Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Meet Luccia Gray - Historical Fiction Author Extraordinaire!






Luccia Gray is a very talented author and I'm so glad to have crossed paths with her.  I was so excited when I asked her for an interview, and she graciously accepted! 
So here is a little bit about her and I know that after reading this, you'll have your finger ready to #OneClick every one of her books on Amazon!


JENNIFER: I’ve just started reading All Hallows at Eyre Hall and it brings back so many memories of Jane Eyre. I devoured it and books such as Wuthering Heights and Mistress of Mellyn as a young reader. Tell me what got your writing pen inked up to write historical fiction and what made you decide to take Jane Eyre one step further?
**SIDE NOTE** I'm in love with this book....I read text to speech on my Kindle during my commute to and from work and I gotta tell you that I've been taking the long way home. Can't wait to finish and start on the next one.

LUCCIA: Thank you, Jennifer. Yes, I also enjoyed (and still do!) gothic fiction, the Brontes, Victoria Holt and Daphne du Maurier are some of my favorites.
The first time I read Jane Eyre I was about fourteen. I was impressed by Jane’s character and resilience, and I became enthralled by the gothic romance that Charlotte Bronte had woven. However, it wasn’t until about twenty-five years later, when I read the prequel, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), by Jean Rhys, which is Bertha’s story from her childhood to her suicide, that I was able to reread and reinterpret Jane Eyre. Both narratives merged in my mind and I realized that Jane Eyre’s story was unfinished, because Bertha needed to be reinstated, Rochester exposed, and I wanted to show Jane’s potential as a mature woman (she was only 19 when she married Mr. Rochester).

JENNIFER: Jane Eyre is a sensitive yet strong and incredible woman. Which of her attributes do you identify with?

LUCCIA: Many authors end up writing about themselves and their lives, and that’s fine, but it’s not something I wanted to do myself, at least not consciously.
I purposefully chose a heroine who is very different to me, in every possible way. A short, thin young orphan, who tames and marries an infuriating and selfish, rich man, inherits a fortune and lives happily ever after in a country house in Victorian England, is nothing like my life!
However, regarding her attributes, I suppose I can relate. I’m hard-working, tenacious, and fiercely independent, like Jane. I also share with her the desire to be a decent and honest person.
That’s why, I’m sure Jane wouldn’t have become a wallflower, or an idle lady of leisure, submitting to Rochester’s every whim for the rest of her life.
I’ve envisioned a mature Jane, who is involved in social work, writes novels, and is a capable and caring manager of the Rochester estate, while her husband is on his deathbed, after twenty years of marriage.  

JENNIFER: From your bio on Amazon, it looks like you’ve done quite a bit of traveling and see that you now live in Spain. Have your travels influenced your writing? If so….how?

LUCCIA: I was born and brought up in London, but I moved to Spain when I married my Spanish husband many years ago. I’ve visited most European countries and the United States on several occasions.
I love travelling, but I don’t think travelling has influenced my writing as much as reading has. I believe I am able to write reasonably well because I read voraciously from childhood, and still do.

JENNIFER: Do you feel that as a writer you’ve improved with each book?

LUCCIA: I like to think my writing has improved by becoming more efficient, by this I mean that I’m able to convey meaning and be more effective with less effort and more concise prose. Writing will always be hard, as Thomas Mann said, ‘A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people,’ but I’m enjoying it more every day.

JENNIFER: Which of The Eyre Hall trilogy is your favorite?

LUCCIA: Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall is my favorite.
I feel a bit guilty of answering without hesitation. It is like choosing your favorite child and betraying the others! So I feel obliged to explain my answer.
Book One, All Hallows at Eyre Hall, was a unique experience. I was trying very hard to prove to myself, that I could write a good novel in the Victorian style. It was a challenge more than a pleasure at times! When I wrote Book 2, Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, I felt free. I’d broken the ice, so I could just write to my heart’s content, and that’s what I did. It has adventure at sea, a murder investigation, a kidnapping, an intense visit to Victorian London, plenty of romance, and even a conversation with Charles Dickens himself chatting to Jane Eyre! I enjoyed every minute of it! Book 3, Midsummer at Eyre Hall, put back the pressure as I had to end the trilogy, tying up loose ends, and once again, I felt the challenge of living up to expectations. Would readers like the ending? Would it do justice to the series? And of course, it was sad to say goodbye to the characters I’d been living with for over three years. So, book three was a demanding and melancholic experience.

JENNIFER: When you aren’t immersed in writing, what are some of your hobbies?

LUCCIA: I enjoy reading more than writing. I regularly reread 19th and 20th century authors, and I also enjoy all sorts of contemporary fiction. I’m a very eclectic reader, I’ll read almost anything, except fantasy.
I also love taking long walks in the country or in town, and I love swimming. I travel whenever I can, especially short trips to European cities, where I get lost in the Old Towns and museums.
My friends are very important for me. I enjoy visiting friends and hosting dinner parties, especially in the patio in summer. I go to the cinema regularly with a few friends, but my favorite moment is the coffee and discussion we always have afterwards!
My favorite pastime of all is playing with my grandchildren, anywhere, but especially making sandcastles on the beach. 

JENNIFER: Do you consider yourself a traditional writer? (i.e., outline or no? Sticky notes scribbled on and stuck to every wall in your office?

LUCCIA: My novels start with one or two characters and an idea, which I visualize and the story grows. I scribble lots of scenes, notes, and do some research before I start writing on my laptop.  When I’m about a third into it (anywhere between 20,000 and 30,000 words), I start planning, because too much is going on and I feel I’m losing it! My plans are very simple: three parts with roughly 10 chapters each (each chapter has one sometimes two scenes), so there are between 40-45 scenes in all. I use a very simple plot arc to identify rising and falling action, twists and turns, various crisis, and final climax and ending.

