Welcome to today's Authors ARE Rockstars tour stop hosted by Fiktshun, Two Chicks on Books and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads. Today I am extremely excited to be hosting the awesome Claudia Gray.
Claudia Gray is a rock star for so many reasons! First of all, she writes about about awesome, interesting and unusual topics like werewolves on the Titanic, ghosts and vampires, witches and dark evil curses. She writes stories that you can't put down and characters that you still think about once the story is read and finished. She interacts constantly with fans via twitter, tumblr and Pinterest and through conventions and book signings. She was also lovely enough to sign my books in March 2012 when she toured Australia and pose for a photo with a heavily pregnant (translation - 1 week overdue) fangirl like myself.
By the way, I still believe my daughter chose to arrive into the world a week and a half late so that I could indeed make Claudia's book signing.
I could keep fangirling on but as the rock star of the day is Claudia Gray so without further ado
Firstly, thank you so much for your time to answer these questions. In your bio it mentions you like to read. What sort of books do you like to read?
Better to ask what kinds of books I don't like to read, though that too is a difficult answer. (Westerns, I guess?) I really read a lot of everything -- lots of YA, some middle grade, adult literary and genre fiction, and nonfiction on a lot of topics, especially history and science. My last three books were THE PLANTAGENETS by Dan Jones, a history of the English kings of the Middle Ages; MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza, a scifi YA thriller, and THE THINKING WOMAN's GUIDE TO REAL MAGIC by Emily Croy Barker, an adult literary novel with plenty of paranormal elements. So you can see I'm all over the place!
I am currently reading Spellcaster and enjoying it so far. I particularly love Verlaine and think
there is more to her than meets the eye or has been appreciated by the people of Captive's sound previously. So I was glad to hear that she will be getting her own love story later in the series and a chance for someone to appreciate her in her own right. Did you have much of her story already when you started writing this series or did her story unfold more as you wrote it.?
I'm so glad to hear that you are enjoying SPELLCASTER, and especially Verlaine! She does indeed emerge as more of a co-lead than a sidekick in future books, even appearing on the cover of Spring 2014's STEADFAST. As for how much I knew about her in advance -- I knew the basics about what had happened to her. Also, the SPELLCASTER series is much more of an ensemble piece than anything else I've written, so I always planned to expand her story. But she is definitely the character I've learned the most about while writing -- and while I anticipated some of the love story that emerges in STEADFAST, I never dreamed where Verlaine would wind up in the finale, SORCERESS!
The Spellcaster novella Elizabeth due out in November will this be a prequel to Spellcaster?
The novella will indeed be a prequel to SPELLCASTER, as it takes place before the book begins. Nearly 400 YEARS before.
What can you tell us about Steadfast and the remainder of the Spellcaster series?
I can tell you that the stakes get higher, and higher, and higher. That Nadia and Mateo remain deeply in love but find themselves profoundly at odds about how best to stand against the One Beneath. That Verlaine's love affair is going to be just as passionate as theirs (if not more?) -- and that Elizabeth hasn't given up.
Can you tell us more about the panels you were on at Comic Con : Paranormal Passions & Harper Epic Reads Publisher Preview? How did they go? Did you get to see the reunion panel for the X-files or the one for the Tomorrow people?
The Comic-Con panels were fantastic! I loved meeting so many authors there, like Lauren Kate and Tahereh Mafi, and catching up with my friend Aprilynne Pike. The audiences were incredibly engaged and asked terrific questions about the role romance plays in our novels, about how we work, and what "destiny" means to each of us. Comic-Con, overall, was AMAZING and I hope to return!
What is your favorite part of participating in conventions and/or tours? What is your least favorite?
My favorite part of traveling for the books is meeting readers, authors, librarians, teachers and booksellers in person. My least favorite? 4 a.m. pick-up times for early flights!
You seem to have done a fair bit of travelling with tours for your book. You came to Australia in March 2012 ( where I was lucky enough to meet you in person in Sydney ) for the release of Balthazar. Do you have a favourite place you have visited and what is the most memorable?
