An expert author in young folks talk with us about book, pets and the life. Ladies and gentlemen, here is my time with Paul Griffin, the mind behind “When friendship followed me home”...
What is your favorite dog breed?
The kind that likes to cuddle.
Write books and training dogs. Interesting lifestyle.
I am a lucky guy. My dogs remind me to keep my life as simple as I can, to slow down, to focus on being peaceful.
|From the writer's fanpage|
You write about young folks, their problems, the value of friendship, the importance of courage and bravery, their dreams, some problematics that affected them… Why?
I started working with younger folks, mostly teens having a hard time, right out of college, 27 years ago. My first job was talking with kids about HIV-AIDS prevention. It was good work, but I didn’t intend, initially, to make teaching a lifelong endeavor. But the kids inspired me and still do, and I keep working with them in various capacities because they are so brave, and such big dreamers. They keep me hopeful. Teens are often experiencing the big things—love and death, for instance—for the very first time. The kids’ intensity and passion reminds me that each day is a gift. That no matter how bad things get, we can rejoice in our awareness, our ability to be defiantly hopeful.
In my country, Colombia, many people (specially women) are splashed with acid in their bodies. You talk about this problematic in “Burning blue”. What do you think about the people who takes that kind of decisions about the lives of others?
Someone who attacks with acid (or does anything destructive) clearly has a lot of pain in his/her life. I think all people deserve empathy. I’m not saying the attacker shouldn’t be contained and prevented from attacking again, but to hate that person is self-destructive. Hate spreads like fire, and the hater always get burned. I work as an emergency medical technician with a volunteer ambulance corps here in New York City. I am regularly in contact with emotionally disturbed people. Some of them are sociopaths, with empathy deficiencies. They are remarkably destructive, and some relish their destruction. Becoming clinical is helpful to me in these situations. Not allowing myself to get pulled into a destructive emotional mindset. My job is simple: get this person the help s/he needs. I have the person restrained, if need be, and take him/her to the hospital. But I try very hard not to give into hate. It’s a challenge sometimes. Say for instance you show up at a crime scene where a child has been raped, and the rapist is unrepentant or even seemingly enjoying the pain he’s causing. Staying focused on getting both people, the victim and the attacker, the help they need can be a challenge. And then I remind myself that hatred is only going to make the situation more awful. So I focus on my job, which, as an emergency medical technician, is to lessen pain.
Why Flip is a dog and not a cat?
I love cats too. Flip is based on one of my dogs, a scruffy little mutt who followed my wife home one day. He’s sleeping at my feet as I write this.
If I have the pleasure of meeting Halley, the rainbow girl, someday, I just want to hug her so hard. That character is wonderful.
Thank you, Esteban. She’s based on several wonderful people in my life—my wife, my sister, my mother-in-law, a young man in my apartment building who died of rhabdomyosarcoma. Great kid, a true gentleman, so hopeful. He lives on in my mind as a person who had a big smile and huge dreams.
I am a serious and angry man. Some books have managed to reach my heart, but just a few of them have the chance to make me cry (at least one tear). Thanks for do it that whit “When friendship followed me home”.
We all can use a good cry now and then.
|Rufus Project :) From the writer's fanpage|
I think your favorite color is blue, am I wrong?
I like all colors.
The technology arrived to our world and changed the rules. We see fraternal friendships between people and their phones, earphones everywhere, tablets and smartphones replacing toys on Christmas lists, apps for search the love of the life… What do you think of this? What is the role of the technology in the Paul Griffin’s life?
All of it can be beautiful. It all depends on how you use it, right? I think of human rights activists who raise awareness by posting cell phone video on youtube. In my own life, I’m not a big phone or social media person, but I’m grateful for my computer. It’s physically so much easier to write with a word processor, and I find I write more now than I did when I wrote longhand or with a typewriter.
Perfection… Complicated word. What is your definition of “perfection”?
What is the next step for Paul Griffin?
I’m finishing up another middle grade novel, a story that takes place in the country. It’s nice to get out of the city once in a while, if only in my mind.