Claudia Gray is working on a werewolf romance set aboard the Titanic. Can we pre-order this masterpiece yet?? —Miss Marm
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I always wanted to be a writer. It goes back farther than my ability to remember any realization. Probably as soon as I knew people wrote books, I wanted to write one.
Who would win in a fight: a vampire, a werewolf, or a zombie?
Depends on the vampire, werewolf and zombie in question, I'd say.
Are you a fan of Twilight?
I read and enjoyed the first book, but I haven't read any more, just because if you're writing about vampires all day, you tend to want to think about something else in your free time! Once I'm totally done with my vampire books, I'm going to be able to catch up on the rest of the TWILIGHT series and the other awesome vamp books I've been missing out on these past few years.
What are your five favorite books?
This isn't a question any avid reader can honestly answer. I mean, what are my favorite fifty books? That, maybe, I could narrow down. But I'll name a few that were influential for me: GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell, POSSESSION by A.S. Byatt, THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS by Ursula K. LeGuin, DUNE by Frank Herbert and TIL WE HAVE FACES by C.S. Lewis. These books have ... remarkably little in common, really. A recent read I enjoyed a lot was MISTRESS OF ROME by Kate Quinn.
What are your five favorite scary movies?
I tend to prefer suspense to horror, so naturally I'm a Hitchcock fan—let's put VERTIGO, PSYCHO and REAR WINDOW on the list right away. THE SHINING scared me worse than any other movie I've ever seen. And THE OTHERS has really stayed with me.
Where do you write?
Everywhere, really. I work a lot at home, at local coffee shops, and at a writing workspace elsewhere in the city, but I've written in hotel rooms, airports, friends' houses, the nearby diner, parks—anyplace I can get a little time with my laptop might eventually be called into service.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
My three main points of advice: (A) Read everything you can get your hands on. It never ceases to amaze me how many people want to write a book but rarely read one. Movies and TV can teach you about storytelling, but only reading will teach you how narrative works in prose. (B) Write as often as you can. That might be daily; it might not. But you need to write so regularly that it becomes a habit, a part of your life, and that you're making real progress on your projects. (C) If and when you reach the point when you want to seek publication, take the time to educate yourself about the industry. A lot of people plunge in, eager and impatient, and get taken advantage of by con artists, or simply run into unnecessary obstacles that frustrate them into giving up too soon. Be patient enough to learn about how agents work, about how publishing works, so that you can take good care of your manuscript.
Do you think writing can be taught?
I think there are elements of writing you can teach, and elements you can't. Fortunately, there are more of the former than the latter. There's a fundamental understanding of storytelling that I think you have or you don't—but a lot of people have it. Now, style, grammar, dramatic structure, etc.: Those are mostly elements you can learn if you want to badly enough and find the right teachers.
What is your upcoming novel about?
Depends on which one you mean! My new novel, AFTERLIFE, is the fourth book in the EVERNIGHT series and the completion of the love story between Bianca and Lucas. Really, it concludes the series proper. There is a fifth book, but it's more of a spinoff: BALTHAZAR, coming in March 2012, gives that character his own adventure. In between, I have a stand-alone book called FATEFUL, which is a werewolf romance set aboard the RMS Titanic. These have all been incredible fun to write; I hope people will enjoy them!
For more info on werewolves, dead people, and love, click here.
Related post: An Interview with Writer Cynthia Hand