Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing amazing! Today, I am ecstatic to present an author’s interview of Peter gray, who is an exceptionally talented Paranormal Romance author and a gem of a person. She write under a pseudonym and has recently released her third book Awakening. I hope you enjoy this interview.
Shreya Vijay: Hello Peter! It is a pleasure to have you here with us today! First of all, congratulations on releasing three books and thank you for being here with us today.
Peter gray: Thank you so much, Shreya. I am happy to be here too.
Shreya Vijay: Great! So Peter, why don’t we start off with you telling us something about your books? I am sure our audience would love to get to know how you come up with such amazing ideas.
Peter: I am a Canadian writer and poet. My writing mainly falls into paranormal romance and Gothic fiction genres. I am hoping to branch out into the genre of historical romance since I seem to have a knack for writing stories set in nineteenth century England. As a young adult I was influenced by authors such as Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. My writing is also influenced by the Romanticism period, particularly the artwork, poems, and a litany of Gothic literature that were popular at that time.
When I wrote “The Tragic Tale of Teddy Woven,” it was one of those things that came naturally to me, as if it was a story I was meant to tell all along. There is the setting of an old ancestral home situated by rocky cliffs, where the dark, brooding character, Teddy Woven, lives in this household alone. What secrets is he hiding? Why does he choose to keep to himself? And why does he find his new hired gardener, Sela, so intriguing? The mysterious that lie within his household was too hard for me to resist. I believe I wrote the entire story in a span of two weeks, dedicating a few hours a day to write multiple chapters. It was a whirlwind event, fast and chaotic, but in the end I was finally able to produce a story that I am particularly proud of. It is nice for me to hear from my readers that they see a strange resemblance to Oscar Wilde’s “Dorian Gray” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The House of Usher.” I was hoping to echo these classic works that have influenced my writing for the past year, so I am pleased by the warm reception thus far.
When I first wrote “Cursed” it was for a close group of friends to get them ready for Halloween. It was written at lightning speed, but I think it is because I have always had a fascination with folklore surrounding werewolves. In terms of the genre, I wanted to write a paranormal romance story involving werewolves, but also to combine horror and comedy at the same time. I think that is the reason there is a lot of lighthearted bickering among the four main characters that travel up north to stay at Blackthorn Campground for Halloween weekend. There is a lot of comedic elements at the beginning of the novel while they ignore the signs of a werewolf lurking in there mist, only to discover the truth when it’s too late. I suppose it was inspired by the vague knowledge I had of the film “An American Werewolf in London” (1981), a movie I only had the pleasure to watch a few months after I first penned “Cursed.” I think anyone that is a fan of werewolves, or enjoys a spooky read with a few laughs will enjoy this story.
Shreya: Wow Peter! This sounds so amazing! I have got to ask, what pushed you to become and author and publish your books?
Peter: There were a lot of factors that pushed me to become an author. In the back of my mind I knew it was always a thing, but the process of submitting my work to publishers seemed quite daunting. Mainly because I do not write for the mainstream audience that would gravitate towards a Harlequin romance novel for instance; the stories that I write are much darker with morally complex characters that I often describe as “grey.”
The discovery of self-publishing through Amazon was the main propeller for me to put out my first novel “Cursed” to the public audience. I found the entire process exciting, because I was able to have control of the whole operation from beginning to end. Self-publishing is a rewarding experience, one that I would highly recommend to anyone that is interested in showcasing their new book to the world. There are a lot of resources online, so you should get the hang of it soon enough.
“Cursed” was published with no prior knowledge of the publishing business. I made a lot of errors that “newbies” would make when first launching their book on Amazon, such as not having a pre-launch promotion or a stellar cover. Like everything in life I have learned from my mistakes, and since then I have relaunched a new edition this fall with a highly attractive cover and edited by a brilliant company, LoveBooksEditing. After departing from my sophomore year (pun intended) I published “The Tragic Tale of Teddy Woven” with far more experience and knowledge of this competitive industry. Consequently, this entire experience has been a roller coaster of a ride, but I am loving it so far. I can’t wait to put more books out there, and have you all read the crazy story-lines that continually run through my mind.
Shreya: Congratulations and I really hope you bring out more amazing books! But, out of all the possible genres, why did you venture into Paranormral Romance?
Peter: I have always written romance stories, but most of them have a darker edge to them. I tend to gravitate towards eerie settings, such as vast moorlands, haunted houses, bleak grey cliffs at the ocean’s edge, and other desolated areas. The juxtaposition of darkness to light intrigues me, which is often reflected in the characters I write, as well as the overall stories’ setting. I suppose I also enjoy exploring the main character’s psychological point of view, seeing their personality and motives come out in full force once they find themselves head over heels in love. I would argue that supernatural or fantasy components add greater depths to a romantic story-line. Mystical characters such as werewolves, vampires, shape shifters, witches, goblins, and other beings that are empowered by great forces of evil all belong to the genre of paranormal romance, a component that I wish to incorporate into future stories.
Shreya: Wow! You truly are one of a kind. Over to less serious topics, what off the scene tid-bits in your life might surprise your readers the most?
