Gerald Griffin knew he wanted to be a writer in the ninth grade.
That freshman year of high school was a pivotal one; it was the year Griffin wrote his first novel and the year he obtained his first fans; doing so, of course, after a teacher discovered his talent and encouraged him to read the novel to his class as each chapter became complete.
"When I first started writing, I had no label; as I wrote, it turned out that my books were suspense-thrillers with a paranormal touch. However, I did not choose to write in this genre; in a way, it chose me," Griffin said.
Griffin moved to Gainesville in 1989 after retiring as a well-known psychologist in Atlanta.
"I retired in 1985, but it was at the same time that I went into writing full time. I could not write at the level I needed when I was in practice - they are both too demanding," he said.
Though he always loved writing, it was never his "hobby."
"Writing is my passion, not my hobby," said Griffin. "I put too much effort into it to label it as such - calling it a ‘hobby' weakens its importance. It is all-consuming."
Writing is not the easiest profession to get into, but Griffin offers words of advice for those hungry to join the game.
"If you're a writer, you need passion. Passion will sustain you. Without it, you will not develop discipline and dedication," he said. "You must also have a shield against rejection because you'll get plenty of it."
Griffin's most recent book, "Of Good And Evil," came out in August. Described as a "spine-tingling thriller with absorbing characters that spits out action like a Gatling gun," it is sure to hook readers from the first page.
"I've read many books that have a great beginning, mediocre middle and horrible ending," Griffin said. "My book, though, will hold your attention until the end. In fact, the last two chapters are the climax of the book."
Because it's filled with endless action and numerous plots and subplots, "Of Good And Evil" is not the simplest book to summarize.
The story involves a Green Beret who was discharged from the Army for going "crazy" with guilt. Throughout his adventures, he discovers (and tries to suppress) that he has super-human abilities, becomes a hitman for the Mafia, unveils confidential documents from Al Qaida and falls in love - but this only covers the surface.
"Readers will experience a series of emotions when reading," Griffin said. "They will go through an entire spectrum: tension, wonderment, amazement, surprise, hate, terror, love, hope, relief. It has something for everyone."
Though he has published several books and written several more, "Of Good And Evil" is Griffin's favorite.
"This is the most polished of all my work," he said. "As I write, I grow. I try and improve with each book I publish. My other books were good, but "Of Good And Evil" is the best. I've failed if I cannot say that - all writers should improve with time, not get worse. We should evolve."
"Of Good And Evil," published by Strategic Book Group, can be found on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble - or, one can pick up a copy at Griffin's book signing Thursday.
"I love book signings because they allow me to meet my readers face-to-face and answer their questions about the book. I'd love to meet all of my readers, but that's not possible," Griffin said.
Not only will fans get to meet a local author, but Griffin's booth is located between two tables of free food. The book signing takes place during the Chamber of Commerce's Jingle Mingle Buesiness Af event.
"I enjoy the heck out of book signings - they show readers I'm a real person and give them a chance to get to know me and see that and I'm alive and well," Griffin said. "I feel a writer belongs to his readers; they depend upon you to keep writing and you depend upon them for support. I should take care of them the best way I can - book signings help me do this."