"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
No Time Like the Present
Spotlight on Contemporary Paranormal Romance
Sable Grey resides in the deep south of the United States with
her wonderful husband, very spoiled dog, and three crazy cats.
She spends her time researching her genealogy, designing cover
art, watching movies, and reading.
An Interview with Sable Grey
PNR: Have you always known you wanted to be a writer; when did you begin writing?
Sable G.: I’ve been writing stories since I was a child but I didn’t have big dreams of growing up to be a writer. When you are poor, your dreams usually consist of occupations that actually pay money. So I went to college for journalism. It wasn’t until my professor suggested that I seek employment working for a tabloid that I actually considered, maybe, I was meant to write fiction.
Then I read Iris Johansen’s Wind Dancer series. Okay, I had a friend FORCE me to read it. I didn’t read romance back then. I certainly didn’t write it. I spent most of my time weaving tales of horror and fantasy. When I read those three fabulous books, however, my life changed. I knew romance was what I wanted to write.
PNR: Could you tell us about your writing routine, how do you balance writing and personal time?
Sable G.: Okay. Yeah, I’m supposed to set an example right? This question is better asked to someone like Deanna Lee, who is a little more disciplined than I am.
The truth is, I have no routine and there really is no balance for me. When I feel that need to write, I write hard and fast. Sometimes I don’t sleep. I only remember to eat when my stomach is so loud that it can no longer be ignored. My desk becomes a collage of Diet Dr. Pepper cans and ashtrays - graveyards for cigarettes I lit when I paused and then abandoned to burn out. It’s not the romantic picture. There is no bubble bath. There is no music playing in the background. There is only that obsessive need to tell the story and get it out before the block falls again.
PNR: Most writers are avid readers, is this true for you? What titles would we see in your TBR pile? Who has most influenced you?
Sable G.: I love books. I always have. As a child, I indulged in the classics. As a teen I loved Stephen King and Piers Anthony. When I started reading romance it was Iris Johansen and Bertrice Small. I don’t grow out of an author…I collect them, take them with me as I move forward through life.
My genre of choice to read is historical romance. But my TBR pile includes paranormal, fantasy, suspense, and historical romance. I like a well told story with a good alpha hero. LOL
Two people I have to say, above all others have influenced me as a writer the most. Iris Johansen, because it was her books that made me actually want to write romance in the first place. And Deanna Lee, who convinced me to try my hand at erotic romance.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Sable G.: For me, it’s character development and author voice. I like reading books where the author has her own distinct style. I’m the reader that will let the characters lead me through a story. If they are poorly developed it won’t matter how much research the author’s done, how well the rest of the story is written, I won’t like it. A great example of someone who writes a story that has both elements is Susan King. Her characters are strong and well developed and her voice is unique.
PNR: Salacity, the first book in The Darkness Series released from Cobblestone Press in November 2006, and is set in the fictional city of Salacity, IL, contemporary time; can you tell us a little about your book, the new series and what inspired the intriguing characters?
Sable G.: Actually, I’d never written paranormal romance before the Salacity stories. Most of the paranormal books I’d read were too heavy, and I would get lost reading them. So I decided to try my hand at something a little lighter and came up with a series of comic book type stories.
I thought it best not to stray too far from traditional comic book formula so I gave my characters a city – the city of Salacity. This is a city that would appear typical, much like Chicago, but is over run with whatever paranormal characters my twisted imagination can come up with.
While there is a big picture, a complicated plot that weaves through the entire series, each story can stand on it’s own and be enjoyed individually.
PNR: Readers will be drawn into the dark and dangerous world you have created. 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 series?
Sable G.: I’ve already plotted out the entire series. Each story is one step towards the next level of this series. I’m not a hard plotter so the challenge was actually sitting down and developing the world and plot of the series, rather than the plot for each individual story.
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Sable G.: My books are almost always character driven. With the exception of a few larger projects, I rarely sit down and actually plot. My plotting consists of writing one sentence per chapter to sum up that chapter. LOL Then I just start writing.
There is a joke that my solution to a plot problem is to give the heroine a stalker. LOL And for the most part it is the truth. A crazed lunatic is often the solution to any problem that an author can have in a romance.
PNR: Could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
Sable G.: Developing characters varies depending on how I need to use them in the story I’m writing. Sometimes I start writing with a clear picture in my head. For instance, in The Pirate’s Jewel, the hero was already developed in my head. For the most part, when I am creating a character, I start with the conflict or character flaw and build from there.
My most challenging character is Tessa Marks. She is the heroine in a book, previously published but rewritten and expanded to be published at Cobblestone Press this year. The book is called Hired Hands, and Tessa is the blind heroine. She’s by far the most challenging character, the one I labored over.
My favorite character? A secondary character in a series I’ve not yet submitted anywhere. His name is Neville Crashaw and he is the love of my writing life.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write love/sex scenes? How much of a role do relationships play in The Darkness Series and to what extent does it drive the plot?
Sable G.: The sex scenes in a book aren’t really difficult once I have a clear picture in my head of who the characters are. But I was given a bit of a challenge when I wrote The Dark Half for the first book in the Salacity series. Jack Jordan is a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type. So it was very tricky writing him where he had some of the same sexual tastes as his more adventurous half.
I used to say that I bordered mainstream with my sex scenes. Apparently that is inaccurate. I’ve since learned from editors, publishers, and readers that my sensuality level is a bit closer to the devious side. LOL
PNR: Paranormal romance in a contemporary setting is experiencing an incredible surge in popularity, what do you feel accounts for the sudden interest in this sub-genre? What is it about this setting that captures your interest?
