Interview: Claudia Gray, Author of the Evernight Series (Part 1)

| 20 September , 2010 | 2 Replies

Tina Gamble

During her recent Australian tour, author of the incredibly popular Evernight series, Claudia Gray, kindly spared some time to discuss and share with us a few juicy titbits about her books, her publishing process and her thoughts on writing.

Claudia was utterly charming, and spoke with such an open friendliness and humour that it really made her an absolute joy to talk to. And seeing as though it would practically be a sin to condense too much, we will be splitting this interview into two parts.

So Claudia, seeing as your novels all have strong paranormal themes, have you ever had any paranormal encounters of your own?

I haven\’t, and distressingly everybody I know has. All these people around me have had these incredible experiences, and for me, it is just absolute reality the whole time. Someday hopefully things will change, but you never know&

In Evernight you\’ve created some really strong and memorable characters. What aspects do you find invaluable in creating a character?

One thing about creating characters for a story that I think a lot of writers and possibly consumers don\’t recognise is not only creating an interesting character, but creating characters that are interesting together, because you may have two very interesting individuals who don\’t necessarily strike sparks off each other.

A lot of people ask, ‘oh, are any of the characters based on you?\’ and to some extent they are all part of me, they aren\’t all like me& but there\’s a little something of me in all of them& It\’s better to be able to feel what everybody\’s point of view is, whether you agree with it or not.

What is the most valuable advice someone has given you in regards to writing?

The most valuable advice anyone ever gave me& was actually in regards to pottery. I used to take pottery lessons, and when I came in for the first class, my teacher said,

“Every potter throws a thousand bad pots, you may as well start on yours.”

And that meant that when I was making these terrible little pots in the beginning, I wasn\’t getting discouraged or feeling like a failure, I was making one of the thousand bad pots. It was just part of the pathway. And I really feel like that with writing, you\’re going to write ten thousand bad pages, you\’re going to do it. But that lesson was very instrumental to me, for beginning new things and especially with writing, don\’t get distressed, don\’t get discouraged, because the beginning is hard& that\’s always going to be where the process begins.

If you were given the choice to co-write a novel with any other writer, who would you choose and why?

The people you like the most, and whose writing you like the most, may not be the people you work the best with& That doesn\’t mean that somebody else does it wrong, it\’s just people\’s writing processes; they\’re almost just as individual as your fingerprint, and you really have to find somebody whose method works well with yours.

Incredibly preliminary& but my good friend Naomi Novik (fantasy author of the award winning Temeraire series) [and I, have] talked about doing something, and I know that our work processes are similar enough but not identical that we might have a chance of making that happen, but right now we don\’t have a project in mind.

If you were to attend the Evernight Academy, what would you want to go as: a vampire, a human, a teacher, a Black Cross operative, or perhaps even, Mrs Bethany?

I definitely want to be an instructor and not a student, although what I would be teaching, I don\’t know. Maybe I could do the Modern Technology class, if Mr Yee ever gets tired of it.

Now, whether I\’m human or Vampire, I think I\’ll stick with human for now, but check with me later.

You\’ve mentioned you tend to listen to music while you work. Do you have a song that reminds you of Vic or Raquel\’s character?

Raquel – On the Hourglass soundtrack, the song Conquest by the White Stripes& there was just this scene when they were in the van, and she was drumming along to something on the dashboard, and in my head it was Conquest. So now I think of her every time I think of that song, even though the lyrics have zero to do with her life.

Vic – 60\’s style surf rock.

Are you surprised at your characters popularity at all? Vic and Ranulf in particular.

Vic I always really adored.

Ranulf was somebody I did not expect to be a big player in the drama. I wrote him in basically for one scene, that was a joke, in Evernight, but then the idea of making them roommates and buddies, came to me for Stargazer and then they\’ve just been so much fun to work with.

And yeah, it\’s delightful that readers really respond to them& Even though everybody loves, the larger than life, most romantic characters that are caught up in the drama, a lot of us feel like we would be the kind of funny guys over on the sidelines who maybe don\’t have to go through so much turmoil.

In your Evernight series, who do you think undergoes the most trying test of character?

Oh, they all have a bad time& Even though Bianca is the main character and she certainly goes through a lot, I would actually say that Lucas is probably the most tested, because he not only has to deal with the danger and the disapproval. [He] has to confront his own prejudices, and his own beliefs.

He was very much brought up to believe in this black and white world [and he] comes to terms with that, and faces it head on and changes the way he thinks about things, and learns to see the world in a much more varied manner.

And while that is not necessarily the most fascinating and dramatic thing to happen, realistically, that is probably the hardest thing that people can do. So he has to do all that and run for his life.

How important is it for you, as a YA author, to keep a strong online presence?

I think it\’s pretty important, particularly with YA. Readers feel very free to reach out to you, and you get some sense about how they think and feel about things& and also it\’s just fun to be able to reach out and let them know a little bit about what you do and things that you see.

You can definitely overdo it& When I was a teenager, it never occurred to me to write an author, these days, everybody will write& But it\’s just impossible to get into a conversation with absolutely everybody. So you kind of have to draw a line, you definitely need to have a presence, and be out there, but everybody has to define for themselves where the boundary line has to be.

Want more Claudia?

Part Two of the interview can be found here, where we discuss her new books, including the new Spellcaster series and an exciting new Werewolf novel (on the titanic!). We also learn more about Claudia\’s publishing process. So stay get clicking!

Read my review of Claudia’s Evernight Series here.

Available now: HarperCollins RRP$19.99 ea

Tina


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