Peter: I feel like people may have some preconceived notion about me as an author based on my pseudonym. I am in fact a person of colour and a female, though I write under a pen name that would suggest otherwise. I chose the name based on my two fictional favourite characters, but also because I wanted to have a sort of Anglo-Saxon sounding name that resembled some of the author’s that I greatly admired as a child. I suppose some other interesting tid-bits is that I am a poet, and hope to one day publish them in an anthology or on Amazon. I enjoy to paint and to create graphic designs in my spare time. As a matter of fact, I designed the cover of “The Tragic Tale of Teddy Woven” and a short story “Caroline’s Ghost” that will be available for free November 27, 2020.
Shreya: Haha, not going to lie, I had the same misconception when I first corresponded with you. Anyway, where did you get the ideas for your books?
Peter: Well, I wrote “Cursed” in five days. I specifically remember sitting down at my desk every evening and uploading a chapter online for my friends to read. I never had an outline for the story, or even a plan! I just wrote whatever came into my head, which in hindsight might have been similar to the process most writers use when given a writing prompt. I had a lot of useless knowledge about wolves, since they are my favourite animal, and even more on the folklore of werewolves. I cannot tell you when the idea for “Cursed” first came into my head, only that I had an interest in werewolves and I wrote with a clear intent to set the story in a place I’ve known all my life- the Canadian wilderness.
The idea for “The Tragic Tale of Teddy Woven” came to me after watching a series of Vincent Price films at the height of covid-19 lockdown. I was influenced by the films: Dragonwyck (1946), House of Usher (1960), and The Tomb of Ligeia (1964). At that time, I was also reading a selection off Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories and Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” The idea for my story almost pieced itself together overtime, probably from my intense reading of Gothic horror. The main character, Teddy Woven, appearance is based off a young version of Vincent Price, as does his compelling voice that Sela seems to be enraptured by over time. Sela is based off the many heroines I have encountered in the novels I have loved and cherished for as long as I can remember, such as Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca” or Charolette Brontë’s “Jane Eyre.” The mystery of Teddy Woven came over time, naturally forming itself without any effort on my part. Once it was present, I simply sat down at my computer and wrote the entire story in a quick succession of two weeks without a hitch.
Shreya: Okay, 5 Days!? This is exceptional talent at its peak. Hats off to you! What was the most difficult part of writing your books?
Peter: I seldom have a problem when writing stories. I rarely get writer’s block, and if that unfortunate incident does occur I will go out for long walks and that usually cures it. Generally speaking, I write a chapter or two every day, and then go out for strolls in the forest by early afternoon to relieve my mind. The time among nature does some good to my body and mind, and by the next day I can resume my writing without ever having to stop at all. So, as odd as this might sound, there was never a moment when I had a difficult part in writing my books. I would argue the hardest part is the act of finding a good editor and graphic designer for book covers, but of course that is the post-writing process. I suppose the only advice I can give to fellow writers that stumble, or have some difficulty in writing longer manuscripts is to simply break your story apart in small segments and develop a routine to write every day. Also, to take time to read in the afternoons or late evenings, because you pick up new vocabulary and phrases without consciously realizing it. Such quotidian routines have helped me develop my writing style, as well as renewing my love of reading classical pieces of literature.
Shreya: Wow! I think I might need to incorporate this advice in my routine too, haha. By the way, Peter, I understand that you do not use your actual name for writing your novels. Is there a particular reason for that?
Peter: It is simple really, I work in the education profession. I would like to keep my occupational life separate from my private one. “Cursed” is a paranormal romance, but due to certain scenes it can also be considered erotic. I am not the type of person to shy away from sex scenes, perhaps because I have read and written fan-fictions for so many years. Writing under a pen name allows me to write steamy novels or clean ones without the fear of facing repercussions from my employers and potential students. Also, writing under a pseudonym makes me feel more liberated, because I don’t have to worry about being judged by my family members and friends. It is like that old saying: “Give a person a mask and they will show you who they truly are.” For now, I am enjoying parading around in such a disguise. One day I will publish stories under my real name, but until then I will continue to write under the pseudonym “Peter Gray.”
Shreya: Yeah, that is understandable and I totally agree with you.
Peter: As I have stated earlier, I write nearly every day. My routine is to wake up in the early hours of the morning and work on my current manuscript for one to two hours a day. In the afternoons I tend to go for long walks, or read a new book to sharpen my mind and find some new inspiration. In the months that I am not working on a manuscript, such as right now, I tend to practice my poetry and dedicate more time to reading books by fellow indie writers. I think it is important to continually immerse yourself in literature. In the past I have written for a specific audience, like I had done with “Cursed,” but now I am taking time to develop stories that are truly meaningful to me and hopefully my readers as well.
Shreya: Is there something you would like to say to your readers?
Peter: I am fairly active on social media, so I suggest you follow me on Instagram or Facebook. I love speaking to readers and learning their thoughts on my latest books. It would be nice to have a little community online where we can share our thoughts and quickly become friends. I am also heavily active on Goodreads, it has become a bit of an obsession actually. So, I encourage readers to follow me on that website as well. This entire journey over the last few months have been so great so far. I’ve met some really talented indie writers, and came across books that I intend to read this upcoming holiday season. I am pretty excited about the future, and I hope my readers are too.
Shreya: Finally, where can the readers find you and interact with you?
Goodreads: Peter Gray
Shreya: Thank you so much for being here with us today, Tim! It was wonderful to get to know you. It was a really fun session. I wish you all the very best for your future.