Sable G.: I believe that this sub-genre of romance is popular because it offers the readers the dark fiction they crave in a very believable and tangible setting. It’s not a new need from fiction lovers. We like the idea of mixing reality with bigger than life situations. The Die Hard movies are a good example of that. Ordinary copy in a series of over the top situations. The new element is that there is an edge to his humanity…something dark that could be as dangerous as the conflict he faces.
PNR: What is it about the paranormal romance genre that captures your imagination? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Sable G.: I like the inner conflict that paranormal provides for characters. That one last struggle if the hero or heroine will accept the differences in his or her mate. I like characters to work for their happily ever afters and the inner wolf or vampire only makes the challenges of the story even more difficult to overcome. Plus, it’s kind of sexy if your hero can rip out the villain’s throat because he insulted your honor. LOL
Until recently I hadn’t attempted the futuristic romance. Science Fiction scared me to death because sci-fi readers expect another level of believability to both technology and world building. I’m a Star Trek fan myself which I think is a bit more futuristic than actual Science Fiction.
So that’s where I found my comfort zone and wrote a book called The Latharian Review, to be published in May at Ellora’s Cave. I’m writing under the pen name Amon Bieste, mainly because the writing is a little closer to the darker side that I used when I first began writing – my evil half. LOL.
There’s not really anything I wouldn’t give a try. I love to write. As long as I can work the happily ever after and the sunset (even if it’s accompanied by two moons), I’m more than willing to write it.
PNR: You, along with author Deanna Lee, launched Cobblestone Press in June 2006. Has being on both sides of the business as author and publisher given you a different perspective on writing and the publishing industry?
Sable G.: It does. For instance, it’s just as difficult to write a rejection as it is to receive one. Every rejection I send, I try to write one that I would want to receive, one with honest and helpful feedback. Sometimes the rejection is not received well, and that is understandable. But most times, the extra effort is appreciated.
The main thing I’ve learned as an author though is that the advice we’re always given is good advice. I went through a lot of rejections because I didn’t follow this advice. As an author, I am responsible for investigating the publisher I mean to submit to. I used to think when I would read or hear that advice from publishers that they were just trying to sell me more of their books, to get me to spend money with their company. LOL I know now that it’s because when they say “This isn’t right for us” that means I just didn’t do my homework.
My style is too dark for Harlequin. They’ve told me so – lol. So I shouldn’t waste my time and theirs submitting to them. Instead I should look around at other options, read some of the “darker” books that are published, and select the publisher that offers me the best audience for my book.
I’ve also learned that it doesn’t pay to be a diva. Yes, I’m fabulous. My writing is freaking awesome. But there is a difference in being confident in my work and treating publishers like they can’t function without me. It can be a career killer for an author to behave poorly like that. Publishers won’t want to work with you. Other authors will have no respect for you. And readers don’t care to buy books from authors who have too much negative attitude. I know, because I’m one of those readers, I’m one of those authors, and I’m one of those publishers.
PNR: Salacity is the first book in The Darkness Series; what is up next for the residents of Salacity, IL; can you give us a sneak peek? What are your plans for The Darkness Series?
Sable G.: There is a lot in store for this series. While it takes awhile to write the stories and get them out there because the plot I’ve got to follow is very strict, I think readers are still going to love what I give them next.
Over the next few books, readers will see dragon shifters, demons, zombies, witches, and more vamps and werewolf heroes and heroines. There are terrorist compounds, villains created from real myths and legends, and lots and lots of action.
I write books from the movies playing in my head. Something is going to get blown up. LOL
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months? Do you have any additional series in the works? Single titles?
Sable G.: I’ve just completed a paranormal historical called Something Wild set during the Jack the Ripper murders in London that will be released during Octoberfest at Cobblestone Press. The revised and better than ever version of Hired Hands will also be released at Cobblestone Press this year.
I’ve the futuristic and very erotic story, The Latharian Review, coming in May from Ellora’s Cave.
Right now, I’m working on the second Salacity book for Cobblestone Press and a historical/western series that is getting hotter and hotter with ever chapter I write. LOL I have several other projects that are in the works, I’m the kind that writes on more than one book at a time.
PNR: Thank you Sable, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
You can also find me on Bebo at http://sablegrey.bebo.com
For those who enjoy the Salacity books. I’ve created a special website for the series. http://www.salacitybooks.com
I invite readers to contact me anytime. I enjoy feedback, good or bad. My email is email@example.com or they can join my newsletter through my website. The newsletter is not one where I worry the heck out of people, filling their email box with little chit chat. I use it announce new releases and to give away free copies of my new releases the day of release.
The Darkness Series:
In the city of darkness... the thing that goes bump in the night might be your lover.
Three romantic tales that take place in Salacity, a city where the paranormal is normal and the thing that goes bump in the night might be your lover; the city of darkness.
When Darkness Falls
The Dark Half
Buy it now!
Read the Reviews!
Writing as Amon Beiste
It's not easy being green...
Unless you are a Latharian on a space ship with two other Latharians and a human woman to feed your appetites for sex.
Months without woman has left the three-man crew of the Ecker3 more than a little hungry. The moment they see the human female they want her. When a counselor, who wants to force the Admiral to become his slave, sends Captain Sleece and his crew a command to train her for him, they can’t refuse and why would they want to?
Admiral Coral Melhen has plans of her own when she boards the Latharian ship. She will submit to the sexual needs of the three men who mean to train her as a slave, but will she have the strength to choose her own destiny in the end?
For info on all of Ms. Grey's titles visit her website
Featured in this issue:
Paraphernalia is a feature of PNR, the official website of firstname.lastname@example.org