Friday, December 13, 2013

PUYB Virtual Book Club Q&A with Young Adult Fantasy 'The Flight of the Griffin' C.M. Gray

C.M. Gray is here at the book club today to talk about his new young adult fantasy The Flight of the Griffin!

More about C.M. Griffin:
Born in England, C.M. Gray spent most of his youth growing up in the Essex countryside. A beautiful part of England, close to the Suffolk border, but he was born with the need to expand his horizons, so as soon as he could get a passport at the age of just seventeen he packed a backpack and went exploring!

A slightly risky decision, and one his parents were not too taken with, yet a number of years later he is still traveling…. but with a slightly larger bag. Over the years, C.M.Gray has been lucky enough to live and travel in many many parts of the world, met some incredible people and experienced some amazing places. In fact, he has now lived for more years outside of England than he ever spent living there – It is, after all, a very big and exciting world!

During his journey he worked and trained as a carpenter and a house restorer… picked more types of fruit over the years than he knew existed – from grapes in France to avocados in Israel. After living in Israel for a year, he was lucky enough to be invited to travel with the Bedouin in the Sanai desert for several months and then moved on travelled around India and then called a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayan Mountains home. A short while later he had changed tact, bought a suit and did a stint as a stock broker in the clamor of central Hong Kong.

To celebrate the millennium he traveled back to Europe, then found and restored an old farmhouse in deep rural Burgundy, France… but then looked to the open road and spent an number of years in Amsterdam… but the winters were cold so he went south again in search of the sun.

Always vowing to return and sink some roots back in English soil… he hasn’t quite got there yet, but maybe someday, it seems there are just too many interesting places out there to see first! He does, however, live a little closer to England now, just outside of Barcelona in Northern Spain, in the middle of the forest with his dogs and two wonderful children, he claims the Pyrenean mountains and forests of northern Spain are a great place to write and let his mind do the traveling.

As you will have noticed, his writing is mostly fantasy and he says that many of his experiences in Asia, India, Africa and the Middle East come to life in his writing. He has seen and done some pretty strange things on his travels, and bumped into some amazing characters, so writing fantasy is almost like writing fact for him… you just wouldn’t believe it if he presented it as fact – there are people and things out there in this world of ours that would simply amaze you!

His latest book is the mystery/thriller The Flight of the  Griffin.

To explore his life and writing more, please visit his webpage and blog at

About The Flight of the Griffin:

The Kingdom is dying… 

The Darkness is coming… the balance between Order and Chaos is rapidly shifting and the world is falling towards evil and horror, and all misery that Chaos will bring. 

But there is hope… 

Pardigan’s had enough, he’s only 12, but he’s breaking into the home of one of Freya's richest merchants... and he’s doing it tonight… 

A burglary that will change their lives forever sets four friends upon a quest, a race against time, to locate three magical objects and complete an ancient and desperate spell. 

Sailing their boat The Griffin, the crew are quickly pursued by The Hawk, an evil bounty hunter and master of dark sorcery, and Belial, King of Demons and champion of Chaos who seeks to rule the world of man… yet first he must capture the crew of The Griffin and end their quest… 

Purchase your copy at AMAZON US or AMAZON UK

Thanks for coming to the book club today, Chris!  Before we begin the interview, I have to ask.  Who made that beautiful cover?

Chris: It really is awesome isn’t it! I’m thrilled, it really completes all the hard work it took to write and edit the story. The wonderful cover for The Flight of the Griffin was made by a very good friend of mine, a very talented graphic designer, Adriana Haganu. I struggled for ages trying to find a good cover and came up with several on my own, but they just didn’t scream PICK ME UP AND READ ME… which is what a good cover is meant to do! I looked around the web and saw some good designers, but they were either far too expensive for this poor old indie author, or they all seemed to specialise in the Romance genre. Covers with beautiful girls or young men naked to the chest! Adriana came up with this fantastic fantasy cover that has elements
from the story and is an amazing work of art, I absolutely love it, I hope you do too!

