Interview with Nathalie Gray ~ April 2006 ~
Interviewed by Dawn Roberto
Welcome to Road to Romance Ms. Gray! I am looking forward to talking to
you about your books and a few other things. You have a few books out
from Elloraís Cave and I cannot wait to discuss them with you!
Dawn -- Please tell us a little about yourself and how long you have
been writing? Have you always gravitated toward being an author?
Nathalie -- Well, it all began when I was born. Let me give you a
detailed, chronological account of the life of Nathalie Gray...did I
scare you? Seriously, like my bio says on Elloraís Caveís website (and
my own), Iím a mom, wife, big sister, ex-soldier and one helluva
renovator! Give me a hammer and a paintbrush and I can remodel your
kitchen like *that* (snaps fingers). But thereís ahhm, er, umm, a waiver
youíd have to sign first... I didnít write my first book at four years
old nor did I always know I wanted to ruin my eyesight and my wrists and
my back hunched over endless screenfuls of words. Writing is fairly new
to me (started 6 years ago), although reading has always been my thing.
Aside from romance, I write whatever the voices in my head tell me to
(mostly fantasy and science fiction).
Dawn -- What inspired you to write in the first place? Does the same
thing inspire you all the time?
Nathalie -- Bad books inspire me to say ďI can do THAT!Ē And good books
inspire me to say ďI WANT to do that!Ē For me, inspiration comes in the
form of me riveting my butt on my chair and staring at the computer
screen until something comes out. Every day.
Dawn -- What influenced you to be published? How long did it take your
first book to be sold?
Nathalie -- Iím not stubborn for anything except writing. Then I go from
friendly tail-wagging Labrador to Pitt-bull. When I bite down on
something, I donít let go. I started writing in 1999 (non romance
science fiction and fantasy at the time) and got The E-mail in 2005 from
Elloraís Cave. Know them? Itís that trailblazer of a publisher run by
bold ladies. Want a mental picture of me spinning in my vortex of
euphoria? Get this: tall gangly chick with spiky platinum hair and
glasses running around in circles, lots of arms waving and uncoordinated
movements, lots of unarticulated sounds of joy, alarmed neighbours,
worried pets, etc.
Dawn -- Often a writerís first book is the hardest to write. Was this
the case with you? If so, what helped you get through it? If it wasnít,
what book was the most difficult to write, if any?
Nathalie -- Writing isnít hard (so far). The people in my head know what
they want to say and do. Iím just the typist. Although Wolfsbane
(werewolf historical coming in May 06) did require that I spank my
demons really good.
Dawn -- Do you usually outline or go with the flow? Do you have a
routine when you are writing (mood music, candles, no noise, etc)?
Nathalie -- Outline/plot? Yes. But itís flexible. I look at it like the
white lines on the road. You try to stay in the middle, but itís not the
end of the world if you kinda float left or right once in a while when
thereís no eighteen-wheeler coming the opposite way. Routine? Yes. It
involves my butt, my chair and lots of frowning at the screen.
Dawn -- Letís talk about Demo Derby your latest book out at
Elloraís Cave. What made you decide to write this sort of book? How do
you describe the characters, Elisa and Kai in Demo Derby?
Nathalie -- I write what Iíd like to read. My men and I went to a
demolition derby (not in space, though, just the regular Earth-bound
kind) a couple of years ago. Our first one ever. There was such energy
in the crowd. Watching cars crashing into each other really brought out
the Neanderthal in all of us! I thought, whoa, this is FUN. The gears
started turning... What if there were demo derbies in space, baby? Like
a three-dimensional demo race! Yeah!!
Dawn -- What was the biggest challenge to you in writing Demo Derby
and Femme Metal (plotline, characters, setting, etc)? Is there a
genre you want to write but havenít yet?
Nathalie -- They were my first romance stories ever, so I had to keep
track of the love-o-meter at all times, if you know what I mean. Itís
getting easier to do now that Iíve written a few. My editor is such a
gem and really, and I mean really worked her butt off to help me kick my
inner romance writer onto the stage and face the crowd.
Dawn -- In Femme Metal, you write some amazingly complex
characters in Alexandra and Sekmeth. Have you ever patterned a character
after anyone you knew-family, friends, employees? Which character has
the most been like you? The least?
Nathalie -- Nope. I wouldnít do that to folks I know...unless they take
my favourite chocolate from the box before I get to it, then I might add
a sub-villain with bad breath, dandruffs and mouldy toenails...MWA HA
HA! My characters all have bits of me in them, I guess. Isnít that a
Dawn -- The editing process is quite important in an authorís life. How
do you find the editing process for any of your books? Do you have a
routine when you edit?
Nathalie -- Editing is like unwrapping a birthday present. Each layer
you peel off reveals a corner of the goodie inside. My editor and I
pull out our nice and shiny machetes (hers is shinier, dammit) and go at
the manuscripts with one-eye-twitch glee. Well, I know I do. I have a
document where I put all the notes from my editor, all the words I tend
to overuse or misuse (Iím French Canadian, so sometimes the translation
module in my brain has farts). When the manuscript is done, I go
through my checklist with the ďSeek & DestroyĒ function full blast.
Dawn -- What makes your characters the most vulnerable yet strong in all
Nathalie -- All my characters are vulnerable at some point, because I
say so! Everyone has to follow the Evil Overlordess (me) Rules of
Plausible Behaviour. No deus ex machina; no defying logic or gravity or
other laws of physics unless I give them a zero-g environment and
magnetic boots; no
and certainly no
Dawn -- Do you have moments of insecurity when writing? If so, how did
you overcome these moments?
