Thursday, September 27, 2012

Interview with Richard E. Gropp, author of Bad Glass, and Giveaway

Please welcome Richard E. Gropp to The Qwillery as part of 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Bad Glass was published on September 25, 2012.

Richard:  Thanks for welcoming me to your site! I really appreciate it.

TQ:  My pleasure!

TQ:  Writing quirks! What are some of yours?

Richard:  Hmmmm … I’m constantly reading aloud. Is that odd? I’ll read a sentence over and over again, listening to the rhythm of the syllables. I’ll change a word and read it again; I’ll read it in context, and then read through the whole chapter. Then again. Sometimes I’ll read it into a recorder and play it back. And if I’m being productive, I won’t call it a day until my voice is hoarse and my throat is raw. (Luckily, I seldom work at the local coffee shop.)

TQ:   Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Richard:  That’s a pretty long and constantly-shifting list. Raymond Chandler, Samuel R. Delany, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Stephen King, and William Gibson are all major influences. But the most recent writer I went all “fan boy” over would have to be Gail Carriger. I absolutely adore her Parasol Protectorate series, and I’ve been recommending it to everyone – it’s so much fun, and a type of writing I don’t think I could ever manage!

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Richard:  I guess I’m a mixture of the two. I can generally see the big things on the horizon – the action climax, the way a relationship is probably going to work out – but I usually don’t know how I’m going to get there. Most of the time, I’ll be able to see about two chapters into the future, and that’s it.

That can be scary at times – not knowing where you’re going – but I think it’s fun to dig yourself into a deep, dark hole and then try to dig your way back out. That’s when you stumble upon all of the most awesome and unexpected things.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Richard:  Probably working at a reasonable speed. I tend to obsess over sentences and words, rewriting and rewriting and rewriting until I’m absolutely happy. That means it can take me weeks or months to finish a single chapter. I’m hoping that my pace will pick up as I get more experience and confidence.

TQ:  Describe Bad Glass in 140 characters or less.

Richard:  An aspiring photographer sets out to document the unexplained horrors in a quarantined city. He faces the inexplicable & fights to survive.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Bad Glass?

Richard:  I’ve always been a fan of apocalyptic and “weird city” fiction (books like The Stand, or Swan Song, or Viriconium, or Gormenghast), but those things always seemed like such a huge undertaking to me – the world-building, the large cast of characters, the delicate mood. I think, when I sat down to write Bad Glass, I just felt like it was time for me to stop fooling around and start working on something I’d genuinely love. Even if it was big and scary and intimidating.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Bad Glass?

Richard:  Most of my research involved traveling to Spokane, WA (where the novel takes place) and walking the streets on a quiet October afternoon. The weather was gray and the streets were empty, and that’s when I came up with much of the mood and setting of Bad Glass. And really, mood and setting are a huge part of this novel. I also took a lot of photographs, and descriptions of some of those photos actually made it into the book.

I also boned up on computer networks, photography, psychology, and a little bit of physics.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Richard:  My main character, Dean, was pretty easy for me to write. He’s an aspiring, unpublished photographer looking desperately for his big break, and when I was writing Bad Glass I was an aspiring, unpublished writer looking desperately for my big break. So getting into his head and expressing his hopes and dreams and fears was a fairly easy task. I hope that those parts come across as truthful and deeply-felt, because I really think that that’s a snapshot of where I was just a couple of years ago.

The hardest character for me to write was probably Floyd. And not because he was difficult for me to relate to, but because I really liked him a great deal, and I felt like absolute crap for all of the horrible things I put him through. Really, he’s a nice, likable guy, and I do not treat him well.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Bad Glass?

Richard:  Probably Dean’s meeting with Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Cob Gilles. It’s an interesting (and at times incoherent) exchange, and I think, in this venerable elder, Dean sees his dreams reflected and laid bare. And it gives him a lot to think about.

TQ:  What's next?

Richard:  I’m working on a new, unrelated novel. It’s still pretty early in the process, though, so I don’t want to reveal too much. I’m also hoping to work on some more short fiction soon.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Richard:  Thanks for having me! And thanks for including Bad Glass in your Debut Author Challenge!

About Bad Glass

Bad Glass
Del Rey, September 25, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

One of the most hauntingly original dark fantasy debuts in years—perfect for fans of Lost and Mark Danielewski’s cult classic, House of Leaves.

Something has happened in Spokane. The military has evacuated the city and locked it down. Even so, disturbing rumors and images seep out, finding their way onto the Internet, spreading curiosity, skepticism, and panic. For what they show is—or should be—impossible: strange creatures that cannot exist, sudden disappearances that violate the laws of physics, human bodies fused with inanimate objects, trapped yet still half alive. . . .

Dean Walker, an aspiring photographer, sneaks into the quarantined city in search of fame. What he finds will change him in unimaginable ways. Hooking up with a group of outcasts led by a beautiful young woman named Taylor, Dean embarks on a journey into the heart of a mystery whose philosophical implications are as terrifying as its physical manifestations. Even as he falls in love with Taylor—a woman as damaged and seductive as the city itself—his already tenuous hold on reality starts to come loose. Or perhaps it is Spokane’s grip on the world that is coming undone.

Now, caught up in a web of interlacing secrets and betrayals, Dean, Taylor, and their friends must make their way through this ever-shifting maze of a city, a city that is actively hunting them down, herding them toward a shocking destiny.

About Richard

Richard E. Gropp lives on a mountain outside of Seattle with his partner of fifteen years. It is a small mountain. He studied literature and psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has worked as a bookstore clerk, a forklift driver, and an accountant. He has a hard time spelling the word broccoli, and in his spare time he dabbles in photography and cooking.

Website : Twitter @rgropp : Facebook

The Giveaway


What:  Three commenters will each win a copy of Bad Glass from Random House! US/Canada ONLY

How:   Answer the following question: 

What is one of your favorite apocalyptic or "weird city" stories?
(stories = novels, comics, short stories, movies, etc.)

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Thursday, October 4, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. "One of the most hauntingly original dark fantasy debuts in years"
    Done I am sold. I love the dark side of Fantasy, paranormal and urban fantasy, and sometimes it is hard to find. Thank You for posting about it.
    My Favorite apocalyptic novels/series right now are the Day by Day Armageddon series and The Aftertime series
    GFC Follower: J9

  2. I like World War Z.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  3. I like Article 5.

    I follow the blog.


  4. I like the British comic Nemesis the Warlock.

  5. I liked Battle Royale.

    I follow the blog.


    Alyn.yang at gmail dot com

  6. Thanks for entering. (And thanks for all the cool book ideas -- I'll add them to my reading list.)

    Happy reading!