"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
by Dee Gentle
Spotlight on Ghost/Specter Themed Romance
Award winning author Erin Grady happily accepts the title of 'bookworm" - she's been one since she first discovered Dr. Seuss at age four. As a young adult, Grady lived on a steady diet of diverse fiction, ranging from romance to horror. Grady's tastes still run the gamut of genres and this is apparent in her own books. Her first novel, WEB OF SMOKE, blended the terrifying world of killers with the everyday reality of failed relationships and true love. WEB OF SMOKE was a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist before going on to be published and win a San Diego Book Award.
Grady's second novel, ECHOES, blurs the line between romantic suspense and paranormal. ECHOES has won the Willa Cather award for historical fiction, the Orange Rose for Romantic Suspense and the Stella Cameron Pacific Northwest Literary Award for Best Romance and been a finalist for: The Award of Excellence, The Booksellers Best and the Golden Quill literary contests. ECHOES has been hailed as a fascinating page turner by Romantic Times BOOKclub, Romance Reviews Today, All About Romance, The Best Reviews and The Romance Readers Connection. See more reviews.
Grady's third novel, titled WHISPERS, was released in April of 2006 and is already receiving great reviews. Romantic Times BOOKclub gave it 4 ½ stars and says "Grady is an author to watch!" Romance Junkies gave WHISPERS a perfect score and says, "WHISPERS is an awesome thriller with a mix of paranormal, treachery, curses from the past and a passion bright enough to light the Milky Way." Affaire de Coeur, All About Romance, Fresh Fiction and The Best Reviews have all found WHISPERS to be an exciting page turner.
Grady lives in Arizona with her husband and daughters and loves talking to readers. For more information on books by Erin Grady, email her at email@example.com
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Erin G.: I've been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. Like a lot of writers I've met over the years, it's been my dream to write and publish books since I was a kid. One of my earliest memories is of telling people that I was going to be a writer when I grew up.
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Tell us about your writing schedule.
Erin G.: My writing schedule is very tight—I never have enough time to do the writing I'd like. In addition to a full time job at Intel, I have two kids (a teenager and a preteen) with busy schedules, I go to school and my husband travels all the time. I feel like I am constantly meeting myself coming and going. I dream of the day when I can write fulltime, but for now it is just a dream. I'm very disciplined about writing when I do manage to have some free time though. I don't have to do my writing at a certain time of the day or only if I have an hour here or there. If I have ten minutes, I write for ten minutes. I can turn it on that quickly. It's a skill I've developed over the years and it serves me well.
PNR: Which author(s) is your favorite? And who has most influenced you work?
Erin G.: Geez, tough question! I love such a diverse range of books, that it’s hard for me to give a favorite. I love Tami Hoag, Jennifer Cruisie, Laurell K. Hamilton, Diana Gabaldon, Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, Larry McMurtry. . . I can just go on and on and on. . ..
I think for influence, I'll pick authors from the 80s when I was still dreaming about writing and not yet doing it. Janet Dailey, Stephen King and Anne Rice. I loved the way Janet Daily brought the USA into her books. So many of the romances of that era were set in England and Greece, that it was great to see a different (and familiar) setting. With Stephen King I loved his characters and how he could make the silliest thing terrifying. I still love that about his stories. Anne Rice had such a sensual way of telling a story. I will never forget reading An Interview with a Vampire and just falling in love with the dark and sensuous story she wove.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Erin G.: Number One, I think any great story has to have a romance. When people tell me they don't 'do' romance, I remind them that even the Terminator had a romance. I need that emotional connection and it makes the whole thing satisfying for me. Of course for the romance to work, the story has to have great characters.
I also like excitement in the story, danger or something mysterious going on. I love a story that keeps me on the edge of my seat and then make me fall in love.
PNR: Reviewers and readers are raving about your first three novels, how does it feel to have such positive recognition of your work?
Erin G.: In a nutshell? INCREDIBLE! It took a lot of years for me to sell ECHOES. The dual storyline was a tough sell and I had almost reached a point where I thought I wouldn't ever sell it. Then Susan McCarty at Berkley (who has now moved to Avalon, I'm sad to say. I miss her) read ECHOES and fell in love with it. When the reviews and the awards started coming, it was so validating. The emails from readers were such a bonus!
Of course I think all writers are insecure so I was convinced that ECHOES was a fluke and that no one would like WHISPERS, but the reviews on it have been even better than ECHOES so I am thrilled about that.
PNR: Your first novel, WEB OF SMOKE, is a romantic suspense. Your second and third novels, ECHOES and WHISPERS, are romantic suspense with paranormal elements. What made you decide to add the paranormal elements to your writing, was it a natural progression?
Erin G.: It was a natural progression for me. When I finished WEB OF SMOKE I had already begun writing ECHOES. I was fascinated by the idea of seeing a past life and it was a story I couldn't NOT write. I suppose for me the term 'suspense' covers a lot of ground. If it's got you at the edge of your seat, whether with a paranormal element or a 'real' element, it's suspense.
PNR: You have written in the contemporary, western/historical, and paranormal genres; is there a genre you would like to try in the future?
Erin G.: Well, I think I'm covering a lot of ground right now. Once I reach a place where I can write full time, I hope to branch out and try different things. But for now, I can only manage one book at a time.
