Claudia Gray Interview & Bibliography
Evernight series (in reading order)
- Evernight - reviewed by LoveVampires
- Stargazer - reviewed by LoveVampires
- Hourglass - reviewed by LoveVampires
- Afterlife - reviewed by LoveVampires
- Free (short story in Immortal anthology) - reviewed by LoveVampires
LoveVampires Interview With Claudia Gray
Interview by Missy
Tell me a little bit about Claudia Gray, other than the standard bio.
Something I've never said in any other interview? Well, let's see. How about, "Claudia has a goal of setting foot on all seven continents eventually"? I'll get to my fourth when I visit Australia this August; technically I've been to Asia, the fifth, but I literally just drove from the European side of Istanbul to the Asian side for an afternoon, so I'm not sure it really counts.
Tell me a little bit about the Evernight series?
It's the story of Bianca, a girl who has led what seems to her to be a very ordinary, boring life -- and she likes it that way. She'd rather stay sheltered forever than brave the overwhelming attitudes at Evernight Academy, a creepy Gothic boarding school up in the Massachusetts hills that has some rather unusual admissions requirements. There she encounters Lucas, a rough and tumble kind of guy who doesn't let anybody intimidate him -- or give Bianca trouble. But then she learns he's the terrifying monster her parents told her to beware of: a vampire hunter. What's a good vampire girl to do?
How many books will be in the series?
Four books in the series proper, plus a fifth, mostly stand-alone book about Balthazar, which will come out last.
The Romeo and Juliet theme travels throughout the series so far, what is it about them that made you want to perhaps modernize their star crossed lovers' story?
It has almost universal appeal, doesn't it? Everybody connects to the idea of star-crossed love, or a romance that breaks down some barrier -- whether it's a feud between families or the hostility between vampires and vampire hunters. Forbidden love really resonates, even for those of us who have never had that experience. Maybe especially for us!
It's been said that Romeo and Juliet is the greatest love story of all time, what do you think about that?
Oh, I'd vote for "Pride and Prejudice." I love "Romeo & Juliet," but I prefer happy endings.
Any chance of buying replicas of the jewellery Lucas gives Bianca? They seem so beautiful!
How I wish I could find them! While I might someday be able to locate some Whitby jet brooches that would match Bianca's, that coral bracelet is going to be tougher to come by. (Can you tell I've done some hard-core Googling about this?)
Even though there isn't really any choice between Balthazar and Lucas, I still can't help but root for the underdog. Any hope that our underdog will find some love and/or happiness?
I would say that Balthazar's love life takes a definite turn for the better in his own book. Probably he'll never be happy go lucky, but he'll have more reasons to smile. And, of course, new traumatic situations to deal with. The poor guy never has it easy.
There seems to be a little Byronic brooding in our two heroes, why make them so angsty rather than the typical knight-in-shining-armor?
Guys who have their own lives and passions are always more interesting to me. I mean, both Lucas and Balthazar are capable of deep, abiding love, fascination and passion, but I think if they never did anything but think about Bianca they'd be kind of dull. Besides, a lot of their angst comes from their backstories -- their histories with Black Cross and as a vampire -- and that history is really what defines them as characters, and brings a lot of drama to the books.
I love the ironic name of Charity for the antagonist. How did you settle on that?
I'm glad you like it! As you know from reading the books, Balthazar lived in Colonial Massachusetts, and his family were kind-of, sort-of Puritans -- definite sympathizers with that religious movement even if they didn't conform in all respects. People in that time and place were very big on names from the Bible or names that represented virtues or aspects of religion. For instance, a not-uncommon boy's name at that point was "Wrath of God." Like, your name would be "Wrath of God Jackson." Not easy to get on with. So I gave Balthazar a break with his name. I knew his sister would have a virtue name, and originally I was thinking of Mercy. But Mercy is a very popular name in urban fantasy right now, and I ultimately decided Charity would be a little more unique, and just as ironic.
Now, I don't want to give away anything, but how hard was it to write the ending of this book? I think I cried for the last hundred pages or so!
Much harder than I thought it would be, to tell you the truth. I'd thought I would be fine with it, because I plotted this out books ago and have always known it was coming. But actually doing it was really tough. I felt enormously guilty.
What can we expect next for the gang? Evernight Academy?
Well, AFTERLIFE picks up only a few hours after HOURGLASS ends. Bianca and Lucas have to face the fact that each of their worst nightmares has come true; what can they do about it? One of them figures out that this is actually a blessing in disguise; the other discovers that this is worse than they ever imagined. And we haven't seen the last of Evernight Academy. Do you really think Mrs. Bethany would let Black Cross stop her that easily?
Alright so there MUST be some more Evernight books coming up, but what does the rest of 2010 hold for you?
Right now, I'm working on FATEFUL, a YA paranormal historical, complete with werewolves aboard the RMS Titanic. Later on this year, I'll get to work on Balthazar's book, which is untitled but seems likely just to be called BALTHAZAR. I may or may not begin the SPELLCASTER trilogy (three books about a headstrong young witch named Lia, and the cursed young man she meets, Mateo) by the end of 2010, but I'm very much looking forward to it. Also, I'll be going on my first-ever publicity tour in Australia!
Why young adult fiction? Is it hard to tone down 'adult' issues to be suitable for teens?
I'll admit it right now: I'm not fully over high school. And I think most people NEVER are. So YA comes pretty naturally to most of us, either as writers or as readers! But I don't tone anything down much. Certain scenes may not be as explicit, whether about sex or violence, but I don't change what happens, or how complicated the situations are for the characters. Talking down to YA readers is just sin number one. The younger the audience you're writing for, the smarter the book has to be. Dr. Seuss = REAL genius.
What are you reading now?
I can actually say "nothing" because I JUST finished a book called THE KITCHEN HOUSE. Next up will probably be a book about Australia's history, to prepare for my upcoming tour. And I can't wait to dive farther into the IMMORTALS series by Alyson Noel.
What authors have been your biggest influences?
If you're an avid reader, and I am, I think this question is almost impossible to answer. But some very influential writers for me have been Margaret Mitchell, Rosamund Pilcher, the Bronte sisters and S.E. Hinton.
Favorite vampire other than your own. Go.
Right now, I think it's Damon Salvatore. Or maybe it's Stefan Salvatore. You know, there's no wrong choice there. I refuse to choose. They will have to fight it out for the title. I think some sort of shirtless duelling is in order.
Any spoilers you want to give us? The ending... just well... ended!
I've given you a few spoilers above! But the ending was the "Romeo & Juliet" romance taken to its natural conclusion, you might say. But it's always darkest before the dawn --
A big "thank-you" to Claudia Gray for taking part in the author interview. More information about Claudia’s novels can be found on Claudia Gray’s website.
1st August 2010