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Author Interview with C.A. Gray Writer of the Piercing the Veil Series
Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? Piercing the Veil is set in Norwich, England, because that’s where I studied abroad when I was a junior in college. That experience changed my life, and in many ways I left my heart there. Of course much of it is also set in Carlion, the fantasy world of the former Camelot, too. That was more incidental: they’re British and Arthur is a story everyone is familiar with, so it was easy to borrow! Also, I think all of my main characters have aspects of me in them, because I imagine how I would react in a given situation or how I might say something, and I put that in their heads or their mouths. But I suspect I’m pulling all of my characters from experience, whether it be myself, others, or fictional archetypes. You write what you know.
How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing? The most difficult part of the writing process are those days when I have to make myself write, but I’m really distracted by something else. It’s super hard to focus, and I don’t feel like I’m writing anything worth saying, but I do it anyway. This is where my outline really helps – I brainstorm a world and a general gist of the story, and then I outline the story in broad strokes. Next I outline the nitty gritty, down to what happens in each chapter. Then I write from the outline, in roughly 20 page chunks, editing as I go (whether I’m feeling it that day or not). Enthusiasm comes and goes; writing is a discipline, like anything else.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? Audiobooks are the primary way I consume fiction! I listen while I drive, work out, cook, get ready for work, etc. Much as I still love physical books, I just don’t have time to read them anymore.
Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format? I love how Rebecca brings the Ancient Tongue to life!
If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go? Assuming I could also come back (I wouldn’t want to live outside my own time forever), I’d go to Regency England because I love the Jane Austen era so much. And I’d go to Renaissance Italy — I’d love to see whether people realized they were in the midst of such a cultural awakening at the time. And I’d go to Israel circa 30 AD, to meet and follow Jesus in person.
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? All my books are series so far, so I can only speak to that! I tend to come up with epic storylines that are hard to wrap up in a single book. I enjoy series also because it gives me more time to develop the characters and get to know them. But sometimes I enjoy reading a stand-alone book if I’m not wanting to invest as much time, and just want a satisfying ending quickly.
- What’s your favorite:
- Food: Flourless chocolate cake or chocolate ganache cake from Trader Joe’s. Basically anything dark chocolate, though.
- Song: Right now, “Satisfied” from Hamilton: An American Musical.
- Book: Can I cheat and say the whole Harry Potter series?
- Television show: Most recently, “Sherlock.”
- Movie: Again, can I cheat and say the whole Harry Potter series?
- Band: Artist maybe? Sara Bareilles
- Sports team: I really don’t care but if you twisted my arm, I’d say New Orleans Saints (a family team)
- City: Norwich, England
- Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work? Norwich is! It’s the “home base” setting in the Piercing the Veil trilogy.
What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors? As mentioned before: writing is a discipline, like anything else. You might also think of it as a marathon, rather than a quick sprint… so you have to pace yourself. Create a routine–whatever works for you–and stick to it.
What’s next for you? At the moment, I’m working on Jaguar (http://www.authorcagray.com/books/jaguar/), the third book in The Uncanny Valley trilogy. Should release in Fall 2018!