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Wednesday, 9 July 2008
A Talk With Jim Musgrave
Topic: Author Interview
Jim Musgrave the person:

1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Creative, kind and intelligent.

2.   How do you think others would describe you?

Quiet, but when you get to know him, you like his sense of humor and his serious, creative mind.

3. Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Teaching, as this allows one to reach the young people of our future.  Unlike writing, you can have a direct influence on another human being.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

The owner of our San Diego townhouse, Menasseh, a Blue Point Siamese, who is the living embodiment of my deceased father, Elvis Ray Musgrave.  Like my father, he will storm into your bedroom and wake you up at 6:30 AM.  Although his "Rise and shine," has been replaced by this strange-sounding bawl that sounds like a baby's cry.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

Following my first completely sober day, each moment has become precious, if I choose to see it clearly.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

About twenty years of a drinking/drugging lifestyle.  It's all in my personal inventory that was cast out to the ocean waves, like my father's ashes.

7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I would probably be a really anxious reader who keeps telling himself, "Hey, I can do better than that!"

 8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Here lies Jim Musgrave (a.k.a., Efraim Zimbalist Graves), a man who subscribed to the Absurdist School of Art, and who tried to raise the consciousness level of readers (whether they liked it or not).  In his family life, he wasn't an asshole as big as J. D. Salinger or Robert Frost, but he indeed had his selfish moments.

Jim Musgrave the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I once wrote about our dysfunctional family when I was 14, and my step-mother found the vignettes, and she tore them up in front of my face and yelled at me.  That's certainly a Zen moment for a writer.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

I'm getting published in the horror venue and in horror anthologies, so I guess I'm honing "the craft" in genre writing.  I like the new genre of "speculative fiction" as it allows one to cross-over genres without stepping on too many toes.  I am also working on two novels-one mystery and one horror/mythical.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

It would be nice to win a Stoker Award or some other "fair" contest, but writing is, in itself, its best reward when it's done right.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I am an obsessive-compulsive type character, so I tend to create in spurts.  It really doesn't matter about the time/place, although in my later years I tend to perform better in the mornings, although horror is often best written in the dead of night (go figure).

13.  Why do you write?

When I first heard Franz Kafka's answer, I wish I had said it.  "I write to keep from going insane."

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

All things considered, I would have to say Elmore Leonard is the most inspiring, as he keeps his own entertaining voice, and you can't really tell how old he is if you read his stuff!

15.  How do you define your writing?

I would call it "socio-political fiction" with a flavor of the artistic absurd (in the Albert Camus sense of the term).

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

These stories really showed that this guy cared about the condition of humanity.

Jim Musgrave the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

Author's site:

Blog:  Let There Be Blog!

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Lucifer's Wedding (horror)

Russian Wolves (political/horror)

Iron Maiden (Civil War novel)

Sins of Darkness (political/conspiracy)

The President's Parasite and Other Stories (short stories)

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

Think Thomas Harris versus James Patterson in my political horror.  I can shock a new reader sometimes with my realism.  However, if you stick with me, you can get something from every book I've written.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

The reason I like the World Wide Web is because it connects writers and readers in a way no other form of communication can do.  Every day, songs, books and even movies are erupting from the underground volcano that is the WWW, and nary an agent, publisher or other "middle man" is in sight!  In other words, the artist is in contact with his audience in a very direct and personal way.  To me, this is a sacred trust, and that's why I support things like the Internet Neutrality Act.  We can't let the corporate giants take over our last independent stronghold.  I have been stung by corporate publishing, and I have friends who were also burned by others in the music and film industries.  Independent artists (aren't we all, in essence, independent creators?) need to stick together.  I like to think that if I develop a following, these people will hang with me, through hell and high water, so we can form a symbiotic relationship and grow together.  For, in the long run, the writer is a teacher of sorts, and often the teacher must learn from the student.  What better way to do it than on the Internet?  I have approached some of the "big name" authors, and I simply get referred to their "handlers":  lawyers, administrative assistants, you know the drill.  However, there are other, more independent artists who can be relied upon to give feedback at a moment's notice.  I like to think my readers are like that:  honest friends.  Thanks for being here for me and other independent authors/publishers/artists.

Posted by joyceanthony at 1:13 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 9 July 2008 - 11:09 AM EDT

Name: theessaywriter
Home Page:

I am an independent writer so I can relate. Albert Camus is a name familiar to me, not that I can tell you why. Maybe it was something I read in college.


I'm reading your short stories now, so bear with me.



Wednesday, 9 July 2008 - 12:40 PM EDT

Name: "Jim Musgrave"
Home Page:

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the read!  I got into trouble teaching Camus' novel, THE STRANGER, shortly after 9/11/01.  I was teaching it to show students the problems with Capital Punishment, but the dean saw it differently.  I also used the lyrics to the Cure's song, "Killing an Arab," which was written directly about the book.  Of course, we were (and are) killing lots of Arabs, but I suppose we're not supposed to admit it "in public."  In fact, Clear Channel stations banned the playing of "Killing an Arab" (among many other songs).

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