Saturday, July 27, 2013

Interview with Harris Gray

Enjoy our interview!

Kari & Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?

Allan:  Being an accountant.
Jason:  Listening to Allan talk about being an accountant.
Allan:   Listening to Jason telling stories to customers in his coffeeshop. That was the inspiration for the writing team we are today. Jason’s a natural storyteller. I might as well have been born without a mouth. The day e-mail was invented and I no longer had to call people on the phone—
Jason:  You’re going to talk about being an accountant again, aren’t you?
Allan:   Sorry.
Jason:  So I’m behind the bar pulling espresso shots and telling a customer about the time my car was stolen twice in one night, when Allan slipped me a note, or signed to me, I can’t remember which, “Hey, coffee jockey, why don’t you put those stories of yours on paper?”
Allan:  The next day when I arrived at my corner nook seat I found a little yellow notepad, pages curling and crammed to the margins with Jason’s stories. We were both writing on our own until that moment.
Jason:  That fateful day.
Allan:  I never thought I’d find somebody. To write with.

Kari & Autumn:  Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Jason:  Vampire Vic was our shameless attempt to jump on the vampire bandwagon.
Allan:   And quickly, before this thousand-year-long craze peters out.
Jason:  We were having a couple beers at the Crowbar.
Allan:   That’s the alter ego of Jason’s coffeeshop. When Crowfoot Coffee after a long hard day slips into something more comfortable.
Jason:  Beer number two, we’re like, yeah, a hot vampire stud hosting hip all-night parties, sipping Disaronno on the rocks and drinking his guests dry…
Allan:  Sultry vampire huntresses taking care of the kids by day and slinging stakes by night…
Jason:  Falling head over heels for the hot vamp, but still committed to slaying him.
Allan:  And then early in Beer Number Three, we realize we don’t know sexy. Or stake slinging.
Jason:  We joked that we should write about a fat, balding, middle-aged accounting manager vampire who hates confrontation and gets queasy at the sight of blood.
Allan:   Write what you know.
Jason: Luckily Allan’s a sipper, because by the end of that beer, we had scripted out the rough storyline for Vampire Vic.

Kari & Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Jason:  We’re writing the sequel to Vampire Vic. VV to the Second Power. VV2.
Allan:   We’re making Victor’s work-life-bloodlust balance more difficult than ever, plus giving you all the sex that was missing in the first book.
Jason:  In the meantime we’re releasing Java Man in September. The hero, Brian Lawson, is a coffeeshop owner. When things seem to be going bad for Brian, they get worse.
Allan:  The story is about the three big C’s: coffee, competition, cancer.
Jason:  I’m not excited about the nightmares returning.
Allan:   Jason has a problem internalizing the problems of our characters. Every day while we were writing Java Man, I had to reassure him he didn’t have cancer. To the best of our knowledge.
Jason:  In my worst dream I realized I had just died, and I was floating up, up, up, right out of the atmosphere and into space, and it actually felt kind of good, and then I see this white light, and I’m moving toward it, and I’m starting to get excited. I’m flying toward the white light now, faster and faster, and it’s getting bigger and brighter, and now I’m going way too fast to stop and I realize the white light is the center of a black hole.
Allan:   He started sweating again when he told me that one. The good news was, we used it for Brian in the story.
Jason:  Which made it even harder to separate fiction from reality.

Kari & Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Allan:   Probably the hobbit. The fact that he was a weenie without any sword skills and still agreed to go on those hair-raising adventures to save the world. Of course if I had seen the movie back then and realized what a stud Aragorn was, I would say him.
Jason:  Any character from any Jane Austen book.
Allan:   At the writers conferences, sometimes the lunch seating is by genre. The Romance writers always seem to be having more fun. Two years ago at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs, we surreptitiously wrote “& Vampires” on the “Romance” placard, but we didn’t get a laugh, or a break. Back to the Horror/Sci-Fi/Steam Punk table.
Jason:  We swore it would never happen again. I figured I would start with old-fashioned romance, and move up from there. Who knew Jane was such a good writer? And that great romance is so tragic?
Allan:   Like most writers, it took Leo DiCaprio to get us to read The Great Gatsby. Is it too late to answer “Jay Gatsby” for this question?
Jason: It doesn’t matter how you get writers to read the classics, as long as they do.

Kari & Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Jason:  Harris Gray wants to be a Galapagos turtle. No predators, and they live forever.
Allan:   We both have a huge distaste for dying. But man, eternal life as a turtle is going to be really, really boring.
Jason:  Trade-offs, man.
Allan:   How about if I’m a turtle, and you’re a black panther, having all these adventures, like Aragorn of the panther world, and you pop in occasionally and tell me about them, so that I can live vicariously and write them down to entertain all the other Galapagos island animals?
Jason:  That’s going to last for about seven years, and then I’m dead.
Allan:   You will live forever through our stories. Like a Jane Austen character.
Jason:  I’d rather be a writer than a character. Turtle over panther.
Allan:  They say authors need a branding tagline. Like Jackie Collins: “She’ll Keep You Up All Night.” Harris Gray: “Turtle over panther.” I like it.
Jason:  Let’s keep spitballing that one. Kari and Autumn, thank you for taking the time to get to know us.
Allan:   We hope you’ll have us back with Java Man and the Vampire Vic sequel. Thanks for doing what you do, we really appreciate the exposure on your site.

Publisher: Self
Date of publication: March 2013

Would you give up donuts...for blood?

Fat, balding accountant Victor Thetherson hoped becoming a vampire would turn his life around. But Victor can't stomach confrontation and gets queasy at the sight of blood. Instead he gets it from the blood bank,  diluted in bloody Bloody Marys. The result: a vampire who doesn't bite,  and a man who gets no respect.

Victor's slacking staff mockingly calls him Vampire Vic. Victor's boss amuses his wife by intimidating Victor on video. His ex makes him stay out late while she entertains boyfriends in the house she insists they continue to share. One night it finally boils over, and Victor bites someone. And then another...and very soon, he's no longer visiting the blood bank.

Muscle replaces fat, and his comb-forward widow's peak takes root. Victor basks in newfound attention and respect, at the office and at home. But real vampires get hunted, and as the transformation reaches the tipping point, Victor must decide how much he's willing to sacrifice for the power of the vampire.

About the author:

Harris Gray finish their third pint and mull over their next writing project, simultaneously deciding on a vampire book. Because the women in their lives eat up every vampire story on the shelves. And for the gratuitous T&A. But hunky, smoldering vampires are beyond their grasp; and dammit, T&A should mean something. Deciding to write what they know, Harris Gray return to their wheelhouse: An aging, uncomfortable man, not so happy with his lot in life. A man bitten by a vampire, unsure what to do with his new…skillset. Vampire Vic – VV – is born. Perfect.

The latest book is Vampire Vic.

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