Thank you for joining me on the sofa, Andrew and for agreeing to answer some questions for me.
1. So who is Andrew Grey? More than anything I like to think I’m a middle aged gay man from the Midwest who got the chance to see the rest of the world and loves to write about it.
2. Tell me a bit about your latest release. Artistic Appeal continues the story of Dieter’s court case begun in Legal Artistry, but Gerald has stepped back as the lead attorney and Brian Watson, Gerald’s managing partner is taking over the case. Brian and his daughter Zoe are invited to Gerald and Dieter’s Christmas party a few months before the initial appeal is to be heard. At the party Brian realized that Dieter is playing matchmaker, but the person he’s being fixed up with isn’t the person who fascinates him. Brian is intrigued by Nicolai, the deaf art restorer that is working on the works that were already returned.
Brian was married to Zoe’s mother for almost ten years and that entire time, he denied who he was for the sake of his daughter and the commitment he made to his marriage, but now that he’s divorced, the feelings that he’s repressed are surfacing in his attraction to Nicolai. But Brian has told almost no one of his feelings for men and he must deal with his mother, his ex-wife as well as his daughter.
Nicolai returns Brian’s interest, but there are a number of issues. A year earlier Nicolai was dumped by his long term boyfriend and now Justin aggressively wants him back. After the breakup, Nicolai had to reclaim his independence and is now reluctant to give it up and eventually Nicolai comes to learn that love isn’t about being taken care of, but supported. As the case and their relationship move forward, Brian and Nicolai overcome a number of hardships including exes as well as learning to communicate with each other. Brian also learns that since Nicolai’s deaf, he sees things that other people miss and those observances could help win the return of The Woman in Blue.
3. How do you work, do you pick a title first, or characters names, or how they look? I actually start with some sort of idea, be it a character or a situation. I usually let the idea percolate for a while and then I start writing. I write my stories from beginning to end. As for titles, my partner usually comes up with those. Each story has a working title, but I rarely come up with the final ones.
4. When did you know that writing was your passion? I stumbled into it purely by accident. I was reading a lot of gay romance when I was on the treadmill at the gym and decided to give it a try.
5. What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published? My first book was Master of the Revels. I wrote it in January 2007 and it was published in May 2008. That entire experience was extremely eye opening. BTW, Master of the Revels is out of print, but if you’d like a copy drop me an email and I will gladly send a PDF to anyone who asks.
6. What some don’t realize is that writing is a discipline and you have to proportion a part of your day to it – how long does it usually take you to complete a manuscript? That depends upon the length, but my daily goal is to write 3000 words a day, six days a week, so I write a novel every three weeks or so. Some take longer or require additional research.
7. Do you outline your plots first? Or are you like me and just go hell for leather? I go like you. I have an idea where I want the story to go, but I usually just write. The exception was Seven Days where I had worked through each of the days before writing, but I did that all in my head.
8. Out of your body of work – do you have a favourite character? It’s hard to pick just one, but I have to say Robbie from Love Means… No Boundaries. He’s deaf and he was my biggest challenge to write so I ended up spending more time to get to know him.
9. If you were to offer advice to someone starting out, what would you say? Write every day and don’t let yourself get bogged down in the tiny details. Tell your story and once you’re done you can revise and polish, but don’t second guess yourself along the way. Once it’s drafted, you can review and make all the changes you like, but now you have a completed draft and something to be proud of even if you never get it published.
10. Who are your favourite authors, in any genre? I love Fen Follett and Anne Perry. Adventure stories really peak my interest and I love to read historical mysteries. For years I read Dick Francis’s mysteries around English horse racing. I love stories that take me someplace else for a little while. I’m also going to give a shout out to a wonderful author friend, Connie Bailey, who writes the most amazing Asian based M/M stories. Her Moonlight, Tiger, and Smoke blew me away.
11. If you hadn’t chosen writing, or rather, writing hadn’t chosen you, what do you think
You would be doing for a living? I actually make a living in Information Technology. I guess my analytical side needed a creative outlet.
12. What do you do in your free time? And don’t say writing! Okay I won’t. What free time. Seriously, I don’t have much, but I spend almost all of it with my partner Dominic. He and I work in the yard, collect antiques, and try to keep each other sane when my family had some sort of crisis. I could not write a word without him.
13. What makes you laugh? Children. They’re so honest and without guile that whatever they say is honestly funny and sincere. I also love The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon kills me.
14. What irritates you most about other people? Closed minded arrogance. People who think they understand the world and that everything should fit into their own, often miniscule world view, drive me insane.
