Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Author Interview with Jami Gray

I’d like to welcome my pal, the author Jami Gray to the Menagerie! Welcome!!! I’m happy you’re here so let’s get this party started!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was eight and had just returned from watching Star Wars at the drive-in theater (yes, the one where you park the car and the clumsy speaker hangs on your window). When I went to bed that night, I spent a couple of hours re-writing the story so Han Solo would have a kick ass female to be with instead of the whiny Princess Leia. Unfortunately this meant I was suddenly rewriting new characters into existing story lines of all the books I was reading. Eventually I got brave enough to try my hand at spinning my own storylines, which cut down on the mental edits. Years later, my parents got an electric typewriter so the six teenagers who were in typing class could practice their emerging skills. Needless to say, I took it over and we became inseparable.

Gotta have that first love. :-) When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I started writing stories in earnest as a freshman in high school. Back in the dark ages, typing on an actual typewriter was a required class. My parents had invested in an electric typewriter so the six of us in high school could practice our typing skills. Needless to say, I would hover over siblings until they finished then I would commandeer the typewriter for my own nefarious purposes. By the time I began to pack for college at eighteen, I had almost 200 pages of YA fantasy novel done. And no, it will never, ever, see the light of day again.

You never know. It might be that one great novel you’ve wanted to publish. Could be. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I’m a type-A personality so you would expect detailed outlines, character sheets and PowerPoint graphs, but nope, I start with an overall idea, some appealing characters and an intriguing problem and let it go. It’s a frightening way to write, but I’ve found it works best for me. The more I outlined a plot, the farther away from it I went. My characters want to make their own stories, so I let them. Besides they get pissy when they don’t get what they want. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with them in that mood, it’s a real killer.

There’s nothing wrong with being a pantser. I do it all the time. And yes, outlines are there for deviating. If they were meant to be followed, then everything would be in outline form. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Umm, yeah…sex scenes. Maybe it’s just me (probably) but I have the damnedest time writing sex scenes. It’s isn’t even the act itself that’s hard, it’s the emotions that go into it. Let’s be honest, hormones are fabulous but my characters have trust issues and the emotional undertones are much more influential. I have to be alone, earphones in, music blaring and in the mood before I can get anything on paper. I can do the build-up, but the actual scene, man…the first massive scene I had to write in Shadow’s Soul, my husband thought I had a sunburn. He found differently later.

Nothing wrong with getting involved in what you’re writing. What do you think makes a good story?

I’ve heard a hundred times that every story ever written has already been set to paper. My response, meh! Maybe the basic story outline—hero vs. evil, boy meets girl—but you set a strong, multi-layered character, complete with flaws and strengths in a well crafted universe and that story will leave others in the dust.

Now if I could just write that story... What does your family think of your writing?

They’re great! I lucked out twice. The first time around was when I was younger. My mom and dad put up with the hours I spent at the table tapping away at the keys. They didn’t even roll their eyes whenever visitors asked what I was doing and got the teenage superiority toned answer, “Writing my book.” I struck gold the second time with my husband and boys. They’re great at dialing for take-out or delivery, know how to hit the buttons for laundry and can generally stuff things in well concealed niches so our home appears clean. If they ever figure out human cloning, I’m in just so I can give my boys some who cooks and cleans!

Hee hee. What stereotype would you label yourself as?

Crazy anal retentive control freak with OCD tendencies. It’s a good thing my hubby balances me out, I’m not sure I’d be livable without him!

Gotta have someone to balance you out. Kealie and I share the same brain so... I don’t know if it’s balance, but it works. What is your strangest habit?

*laughs* All my books are organized alphabetically by author, then series. Before iTunes so were my CD’s and DVD’s.

Hey, my cds were alphabetized. I get you. When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?

Where the hell are my glasses?

Have you seen my glasses, by the by? I’m missing mine, too.

Shadow’s Edge: Book 1 of the Kyn Kronicles is out now and Shadow’s Soul: Book 2 of the Kyn Kronicles hits shelves Summer 2012.

You can find me at:
Buy Link:
Blogs: or

Do you want to know more about Shadow’s Edge? Sure you do! Here you go:

It takes a monster to hunt one, and for Raine McCord, forged in the maelstrom of magic and science, she’s the one for the job. In a world where the supernatural live in a shadowy existence with the mundane, a series of disappearances and deaths threatens the secrecy of her kind and indicates someone knows the monsters are alive and kicking. Partnering up with the sexy and tantalizing Gavin Durand proves to be a challenge as dangerous as the prey she hunts.

When the trail points back to the foundation which warped Raine’s magic as a child, her torturous past raises its ugly head. Gavin and Raine sift through a maze of lies, murder and betrayal to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.

And the official Bio for Jami Gray:

Growing up on the Arizona-Mexico border, Jami Gray was adopted at the age of 14 and suddenly became the fifth eldest of 37 children. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and three minors-History, English, and Theater. Shortly after marrying her techie-geek hubby (who moonlighted as her best friend in high school) she completed a Masters in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix Oregon.

Now, years later, she’s back in the Southwest where she’s outnumbered in her own home by two Star Wars obsessed boys, one Star Wars obsessed husband, and an overly-friendly, 105-pound male lab. Writing is what saves her sanity.

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