How did you get into the YA genre and do you think writing for young adults as a male adult has any drawbacks?

Chris: Okay, well firstly, I think there is a whole world of confusion with the genre YA. For so many people now YA means young love, eyes meeting across a room and moments filled with passionate embraces, but that of course is romance. I don’t write romance, I write fantasy books set in fantastical times. Adventures where clues are followed and demons walk the pages. I’m found in the Young Adult genre because The Flight of the Griffin doesn’t contain graphic violence, no steamy sex scenes and my characters don’t scream profanities at each other! The Flight of the Griffin is a great read for all ages. Young Adults as old as seventy read my books, and I know that because I get emails from readers of all ages, right up to seventy years old so far!

Being a male writer offering stories to younger readers? Why no, it’s great. My readers aren’t going to read about smouldering looks and heartfelt love, but they will read of smouldering dragons and burning ships! There are amazing male writers that, like me, offer stories to all ages. It hasn’t been a problem for Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) Rick Riordan with his Golden Compass Trilogy or Phillip Pullman and his Percy Jackson books!

Who is your main character and would you like to tell us more about him/her?

Chris: The main characters, for there are four of them, are the crew of the small sailing ship The Griffin. Pardigan is twelve and he’s the one that gets them all into trouble all the time. He has, as we say in the UK, sticky fingers… he’s a thief! Tarent and Quint are both fifteen, they do all the sailing of the boat and try to keep them all from starving, and the youngest member of the crew is Loras. Loras is the studious member one the group and can always be found with his nose in a book or gazing up at the stars. In the early part of the book a little magic takes place and transforms them as they set out on their quest. The other protagonist on the side of The Griffin crew is a girl called Mahra… she is a little older than the boys, just a bit, and acts as their guide on their quest, Mahra has some really interesting talents. So many girls that read The Flight of the Griffin and email me saying they love Mahra! My daughter, aged eight, has already requested the part should it ever get put into film!

What about secondary characters?  Would you like to introduce them?

Chris: The antagonists in The Flight of the Griffin centre around just a few unsavoury characters. Our story begins when Pardigan decides to break into the house of one of the cities wealthiest merchants, Bartholomew Bask. Bartholomew, a rather rotund and older gentleman, and I use the term gentlemen rather lightly, and he is, of course, justifiably furious that his valuables have been pilfered. He hires a very nasty bounty hunter, Matheus Hawk (The Hawk) and together they take off in pursuit of the thieves. The characters of Bartholomew and Matheus are a joy to write and are in some of the best parts of the book, I love writing their parts. They are truly awful people and view the world in totally self-centred ways - you are going to love hating them!

Every book of fiction has a pivotal point for the reader that they can’t forget.  What do you think is one of the pivotal points in your book?

Chris: Okay, well without giving too much away, the story is set about the crew’s quest to unite three magical objects. The second of these objects is supposed to be somewhere on an Island called Minster. After sailing there and leaving their boat in the harbour, they travel inland and visit an isolated race of people in search of their item. As they later try to leave the island, the antagonists are closing in. A host of demons have already made one vicious attack and are closing in again, whilst unbeknownst to the crew, Bartholomew Bask and Matheus Hawk are awaiting them close to their boat back in the harbour. The way ahead for the crew is unclear and the reader just cannot see how they will be able to move on in search of the third and final item, our pivotal moment comes as they make their attempt at escape.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell your readers?

Chris: I would like to thank you for reading this interview and thanks so much to you, Dorothy for having me here today. I would also like to say whether you are a reader or a writer, stretch the limits of your passion, search the winds of your mind for the edges of your imagination and enjoy the enchanted worlds authors of every genre try to create; reading and writing are awesome. Oh, and I hope you will join the crew of The Griffin on their quest, they are going to need all the help they can get!

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