15. Would you like to share with us your favourite joke? I would love to but I really don’t have one. I could tell you my father’s ‘wood eye’ joke or his one about the toothbrush salesman but then I’d be responsible for the collective groan of everyone who reads this interview, so I’ll spare you all.
Thank you for coming to chat, Andrew and I wish you many sales.
It's been a pleasure talking with Andrew Grey and you can find him at:-
@andrewgreybooks on Twitter
And here’s a little taster of Artistic Appeal
Over the past year, his main companion outside of work had been Zoe, and Brian hadn’t realized how much he missed adult company and conversation until he was deep in a conversation with Harold about his upcoming deep-sea fishing trip to Florida. God, it had been a long time since he’d simply talked to another adult.
“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Dieter said, and Brian and Harold paused their conversation. “I’m taking Zoe up to the television room so she can watch her video.”
“Thank you,” Brian said, grateful to his friend. Dieter left, and Brian and Harold continued their conversation. After a while, Harold excused himself and got up. Brian, deciding he wanted another glass of wine, walked through the house to the kitchen. The room was full of people, and Brian poured a glass of wine and was about to leave when he lightly bumped into another man. Pausing to excuse himself, Brian stopped and the tall man turned around. Bright blue eyes stared into Brian’s, and for one of the few times in his life, Brian stared open-mouthed, completely at a loss for words. This man was stunning, rather than beautiful, with piercing eyes that nearly made him flinch and deep black hair that shone in the light against his olive-toned skin. “I’m sorry,” Brian said, for bumping him, and the man smiled slightly, nodding his head before turning away.
People shifted in the kitchen as glasses were filled and new faces moved to the bar for refills. Brian made his way back into the living room and nearly bumped into Gerald, thankfully not spilling any of his wine. “Who’s the man over there with the dark hair?” Brian indicated the man he’d seen in the kitchen.
Gerald smiled at him. “That’s Nicolai Romanov. He’s an art restorer, and he’s been helping Dieter with the paintings. He’s a really sweet man,” Gerald said, lowering his voice, “and very handsome. He’s also available, or so I understand.”
“What about the man with him?” Brian asked, his eyes following Nicolai and the other man around the room. They looked rather cozy to him.
“That’s Peter, and they’re not a couple. He’s a friend and sort of acts as Nicolai’s interpreter because he’s deaf. Besides, Peter’s as straight as an arrow, and if there were a lot of women here, Nicolai wouldn’t be getting as much interpreting time. Peter’s a bit of a ladies’ man. Come on, I’ll introduce you. Nicolai reads lips, so speak clearly and look at him, and you’ll be fine.” Before Brian could stop him, Gerald was leading him into the hallway where Nicolai was looking closely at one of the paintings. Gerald lightly touched him on the shoulder and stepped back.
“Nicolai,” Gerald said once he’d turned around, “this is Brian.” He noticed that Gerald made eye contact and spoke clearly, but not loudly, to Nicolai, who held out his hand.
“Very pleased to meet you,” Nicolai said slowly, his consonants very smooth, and it took some concentration, but Brian was able to understand him. Brian shook his hand and wondered what to say. Thankfully Gerald started things off.
“I work with Brian. He and I try to get art works returned to its proper owners. Brian is handling The Woman in Blue case for Dieter and me,” Gerald explained, and Brian saw Nicolai’s eyes light up.
“That must be exciting,” Nicolai said. “Dieter has told me about his great-grandmother. It is a very exciting story.” Brian saw Nicolai’s fingers and hands moving, presumably out of habit.
“Daddy.” Zoe barreled into him laughing before turning to her Uncle Dieter. “I turned off the player.”
“Zoe,” Brian said, still looking at Nicolai, “this is Mr. Romanov.”
“Hello.” She suddenly seemed shy, and Brian hugged her to his side.
“Nicolai, this is my daughter Zoe.” Brian made sure to face Nicolai so he could read his lips.
“Hello, Zoe,” Nicolai said as he signed, and Brian heard Zoe inhale in surprise as she watched Nicolai’s hands. “Zoe,” Nicolai said rather clearly as he slowly signed her name. Zoe brought up her hands and began to move them, mimicking the movements. Nicolai gently corrected her fingers, and soon Zoe could sign her name. “Nic,” Nicolai said and then performed the signs for his name. Brian found himself watching every movement of Nic’s graceful hands, trying to make the signs himself along with his daughter.
“Like this,” Nicolai told him, and Brian nearly jumped when the handsome man touched his fingers, lightly caressing his skin as he coached him through the signs. Brian repeated the movements for the three letters, and Nicolai smiled his encouragement. Brian wanted to ask Nicolai to teach him more signs, if only to get the other man to touch his hands again.