Let’s ring in the new year of 2017 with a BIG TEN addition: Audrey Grey. Like so many authors I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know, our connection was made at UtopiaConn 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. I did my thing and got all up in Audrey’s media presence. Here’s what I dug up. She’s funny, creative and ready to take the writer world by the proverbial horns.
The Q and A:
1. I found your Goodreads profile, which I appropriately stalked...okay I stalked all your media for posterity, so it’s okay!! You mention that you’ve several manuscripts that will never see the light of day. How has your writing changed since you started writing? What do you attribute those changes to?
Wow! Straight to the hard question. Well, the first full manuscript I completed was actually incomplete, at 145,000 words. For those that don’t know, that’s over the full length of a normal adult novel! It was a bit of everything. I had the words, I had the characters, but I had zero plot. I was writing to write, without a plan or much research, which definitely aligns with my unorganized, nebulous, spontaneous personality. Unfortunately, those traits don’t benefit the kind of epic, larger-than-life stories I like to tell.
So, I’d definitely say my writing has become more structured, simply out of necessity, and more forethought goes into. Who am I writing for? What story am I telling? What are the conflicts, etc. I map it out, make an outline, do all the necessary, not-so-fun stuff. Basically, I make a plan. [I get you completely!]
2. So, you’re a paintaholic. I have painter-interuptus (meaning a bunch of unfinished paint jobs). What have been your most favorite transformations of rooms or things? [Holy cow! Not only can she write, but she’s creative with a brush.]
Oh, man. I love transforming ALL THE THINGS. Seriously, at one time, before my life was overrun with writing deadlines and editors cracking the whip, I obsessed over changing every room in my house. I also sometimes experiment with oil paints on canvas. My heart just begs to create, and the transformation process is addictive!
3. What is your most hilarious “mom moment”? Your most touching “mom moment”?
Being a mommy is the most amazing/crazy/frustrating thing I’ve ever done. Luckily, my husband and I have a pretty strong sense of humor, and we use laughter to get through the tough times. This one time, my one-year-old son woke up from his nap and my husband went to get him. A few minutes later I heard my husband screaming my name. My son had found his poopy diaper and smeared the poop EVERYWHERE. Toys. Crib. Wall. Himself. It was one of those horrifying moments that if you didn’t laugh, you might just leave the house and never come back. It took hours to sanitize his room and person, but by the end of it, my husband and I were laughing hysterically, comparing our carefree college years to our poop-filled existence now. It was either laugh or cry.
As a mom, I experience a lot of touching moments, but I think watching my seven-year-old daughter take care of my four-year-old son has to be the best feeling ever. The way they love and care for each other is amazing, and it touches me deeply.
4. I see you’re a dog lover. I get you completely. Tell us about your pooches. And what is your take on all these abused dog FB feeds? How do you handle these?
All four—yes, four—of my wonderful (naughty, demanding, silly) dogs are rescues. My husband likes little dogs, I prefer big ones. So, instead of compromising, we have two of each! Having two busy kids and four dogs is a recipe for chaos, but we love our fur kids and wouldn’t have it any other way.
We have four males (Ed, Marley, Forge, and Beeker) and while the two elderly dogs get annoyed with the younger pups at times, for the most part they get along great.
As for the sad, heartbreaking posts my masochistic friends like to put on Facebook, well, I usually scroll past them, unless I know for sure the story has a happy ending. I just can’t handle knowing that kind of abuse and hatred exists in the world.
5. A hat fanatic? Cool! How did you come to love hats?
I’ve always loved hats, but I didn’t really make a thing of it until I became a mommy and started forgoing washing my hair for bedtime rituals and changing diapers. While unwashed hair may be the norm in my household, out in public, I wanted to hide that fact, so I started to throw on hats. I love them all. Ball caps. Fedoras. Pink cowgirl hats with bling. My day gets started early, and I usually throw on a pair of yoga pants and t-shirt, so my hats are a way to accessorize and show off my style without actually having to work at it.
Brace yourselves, TOM HARDY is coming...
6. Almost fell out of my chair when you mentioned TOM HARDY! Talk to us about this hunky hottie. What, why, when, how...and did you see him in Wuthering Heights?
TOM HARDY. Commence drooling. I think he embodies everything I like in a man. Strong. Mysterious. Independent. Artistic. British accent. Loves dogs. And he’s confident enough to play diverse roles that some actors might shy away from. I’ve loved him in all his roles, but I just recently watched him play Alfred “Alfie” Solomons, a Jewish gang leader in Peaky Blinders, and I was reminded all over again why he’s my main Hollywood obsession.
