What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
I write historical fiction because I love travelling in time and space, and I’m especially obsessed with Victorian times and writer!
Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
No. I work on one book at a time. However, I don’t write chronologically. I prefer to skip around as I write the novel. I plan a loose outline with chapter headings and then I let the characters do the talking and mess up my outline!
Do you work with a writing/critique group?
Not continuously. When my books are finished, I send them to beta readers, who are trusted writers and friends, who help me make the final version as good as possible. I discuss my books a lot with my daughter, who gives me a younger and fresher perspective! The final version wouldn’t be possible without my editor’s patience and hard work.
Can you remember your first reading book?
I learnt to read with Janet and John books! Then I vividly remember the Paddington Bear books, as a child. Sister Catherine, to whom my books are dedicated, read to us every afternoon. I was 11-12 at the time. I vividly remember listening to The Moonstone, Little Women, Tom Sawyer, and Huckleberry Finn. She introduced me to the Victorians. The first romantic novel I read of my own accord was Rebecca, which I borrowed from my public library, shortly after.
Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?
No. I don’t eat while writing or drink alcohol. I drink lots of tea, some coffee, and in summer sparkling lemonade.
Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.
It’s too messy, even for me! I moved out of our study because my husband needed it permanently, and I need to be alone when I’m writing, so I’ve moved to my daughter’s room upstairs, which has an L-shaped desk right under a window, facing the countryside. My daughter has left home, and it’s actually a great change! I don’t actually have a lot of things on my desk, so I don’t know why it looks so cluttered! I have my laptop, my mobile, my large desk diary, my notebook with ‘to-do lists’ and reminders, pens, pencils etc., my books, my flash drives, my handwritten notes, and some printed chapters which need revising. There are some pictures on the wall to my right: The Bronte’s, the young Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Charles Dickens. Right now it’s a dreary day, so I have the heater on right by my feet, a lamp, and I’ve just made myself a cup of tea, so I’m in heaven.
Are you published in the traditional manner or self published? Share your journey.
I’m an independent, self-published author. When I finished my first novel I contacted a few agents unsuccessfully, and I decided to go ahead independently. I learnt a lot from Goodreads, Blogs about writing and publishing, and other writers I met on social networks, and finally published on amazon, first as an ebook, and now they’re both in paperback, too. It was hard at first, because it was all new to me, but I’m glad I took the plunge, and I’m grateful to Amazon for the opportunity. Only a few years ago, it would have been impossible to self-publish so easily and relatively cheaply. I make my own decisions and I’m in complete control of what I write, how I write it, and when I do so. My deadlines, cover, marketing etc. are my own decisions. I’m not actively looking for representation or the traditional publishing route, but I don’t rule it out either. Who knows what the future holds?
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
Charlotte Bronte, taught me how to express passion, misfortune, and romance. Charles Dickens, taught me how to describe characters, action, tragedy, and unravel a thrilling plot.
Daphne du Maurier taught me how to combine both romance and plot.
I haven’t included Shakespeare, because he’s a given. Shakespeare showed me how language can be used dramatically and lyrically for comedy, romance, and tragedy. We still speak with his words and imagery.
To a lesser extent, Jane Austen, Wilkie Collins, and Mary Shelley
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript?
Kurt Vonnegut said: ‘Somebody gets into trouble then gets out of it again. People love that story. They never get tired of it.’ That’s the basic plot of all novels.
If the trouble is related to love, the novel becomes a romance, if it’s related to a criminal act it’s crime fiction, etc.
Decide on your main character’s trouble. Then outline the plot, loosely with the main plot points. There are lots of story-arc methods to help you if you’re not sure how to approach the outline. Then start writing. Listen to your characters, get to know them intimately, let them grow and introduce other characters to help them or to oppose them. Don’t be afraid to change your outline as you write; it’s there to help you, not to restrain you.
If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?
Jane Eyre: Ruth Wilson (She’s the best Jane Eyre ever! The only one with a backbone).
Mr. Rochester: Alan Rickman or Jeremy Irons (Although they’re both far too attractive for such a nasty character!).
Mr. Mason: Kevin Spacey (He’s such a good villain!).
Michael: Henry Cavill (I know he’s too old for the part, but what can I say, he’s my Michael!).
I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?
I can’t think of anything.
About Luccia Gray
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’s not reading or writing, she teaches English at an Adult Education Centre and at the Spanish National University.
Blog Rereading Jane Eyre https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8186541.Luccia_Gray
2 paperback copies of the book