MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ANITA GRAY!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Hey! My name is Anita Gray and I write in the Dark Romance Genre.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
BLAIRE, Part 1 in the Dark Romance Series, was a collection of ideas. I’d been reading Dark Romance for a while, and I had always watched a lot of movies ranging from 90s erotica to 21st century contemporary romance. One night after reading one of my favorite dark romance novels, my head was spinning with a storyline. Then I watched a movie called Son of a Gun. The relationship between a girl and her ‘master’ was so different because it wasn’t at all sexual, and it fueled the storyline playing out in my head. The character BLAIRE had always been there in my mind, and her life story grew as I put fingers to keyboard.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I’ve always been different, darker and more intense than the norm. Writing anything other than darker romance/thrillers just isn’t in my blood.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I interviewed people across the world – including women who had been horribly subjected to human trafficking – spoke with psychologists, and Google became my studying platform.
Can you tell me about your Series?
BLAIRE, the Dark Romance Series, focuses on a redhead heroine who is equally strong yet vulnerable. She’s been brutally conditioned from the age of 8 to protect, fight, and kill for her master. She’s cold, calculated, and she doesn’t understand emotions – until an anti-hero (her master’s enemy) forces himself into her life and turns her world upside down. BLAIRE contains scenes of a violent/sexually vicious nature, and psychological impairment, and is not intended for readers under 18.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
BLAI2E, Part 2, was alike exciting and challenging to write. The story originally took me in so many different directions it actually gave me writers block for 2 months. For the challenge alone, I’d say it was my favorite to write.
Was it always meant to become a series?
No. BLAIRE, Part 1, was originally supposed to be a standalone. But Charlie Decena also wasn’t initially apart of Blaire’s story. He came with time, and once he was there, I knew more of their story needed to be told.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I write full time. BLAIRE, Part 1, was such a success I was able to sell my business and focus on my writing. I do work many hours. I don’t set goals as they seem to block my creative process, so I try to let it flow. Brainstorming with my team helps, a lot.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I sure do! BLAIR3, part 3, is the third installment in the Dark Romance Series.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Absolutely. Names must fit people, and I gave great consideration to each character’s name.
Where do your ideas come from?
Reading, movies, music, and life experience. I try to write about what I know, rather than what I don’t.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Oh yes. I want to write a thriller novel, and I will one day.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
I generally don’t struggle to write anything, I just lack the time. I’m still waiting on a 50-hour day.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think book trailers are an important part of marketing, but it’s important to keep them very short. Killer taglines work well.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
BLAI2E, Part 2.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
I get to be at home with my partner all the time. He suffers with many illnesses, including epilepsy and he’s blind in one eye, so, to know he doesn’t have to work on a building site anymore eases my anxiety.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Somewhere hot, hopefully 😉
Have you always liked to write?
I only started writing a few years ago, but since I started, I can’t stop. I absolutely love writing!
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Write what you want, not what the market says is hot. Things change all the time.
Take criticism, good and bad, as it will help you flourish as an author – I actually sought out 1 star reviewers and got them on my beta team so I could have unbiased opinions.
Ignore the haters. Yep, you will get them, but you have to let it go.
Develop a strong beta team – if you don’t know what beta/alpha readers are, definitely research them, as they will change your life as a writer.
Find a good editor who can help you develop your work.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I have a background in sales and marketing, so I’d probably work in London in the marketing field or I’d create a company to PR for authors.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I read every review. I never respond to them. How do I deal with the bad? I ignore them. If someone isn’t telling me something constructive and is just being plain nasty, it isn’t important. Everyone gets bad reviews; it’s just part of the job.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Editing. It’s long, grueling, and exhausting. Thankfully, I’ve got an amazing team of beta readers and my editor is a queen, so this time around (editing BLAI2E) wasn’t so tough.
What are you working on now?
BLAIR3, Part 3 in the Dark Romance Series.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Na-ah (with a huge, evil grin) I don’t kiss and tell.
If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I can only work on one novel at a time. I’ve tried to write 2 at a time – for if I get blocked, I’ve been told moving onto something else helps – but it doesn’t seem to help my creative process.
Where did your love of books come from?
I read Fifty Shades of Grey, and the rest is history.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Oh, I have tons. I’m a die-hard fan of Oscar Wilde, Jane Austin, Anna Zaires, Thomas Hardy, Jade West… my reading tastes are vast.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Blaire. She is complex, deep, misunderstood, and fights for love – even when she didn’t know what she was fighting for.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Energize. Especially when starting a new project.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I think this is a hard question to answer. I write what I like – I also listen to my readers as my Dark Romance Series develops – and I take inspiration from others. But I do try to remain original.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Strength in a Woman. I’ve lived a tough life but I’ve also learned from the hardships.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
I guess I want to make sure my readers know, I work really hard to get my books out at a decent timeframe – I work on average 15 hours a day, 7 days a week writing – but not every author is the same. I’ve actually had one person comment that a family member of theirs is an author and they knew it doesn’t take a year to produce work, hinting that I was taking too long to publish BLAI2E. As much as I appreciate the feedback – and I really, really do – that’s not the case. Some write super fast. I don’t – I really can’t. I know the readers only want us to publish quickly because they’re enjoying our work/s, but if they desire quality, developed material, patience is appreciated.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
I’m everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… and I interact with everyone.
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️