I write novels full-time, absolutely love it, and hope to be able to do this forever. My home is in New Orleans, is more than 100 years old, and is painted purple. In my free time I read, travel, hike, cook and listen to music. You can keep up with my latest releases, thoughts on writing and various pop-culture musings via Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Goodreads or (of course) my own home page.
If you want to contact me, you can email me, but your best bet is probably to Tweet me. I don’t do follows on Twitter, but I follow everyone back on Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads.
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Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents' invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.
Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.
The second book in the Firebird trilogy, Ten Thousand Skies Above You features Claudia Gray’s lush, romantic language and smart, exciting action, and will have readers clamoring for the next book.
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What is the process you use to create the parallel worlds and their elements?
Well, I always begin with one fundamental question: What kind of dimension would be really cool? I don't think readers particularly want to hear about the parallel worlds too much like her own, or our own. Besides, I don't really want to write them! When I first thought of the Firebird concept, it thrilled me in large part because the possibilities were infinite, and I wanted to explore them as much as I could.
However, the dimensions then have to pass a second test: What situations in these universes will bring out interesting aspects of the characters' personalities and relationships? The worlds we spend the most time in have to be more than settings; they have to illuminate or challenge the characters in some unique way. More than a few potentially awesome dimensions were lost this way, I'm afraid.
Once I know which worlds are both interesting and meaningful enough for the story, then I get to dig in. Usually the core idea for a universe has been sparked by something else I've encountered or maybe even loved. Just looking at the cover for TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU might be a hint that I am a huge "Moulin Rouge" fangirl. The Russiaverse came from my having read NICHOLAS & ALEXANDRA shortly before I had the idea for the Firebird trilogy. The Oceanverse had its origins in a book I read about rogue waves. (This is part of why I always tell aspiring writers to read widely and to try some books they might never have considered before; you never know what's going to give you the next big idea.)
Those initial inspirations often serve as my first point of information and research—although some sources (NICHOLAS & ALEXANDRA) are more factually reliable than others ("Moulin Rouge"). But they're just the jumping off point. In the beginning, I only develop the world as far as I need to in order to know exactly how it will serve the plot, and then I delve into other details as the story requires. This has been everything from looking up Faberge eggs, to asking my patient Russian oceanographer friend a whole lot about both Russia and oceanography, all the way to participating in a house swap that took me to the Bay Area for a month, so I could see the kind of neighborhood Marguerite's family might live in, and some of the local sights she'd enjoy.
When the setting in the parallel world is real in our world, too—the Winter Palace, for example—I try very hard to get the facts straight. (I even found a picture of the staircase Marguerite tumbled down. It was a pretty long one!) But I've made mistakes, too, like finding out only after A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU was published that the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas in early January, not on December 25th. I didn't even think to check the date for Christmas, because I had no idea it might be different. This is often true in research: The stuff that trips you up the worst isn't what you don't know, but what you think you do know.
But even though the errors kill me a little inside, I always remind myself…hey, it's a parallel dimension. Maybe things are different there.
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