If you’re anything like my wife and me, you’ve faithfully watched “Ghost Hunters” on SyFy, and if you’ve followed that show, you certainly don’t need an introduction to Grant Wilson. Grant is co-founder of the The Atlantic Paranormal Society and co-star/co-producer of the Syfy channel’s “Ghost Hunters,” which he helped popularize before eventually leaving the show. He didn’t leave because he was sick, getting divorced, or having troubles on the set. He left to pursue his many other interests. He’s a jack of all trades and busy as hell, so I’m happy he took the time to speak with me about what he’s up to now.
Carl Hose: You’re a jack of all trades and there’s a lot to talk about, but I’d be out of line not to ask at least a couple of Ghost Hunter questions, so I’ll get those out of the way up front. When and how did TAPS get formed?
Grant Wilson: TAPS was actually started around 1990 by Jason Hawes as RIPS (Rhode Island Paranormal Society). It wasn’t until later that it was changed to TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), as we started to cover more cases outside of Rhode Island.
CH: Were you surprised by how quickly the show took off?
Grant Wilson: Absolutely. We turned down doing the show five times. It wasn’t cool to be a paranormal investigator. In fact, it was decidedly uncool. Then we finally realized that if we didn’t do the show, someone else would, and how would they represent the field? We agreed to do ten episodes and be done. Here we are ten years later.
CH: I won’t ask why you left the show. I think everything you’ve been up to since then speaks for itself, and you’ve discussed it on your website. Any regrets?
Grant Wilson: No. I had clear cut goals in my head when starting the show. I wanted to raise awareness that there was help, I wanted to raise interest and acceptance of the paranormal investigation field, and I wanted to build momentum in the field so that it would continue to grow on its own. I achieved all of those goals and more by season five of the show. Three years later I decided it was time to get back to my family, and investigating off-camera. I love investigating like I used to. Now I can get back to helping a family all the way through to the resolution of the case, rather than investigating a few nights and handing the info off to another team.
CH: I have to ask this question. How long has it really been since you and Jay actually worked for Roto-Rooter?
Grant Wilson: I worked for Roto-Rooter right up until the day I quit the show. We worked for them for years before the show. When the show was filming, we tried to work both the show and Roto-Rooter full time and it just about killed us. Our boss at Roto-Rooter saw this and gave us the freedom to film the show and follow our dreams. We returned that favor by sharing our involvement with them on the show. It was a gentleman’s deal.
CH: Do you have a favorite paranormal case you’ve worked on or a favorite Ghost Hunter episode?
Grant Wilson: My favorite cases are always the ones from before the show. I got into this field to help people feel comfortable in their homes or work. Seeing the hope return to a mother’s face, or the understanding land solidly on a person, is what it’s all about. We had one case where we solved a 60 year old missing person case because of an EVP. It was amazing.
CH: How did it feel to be back in action on the 200th episode of Ghost Hunters? Did you fall right back into it?
Grant Wilson: It was great to jump back in, but it was a little weird because I didn’t want to come in and disrupt their organizational structure, so I was more of a guest. Always great working with the best in the business.
CH: What led you to working as a plumber after an earlier career in web design?
Grant Wilson: I was working as a Systems Administrator at a manufacturing company. I loved the job and I am kind of a tech-head. I needed to constantly stay up-to-date on the latest technology. I kept upping my knowledge but not increasing my pay, so I got a new job out in Utah. The day I was packing to leave was the day the Twin Towers fell, so I moved to Utah and found that they weren’t hiring. It was a huge fiasco. I eventually got another job, but then Jay called up and told me about plumbing, so I gave it a shot. I loved it. I loved being out and about. I loved fixing things and helping people.
CH: What about your solo piano compositions? When did you begin composing and how would you characterize your music?
Grant Wilson: When I was 14, I heard a beautiful piano song on the radio one night. I tried to find out who wrote it but the radio station couldn’t help me out, so I headed down to the family piano and started figuring it out. I found not only could I play by ear, but that I could write my own music, so I did, and have been ever since. I characterize my music as an attempt to capture emotions that can’t easily be expressed with words. I intentionally don’t include lyrics in my piano music, as I simply want to give a hint as to the emotion I am trying to relate without forcing the listener to see it my way.
CH: Tell us about your band Carpetshark? That’s a pretty big contrast with the piano work you do. Where did the name come from?
Grant Wilson: I have been in various bands since I was fourteen. I love making music and being creative in general. My piano music is one side of that. I let my more fun and powerful creativity come out in my alternative music. I used to write music with two friends of mine, Chris Caron and Chris Montecalvo. We all went our separate ways, some off to college, some getting married, etc., and then we all came back together and started jamming again. We wrote about fifty songs in six months. The name came from a game we used to play as kids where the floor was lava and there were sharks swimming in the carpet. You had to jump on furniture and pillows to get around the room. We felt our music was that creative but unseen force that kept us moving.
