Shay, Now that you are a famous author, What were you like at school?
I was a little hellion with a switch blade knife and my circle of friends. I kept a low profile with my writing abilities because I was writing when ‘writing wasn’t cool’.
As the proverbial ‘little red haired girl,’ I find it ironic that in today’s society everyone wants to be a redhead. The time in which I grew up being a redhead was not preferred; therefore I had to quickly establish to everyone that “I won’t take any rubbish from anyone.”
Were you good at English?
English? (Laughs) – Southern drawl or Prim and Proper, I speak both fluently. I rarely promote myself, even when I was in school. My writing abilities spoke for themselves apparently, I was often required to do ‘extra assignments’ by my Literature instructor in order to (their words) ‘challenge yourself.’ I did not mind the extra work because even then writing was a joy and form of amusement, yet I always take my writing seriously.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I hope for my work to be noticed by other artists and perhaps either incorporated into music, short plays or some other type of entertainment to be enjoyed by people of all walks of life.
Which writers inspire you?
Dead ones (laughs), no seriously. I have read much of Poe’s works, preferred Hemmingway and what was frightening was I could actually understand Shakespeare! But, I noticed as I read their works and wrote, I found myself imitating their style and realized I had my own style to nurture and develop, therefore I don’t indulge in the intoxication of said poets and writers today.
So, what have you written?
I written a great deal, grocery list (laughing), but I have found my writings don’t fit into any established genre and garnering interest from outlets, publishers and other writers has been a challenge.
My first published works were three pieces in the October 2013 issue of Young and Unique magazine obtainable on HP Magcloud. Another piece, a short story, was published in the January 2014 issue of Nocturnal Void also available on Magcloud. My first book ‘Deranged Bitch’ is due to be out in February 2014. It is a compilation of ten short stories written in poetic play about life with good and bad bitches which will be available on Lulu, Amazon, Barnes & Noble as well as via my facebook writer’s page. I currently have two other book projects in the works to be published during the 2014 year.
She is brutal with courage and fierce in her strength. Dare you walk near her? Dare you seek her eyes and become lost within her penetrating gaze? If you were wise, wishing to fulfill your days with happiness, you would leave her to her wicked devices. You are no match. She is unseemly devilish to the point of feeling the fires of hell.Dare you cross that path of her insanity? Men and woman have been destroyed by the simple wink of an eye. Caring not for the simpleton who crumbles within her wake, she kicks them remorselessly as a stone blocking her path.
~ excerpt of ‘Savage Bitch’ from the book Deranged Bitch ~
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
The main character in each of the short stories is a woman with attitude – some good, some bad, some spiteful. Her attitude is recognizable to the point that the reader will say to themselves ‘I know someone like that.’ The main character in each story is the person you want to label with the “bitch” term either because she has crossed you or you have crossed her or she is just acting naturally.
What are you working on at the minute?
A book entitled Deranged Bastard! For every Deranged Bitch in the world there is a complementary Deranged Bastard.
What genre are your books?
Short stories in poetic play, my writings, from what I am told are difficult to “pigeon hole” to an established genre
What draws you to this genre?
I suppose poetry was my first love because it encompassed every aspect of life and you may use simile and innuendos to present ideas and facts of life, yet the reader will have to often read between the lines to understand what is being said. I like to stimulate the reader’s thinking and stir their curiosity.
How much research do you do?
When mentioning historical or other factual information within the piece I verify the accuracy if possible.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I believe I was born with pen in hand and thoughts flowing! I don’t believe a person simply decides to be a writer. In my experience I was drawn to it as a moth to a flame. Writing became a magical place. It was my world in which I was able to make anything happen that I could imagine. Children often use their imaginations and play ‘make believe’ pretending to be a prince or princess, the heroine or hero or the woman in the house on the hill. I did the same, but was drawn to write down the imaginings and paint the images through words upon paper.
Why do you write?
It is who I am. Writing allows me to tell the stories of people I have known through characters I create. It allows me to tell of incidents in the lives of others and my own life. I can tell of love and heartache, joy and pain, happiness and difficulties. Writing for me is never ‘work’ it is an enjoyable release.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
I had not written steadily for quite a number of years. I would write a piece and share it with my husband. It was he who often encouraged me to write and that I should make it a goal to write something daily.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I consider my writing to be a full time occupation. I am always toying with an idea or two, jotting some thought down, a phrase or something I have seen or heard for later reference.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I made the decision after the first pieces were published to treat my writing as a ‘job’ starting in the morning about eight-thirty and stopping at five in the evenings as my daily schedule permits.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
At one point I had a set a number of words per day as a goal, but decided a few well written words were far better than a hundred useless words.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I had let my writing lay dormant for quite some time before resuming it. When I did, I preferred pencil and paper. The sound of a pencil scratching upon paper is like no other, soothing in a sense, almost therapeutic. I had written so many poems on various subjects my husband suggested keying them into a computer for categorization. I did not like the ‘machine’ as he calls them, but reluctantly I began to key in the poems and now most of my compositions are keyed on a computer.
Where do the / your ideas come from?
I am a people watcher. When I am out and about simply watching the actions and reactions of people provides a wealth of ideas from which to draw from later. The same is true of nature by being observant, hearing the sounds of life many ideas and thoughts come forth. I keep a pencil and paper close by in order to jot them down for later.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I generally prefer to see were an idea takes me, because often you start with an idea and the piece will morph into something unexpected. However, with the ‘Bitch’ series of short stories I challenged myself by determining the number of stories and the titles, then proceeded to write each story purposely.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Having allowed the craft to lie dormant for so long to begin writing again in earnest was almost as if I was starting over. I think much of my best work was written years ago, when writing for me was fresh. However the recent publications have given me a confidence I lacked earlier and a hope for continued writing with a desire to challenge myself and stretch my talent with each piece as I continue to paint with words.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
When presented with a blank page the myriad thoughts begin to present themselves so rapidly I have to slow down my thought process in order to capture them [the thoughts] before they escape.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
Short answer, Yes.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
I use, (laughing) a synonym finder book and as I flip through the pages reading synonyms and often quite suddenly a thought bursts on the scene.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I prefer traditional paper / hard back books because there is nothing quite like the aroma of a book, the rustling of the pages and the words on the page.
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
It was by no accident that I met Milene Naja via Facebook and she determined she would be the first to see my work in print and as an editor she was able to help me fulfill my dream of being published first in the magazines and now this book.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
Milene and I collaborated on the book cover choosing the photo to be used and toying with the fonts and background.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Yes, often it is the book’s cover which draws the reader and hopefully piques the curiosity for closer examination.
How are you publishing this book and why?
This book is being published Indie with the hope of being picked up by a traditional publisher.
How do you market your books?
I am marketing currently on social media and the two magazines in which I have been published.
In what formats is your book available?
It is available as an e-book, or print media at various outlets.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Lucille Ball. Because she succeeded when told she could not.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write something each day, be it good or mediocre, but write anyway. Write because you enjoy doing so. Write to please yourself and do not worry about what others may think or say about your writings; they may change the channel if they wish.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
Sites like HP Magcloud and LuLu where one may purchase an e-book and a printed copy on demand are going to be popular but I do not think e-book purchases will hurt the hard copy purchases very much.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
If you wish to purchase Shay Dray’s DERANGED BITCH click the below link.
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