Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Claudia Gray Author Interview

Book Nerd Interview

Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn't choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn't), because I'd always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven't) or even because I'm hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.

I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I've been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.

Social Media

What's one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?

I'm not sure there is any such thing. Readers who follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, et al, get a scarily complete picture of my psyche, which really is about 90% pugs. They'd probably be dismayed to see how bad I am at fixing my hair, though.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

That any attempt at conformity is doomed to failure so you might as well give up and be yourself. Also diagramming sentences. You really know your grammar once you can diagram.

For those who are unfamiliar with your book SPELLCASTER, how would you describe it?

A young witch moves to a new town and encounters an ancient, depthless evil -- and the cursed guy only her magic can save.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Nadia?

She's much more generous than I realized, going in; she can come across as a bit tough sometimes, but she's one of those people who won't tell you she's sorry you're in pain -- but she'll run right out and take on whatever it is that's hurting you. She doesn't say what she feels; she acts on it.

I also learned how much a system of magic can reveal about a character. The magical system in the SPELLCASTER trilogy is one I made up -- it's not taken from historical accounts of magic, from Wicca, anything else -- and one of the things it requires is memories. Not only does a witch have to ground the spell by touching a certain mineral or charm, but she also has to call on exactly the right memories the spell requires. Say, for instance, "a final farewell." As a witch gets older and gains more life experience, she has a wider range of memories to call upon, and she can cast the spell more powerfully, with greater nuance, etc. This means that every time Nadia casts a spell, we get another little glimpse into her past. And, of course, as the series goes on, she's able to draw upon her experiences from the books themselves, which are some of the most dramatic of her life. I only wrote the magic that way at first because I thought it would be cool -- but it turned out to be an important window into Nadia's character.

If you could introduce Mateo to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

Do you mean another of my books? In that case, I'd say Tess Davies from FATEFUL, who would know exactly how to cut through all the ugly gossip, rumor and doubt that surrounds him.

If you mean any other book ever, I think Mateo and Peeta Mellark from the HUNGER GAMES trilogy would get along. At any rate, together they could make one of the greatest meals ever.

What's the best advice you can give to writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?

Write, write, write. You'll have to write 10,000 bad pages before you start regularly producing the good pages. (Note: Estimate is more figurative than literal.) You can't snatch your voice out of thin air; it develops slowly, over time. The more words you write, the closer you get to finding your voice. You can't wait for it to find you.

Where is the best place in the world you've been?

A hot mineral spring in Iceland, out in the middle of the lava fields. The water is kept so warm by geothermal energy that you can comfortably soak even when it's below freezing outside. I paddled around in it with snow falling into my hair. Surreal and amazing.

Tell me about your first kiss.

Prom. I wore a silver dress that made me look like a starlet. He looked a little like James McAvoy. The DJ was playing "Against All Odds" -- this was the 1980s, after all. It was as romantic and perfect as you can imagine.

When asked, what's the one question you always answer with a lie? 

"Tell me about your first kiss."

Where can readers stalk you?

I'm very active on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, and I check into GoodReads regularly. There's also a blog on my website (as well as links that will take you to all my social media), www.claudiagray.com. I don't do follows on Twitter, but I do on Tumblr and Pinterest.

When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed - and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed.

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them. Shimmering with magic and mystery, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s new novel is sure to draw fans of the Hex Hall and Caster Chronicles series, and fans of the hit CW TV show The Secret Circle.

New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray delivers another captivating story in her newest series, Spellcaster. In the first book with the same name, it tells the story of Nadia Caldani and her family’s move to Captive’s Sound. After her mother left the family, Nadia has been longing a mother-figure in her life. This is very crucial for a witch like herself. She needs someone to practice with and it has been upsetting her ever since. As a descendant of witches, her senses quickly trigger something peculiar about this new town. Mateo, a lifelong resident, has only one thing on his mind: a local legend says his family is cursed and is he is trying desperately to overlook it. Once the curse is fully bloomed, he will be able to see the future which will drive him to the brink of madness. His desperation causes him to go irate as his dreams about saving a beautiful girl from a terrible car accident comes true. When the curse threatens the lives of everyone, Nadia and Mateo must work together to lift the curse off of his family.

Readers will enjoy how the magic is unique and highly fascinating. Author Claudia has created a new way of looking at the witch world and how spells are casted. Instead of the usual use of words, casting a spell requires using your memory. So as the saying, wise as the old owl, is true in a witch’s quest for stronger power. The older a witch is, the more memory she will have allowing her magic to have more power.

The characters are engaging and real. Although there are many people of Captive’s Sounds that are introduced, the story quickly shifts its focus on Nadia, Mateo, Verlaine, and Elizabeth. The evil presence in this book is truly creepy. Readers will immediately realize how evil it is, but as the plot progresses, it will reveal itself to be immensely dark and down-right all bad news. This is something most books lack and I’m glad Claudia allowed it to take over.

Spellcaster is an amazingly written story with characters that truly drive the plot. The writing style allows a clear visionary of this magnificent world of curses, witches, and full evil darkness. My attention was grabbed right from the beginning and it held on all the way through the end. The ending comes to an opening for the next installment and it just feeds readers’ need to know what will happen next to these wonderful characters and where the story will take them.

You can purchase Spellcaster at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Claudia & Harper Collins for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Spellcaster by Claudia Gray.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you Ms. Gray for your donation!

  2. Thank you for the amazing giveaways!

  3. It sounds really good!I loce books with magic :)

  4. Thanks for the giveaway. I too want to live in New Orleans and have a pseudonym.

  5. Thanks Claudia for the awesome donation. :)

  6. thanks for the awesome giveaway

  7. Thank you to Tif who directed me to this blog...so love a blogger that's close to where I live!!

  8. Love me some Claudia Gray!! Thanks for another awesome giveaway!

  9. OMG Love this author dying to read this book!

  10. Book sounds interesting and I love this author! Thank you for the giveaway!