CH: What is your composing and recording process? Do you write anything down or just play and record your tunes? Do you use any particular recording software?
Grant Wilson: I wrote all but two of the songs. Of course, I then show them to the band and we all sculpt them from there. I don’t write anything down except for the lyrics. I typically jam out a song by myself, add lyrics, and then we go from there. We use Logic Pro to record it all and mix it.
CH: I’ve published several novels in the horror genre, but lately my wife has been trying to get me interested in fantasy. What’s going on with your fantasy and steampunk novels, and would you say your fantasy novels will cater more to Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman fans or the Robert Jordan crowd?
Grant Wilson: I have been creating worlds with my friend Mike Richie since I was 12. I’ve created language, cultures, believable magic, religions, etc. That series is called “The Chronicles of the Unquiet” and will appeal to fans of Tolkien, rather than Weis or Hickman. It is extremely deep, rich, and emotional. It is filled with heroes, strong women figures, painful emotion, and sincere humor. It is my masterpiece and I can’t wait to finish it. But, before you get to experience that, you get to enjoy our steampunk novels, “Kingship, Tales from the Aether” starting with book one “Brotherhood of the Strange”. This is a combination of Indiana Jones, Firefly, Sherlock Homes,and Lovecraft, in an approachable, fun read. There will be five books in the entire series.
CH: I’m really looking forward to that series. What do you anticipate the scope of that series to be?
Grant Wilson: Our series will span five books, as well as companion books. But that’s just the beginning. We wanted to create a sandbox world for the genre. We want people to take the world we have created and build off it. We have a series of rules for the world that they can use to add to it without conflicting it. We are also working on an RPG system for the world, a screenplay, and so much more.
CH: You’re a tremendously talented artist. Do you anticipate doing all of the covers and art work for your books?
Grant Wilson: Thank you! Yes. I will be doing all the artwork for the “Kingship” series, and maybe for the “Chronicles of the Unquiet” series as well.
CH: When it comes to art, do you work with Photoshop or are you more of an old-school hand drawing kind of guy? Do you see the value in both mediums?
Grant Wilson: I do see the value in both mediums. Never underestimate the power of the “undo” button. I draw everything by hand first and then scan it into the computer and go from there in Photoshop. It’s important when doing commercial artwork to have flexibility. Photoshop does that extremely well.
CH: Where can people view and purchase original art by you?
Grant Wilson: They can view a very small sample of my artwork on Deviant Art.
CH: Tell us about Rather Dashing Games, which, by the way, is a great name. This seems to be one of your top priorities, and I know both you and your wife are involved. What is impressive to me is your choice of the board game medium rather than video games. What inspired you to move in that direction?
Grant Wilson: Rather Dashing Games is the result of a campfire discussion with my friend Mike Richie, an accomplished board game designer. He was looking to branch out on his own. I offered my art skills, my game design skills, and a bit of capital, and we were off. We grabbed our wives and have been going full steam ahead ever since. The name reflects the business character we maintain as a company. We want to know that we do good, honest business, making quality products. I love both board and video games and am actually a huge geek, but there is something magical that happens around a game board that is simply missing from the video game experience. I am not against video games or anything like that, they are just different.
CH: Tell me a little about Dwarven Miners and Four Taverns. I have an autistic son who plays WoW (my wife does too) and I think he would really take to games like that. I believe it would be an excellent way to get him off the computer for a minute.
Grant Wilson: I have been playing WoW for many, many years and still do. I love it. The crafting element of that game is part of what inspired Dwarven Miner. It is a competitive crafting game where you roll dice to determine what resources you get from your mine. You then use those resources to craft items. You then use those items to fulfill patrons’ orders. But there is stealing, sabotaging, and all sorts of fun. Four Taverns is a much more devious game. You play as a tavern owner with an idea. You’re going to pay adventurers to complete quests in the name of your tavern and come back there to celebrate. But everyone else is doing the same thing. About round five of the game someone is shouting an expletive or rage-flipping the table.
CH: So you still play World of Warcraft. What do you feel it is about that game that attracts so many fans?
Grant Wilson: I love it. I have way too many top level guys. I know quite a few of the top dogs at Blizzard and they are amazing folks. Everyone who works there runs around with smiles on their faces. One of the things that makes that game work is the depth of lore. Everything has a story, and a good one. Another is the fact that they follow the fun. They let humor creep in whenever possible, and they aren’t so concerned with photorealism. They have their priorities straight.
CH: What are the most immediate things your fans can look for from you and what are your plans after the dust has begun to settle around your current projects? Also, where are the best places for fans to follow you? Facebook, Twitter, website?
GW: I just finished my second piano album “Liquid Earth.” I have also started working as a creative producer for a video game company as well. The dust here will never settle. If you like what I am doing, just keep watching. I have only begun.
Folks can find me here:
All of this will be in one place at: Grantswilson.com once it is revised.
CH: Thank you, Grant.