Gosh, there are so many. I LOVED Australia, every single stop. The Madrid Book Fair is an awe-inspiring sight -- thousands upon thousands of book fans gathered together every day for a month! So is La Diada de St. Jordi in Barcelona - where everyone sets out to buy the people they love flowers and books from vendors who line every street. Remini in Italy, Guadalajara in Mexico, and all the places I went in South America (Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador so far!): each was incredible in its own way. I hope I get to keep on traveling. :D
When you start writing a book that is to become part of a series how far ahead have you planned before you start writing and at which stage do you come up with your titles?
How far do I plan ahead? So far, it's varied quite a lot. With the EVERNIGHT series I did tons of advance planning; with the SPELLCASTER series, I plotted out the major story arcs but left lots of room for invention; and with my upcoming FIREBIRD series, I am working with a general framework but discovering more as I go. I remain an outliner, because I have to know my characters, what's at stake for them and where I'm headed. (My wild need to get to my endings is always the part that keeps me going!) But as I write more books, it seems that I feel freer to build the larger arc of my story as I go. (Of course, as soon as I've said that, I'll come up with a series that I absolutely have to plan out from scratch; every book is different, and every series too.)
How do you feel when finishing up a series? Are you sad to be leaving your characters and the world they live in or relieved you are leaving them where they should be?
I've only finished one series so far - the EVERNIGHT series -- and while I still miss those characters sometimes, mostly I'm happy to wound up their story in a way that gave them all the futures they deserved and needed. This fall I'll finish the SPELLCASTER series, and I wonder whether it's going to feel the same; ask me again next year, and we'll see.
At the time of writing these questions, you have just finished up the first draft our the first novel in the Firebird series. Can you tell us more about this series?
So glad you asked about FIREBIRD! The first book -- title still not announced, but any day now -- is about Marguerite, the daughter of two famous scientists, who is chasing her father's killer through alternate dimensions. But traveling through dimensions isn't like walking through a door; instead you appear within the other version of yourself who lives in that world, taking on some of their memories and emotions along with your own. So in each world, Marguerite discovers not only another universe but also another person she might be ... as well as alternate versions of her family, her friends, the guy who's courageously joined her on the journey, and the killer himself. She learns that the truth behind the crime, and her heart, may be far more complex than she'd ever dreamed.
This is really a "book of my heart," as we say, so I am so, so excited to get it out to you guys in fall 2014! There are going to be lots of novellas and tie-in stories, too, so keep an eye out.
You are across a number of different social media platforms, twitter, tumblr, Pinterest etc How important a part of your author life does this play? How much do you think this has impacted the way you interact with your fans?
Embarrassingly, I fear my social media presence is all too accurate a window into my real personality. Yes, I am really that into James McAvoy and pugs. I do love interacting with readers, especially because avenues like Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest make it possible for us to fangirl together over the stuff we all enjoy. That is the most fun. And since I've started watching movies "on" Twitter with fans, that is fast becoming my absolute favorite. (August's movie = "Moulin Rouge." I think "Mean Girls" is up for September, and for October & Halloween, maybe a Harry Potter film?) I love hanging out together for a film!
What's next for Claudia Gray? Further work on the Spellcaster or Firebird series' or a totally new project?
Next up for me is SORCERESS, the third and final book in the SPELLCASTER trilogy. I'll then work on some ideas for novellas -- and maybe a couple of short stories exclusive to my website. As for other ideas, I have an adult urban fantasy idea that's tugging at my brain, but we'll have to see where that leads.
Thank you so much for taking the time out to answer these questions and agreeing to be part of the Authors are Rockstars tour.
Thanks for an awesome interview!
You can find out more about Claudia Gray, her books and her love of James McAvoy and pugs and many other things the following ways:
Win your choice of 1 x Claudia Gray novel. If you win, you choose from all currently available (through book depository) or a pre-order of steadfast (out March 2014)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway