Welcome one and all to the mini Claudia Gray week. This week is going to be a lot of fun as we explore the world of the Evernight series.
Today, we are happy to welcome Claudia Gray. Claudia is the author of the Evernight series which includes: Evernight, Stargazer, and the upcoming Hourglass.
I understand that "Claudia Gray" is your pen name. What made you decide to write under a pseudonym instead of your real name? Is there any special significance behind choosing "Claudia Gray"?
I wish I had a great, thoroughly considered rationale for why I chose to write under a pen name. The truth is, from time I was a little kid and first learned people wrote books under other names, I thought that was cool. So when I got a chance to do it myself, I did it. And I still think it’s fun. As for “Claudia Gray,” on the day I picked this out, “I, Claudius” was in my DVD player. Originally I meant to be “Claudia Lake,” but some Googling revealed that this was the name of the president of the Vampire Lestat fan club. So Gray, well, it sort of sounds like Lake. Also, the name fits the basic guidelines for a pseudonym; it’s unusual enough to remember, ordinary enough to know how to pronounce and spell.
Can you tell us a little bit about the Evernight series? What can readers look forward to in the upcoming novels?
EVERNIGHT is the story of Bianca, who has been uprooted from her comfortable small town to a mysterious, Gothic boarding school up in the hills. Of course, it turns out to be a boarding school for vampires who only look like teenagers but use the school as a way to figure out how to pass for young in the wider world. Bianca feels very lonely and set-apart there, and her first friend is Lucas – handsome, hot-tempered and mysterious. She finds herself falling in love with him, and by the time she learns of the obstacles in their way, it’s too late to ever let go. In STARGAZER, the second book in the series, Bianca and Lucas are struggling to find ways to be together, despite the fact that both vampires and vampire hunters are aligned against them. Bianca’s friend, and would-be boyfriend, Balthazar helps them out for his own reasons – and the relationships between them get very complicated. HOURGLASS, the third book in the series (coming March 9), has Bianca and Lucas finally away from Evernight Academy – but in even more danger than they were before. They are free now, but they are also much more vulnerable and discover just how difficult it is to make it on your own. When Black Cross, the vampire hunters, capture Balthazar, they discover just how far they’ll have to go.
With vampires so prevalent in literature today, especially in Young Adult titles, what makes the vampires in the Evernight series stand out? Are there any must haves when writing a story about vampires?
I don’t know that I’m actually the best person to answer this question, because I quit reading any vampire-related books not long after I started work on the EVERNIGHT series; this means I’m honestly not familiar with a lot of what’s out there. But just to judge from what I have heard in reader email, a lot of people like the variety of vampires in the EVERNIGHT world – some are good, some evil, and most are like us, in the middle trying to figure things out. There are also a lot of twists, turns and action mixed in with the romance. I hope the readers enjoy it, because I love writing it!
What kind of research did the Evernight series require?
Not much research was necessary; I’ve been a vampire fan for so long, and own so many books about them, that I came in knowing a lot of the lore I needed. But I did make a trip up to Amherst, a location in STARGAZER, to get the lay of the land and pick up on some local color I could use in the story. HOURGLASS takes place partly in New York City, where I lived at the time, and partly in Philadelphia, where I traveled for research as well.
What is next for you once you complete the Evernight series?
Next up for me is a still-untitled book coming out from HarperTeen in late 2011, which is a romance with werewolves set back in the year 1912 – aboard the RMS Titanic! (Thank goodness I don’t have to travel there for research – and that there’s so much great Titanic info online.) Later this year, I will be writing a book that’s a sort of spin-off of the EVERNIGHT series, one all about Balthazar’s history and story. After that, I have a witchcraft-themed YA romantic series coming from HarperTeen called SPELLCASTER. So I’m going to be busy for a while now.
Thank you so much Claudia for stopping by. Evernight and Stargazer are available now at bookstore near you. Hourglass is available March 9th.