JENNIFER: What is your favorite place to write and what time of day do you consider yourself most productive?

LUCCIA: I work as a teacher, so during the school year I write whenever I can, usually in the evenings and at weekends. During the holidays (and in an ideal world!), I write in the mornings and reread and edit in the evenings. I can write anywhere if I have my laptop, even in a car or bus, but my favorite place is in my patio, when everything is still and silent, in the mornings.  

JENNIFER: Have you considered writing any other genres? If so, which one(s)

LUCCIA: I enjoy writing Victorian novels, but I’d like to write a contemporary romance with suspense and gothic elements.

JENNIFER: Is your family supportive of your writing?

LUCCIA: Sometimes they think I spend too much time on writing and related activities, but they’re generally supportive because it makes me happy, although they don’t really understand the self-publishing world. One of my daughters is a great reader and I love discussing plots and characters with her; she may eventually turn into a writer!

JENNIFER: Have you done any collaborative writing with other authors?

LUCCIA: I’ve written research papers and scholarly books with other authors, but I cannot see myself writing a novel with anyone else. My creative writing process is too personal and intimate to share, although of course I have beta readers and an editor who help me with their valuable advice and opinions. I have been asked to contribute a novel to a box set with other authors, but I don’t really consider that collaborating, as my work within the collection is my own.


JENNIFER: Who does your covers? They’re positively beautiful! Tell us about your process in coming up with the perfect cover? How much input do you give your cover artist?

LUCCIA: Thank you. I had another cover for my first book originally. It was made by a friend who is a graphic designer, but he’s not a professional cover designer. I soon realized I had to have a more professional and impacting cover. I searched on the internet and found a premade cover that I loved, by Melody Simmons, the one with the red dress for Twelfth Night at Eyre hall, so I asked her if she could make two more to complete my trilogy. I gave her the basic idea, a black dress with the moon at night for All Hallows at Eyre Hall, and a blue dress with a summery feel to it for Midsummer at Eyre Hall. She sent me a few ideas and we soon reached an agreement. https://ebookindiecovers.com/tag/melody-simmons/

***SIDE NOTE*** Aren't these gorgeous covers????















JENNIFER: Are you self-published? If so, what about the Indie Author world is appealing to you?

LUCCIA: I’m self-published. I sent a few emails to traditional publishers, but it just seemed too daunting and slow to find a traditional publisher or an agent, and I didn’t want to keep my novel on a file on my computer, so I investigated on the internet and read all about indie publishing on other blogs and decided to go for it. The first book was the hardest, but once you more or less know your way around, publishing an eBook on amazon is fairly straightforward (albeit time-consuming). I also publish my books on paperback with CreateSpace.   

JENNIFER: What is the most daunting process or task with regard to writing?

LUCCIA: I love writing. I love the whole process, from the idea to the handwritten notes, the first chapters the planning, the editing, the research, all of it.
I also enjoy interacting on the social media with other writers and readers on my blog, Facebook and Twitter, mostly, which could be considered branding and marketing as well as ‘social’ interaction.
Perhaps the worst part is actually selling, by this I mean the advertising campaigns on twitter, Facebook, Booksends, BookBub, etc. The difficulty for me is that I’m not knowledgeable enough to do it effectively, and it’s time-consuming and expensive. I try to be pragmatic about it and just get on with it and learn as  go.

JENNIFER: Do you have a career outside of writing?

LUCCIA: I’m an English teacher. I used to teach adolescents, undergraduates, and postgraduates (Teacher-Training Masters), which was stimulating but very demanding. Now I teach English at an Adult Education Centre and at the Spanish Distance University. There’s less stress and it’s still very rewarding, so I have more time and energy for my writing.

JENNIFER: Tell us what’s in the pipeline for Luccia Gray?

LUCCIA: I’ve just completed The Eyre Hall Trilogy. So I’m busy promoting at the moment.
They’re all available as eBooks and the first two, All Hallows and Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, are also out in paperback. I’m preparing book three, Midsummer at Eyre Hall, for paperback. I’d like to prepare an eBook box set soon, too.  
I’ve started two books; one is another Victorian gothic romance, and the other is a contemporary romantic suspense. I’m not sure right now which one I’ll finish first! I’m sure whatever I write will always include an element of romance, mystery and suspense.

JENNIFER: How can we stalk you? (I’m being silly, of course. Stalking as in your social media and Amazon links)

LUCCIA: I love ‘meeting’ and interacting with my readers and of course other authors. Writing can sometimes be a solitary endeavor, so it’s great to meet other authors and readers. When I started writing, I never imagined interacting with authors and fans would be such an important part of being a writer, and I’m thrilled at the wonderful people I’ve met on Facebook, Twitter, and through my blog, Rereading Jane Eyre.
Please follow me or contact me on:
My blog, Rereading Jane Eyre: https://lucciagray.com/

LUCCIA: Thank you so much, Jennifer, for your thought-provoking interview and for having me as a guest on your blog. It was a pleasure to answer your questions.




**Side note: What a beautiful woman! **
Author Bio:
Luccia Gray was born in London and now lives in the south of Spain with her husband. She has three children and three grandchildren. When she is not reading or writing, she teaches English at an Adult Education Centre and at the Spanish Distance University.



**FINAL NOTE***
If you like this interview, please leave a comment and share the post. I love to promote authors I've read and loved. Follow Luccia on social media, and let's spread the love :)

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for a wonderful interview, Jennifer. I loved visiting your blog and answering your questionsđź’–

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    Replies
    1. My pleasure! Must revisit after I read the other 2! <3

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