PNR: You have been commended for your ability to write compelling, fully developed parallel storylines, can you tell us about the challenges you face in keeping it convincing for the reader? Is this technique something that comes naturally for you?
Erin G.: It is definitely a challenge. I've read books that have dual story lines where one of the stories is told like back story and it’s so disappointing. I went into the writing of both ECHOES and WHISPERS determined that I would make both stories equally compelling. It's tough, but I think it's essential. Bringing two storylines to a conclusion that ties it all up is very hard though. There were days with both books that I was ripping my hair out over it wondering if I was ever going to figure it out.
PNR: What type of research do you do for the historical aspects of your novels? Is this drudgery or something that interests you?
Erin G.: The research is usually fascinating to me. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps I didn't have a past life because I seem fixated on the west and the struggles and triumphs of the people who lived in the era of western expansion.
PNR: Readers have really connected with your strong heroines; do you have an inspiration for your female characters? Do you feel your stories are female focused?
Erin G.: First, THANK YOU! I love hearing that my heroines come across as strong people. I think women are really hard to write because, by nature, we are complex. There is a fine line between writing a strong woman and writing a bitchy one. I think vulnerability is what divides the two but there also has to be humor. A woman who takes herself too seriously is hard to identify with.
I wouldn't say my books are female focused, because Reilly really played a big part in WHISPERS and his turmoil drove that story, but generally, yes, it’s the heroine’s story I’m telling in most cases.
PNR: Your stories seem to be character driven. Do you feel this is harder or easier to write than plot driven stories?
Erin G.: I had to smile at this question. I was at the RT conference earlier this month speaking with two other authors about process. One author outlines everything and in the end she delivers a book that is almost word for word what she outlined. The other author and I both looked stunned at this. I don't know what my story is until I've finished the first draft and neither does she - the whole process comes out like a roll of dice and we are both surprised at the finished product. So when you say it's character driven, I think, okay. Didn't know that, but glad to hear it. LOL.
PNR: Which of your characters was your favorite to write? The most challenging?
Erin G.: Hmmm, tough question. I really get into the heads of my characters so they are all my favorites in their own way. I have to say Ella (WHISPERS) was the most challenging though because it was so intimate to be in first person with her though the trauma of her experiences and her passion for Sawyer.
PNR: Your newest release, Whispers, is centered around a haunted hotel, a family curse and has a very gothic feel; can you give us a sneak peek?
Erin G.: Absolutely. I have excerpts of the first chapter and random 'look inside' excerpts posted on my web here: http://www.eringrady.com/whispers.html
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Erin G.: I am currently working on a time travel trilogy set in Arizona in the area of Sedona, Arizona and Montezuma's Castle, which is ancient cliff dwelling about 20 miles south of Sedona. It’s an incredible place and has some rich history that I find intriguing. My hope is that the first will be out next year with the other two following soon after. I'll be playing with time in these books in a way I haven't seen before so I'm very excited about them.
PNR: Thanks Erin, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Erin G.: Dee, thank you for asking such great questions. This has been a lot of fun. My website is a great place for new information. I run a contest every month (this month giving away an autographed copy of ECHOES and gift cards to Starbucks and Barnes & Noble.) I also have a blog and excerpts posted. Oh, and if you’re a writer, I've just put up the information on my scholarship to the SDSU Writers Conference which is held in January in San Diego. Stop by and check it out!
Thanks again, Dee and all of you readers who have picked my books off the shelf. I would love to hear from you! Erin
in this issue:
Buy it now!
If you listen hard enough...
Diablo Springs—once a boomtown of gamblers, outlaws and miners. Now a place where shifting sands whisper only of torment and loss...a place where shadows lure the unsuspecting into its abyss.
It is where Gracie Beck was raised, but she never called it home. When she left that place, she never looked back...
You will hear their whispered warnings...
Now Gracie finds she's inherited the Diablo Springs Hotel from her grandmother and, with it, a curse that has haunted her family for over a hundred years. As she begins to unearth long-buried secrets, she unleashes a force that threatens everyone she cares about. And when the one man she has tried to forget unexpectedly returns to Diablo Springs to find inspiration for his next novel, Gracie knows that a dark and desperate chapter in the story of her family must finally be written...
Buy it now!
Tess Carson isn't surprised when her irresponsible sister, Tori, vanishes from her remote California town. But when Tess arrives in Mountain Bend to look after Tori's daughter, she realizes there is more to the disappearance than mere flight of fancy. Her sister's boss is dead...and Tori is the prime suspect...
A hint of seduction
Tess turns to an unlikely ally to clear her sister's name—the dead man's son. But Grant Weston is haunted by his own familial demons, making Tess wary of his true intentions—and suspicious of his connection to Tori.
A vision of fear
And there is something else haunting Tess. Something forcing her to experience strange, terrifying hallucinations and another time and place. Now, the only way for Tess to discover the truth about her sister - and about Grant - is to confront the secret that binds them together through time itself...
Buy it now!
He came for her in the night--to that place where she felt most secure. For a brief instant she was his...but somehow she escaped.
Next time it will be different...
Everything changed for Christie McCoy when a madman brutally invaded and shattered her world. Now she will never feel safe until she knows why someone would attack her in her own home...and who would want her dead. Christie must venture into the shadows of her own life--terrified, vulnerable and alone--to unmask the dark intruder who destroyed her dreams--before the maniac comes for her again.