Nathalie -- Insecurity is like that telemarketer who calls back every
once in a while. Itís always for something different (lawn care,
insurance, Internet rates) but you know heís going to call again. And
again. You just learn to ignore it, live with it and go on.
Dawn -- Ms. Gray, erotic romance is getting bigger and more mainstream
as months go on. What do you believe is the biggest misconception in
Nathalie -- That itís not like real books. I donít know where it comes
from and frankly, I donít care. Iíll leave that deep-thoughts-pondering
to my betters. Iím just a typist.
Dawn -- I checked out your site and itís amazing. On your coming soon
page, you have many books coming out. Can you give us a glimpse into
what is coming up for you?
Nathalie -- I do my own site for two reasons: one, Iím cheap. Two, I
like to hold my own leash. I have bucketloads of books coming! I have a
werewolf historical coming in May, a vampire action coming in June
(sheís a genetically enhanced super-soldier turned vampire...sheís going
to kick some butt, baby!), a sequel to Femme Metal (youíre
going to LOVE that hero!), a paranormal for Elloraís Caveís planned 2007
tarot-themed series, a sequel to Wolfsbane, and lots more.
I wonít bore you with all the details. But thereís more where
Femme Metal and Demo Derby came from!
Dawn -- What do you feel is the most important thing(s) new authors need
to remember when writing their own books? What advice can you give
Nathalie Ė Me, giving advice to anyone? Please! Just do your own
thing, your own way.
Dawn -- Which book (out now and coming soon) is your favorite and why?
What have you enjoyed the most of this book?
Nathalie -- The sequel to Femme Metal. Oh, baby, this one
will knock your socks off! The hero, Titan, is such a loud-mouthed,
Cro-Magnon, obnoxious...man! But he loves to dress in snazzy,
pinstriped suits (itís a science fiction, remember) and to rub his guns
all nice and shiny.
Dawn -- What do you think the level of sensuality/heat is in your books?
What can readers expect from your books with respect to sensuality,
Nathalie -- Whatís hot for one is boring for someone else, so with that
legalese copout out of the way, I tell my readers to expect action in
and out of the bedroom (or wherever my characters happen to be while
ďdoing itĒ). Want energetic love scenes? I got that. Want sexual
tension that triggers the sprinklers? Yep, I got that. Looking for a
macho hero whoíll rip the skirt off the timid heroineís butt and she
wonít slap him upside the head for it? Sorry, I donít got that...unless
she asked for it and/or she tore off his pants first. That, baby, I
Dawn -- Have you ever been nervous about the reaction of readers when a
new book comes out?
Nathalie -- No, although Wolfsbane will be my first
non-science fiction/futuristic romance, so Iím keen to see the reception
itís going to get. I hope folks like it, if they donít, well, Iíll just
have to drown my sorrow in chocolate.
Dawn -- What do you hope readers take with them when they read one of
Nathalie -- A good ride. Thatís all I aim for, to entertain. They
didnít pay ten, fifteen dollars because they wanted to burn a few bucks
for nothing. They want something in return. I give them (hopefully) a
good ride. No lofty, intellectual, metaphysical enlightenment or ooh la
la moment of long-dead-Chinese-Emperor channelling. Just a fun ride.
Letís have some fun questions for you now, Ms. Gray.
Dawn -- If you were an ice cream flavor, what kind would you be and why?
Nathalie -- Are there flavours other than chocolate?!
Dawn -- If any of your books were to be made into a movie, which one
would you choose and what actors to play the characters?
Nathalie -- Immortalis, because you can never get too many vampire
Dawn -- If you could go to lunch with anyone (real or fictional), who
would it be with and why?
Nathalie -- Comedian George Carlin, baby! ĎCause heís my favourite human
being, thatís why! Or author Christopher Moore.
Dawn -- Describe a romantic evening for you?
Nathalie -- First, weíll share our feeeelings, then weíll have that
languorous staring contest as we hold hands and eat
supposedly-aphrodisiac foods. Then the phone or the doorbell will ring
or the kid will raid the fridge, occupy the sofa with a wide assortment
of toy cars and colouring equipment, or the dog will trot into the house
carrying a (preferably dead) bird and plop it down at our feet with that
proud Labrador grin. Did you hear the bubble bursting?
Dawn -- What is your biggest food weakness that you cannot live without?
The one food you canít stand?
Nathalie -- Chocolate. Warm monkey brain or fried panda feet.
Dawn -- If you were stranded on a deserted island with these three items
(a man, a book of your choice and a penknife), what would you do with
Nathalie -- During the first few days, Iíd use the knife to cut wood,
some pages of the book to start a fire and the man to converse with.
After a few weeks, Iíd probably use the knife to chase the edible
co-islander around the long-extinguished fire and converse with the
people on the book cover.
Dawn -- If you could spend one passionate night with anyone (besides
DH), who would it be with and why?
Nathalie -- Daffy Duck. Iíve always had a crush on him. Heís so sexy.
And have you seen the size of his (webbed) feet?!!
Dawn -- If a book was written about you, what do you think the title
would be with in five words?
Nathalie -- Five words? Jeez! Iím a French Canadian, saying ďhiĒ takes
more than that! Okay, Iíll try something funny, if itís a dud, Iíll
blame it on the restrictive word count. If, for some unfortunate
reason, a book were to be written about me, it could be called something
like ďAttack, and Damn the Torpedoes!Ē
Thank you, Ms. Gray for spending some time in talking to us about your
books and life as an author.
Books available by Nathalie Gray at Elloraís Cave are Demo Derby
and Femme Metal Check her site,
, for up to date information on upcoming releases, contests and
other news by this gifted author.