7. What’s the deal with Kombucha? Why is this an obsession?
Kombucha is one of those polarizing things, like Crossfit and Elf-on-the-Shelf. People either love it or hate it. In my experience, most people are too terrified of the very visible cultures at the bottom to even try it, but I fell in love the first sip I took. It’s fermented, so it’s sour and carbonated, with a refreshing zing in the back of your throat after you’re done. If you get over the smell and the bacterial cultures, it’s wonderful—and it’s supposed to be good for you. Other than coffee, Kombucha is my go-to drink, and at five dollars a pop, the current reason I’m poor. [haha! right?!]
8. How did you come up with your story and characters for your debut novel Shadow Fall?
Shadow Fall actually came about from the word SHADOWFALL (the novel was originally one word). I remember falling in love with it, and wondering how I could plan a novel around the word. Seriously. There was something ominous and dramatic about it. Like, what would be large enough to cast a shadow, and how would the populace respond? So I really had the concept of the novel from the very beginning—a trial held during the dark hours of Shadow Fall, when the impending asteroid casts a shadow. But the characters took a while to flesh out. I knew I wanted a strong female heroine who didn’t know how strong she was. And I wanted lots of uncertainty and intrigue. The other characters didn’t start showing themselves until I started writing, as they tend to do in my world. But once they showed up, they were very demanding!
9. OMG! You’re a GOT [Game of Thrones] fan!! I’ve tons of questions....
As a writer, what is your take on R.R. Martin’s planning of the whole Hodor thing?
Who’s your favorite character?
What’s your favorite scene?
Which character do you hate the most?
What’s your opinion of Little Finger?
These are all the questions I pretty much drill other people with when I learn they love GOTs! Warning, this section might be LONG and contain spoilers. [If you’re a binger and haven’t finished the final season, cover your eyes.]
First, to answer the Hodor question. George is a genius. When I saw that episode, I had all sorts of thoughts running through my mind, but unlike my husband, who was horrified for poor Hodor, the main emotion was awe and respect for George’s talents. [YES!!] I even texted my good friend and GOT fan and asked, “Did George plan that?” Because my mind couldn’t comprehend planning that far in advance. And then I read an article that confirmed he did, indeed, plan it from the very beginning, and I cried a little. Because I know as an author I will never achieve that level of greatness. Hats off to you, George. [He is the master planner. I realize this is why it takes years for one novel!!]
Favorite character? Tyrion, hands down. I read all the books before the series came out, and he was my favorite to read and watch. Despite all the hardships thrown at him, he relies on his wits and humor to survive. And he’s good, as good as you can be in the GOT universe without dying. He’s the only character that, if killed, would make me stop reading/watching the series.
Favorite scene? Hmm, I don’t know. If we’re judging off of scenes that made me happy, there aren’t that many (damn you, George). Maybe when the Stark children found the Dire Wolves? Or when Sansa and Jon were reunited. But the most indelible scene, the one I can’t get out of my head, is the Red Wedding. I read that chapter, and I saw it coming (the foreshadowing in the book is impeccable), and I was screaming and reading and pacing all at the same time. My husband thought I went mad.
Most hated character? Easy—Joffrey. [Screw you, Joffrey!! I hated him so much! Well-done, George.] He trumps Cersei and even Ramsay Bolton, only because in the book I hadn’t gotten to Ramsay’s reign of terror just yet, unless you count Theon, which, c’mon, he kind of deserved it (poor Reek). Cersei had issues, but she’s also trying to survive in a man’s world. Ramsay was a bastard and his father demented, no wonder he turned out the way he did. But Joffrey was just a spoiled brat with no excuse for the way he acted or the horrible, terrible things he did. Good riddance!
Little Finger. That guy! I have mixed feelings about him. I mean, he is responsible for killing Joffrey (yay) but then he let Tyrion take the fall. He’s obviously cunning and ruthless, and he’s wreaked a lot of havoc, but there’s just something about the underdog survivor. He wasn’t good enough for Catelyn Stark, and part of his lofty ambitions stem from that unrequited love. So, while I don’t trust Little Finger, I’m very interested to see where his story goes. Does he rise to the top? Does he eventually turn Sansa against Jon? [I’m so worried about this! She hasn’t truly given up the idea of being a queen.] He’s a very entertaining character, and I hope to witness more of his antics stir up the axis of power in the Seven Kingdoms.
10. At the end of all things, when light fades to darkness, what's the only thing that's real?
People. We’re all connected. We have our own unique stories and dreams, but at the end of the day, I think we simply want to be recognized, acknowledged, and loved.
Where can you find AUDREY GREY?