full of Kindles.
Rayna: If you could be one of your characters – Who would you be? And why? The main character in my current project, Duncan Kord has been alive forever 10,000 years and will continue to exist long beyond that. I’d love to have lived through history and see the epic turns of mankind. I believe written history is biased. It’s been said that history is written by the victor not the vanquished. The Greeks eradicated much of Egyptian historical records and the Romans rewrote much of Greek history. I don’t believe there’s an actual account of what has occurred throughout history… just somebody’s biased interpretation
Rayna: Who or what influences you when you write? This would definitely be a who. My favorite author is David Eddings. I can read his books over and over again. Rereading one of his novels is like sitting down with old friends and catching up. I love his style and his descriptive passages; he paints a powerful image with words.
Rayna: When you have writer’s block how do you break free? When I lose that creative flow on a project I put it down for awhile and start something totally different as a diversion. I remember while writing Forced Vengeance when I’d it a rough patch I’d write a political blog or column for a site or work out on the heavy bag for an hour or so to simply let loose and “de-stress”. Sometimes I find, with writers block, it’s easier to work around it than try to work through it. Just my opinion.
Rayna: Who is your perfect hero? And why? My father, hands down; and this was a recent revelation. I didn’t understand my dad when I was growing up, I mean, he was always there offering help and guidance but I never understood why he never went anywhere why he was always more concerned about us than himself. Now I’m a father with kids of my own, a home and the same responsibilities. I don’t know how he kept it all together, especially having me for a son (poor man). I can now understand the selflessness and sacrifice but he always did it with a smile and never complained about what he was missing or giving up. If I can be half the man my father was I’ll have accomplished something. And I’m smart enough to know I’m not there yet.
Rayna: What do you do for inspiration? Dreams, some of my best ideas have come from crazy dreams I’ve had… truth be told my two short stories were spun from fragments of a nightmares I had several years ago. Also walking alone in the woods. The woods in my hometown are directly responsible for the creation of Hybrid and Hybrid: Forced Vengeance.
Rayna: Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven’t yet? Yes. I’ve always wanted to try and write a romance novel. Something every woman would have by their bedside and highlight passages to give to their friends. I actually started a project and it turned into Sci-Fi after fifteen pages. I admire people who can write in this genre. Romance and comedy are tough.
Rayna: What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process? Research thy name is Google. I used Google extensively to research all the periods of history over the last 100 centuries for my current work in progress.
Rayna: What is your favorite movie of all time? The one where you can watch it and still get affected at the same spots each and every time? The 13th Warrior. I never, ever get tired of that movie. I love to recite the Viking chant they all say as they’re being charged during the final battle. It’s my favorite scene of any movie. I’d like to think I’d face my oblivion like they did… eyes wide open and ready to go down swinging.
Rayna: Who would you want to be tied/handcuffed to for 24hours? Easy. My wife, Teresa, with no children home
Rayna: What is your favorite way to relax after a hard day working and writing? Working out on the heavy bag; it’s the ultimate way to relieve stress plus the heavy bad doesn’t hit back. If I want some alone ‘vegetable’ time I grab some RC or Coke and snack food and watch the Sci-Fi channel all day by myself on the large flat screen television.
Rayna: What is the one era you would love to go visit and why? I’d like to go back to the frontier days and be a Mountain Man like Jeremiah Johnson; no television, no video games and no telephones and no office work. It was a much simpler age with no technological complications.
Rayna: Have you ever faked sick? No… I’d like to think of a more imaginative way to get out of doing something… not that my attempt ever work but I do try.
Rayna: Do you believe in love at first sight? That’s how I met my wife. It probably wasn’t the same for her. It takes time for me to grow on people. I’m kind of like a human fungus, once I’m around it’s awfully hard to get rid of me.
Rayna: What is your perfect pizza? Thin crust Papa Ginos pepperoni and pineapple.
Rayna: Do you have a celebrity crush? No, most celebrities frighten me. They’re scarier than some of the creepy stuff I’ve created.
Rayna: Out of all your books, do you have a favorite one? If not, then which one is closest to. Yes, Hybrid because my son, Thomas was such a big part of encouraging me to attempt to write a full length novel. He’d proof read chapters, tell me if something was good, not so good or just plain stunk. He is my biggest fan and best critic. I would not have ever made it as far as I have writing if not for his encouragement.
Rayna: What character out of all your books is the closest to your personality? Erik Knight; moody at times and takes himself way too seriously.
Rayna: Have you ever been nervous over reader reaction when a new book comes out? Hell yeah!!! I want my work to grab people and take them on a rollercoaster ride or make them stop and really think about something. Writing is such a personal expression of one’s inner self that I’d feel personally rejected if a work comes out and isn’t well received. It would mean that I’ve failed, somehow, to communicate my idea or story.
Rayna: How much does reader response mean to you over your books? I LOVE hearing from people who’ve read my work… both good and bad despite what I said above. I can only grow as a writer if somebody tells me what I did wrong or what he/she didn’t like. I learned early on from seasoned authors, James McDonald and Ed Williams; you have to have a thick skin in this business.
Rayna: What do you hope readers get from your books after they read them? A sense that they’ve just been on a fantastic adventure the sense of fulfillment that usually accompanies completing such a thing.
Rayna: Who is your favorite author? David Eddings
Rayna: What is the weirdest thing a reviewer has ever said about one of your books? A reviewer, after reading Hybrid, said “This book makes me wonder what this author does in his spare time.”
Rayna: What is the nicest thing a reviewer has ever said about one of your books? “Can’t wait for the sequel.”
Rayna: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what are 2 things on it? Bow Hunt in Alaska, see the Great Wall of China and help, my wife, Teresa, complete the three things on her list. (Yeah I know that’s three.)
Rayna: What is your favorite color besides YELLOW? Black
Rayna: Boxers or briefs? Briefs
Rayna: Red Pill or Blue Pill? Excedrin Migraine is my pill of choice.
Thank you Greg for a great interview. Greg’s book can be found at eReader.com
ERIK KNIGHT, a small time private investigator, always knew he was different from everybody else. Keener senses, heightened awareness and an enhanced physical strength that could be called upon by his sheer will. Erik becomes involved with a team of high profile investigators and local police trying to locate a girl who was kidnapped in the middle of a playground amongst dozens of adults and children. None of the adults saw anything and what the children claim to have seen is too farfetched to be believed. The search evolves into a full-scale manhunt into the dark and desolate woodlands of the Hopedale Mountain. After a lethal encounter and a fatality, Erik, the investigators and police realize that what they’re dealing with isn’t a man and possibly isn’t of this world. What they’re dealing with is a sentient evil that has an appetite for young children.