"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Nathalie Gray lives in an impregnable fortress in the North Sea, wears a black turtleneck (‘cause she’s, like, an artiste, oui!), eats bonbons all day as she plans to take over the world, one reader at a time. For an in-depth look at this evil overlordess, visit her website, www.nathaliegray.com
An Interview with Nathalie Gray
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Nathalie G.: I never knew I could even *write* stories. Especially in English! I only learned that fabulous language when I joined the Canadian Forces (army) at 17. I read my first book in English in high school. It was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Then I read Stephen King’s It. Yes, I know, I like to start small... I wrote my first story at 30 and no, I didn’t draw from my earliest readings because a vampire clown would be just...so wrong.
PNR: Could you tell us about your writing routine, how do you balance writing and personal time? What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Nathalie G.: I’d like to say that I’m a tormented artiste who lives on the precarious edge of inspiration, but nahh. Nothing so dramatic. I simply plan a book then I write it. When I’m not fighting with the keyboard and hurling curses at the screen, my men and I travel, which means we enjoy getting lost in foreign lands and making fools of ourselves trying our hand at the local language and customs.
PNR: What is the best part about being a writer? The most frustrating?
Nathalie G.: Oh baby, the flexibility is just the best! You can write nights, days, both. You can write in your pajamas if you want. I don’t because I’d get sleepy and never accomplish a thing, but knowing that I could if I wanted to...? Ahhh. For me, the most frustrating aspect of writing is this carbon-based vessel we’re stuck in. Man, that thing’s fragile eh? I have to pace myself so my body can keep up with the voices in my head screaming at me to write, write, WRITE, damn you!
PNR: Which author(s) is your favorite? And who or what has most influenced your work? Who or what has been your biggest support?
Nathalie G.: Favorite author: R.A. Salvatore, hands down (even if right now he’s about to kill my favorite character, which makes me want to make a voodoo doll and use him as target practice). Also, I enjoy Christopher Moore with alarming enthusiasm (have you read his Dirty Job? God, go read it, you’ll thank me later). Influences come from all over. You can’t write and not be influenced by life in general. Biggest support: writing is like a car to me. On the personal support side, my men (husband and son). Without them, there is no fuel. On the professional side, my editor at Ellora’s Cave, Madame M. Without her, there is no spark.
PNR: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Nathalie G.: Characters you can relate to. An explosion. A villain who gets smacked. Um, what else? Oh, and cool clothes help too.
PNR: Congratulations on the release of DamNATION in March 2007 from Ellora’s Cave. The story takes place in futuristic London and is action-packed; could you tell us where the idea came from? Any plans of expanding this into a series?
Nathalie G.: We were visiting London. When I saw the Tower Bridge, I went “fangirl” and started squee-ing about how, like, totally, kewl this would be if a dude lived in it. A brooding, secretive, wounded, sexy, black-clad (of course!), fanged dude with some inner demons to spank. Then I matched him with a heroine who could handle him. Gave them a tight schedule. Leveled half the city. And made sure the bad guys didn’t evade the seriously deserved Wrath of the Writer coming their way. And no, I’d never thought there would be a series in it until people started asking when the next one would come out. I never expected a story so noire would become so popular!
PNR: IMMORTALIS, released from Ellora’s Cave in June 2006, is a military/political drama that takes place in a contemporary setting; what influenced you to choose this theme as the backdrop to a vampire romance?
Nathalie G.: I like to look for things that haven’t been done to death. If everyone is going one way, you can bet your last teabag that I’ll be rushing the other way. Maybe I’m just disagreeable. As much as I like the gothic-toned vampire stories, I wanted something different for mine. Military action with vampire ambience seemed like an exciting mix to me.
PNR: Can you tell us about the challenges you face in world building and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the plot? Do you write your characters to fit the world you have created or vice versa?
Nathalie G.: It always starts with the people. And ends with them too. I’m not a milieu writer. I write for the characters in the stories then will tweak the world to suit them. Or if I find a “thing” that pleases me (as in the Tower Bridge, for example), I’ll start asking all kinds of “what ifs”. What if a guy lived there? Why would he? Is he hiding? From what? What if they found him? That’s my brand of pre-plotting. I write a synopsis, crystallize all the craziness into something half-coherent that I submit to my editor, Madame M., who makes sense of it all. Then I write the story. Repeat as needed.
PNR: You are known for writing non-stop action and adventure, including an explosion now and then; do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Nathalie G.: I love nothing better than forcing my characters to dodge bullets. The poor dears. I like to think it’s good for their growth. So, to me, my stories are definitely character-driven. I strive to make them authentic, genuine beings that we can identify with. It’s enough that they don’t exist for real, the least a writer can do is make damn sure they “could” exist. That’s the biggest reason I stay away from these annoying perfect little heroes/heroines. Who the hell wants to read about people who never get dirt under their fingernails?!
