Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hourglass Blog Tour - Interview with Claudia Gray

Today I'm excited to bring to all of you an author interview as part of the Book Tour for Claudia Gray's forthcoming third book in her popular Evernight series! I read the book a couple of weeks ago and I just have to say this series gets better with each book! Ms. Gray was kind enough to answer a few questions to share with all of you, so let's get started!

MB: Firstly, I just want to say how much I have enjoyed the Evernight series, and with each book I am even more hooked to the story. How has your approach changed with writing each book of the Evernight series? Has it gotten easier to continue the story or more difficult?

Claudia Gray photoCG: Thanks so much, Melissa!  The main change in my approach to writing the series has been to plan each book in greater detail than the last.  Although I had the fundamental story arcs for the series set up before I’d finished EVERNIGHT, there was still a lot to flesh out – and now I find I want to really break down each book before I dive in.  I’ve always been an outliner, but my outlines are crazy long now!

I can’t really say that anything has gotten easier or more difficult; each book presents unique challenges.  With HOURGLASS, being away from Evernight Academy opened up a lot of new possibilities – but it also required a lot of worldbuilding.  And with AFTERLIFE (which I just handed in last month), the challenge was wrapping everything up tightly in just the way that I wanted.  This story has meant a lot to me and I really wanted to provide a wonderful ending for the readers.

MB: I have to say how much I have enjoyed the characters in the Evernight series--even some of the more minor ones, like Vic and Ranulf, really bring life to the story. Do you have a favorite character--has that character always been your favorite or has it changed with each book?

CG: I don’t really have one single favorite character.  On any given day, I’m happiest with the character who is saying interesting things and making the scenes work well.  That changes from book to book, or even scene to scene.   I know that Bianca got me through most of EVERNIGHT, that Balthazar surprised me the most in STARGAZER and Lucas really came through in HOURGLASS.  But I love the supporting characters too.  In AFTERLIFE, Ranulf always seemed to know the perfect thing to say!  Dana, Raquel, Patrice and Vic are all incredible fun too.

MB: You have presented several fresh ideas on vampires and the lore surrounding them in your books. Did your ideas stem from a great deal of research, and if so, where did you find your ideas?

CG: I don’t know if you can call a lifetime of reading about vampires “research,” exactly.  But of course you want to call on the classic themes – drinking blood, the struggle for control, repulsion by religious artifacts, etc.  Other things I drew from vampire legend as I needed them; for instance, the old stories that vampires couldn’t cross running water?  That came in useful from the get-go.  (And it’s going to play a big role in Balthazar’s book, though there I am getting ahead of myself.)

MB: Where did the ideas for the covers of the Evernight books come from? How much were you able to contribute to their development? Do the different colors among the covers have any significance?

Book coverCG: The idea came from Alison Donalty at Harper.  I had almost zero to do with it – in fact, I’d say my only real input came when I asked for there to be a little hourglass hidden in the lettering for HOURGLASS.  (Yes, I’m literal sometimes.)  The colors are chosen mostly for beauty, but I really, really like the fact that, as the books go on, Bianca lifts her head a little higher.  It’s like you can see this shy, depressed girl finding her courage more and more from book to book.

MB: Shifting gears a little... What were some of your favorite books and/or authors when you were growing up? Do any in particular still stick with you today?

CG: So many of them have stayed with me that it’s hard to single out just a few.  When I was younger, I absolutely adored A LITTLE PRINCESS by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which still has the worst headmistress villain ever (though I am convinced Mrs. Bethany could defeat Miss Minchin in a cage match, and I would in fact pay good money to see that).  And oh, the payoff at the end!  Amazingly satisfying.  I reread the book recently and was struck by how accurate it is about storytelling, and storytellers, too.

I also adored A WRINKLE IN TIME, GONE WITH THE WIND (which I have a more complicated relationship with now), I CAPTURE THE CASTLE and Jane Austen.

MB: And along those lines, is there any particular writer who has inspired and influenced you in your own writing?

CG: There are a lot of people who inspire and influence me, but I don’t know that there’s any one person who has most shaped what I do.   I can say that some YA novels I’ve found particularly outstanding in the past few years include THE HUNGER GAMES, HOW I LIVE NOW, THE SILVER KISS, THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION, GRACELING and PERFECT YOU.

(TRUE SECRET CONFESSION: I have written fanfic for one of these books!  No, I’m not telling you under what name.)

MB: And just for fun... If you had one day to do anything you wanted, no restrictions physically, monetarily or anything else you can think of, how would you spend your day?

CG: I would definitely want to be traveling.  But where?  Hmmm.  If money is really no object, honestly?  I’d go to Antarctica.  I’ve always wanted to see it, though trips down there are not cheap.  It would be amazing to travel in those waters, to see the whales, seals and penguins and to set foot on that continent.  And as long as money is no object, I’d travel in a comfortable ship with plenty of friends (my treat!), good food and cozy blankets to make sure we’re warm even at the bottom of the world.

Thank you so much for visiting with us and sharing more about your Evernight books! And for all of you reading this, here's a little teaser with the Hourglass book trailer:

For more stops and fun on the Hourglass Book Tour, please take a look at the schedule below and be sure to visit the participating blogs:

March 1 - http://tainted-poet.blogspot.com/
March 2 - http://www.melissas-bookshelf.com/
March 3 - http://themindfulmusingsbookblog.blogspot.com/
March 4 - http://www.theneverendingshelf.com/
March 5 - http://www.thestorysiren.com/
March 6 - http://thebookcellarx.blogspot.com/
March 7 - http://confessionsofawanderingheart.blogspot.com/
March 8 - http://aparkavenueprincess.blogspot.com/

Please keep an eye out for my review of Hourglass, which I will be posting as we get closer to the release date on March 9th!



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