Name: Clodagh Gray (writing under C.M. Gray)
Age: The wrong side of 40!
Where are you from: I was born in Southern Ireland, grew up in Southern England, and now live in Southern California.
A little about yourself:
I’m a single mum of five great kids, aged 11 to 22. I’m a paediatric RN by profession, and moved into Health Journalism about 15 years ago, and Nurse Education five years ago, which is what I do now.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve just completed all editing for Book Three, Renewed, in the Reborn Trilogy, and it’s on schedule for release in June. Book Two, Reawakened, was released the beginning of March, and I’ve just started a spin-off series of novels.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always written, simply because I’ve always enjoyed it. I’m fascinated by the written word, and won several writing competitions during my childhood.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my sixth child was born, it became really hard to work in a busy London hospital, so I chose to write full time as a professional health writer. Although I’ve written throughout my whole life, I think I considered myself a ‘proper’ writer when I started working in a paid writing post.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My youngest son stopped breathing in my arms very suddenly, and despite my years of experience and skill as a paediatric nurse, I couldn’t save him. I wanted to find a reason why he’d die so young, and my questions led me to the idea of angels, and we all had a purpose and Guardian angel to help us reach it. The Reborn Trilogy is based on this idea.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
It depends what I’m writing. My day job requires very scientific, medical writing, written for professionals, and is more technical based. It’s very different to the style of writing I use when writing novels. However, I am a self-confessed grammar pedant, no matter what I’m writing.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I had about ten potential titles before I woke up one morning with the idea of Reborn, Reawakened, and Renewed as titles for the trilogy. They each fit the individual theme of each book, as well as the overall theme of the trilogy, so I went with it.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
More than anything, hope. Shit happens to us all, hope gets us through it.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone youknow, or events in your own life?
I use facts from history to add realism to fantasy, and the characters are all based on people I know, or have known. I think it works even in fictional novels, and I’ve had a lot of readers contact me to than me for making the idea of angels more believable.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
There are probably loads, but one that comes to mind is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The whole magical tone of it is intriguing, but the underlying message to reach for the stars, follow your dreams, and always be aware of ‘omens’ as you travel through life is a message everyone can relate to.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is yourfavorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’ve just read two books by a new author, Victoria Limbert which I quite enjoyed. I was intrigued because a lot of what she writes about is similar to what I write but coming at it from a very different angle.
It’s hard to pick out a favourite author. There are just too many greats to pick just one. Obviously the Bronte sisters with Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights take me back to my teenage years, and I don’t think I could ever pick up either of those books and not be able to read them (for the hundredth time!)
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My lifelong friend, Tasha. She’s been there for every incredible event in my life, and every tragedy, and supports me in everything I do. It’s a reciprocal thing, and one day we’ll be two drunk old ladies still putting the world to rights.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. A tough one to break into, but one you’re in it, you leave when you choose to.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latestbook?
I don’t think so. It’s been ten years in the making, and I actually changed the ending at the very end of the third book in the trilogy. My beta readers have loved it, and I hope everyone else will too.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Anne of Green Gables and Little Women! I got those two books one Christmas, and loved how they both opened up new worlds and new experiences. This was before internet and Social Media, and the world was much more distant. I wanted to do the same thing for other people.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is an excerpt from Renewed, Book Three due for release in June.
Something had changed. Silas wasn’t sure what, but there’d definitely been a shift in the world. If he didn’t know better, he’d even go as far as to say the shift was affecting the celestial world more than the human one.
“Abbie, Abbie, Abbie. What have you done now?” Even though he was talking to himself, he still half expected someone to answer, and stood up in frustration when the silence thickened around him.
Walking through the long, stony corridors of his realm, he was only vaguely aware of the crawling cockroaches beneath his feet, hardly saw the movement of the walls as the insects scurried continuously over them, their feet clicking a constant irritating monotony.
He contemplated summoning Millie, then sighed dramatically. Millie was so submissive, which on a day to day basis was fine, but he was irritable today. He wanted out of here, he wanted to put an end to whatever was planned for Abbie.
And he had a couple of scores to settle with Beck, and his little army of angels.
He cursed loudly, enjoying the harsh sound of the vile word as it rasped between his lips, enjoying even more the hollow wails of the souls trapped here with him. His realm wasn’t Hell, per se, but it came a damned close second.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Honestly, no not really. I enjoy writing so it’s never a chore. Maybe the hardest thing is forcing myself to stop when it’s already 4am and I’ve got to be up in two hours to start my work day!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, I travelled extensively when I was younger, and have lived in three countries, so I use already gained experiences for my books. And the internet is a mine of information if I ever need to clarify anything.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did. I wanted the three covers of the trilogy to link together, but also to relate to each book individually.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Tying everything together in the third book. And finishing the story. I didn’t want to let my characters go.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Sleep is a luxury!
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play thelead?
Someone unknown. I’d love my books to give someone their start in their career.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t let it become a chore. Writing can be a career, but it doesn’t ever have to be a job.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you. A book without readers is just someone’s imagination, so thank you to everyone who has read my books. You’ve all given them life.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m not reading anything at the moment because I’m writing another novel.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
He first one, no, but the first one I remember is Anne of Green Gables.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My children. They make me laugh and cry, tears of joy, sadness, anger, and pride. Other things that make me laugh are my 3 dogs, and 4 horses. Animals are just so quirky. And I cry at soppy movies and sad books. A Dog’s Purpose killed me.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
When I was writing the Reborn Trilogy, I researched Enochian, an ancient angelic language, so maybe I’d have Rest in Peace in Enochian. Acquiescere in quies.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I spend a lot of my time with my four horses, although I don’t actually ride, my daughters do. I just groom and spoil the horses! That’s my relaxation.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like most of the lawyer series, like Law and Order, SVU. Things like that. I’m also quite enjoying Bull, a new and slightly different lawyer TV series.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love and miss good old fashioned English food – proper bangers, decent chocolate, and Tesco’s jam doughnuts! My favourite colour is purple, any shade. And I like just about every genre of music except rap/hiphop. I listen to a lot of Adele, Fun, and Imagine Dragons.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Teach. I spend a lot of time helping with maths and English in the elementary school here, and I love it when the American kids end up learning new words and pronouncing them with my English accent.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes. It’s a mixture of book reviews, personal musings, writing advice, and updates on the Reborn Trilogy. https://cmgrayauthor.wordpress.com/
Amazon Authors page https://www.amazon.com/C.-M.-Gray/e/B01MT7UUY1/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1