Claudia Gray is the author of the popular teen vampire Evernight series, so far comprised of two books (Evernight and Stargazer). I had the immense pleasure of reading her work for our Young Adult Appreciation Month, and I loved them both. Imagine my excitement when Claudia (actually a pen name) agreed to an interview about her books!
Please give it up for very talented new author, Claudia Gray!
The Book Smugglers: First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to chat with us about your writing. As a new fan to your Young Adult novels, we are thrilled to have you here on The Book Smugglers for our Young Adult Appreciation Month!
Claudia: Thanks so much!
The Book Smugglers: Your two young adult novels, Evernight and Stargazer, tap into the burgeoning teen vampire romance genre – but with a unique twist. What were some of your inspirations and influences in writing about vampires and love in what quite possibly is the spookiest prep school on the east coast?
Claudia: When I was a kid, I definitely romanticized the idea of boarding school — to me it seemed very exotic, and I think I imagined something very old-world and formal rather than modern reality. But then, Evernight Academy wouldn’t be that modern, would it? As for the vampires, I’ve been a vampire fan ever since I was very small. I loved the old Universal horror films of the ’30s and ’40s, Gothic fiction and DRACULA, all the way to the first few seasons of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.” So I could never pick out just one influence — vampires have always been a part of my life.
The Book Smugglers: You knew it was coming: Balthazar or Lucas?
Claudia: Most readers I hear from have the same solution I personally prefer: “Lucas for Bianca; Balthazar for ME.”
The Book Smugglers: Bianca’s favorite painting is The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, which holds special meaning to her and in the context of the books. Is there any symbolic value to the painting in terms of your writing? Is it one of your favorites, too?
Claudia: Although “The Kiss” is not my very favorite work of his, I enjoy Klimt quite a lot. I don’t know that there’s a greater symbolic statement at work, but that kind of lush, sensual, gilded, romantic feeling the painting has is the tone I hoped to create in the books.
The Book Smugglers: In Evernight, we are introduced to the world of ancient vampires and a new take on vampire lore; in Stargazer, we learn that wraiths also inhabit the supernatural sphere. Will we learn of any further creatures in Bianca’s world?
Claudia: No further creatures — but we’ll see a lot more supernatural powers that both vampires and wraiths possess, and discover ways in which those powers can work against each other, or combine to even greater effect.
The Book Smugglers: After reading the adrenaline-rush that is the conclusion to Stargazer, I gotta ask what is next for young Bianca. Can you tell us a bit about what we might expect in the next Evernight book? Do you have any other writing projects in the works?
Claudia: Right now I am finishing up the fourth book in the EVERNIGHT series, AFTERLIFE. I should be done with that by the end of the summer (though I have had it plotted out for some time now.) As for future projects, HarperCollins has asked me to write a stand-alone book about Balthazar, and also a witchcraft-based trilogy, the SPELLCASTER series.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the end of STARGAZER! (Though, I fear, the big cliffhanger comes at the end of HOURGLASS, book three.) Bianca’s immediate concerns are about staying alive — and keeping her secret — within Black Cross. Lucas is doing everything he can to help her, but Black Cross is more like a military unit than a family, and neither of them is truly free. HOURGLASS is really about the fundamental question for both Bianca and Lucas right now: If they’re not going to be a vampire and a vampire hunter, then what do they become? They definitely face their biggest crisis yet.
The Book Smugglers: *wipes drool from chin* I cannot WAIT for Hourglass! As an author, why did you decide to write young adult novels?
Claudia: Honestly? My agent suggested it. However, once I started exploring the idea, I realized that I LOVED it.
The Book Smugglers: Are you a reader of Young Adult fiction? What are some of your favorite YA titles?
Claudia: I have become a very avid YA reader. Some of my favorite reads in the last year or so include GRACELING by Kristin Cashore, STEALING HEAVEN by Elizabeth Scott, FLYGIRL by Sherri Smith and THE SUMMONING by Kelley Armstrong.
The Book Smugglers: The blood thirsty vampires/single-minded Black Cross Hunters are coming for you! Aaaargh! You can save ONE book, ONE movie, and ONE television show. QUICK! Name them:
Claudia: Oh no! Well, the TV show is easy — I have to choose “Alias,” my all-time favorite. But only one book? Probably I’d have to pick GONE WITH THE WIND, as flawed as it is. If I can pick only one movie, that’s probably “Casablanca,” even though it leaves my poor Cary Grant to the vampire hunters. I’m sure he can fend them off with a smile and a dry martini.
The Book Smugglers: We Book Smugglers are faced with constant threats and criticisms from our significant others concerning the sheer volume of books we purchase and read—hence, we have resorted to ‘smuggling books’ home to escape scrutinizing eyes. Have you ever had to smuggle books?
Claudia: I live alone, so NO ONE CAN STOP ME. Bwah hah hah.
Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of New York-based writer Amy Vincent. She has worked as a lawyer, a journalist, a disc jockey, and an extremely poor waitress. Her lifelong interests in old houses, classic movies, vintage style, and history all played a part in creating the world of Evernight.
We are giving away one copy of Stargazer to a lucky reader! The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada, and will run until Sunday July 26 at midnight (PST). In order to enter, leave a comment here – and for the heck of it, if you have an opinion let us know if you’re a Lucas or Balthazar kind of supporter. Good Luck!