Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Review of The Flight of the Griffin and Interview with its Author C.M. Gray!


Blurb:  The Flight of the Griffin - A YA Fantasy Adventure Living in their old boat 'The Griffin' five young characters become the unlikely heroes at the end of time when a burglary sets them on the path to finish the 'Last great Spell' - a spell to stop the balance of the World tipping into Chaos. . . They become the Magician, Thief, Priest and Fighter when a magical book guides them upon a quest that pits them against magic, demons and 'The Hawk,' an evil hunter of men. Join a race against time to find three crystal skulls that must be brought together, while all the forces of Chaos try everything to stop them!


Review of The Flight of the Griffin:
I recently sat down another novel by C.M. Gray, The Flight of the Griffin.  I was drawn into this story just like I was Shadowland.  The novel revolves around four boys who have banded together to survive and become a family that none of them ever had.  The boys become embroiled in a tale that they never foresaw happening.  What begins as a simple theft for survival becomes a story to last a lifetime.  With each boy given powers essentially to fight for the good in the world, with is identified in the book as Order where darkness is Chaos.  Together, the fighter, the thief, the magician and the priest, set forth to save the world.
C.M. Gray has an ability to portray these characters in such a way that they are imbedded in your heart before you can even blink.  I felt for the boys almost from the first second that I met them all.  They are endearing and their story is fantastic.  The novel has a lot of things that I enjoy reading about including magic and essentially good versus evil.  I was captivated until the very end.  There were many times that I laughed and many times that I felt like crying, especially at the death of Magician Clement.  But to understand what it is that I am talking about you need to pick your copy of C.M. Gray’s novel yourself and immerse yourself in the adventure and magic of The Flight of the Griffin.


R&M's Interview with Author C.M.  Gray!

1. Is there anything that you would like our readers to know about you or your writing?
Well hi and thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog, it's wonderful to be here!
There are many things I would like your readers to know about me and my writing, but I'll try to keep it short:)
I've lived a kind of nomadic existence for many many years moving all over the world. I'm an Englishman but have lived outside of England for far more years than I ever lived there, I love England but it's a really big interesting planet we have out there and I always wanted to go on an adventure and see it all, I'm still adventuring I guess! I now live just outside of Barcelona with my two children, who also happen to be my biggest fans! 
I think you will find that a lot of the experiences I've had on my travels and the places I've been, seep through into my writing, allowing me to play with words in a way that I hope helps create great stories.
I write YA books that appeal to adult readers as well because I don't go too nasty with violence, my characters feel no real need to swear although they will curse a bit!... and I don't write sex scenes.
What else? I'm vegetarian, spiritual but not religious, play guitar and sing badly after a glass of wine or two and my day job is raising awareness and money for a company that is trying to replant the rainforest, which I think is kinda cool.
I'm also told that my name, Chris Gray, sends certain young women who have read the 50 Shades books into raptures of giggles.... Now why is that?

2. When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
 I've always thought that I would write a book 'one day' I've always read a lot and we hear so much that we all have a book inside us. I guess like most people it was never the right time I just procrastinated, until one evening I turned off the tv, turned on my laptop and stared at a blank page for a while. I was quite amazed when some time later that evening I had written about a boy thief breaking into the room of a hated local merchant, the first chapter of 'The Flight of the Griffin' was started.

3. Are there any books or authors who inspired you to write a book of your own?
In terms of great books that inspired me to find a story within myself, I guess I have to say fantasy books by Tolkien, Robert Jordan and especially David Gemmel. 
In terms of fantastic writing there can only be John Steinbeck for me. Every word of his novels, mostly set and written in the 1930's and 40's. Every word is perfectly placed, the characters come alive on the page and the scenes are so evocative and long lasting, the man was a master. However, the author that finally got me to turn off the tv,  was J.K.Rawling. I think there were lots of people that thought 'if she can do it then so can I!' Now, if I can only sell the same amount of books I would be onto a good thing!