PNR: Could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
Nathalie G.: Oh, that’s a dangerous question to answer. Because the voices in my head will fight over who’s the most preciousss, the one voice to rule them all. Titan, my fashionisto arms-dealer (from Femme Metal 2: Hot Target) was a lot of fun to play with. But then so was Cupcake, the shy, giant lycanthrope in Lycan Warriors 2: Primal. And also Danielle from Immortalis. And... erm, sorry. The most challenging was Scarlet, my little pickpocket from Wolfsbane. I couldn’t get her right for some reason. Then I found her sitting at the corner of my desk one morning, waiting for me to stop messing around and the story just took flight.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write the love/sex scenes?
Nathalie G.: Sensuality levels in my stories range from “Aww” to “OHMYGODTHESPRINKLERSAREON!”. Writing love scenes is still the area where I have to be the most careful. I can sit and write a 15-page action scene without problem. But the love, it takes all four of my neurons. Luckily, since I have the Best Editor in the World, she helped me shape this aspect of my storytelling early on. Now, I like to believe that I’ve put a leash on that beast (and just to make a liar out of me, someone will quickly decry that my books aren’t even that sexy at all, liar-liar-pants-on-fire). You can’t win.
PNR: Why do you feel the vampire is such a popular character in books, movies and television?
Nathalie G.: Because they’re predators. I think we like to see hunters do their thing. They move silently, live on the edge. Maybe that’s a vestigial Cro-Magnon trait. Plus, they always have a fabulous wardrobe!
PNR: Paranormal romance is experiencing an incredible surge in popularity, what do you feel accounts for the sudden interest in the genre? What is it about the paranormal genre that captures your imagination?
Nathalie G.: I don’t know if it’s a new thing. I doubt it. Nosferatu wasn’t considered sexy (although we all have different tastes, maybe there’s a gal out there getting the ooh-la-la shivers just thinking about those pointy buck teeth), but I think there’s always been an element of oh-my-god-sexy associated with the paranormal. I know for me, it’s the black jacket. Oh yeah, baby, give me a brooding/snarling hero with a black jacket and watch me dissolve in a puddle of happy goo.
PNR: You have written in the time travel, shapeshifter, vampire, futuristic, sci-fi, historical, and contemporary genres; what is your favorite genre to write? Is there any style or genre that you would like to try but haven’t yet?
Nathalie G.: Science fiction/futuristic is my bestest best genre because I love me some exploding space ships. I love to read and write about rivets and titanium plating and zero-g environments (imagine a love scene in zero-g...oh yeah, baby!). I’ve never tried inspirational. It wouldn’t be a good fit. It’d be like me screaming “CANNONBAAAAAALL!” and splashing everyone at a posh pool party.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months? A sneak peek perhaps?
Nathalie G.: Ahh, now the voices are happy. They like to get center stage. Okay, a sneak peek would be the following:
Imagine a firemen’s pole. Add a clumsy police officer heroine. Okay, visuals in place? Good. Put a set-fire-to-the-curtains, big tease of a handsome hero. Now throw in a pestilential villain, a rowdy discotheque, an all-male escort/spy agency, swearing, absinthe and Montreal’s decadent nightlife. Yes, my lovelies, it’s the beginning of a series entitled Gentlemen Inc. and will hit Ellora’s Cave’s shelves in October 2007. And you thought you knew me! Mwa ha haaa!
PNR: Thank you Nathalie, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Nathalie G.: Anytime you want to alarm or confound your audience, I’m your gal! I invite everyone to come put their pin on my map at www.nathaliegray.com, where they can read about what’s new, what’s next and what’s up with me. Merci!
March 1, 2007
A species created by man to serve and obey. But we made a mistake…we gave it fangs.
We designed them for our use. To wage our greedy wars, toil in our poisonous lunar mines. We made them pleasing to the eye so our children would not have nightmares, tall and strong and smart so they would adapt to environments never meant to sustain life. We thought we had created the perfect sub-species. Obedient. Disposable. How wrong we were.
Helios stands alone. The first of a dying race. He has spent his life fighting to free his kind. To avenge them. His world is a cold, desolate one that has never been touched by grace or light until a hot-tempered woman, a human, marches into his life, his home and his guarded heart. Through Dawn's dry humor and passionate embrace, he learns to trust again and to love. But just as he starts to hope, she is stolen from him. With his light gone, all that is left is darkness and revenge.
They took the one thing he loved and Helios will stop at nothing to get Dawn back. Even damn his eternal, vampire soul.
June 1, 2006
For the past several centuries, Bjorn has hunted, prowled and waged wars. His motto is simple—bite, feed, let the carcass roll. After he's ambushed like an animal and sedated he awakens at the heart of a military machine spinning out of control. And with them is the most enticing woman he's ever seen. Her mind is like a diamond, clear and hard, and he knows it could cut through anything. Even his legendary cool.
Titles and series from
Featured in this issue:Interviews with: L. A. Banks Margaret L. Carter Nathalie Gray Chris Marie Green F E Heaton Doreen Orsini Jaden Sinclair
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