Greg Ramsay is the author of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi novels Lia, Human of Utah and Blackbow. He lives in Ontario with his family, a cat that thinks he owns the universe, and two overly-yappy little dogs.
Content warning: this interview includes mentions of child abuse and rape.
Interview with Greg Ramsay
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
I imagine I was born to write, given I’ve been doing it actively since high school.
Do you have complete control over your characters or do they ever control you?
Honestly, I can’t say for sure. I have Psychosis and PTSD. Which, until they were treated, made characters like Lia real to me. So for a time I was nothing more than a scribe, telling the tale of a woman tasked with being strong enough to handle the traumas and experiences I thought I couldn’t handle myself.
A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are. What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?
Whoever you are, whether you love a product, don’t, or just fall somewhere in the middle of the opinion scale, your review matters for multiple reasons:
1) Reviews inform potential future readers.
2) Reviews bolster a book’s standing in the publisher’s algorithm, meaning that book you were impacted enough by to review has a chance of impacting another that might not have found it otherwise.
3) You give the author feedback they deeply desire. No one spends years and tons of money, (eight years and over $6,500.00 CAD in my case) hoping to only receive silence in response. You could be putting a smile on their face, or giving them reason to quit before their ego is their undoing which they wouldn’t have otherwise. Something is always better than nothing.
What kind of impact do you want your book(s) to have on readers?
I want Lia’s story to bring enjoyment, investment, and a sense of satisfaction to anyone who reads it.
How about a sense of terror just from looking at the cover? 'Cause it's kind of spooky.
Who in your life has truly inspired you?
My ex, Tia. Whether she cares or not, her ability to give me a happiness I’ve never had since my time with her, and her personal strength without needing to talk about it were really inspiring.
Naturally a woman who took away the pain of years of abuse all while being a beacon of happiness that took no abuse from anybody would be inspiring to anybody, I think.
What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?
Make more art instead of just changing existing art to fit our opinions, it’s a great outlet.
Ignore politics, even one’s own. We’re all nothing in the end anyway, no need for drama.
Shut down social media, especially Twitter, in current year it’s all just a hive of drama.
What might we be surprised to know about you?
From the age of five for many years I was abused every way but sexually by a stepdad.
In my first semester of college I was raped by a girl I thought was my friend right after Tia dumped me via Facebook message.
I have Cerebral Palsy on top of the aforementioned mental illnesses. I took all of my experiences and made art.
My initial goal was to make Lia’s story an outlet for the lady and the Demon in my head and never publish it. PsychoPTSD, (as I call it, because I’m too lazy to type the list all the of time) had other ideas: a need for a legacy. So I had it edited by a 28 year English teacher and pro editor, got it a pro cover, etc. Eight years and $6,500.00 later, I have Lia’s story to give to others, (and some unpublished crazy stories I sometimes regret for taking up money I could’ve given Lia marketing-wise.)
Nowadays I consider myself a ‘book parent’ as I made Lia, pay her bills, and just hope she succeeds on her own merits some day. Also I’ve no drive to write anymore. I’ve already given my best through her story.
I shut down almost all of my social media because my traumas left me with too much social anxiety and ineptitude to avoid any potential of my interactions reflecting poorly on Lia. Plus, drama negatively affects my own tenuous mental health. All that remains is my personal Facebook, (for now) since it’s where I can just post a blurb and link then ignore people. For context, I can barely read new reviews without panicking, so my definition of drama is as much internal as it is external. I can’t deal with people and don’t want to, so please just buy Lia’s story, love it, promote it, and don’t bother me. I don’t matter, she does. She’s powerful, I’m but a scribe with nothing left to write.
If you could have one (real life) skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be? Why? How would you use it?
Marketing genius most of all. I’d use that capacity to make Lia, Human of Utah famous; it’s my one and only goal as then she might get movie and video game adaptation(s). And maybe I’d finally feel successful then, or at least have a real widely impactful positive legacy through her impact on others.
I feel like that's a skill every author wants.
What creature is better: dragons, zombies, or aliens?
Aliens, as they can be written to either have or technologically develop the traits inherent to any fantasy creature.
You can find Greg's books on Amazon here. He also has some helpful tips for authors--both new to the business and hardened veterans--in this handy article here.
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!