4. How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
Well I've written several, but the ones I will own up to are Shadowland, the story of Uther Pendragon, father to Arthur... with a big glob of fantasy thrown in and The Flight of the Griffin, which is pure adventure fantasy. I'm almost finished with the sequel to The Flight of the Griffin it's called Chaos Storm and hope I can publish in early 2013 
I love all three and I'm tempted to write a sequel to Shadowland when I'm done... or possibly a prequel. I think because I've written more about the crew of the Griffin I should say I prefer that... but then Shadowland has sold a lot more books and has more reviews... No, I like them all and you should all read them all and you tell me what is best ( I wonder if J.K.Rawling got readers like that?)


5. What do you think is unique about your book?  
I do try to be unique in my writing. I've read a lot but I think that just helps me find fresh areas to write about. People call Shadowland an Arthurian legend and it's true there are similarities, like Merlin as a younger man, the Sword Excalibur and The Lady of the Lake, but you won't really recognise themin Shadowland and Arthur only appears in the final chapter.
The Flight of the Griffin is a fantasy Questing Adventure, because I like to read a good quest, a mission that the characters go on, so enjoyed writing one, but I don't think you will have taken a trip quite like the one the crew of the Griffin take!

6. Are any of your characters inspired by people you know in real life?
There is probably a little bit of me in each character, and I've possibly met some of the villains I write about because I've had some interesting experiences, but I didn't set out to build a character around someone I knew, my characters reveal themselves to me as I write as new hopefully interesting people.

7. Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
Ok, well firstly I really write for my own entertainment. I have no plan as to where a story is going so, as I just mentioned, it all reveals itself to me as I go along. This form of writing is very entertaining for me but can have me sitting scratching my head as I get my characters into some situation where I think, ' how the he'll are they getting out of this one?' but I keep writing and they are smart enough to get through all by themselves, I'm like an omnipotent being that just reports on their progress! 
The other quirk that actually is quite annoying is that I write very fast, almost as fast as I can think, but I'm a messy two or three finger typist at best so my first drafts are littered with mistakes and whole sentences that when I go back to correct I often have to think really hard about what I was actually happening at the time because it's almost unintelligible!


8. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to spend time with my children. Dylan is twelve and Yasmin is just seven. We have two dogs, just puppies at eight months old, Molly and Kipper. They are brother and sister Catalan sheep dog mixes that we rescued. We love walking them in the woods around our home and they love sniffing out the wild boar and rabbits. I already mentioned I play guitar badly, I've practised the martial art of Aikido for over twenty years, it's a very friendly 'open hand' art that is more spiritual than violent; Dylan now practices with me which is great. We love to fish, explore and adventure. Northern Spain is a fantastic place with lots of mountains, forest, rivers and coastline and being only half an hour from Barcelona means we have the best of both worlds with one of the most fantastic cities in the world so close- were very lucky.

9. What advice would you give to other writers who are hoping to one day get their work published?
Enjoy the writing process, be original, think very hard about names of characters because bad names can put a lot of people off your story even if it's fantastic. Above all, edit edit edit and then get a professional editor after you think there are no mistakes left, because the editor will uncover a whole bunch of things that you went completely blind to! 
Don't think about money, there is none, or very little anyway, it's not about the money. A lot of people think they will write a best seller and make a fortune... possibly, this isn't going to happen? Have fun, don't take criticism badly, then have more fun just writing your stories.


10. Do you hear from your readers much?  If so, what kinds of things do they say?
 I love to hear from readers. Getting a review, a good one, is just the best. That someone I have never met or spoken to has taken the time to write a review for me is gobsmacking to me and I am so grateful. If you read a book and enjoy it, any book not just mine, please write a review, it's what keeps us writers writing.
I do get emails and messages from readers and that is fantastic. I will answer every mail so please do write to me and tell me what you like or don't like, questions suggestions and professions of pure love:) all are gratefully received.

Fun Questions:
Favorite Color: Sky blue pink
Favorite Food: Anything spicy like Thai or Indian ( I love to cook, did I mention that?)
Favorite Animal: My dogs, Molly and Kipper
Favorite Vacation Destination: Earth
Favorite Season of the Year: Love them all, live for the moment!
Favorite Book: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
Favorite Drink: Mojito
Favorite Genre: Fantasy

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