Building Roller Coasters

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ – NOVEMBER 01: A roller coaster sits in the Atlantic Ocean after the Fun Town pier it sat on was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy on November 1, 2012 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Building Roller Coasters

“The Girl in the Hotel” by Gregory French

For “The Girl in the Hotel” there were months of researching and gathering Ingredients and writing background sketches before the book was started. All my books have begun this way. I recently unpacked the manuscript boxes from the 1988 novel, “Cream of the Wheat,” with its one hundred typed index cards (Yes, as in use of a typewriter). There it all was, the design for a wicked rollercoaster ride for the readers.

The writing of all the Danser novels (the construction of the coasters) can’t begin until I’ve reviewed the ten to twenty thousand words of the Ingredients and submerged fully into the story: its theme, its cast, its Skeleton, which is the initial blueprint of the story, of therollercoaster.

There is one distinct difference between novels and roller coasters. Books rarely circle back to where the ride started (in my works, only Danser” did. Sort of).

With the Danser novels, the Skeleton is planned to a greater or lesser degree, it doesn’t much matter. Why? Because the rails, the story, always go off in their own direction as the cast and events take over.  This is one of the delights of the writing process – when the characters take the wheel and I’m reduced to a lowly member of their typing pool, another passenger along for the ride.

I hope you enjoy “The Girl in the Hotel.”

All the best,


“The Girl in the Hotel” by Gregory French

Hotel Cover for FB

Welcome to the secluded Hotel Or,deep in the jungles of coastal Mexico. The hotel is a criminal money-making machine, a sausage grinder processing elderly retirees for their savings and pensions. In walks Ed ‘Never Ever Eddie’Rang, a young and resourceful fourteen-year-old girl, who first explores the deadly hotel before being trapped in its claws.

She is up against the hotel’s owner, Constance Snapp, a cruel and clever megalomaniac with a deadly clan of gypsies assisting in her evil and murderous profiteering. The hotel is rife with murderous misfits and its permanent residents, an assortment of wealthy recluses, some still sane, others as dangerous and mad as the hotel owner.

Ed teams up with Kazu Danser, a twelve-year-old Niños Asesino (Child Assassin) on the run from the Federales. Together, the two are hell-bent on destroying the hotel and its menagerie of ghastly crimes. Vengeance fires their young hearts as they wade deeper into the machine.

Lives need to be saved.

The Hotel Or needs to beclosed down. Permanently.

Can they put the wrench to the machine, killing it forever?

Can they survive? 

Available now in Kindle eBook at:



The print version is coming soon!

“The Girl in the Hotel” Interview

Hotel Cover for FB

Amazon – New in Books (November 8th, 2018)

Gregory French Interview: “The Girl in the Hotel”


What can you tell us about your new release, The Girl and the Hotel?

This suspense-horror novel was researched and written with rollercoaster rides as the model, in particular, the one in Santa Cruz, that begins with a terrifying drop into a dark tunnel. As a writer, you can learn a lot by studying haunted houses and rollercoasters. I also wanted to work with a vibrant, strong and resourceful fourteen-year-old girl, so Ed (Never Ever Eddie) Rang came to life.


What or who inspired you to become an author?

Being the odd child, the one who read the dictionary for fun, I was also an avid reader and in love with the mysteries and magic of the written word. In my late twenties, a voice spoke up inside my head and gave me the nudge, “Why don’t you write one? I dare you.”  Seven months later, the first draft of my first novel, Distractions (1983), was completed.


What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

The collected short stories of Somerset Maugham

In Cold Bloodby Truman Capote

White Jazzby James Ellroy

Nine Storiesby J. D. Salinger

A Fine and Private Placeby Peter S. Beagle


Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

It’s tempting to answer, “James Ellroy” because I love his brutal honesty, passion, and gift for language, but I think I might wilt under his tendency to be combative. So, I’ll demand the production company bring the cadaver and ghost of Donald E. Westlake into the studio.

We would have a conversation about the craft, the “what goes on under the hood” efforts (research style, pen vs. keyboard, thoughts on the degrees of realism and background, his views on the importance of story). I’d find it very interesting and fun, even while the ratings tank and the audience dozes. Maybe to add a little jazz, I’d ask Donald to share his three favorite jokes (He was a brilliant wit).


What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The months of gathering Ingredients and writing background sketches before the book is begun. Once the cast take over the book, I like transcribing for them, seeing what they stir up next while relegating me to their typist, their clerical pool.

Reviewing the ten to twenty thousand words of what I call the Ingredients and seeing the story begin to form: its theme, its genre, its skeleton, which is the start of the construction of the story, the roller-coaster I am privileged to build. Watching their story unfold through my fingertips.

The delight found in the imagination-play with words, the daily delight and frustration with words and sentences; searching for the most effective path to creative and thoughtful expression.


What is a typical day like for you?

I write seven days a week from 5am to 11am. Then I close the office to go explore and enjoy the real world. Yoga or surfing or the gym.  Next is a casual leisurely outdoor lunch. Evenings are for reading, research, correspondence and chasing a certain fiery redhead.


What scene in The Girl and the Hotelwas your favorite to write?

Ed’s rescue and adoption of Puppy, the one-pawed spider monkey in Mrs. Collins macabre taxidermy and doll shop.


Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

For writing, “Just do it.”

In real life, I often go with, “When in doubt, laugh.” I’m also partial to, “If not now, when?”