The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman – Interview

*this post includes affiliate links I have with Amazon*

credit: Julia Byers

Hello everyone! So, today I’m excited because today’s interview is with Christine Lynn Herman, the author of The Devouring Gray*! It came out today (happy book birthday!), and I can’t wait to read it! Before we get into the (not spoilery) interview, here is a synopsis of the book, via Goodreads:

In the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?

Now, let’s get into the interview….

1. To start off, how did you come up with the idea for The Devouring Gray and what was first running through your mind right after you thought of the idea for it?

I moved around a great deal as a kid, so I got used to being in new places and never really settling in. The first time I ever put down roots was when I went to college in upstate New York, in the exact region where TDG is now set. But I didn’t realize how much I loved it there until I left for a semester abroad, hoping to find inspiration for my creative work, and realized that for the first time ever, I was homesick. I knew the inspiration I needed, the place I had to write about, was the one I’d left behind. The initial idea for THE DEVOURING GRAY arrived at that moment.

2. Were there any specific experiences in your life that you think lend themselves to you becoming a writer/writing The Devouring Gray?

I’ve always been a writer–literally, from the moment I realized actual people wrote books, that’s what I’ve wanted to do. I think being a reader was definitely the catalyst for that; I was and am absolutely enamored with books, and I wanted to spend my life immersed in them however I could. As far as specific experiences go, THE DEVOURING GRAY is a very personal book for me. Many of the characters’ problems come from my own life, and I dug quite deep to try and portray the complexities and contradictions of things I felt as a teenager in my main cast.

  1. Were there any specific experiences in your life that you think lend themselves to you becoming a writer/writing The Devouring Gray?

I’ve always been a writer–literally, from the moment I realized actual people wrote books, that’s what I’ve wanted to do. I think being a reader was definitely the catalyst for that; I was and am absolutely enamored with books, and I wanted to spend my life immersed in them however I could. As far as specific experiences go, THE DEVOURING GRAY is a very personal book for me. Many of the characters’ problems come from my own life, and I dug quite deep to try and portray the complexities and contradictions of things I felt as a teenager in my main cast.

4. Is Violet, Justin, May, Isaac and/or Harper based on you or anyone you know in real life?

There’s a bit of me in all my characters, but I’m not sure that counts. Other than that, I’m super careful not to base anybody on people I know in real life–I put my characters through far too much for that to be fair :).

5. Now, one thing I love that you have done for The Devouring Gray is that you posted content warnings for the book. I haven’t seen many other authors do so so, I was wondering, why did you make the decision to include the warnings? Was there any pushback from the publisher in doing so?

I personally find content warnings a very valuable resource when heading into a book/movie/tv show/any other form of entertainment, so it was important to me that I include them for my own work. THE DEVOURING GRAY has some graphic horror elements and deals extensively with themes of grief and processing trauma, and I wanted to do my best to make that information accessible to potential readers. [For interview readers who may wish to look at the CWs–you can find the content warnings for THE DEVOURING GRAY here!]

If anything, I regret not creating the content warnings sooner in the publishing process. For future works that may require CWs, I’ll be sending them along to beta readers in addition to posting them when ARCs are released. As far as potential pushback goes–just the opposite, actually! Everyone I’ve spoken to about the content warnings has been very understanding.  I’m glad to have publishers who care about the safety and well-being of their readers and have never questioned why I wanted to create the content warnings.

6. If you weren’t a writer, what do you think your job would be?

I love being a writer, but I think I would also have a lot of fun teaching; it’s something I’ve done part-time at the elementary and middle-school level on occasion and I’ve really enjoyed it. Before I focused on writing full-time, I worked on the other side of publishing as an agent’s assistant, and I found that pretty interesting as well.

7. What is your favorite thing about writing and what is your least favorite thing?

My favorite thing and my least favorite thing about writing are actually exactly the same: how solitary it is. I love making my own hours and working out how to meet a deadline. I love working from my bedroom, or a coffee shop; I love the flexibility and the freedom. But although I’m an introvert, it can also be very isolating to do so much on my own, and I’m glad to have a supportive network of writer friends who help me feel like I have a community and coworkers even though I’m not working in a traditional office anymore. 🙂

8. Was there anything you found surprising either in writing the book or in the pre-debut process in general?

I was surprised by how much a book can change from when it’s acquired by an editor to when it’s published. I had already done a lot of work on THE DEVOURING GRAY with critique partners and my agents when it sold, but the book was VERY far from finished–turns out, revisions are 95% of my writing process. 🙂 Ultimately, THE DEVOURING GRAY is a much better book because of my editors at Disney-Hyperion, Emily Meehan and Hannah Allaman. Their input and feedback were absolutely invaluable, and I don’t think I would be nearly as proud of the final product without it.

9. Is there any advice you have for writers hoping to become a published author?

Critique partners will change your life. Seriously. Learning how to take feedback is such an important part of this career, and the best way to learn that early is by finding other writers who you trust to swap your work with. I feel so lucky to have a wonderful crew of uber-talented CPs who have read my book. I have editors and an awesome agent now, but my critique partners still read my projects, too – they’re stuck with me forever :).

If you’re a writer who’s having trouble finding critique partners, I urge you to keep an eye out on Twitter for CP match-ups that might make it easier! Off the top of my head, I know Writer’s Block Party hosts one, but there are definitely more.

10. And, for the final question, I’ve been wanting to ask this since I found out about our mutual love of the band Marianas Trench lol: what are your top three favourite songs across all the albums?

YESSS, A MARIANA’S TRENCH QUESTION! Okay, so this is like, basically impossible for me to answer because Just??? THREE SONGS??? But to make things slightly easier for myself, I’m going to force myself not to pick any of the section openers/closers in their albums like Ever After or Masterpiece Theatre III because they’re all too incredible, and instead focus on the standalone songs.

My top three are:

  • Desperate Measures (an overall best MT song IMHO)
  • Alibis (this was high school Christine’s ANTHEM, it is so angsty and raw and perfect)
  • Perfect (SO UNDERRATED. This song is on a certain character playlist for TDG, but it would be way too spoilery to say who!)

And that’s all for the interview! Thank you to Christine for answering my questions! Feel free to follow her on Twitter and Pinterest, and make sure to check out her book The Devouring Gray*! Now, have you read The Devouring Gray? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!! (no spoilers please) Thanks, have a great day/night, and tata for now

Angel

Red Bubble ❙ Society 6

*this post includes affiliate links I have with Amazon 😀

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One thought on “The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman – Interview

  1. Pingback: New Releases! And a Couple Old Ones – Entertainment for the Young and Young-at-heart

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