Hi Clay and Susan, welcome to Inheritance Books. Please tell us a bit about yourselves.
We are Clay and Susan Griffith, a husband and wife writing team. We are the co-authors of the VAMPIRE EMPIRE trilogy: The Greyfriar, The Rift Walker, and The Kingmakers published by Pyr Books. The trilogy is a rousing combination of pulp adventure, steampunk fantasy, and romance. The audiobook for Book 1 of the Vampire Empires series, The Greyfriar, was just nominated for Best Steampunk audiobook, narrated by none other than James Marsters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Our newest upcoming series is a Victorian magic series for Del Rey Books.
Which book have you inherited from generations above? Why is it special?
Susan: My mother’s cookbook is one that I’ve inherited. It’s nothing fancy, just one of Betty Crocker’s many. But Mom came over from Germany when she was seven years old and knew virtually nothing, from the native language to its customs to meal preparation. That changed when she met my father whose own father was a chef. His family ran a boarding house called Balsam Shade in Eddyville, NY. She learned from them how to make delicious meals. Later she sought out the recipes she remembered from her own childhood, like sauerbraten and strudel. Her specialty, however, was cookies, and I still make the same special ones year after year from her favorite cookbook, Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book. It brings back memories of Christmas when the fireplace was lit and a plate of homemade cookies was laid out like a baited trap for Santa. It is part of my mother’s legacy. She always made sure the family’s heritage was kept alive, making each of us daughters an album that is filled with photos and recipes and trinkets from the past. I treasure that. It means so much to me since she is now gone, but I intend to follow that same commitment. Butterhorn cookies, anyone?
Butterhorn cookies sound lovely. Yes please! So, mmffph… (excuse me a minute while I finish this cookie). Er… so, which book would you leave to generations below? Why?
Clay: There are tons of options for books that I would hand down, but I’d have to pick The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. It’s the last novel Chandler wrote about his troubled hero, L.A. private eye Philip Marlowe. He wrote it while his beloved wife struggled with a long painful illness, and the jaundiced view of life that comes from watching a loved one die seeps from the page. As with most Marlowe novels, it isn’t always clear “whodunit,” but that’s not the point. The Long Goodbye is the story of a man who has lived too long among meanness and lies, and badly needs to find someone in the world who represents truth and morality. Raymond Chandler is a master of character and a poignant recorder of a time and place now gone; and The Long Goodbye is the best example of it. I would give this book to writers particularly because Chandler’s unique voice instantly makes any other writer (like me) want to write like him. But if you’re honest with yourself (as I was), you’ll find your own voice because you’ll never approach his nuanced elegant toughness, and if you try, you’ll just be one of the countless tone-deaf imitators who parrot his style, but will never make something like The Long Goodbye. That’s the ultimate lesson of Chandler and Marlowe; make your own way in the world. It might not be easy, but you might do something good.
Thank you for sharing your Inheritance Books with us. Your books sound lots of fun.
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