Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Author Interview: Claudia Gray!

I don't think I have to go out of my way of saying Claudia Gray is a really nice, really awesome writer. Not only did she send me the ARC of her book, she also got back to me in a super-fast time frame with the interview and the book QnA. Thanks, Claudia! =) You can find my review/book QnA of Evernight by clicking here.

About the Author: Claudia Gray in her own words (taken from her site): "I live in New York City. So far, in life, I've been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.

Although I'll blog about major announcements at this site, you can also check my LiveJournal or MySpace to hear more frequent updates about my work, my day and whatever else might be on my mind."

Aside from LiveJournal and MySpace, you can also find out more about Claudia Gray and the Evernight series over at Claudia's site, http://www.claudiagray.com/.

Now, for the interview:

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

Mine was a fairly unusual path. I'd had the idea for the Evernight series, but I hadn't done more than type up a handful of notes, before my agent got a call from HarperCollins asking if they had any similar projects – and what they wanted was very dead-on with my idea. My agent said we'd get a proposal to them within a couple weeks, then picked up the phone, called me and said, "Drop everything and write." I dropped everything and wrote. We went back and forth a lot, because ultimately they had to make a decision based on a partial alone – a big leap to take – but about seven months later, they asked for a four-book series. I still can't believe it!

As a newly published novelist, what surprises have you been met with? Has the experience been anything like you imagined?

You know how the writing blogs say, "Be prepared for all the time you'll spend on promotion?" Well, believe them. I didn't, and I have learned better now. But mostly I enjoy the process, especially hearing from readers who liked the book, which is the best thing ever.

What is the most random piece of information about yourself that you can think of right now?

I think dogs dressed in little coats are cute. I know this is embarrassing, but the shame does not diminish my glee at all.

What's your biggest advice to aspiring writers?

Write a lot. Read even more.

Now, for your writing aspiration: What is your ultimate career dream?

If I could write full-time and still have enough money to save for the future/travel a few times a year, I would be incredibly content.

What is the most fun you've had to date?

Riding a Mardi Gras float in New Orleans! You get to throw beads to thousands of happy, screaming people, while both you and they are dressed in ridiculous outfits. I only rode a float once – the parade lasted more than eight hours, and it seemed to take about 30 minutes. I don't think you can top that for sheer spectacle.

What is your most vivid memory?

I don't know that I can pick just one, but the first thing that sprang to mind was the night I came home to discover that my apartment was on fire. Talk about a shock to the system.

Which country in the world do you most want to visit and why?

I'd have to say Russia. I've read a lot about Russian history lately, and it's made me very curious to see Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Which artists do you tune in to? Genres? I listen to virtually every kind of music but country – and even a little bit of classic country sneaks in there. Right now I'm trying to get everybody I know into M.I.A.

Now for books: Which are your favorite books and authors?

For me, this is an unanswerable question. How can anybody just pick one, or even a dozen? It's like picking a favorite child.

Have you read any other vampire books? If so, any that you particularly liked?

I'm not a huge reader of vampire fiction, ironically, but I have read several. I think my all-time favorite has to be The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause. The one I've been meaning to read for years but haven't yet is Fledgling by Octavia Butler.

(Steph says: I love The Silver Kiss as well! In fact, Annette is stopping by later this month for her own author week!)

What are you reading now? How do you like it?

I am reading Shakespeare: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd. (While I'm writing, I tend to gravitate to nonfiction.) It's fabulous. Not only is the book engaging and fun in its own right, but Ackroyd brings out levels of complexity in the plays that I never knew existed.

What is your secret talent?

While I dream, my mind often supplies thematically appropriate background music that I only recognize when I wake up. I don't do it consciously, so I don't know if it counts as a "talent," exactly, but it's a lot of fun, and I've never run into anyone else who does this!

If you weren't writing about vampires, which other creatures, aside from humans, might you try your hand at and why?

Oh, gosh, I've love to have a crack at nearly everything. I can promise that I won't be doing any fairy books – not because I don't like them (I do), but I didn't grow up with stories about fairies; the whole mythology is sort of alien to me.

Do you have anything other than the Evernight series in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?

I'm developing two YA ideas right now – one witchcraft-based, and one based in a sort of animistic nature magic. (The witchcraft-based concept springs from a story I wrote for an anthology coming out in summer 2009, Vacations From Hell.) I love both heroines and both central romances, but I don't yet know which one will grab me and demand to be written first. I'm also trying my hand at a thriller for adults.

The most important question ever: Does writing YA rock or what?

Make yourself a question and then answer it!

Q: What breed of dog looks cutest in a little coat?
A: The pug.
Another big round of thanks goes out to Claudia =) Hope everyone checks out Evernight; it truly is an awesome book.


Alea said...

Oh that was fun! I'm expecting Evernight in the mail soon! And M.I.A. is AWESOME!

Amee said...

Haha, I love the question she made up and answered herself. :P

Nurin said...

LOL the dog question ;)

Great intervuew (per usual ;)

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Nice interview/questions. I had fun reading it. I can't WAIT to read Evernight. I tried to find it at one store...not there...so I need to check somewhere else soon. It looks awesome! :-)
And if you ever need new music ideas (claudia or anyone..) check my blog...we try and mix things up. the BLOG did start with music and will always have music. :)


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