How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for over ten years. I started off in a writing class at the University of South Carolina. The teacher was encouraging, telling me my horror short story was the best that he had seen in his class in a long time and I should publish it. (Ironically, I still haven’t found the right anthology for that story.) After that, I tried my hand at writing an urban fantasy novel. Even thought I don’t intend for my earliest novels to be published, the experience was valuable.
After I graduated, I started writing short stories and managed to get a few into some good anthologies. I got my start in horror. My short story “Hemophobia” appeared in the horror anthology Courting Morpheus in 2010. Also in 2010, my short story “Marrow” appeared in the anthology Deep Space Terror. In 2012, my story “Sleep Like the Dead” appeared in Volume 2, Issue 2 of the online magazine The New Bedlam Project.
I was a finalist in the Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest competition and my short story “Chosen” is in the 2014 Jim Henson’s the Dark Crystal Author Quest e-book. That was a very fun experience and I made a good friend in the process.
Is this book part of a series?
Blood Moon is the second book in the Blood Rain trilogy. In Blood Rain, Mercy meets her companions. They search for the source of a storm that rained blood on Mercy’s village and caused her tribe’s enemies, the bat-like beast men, to attack in frenzy. They believe the storm was caused by magic resurfacing in the world.
Blood Moon is a direct sequel. It begins right where Blood Rain left off. Mercy is travelling with her companions on a ship in search of the answers they seek. They first stop is at the Ashen capital, and then they take a perilous sea voyage towards the North. They encounter pirates, sea monsters, magic, and tragedy before arriving at the frozen shores of the Northern Kingdom.
The third book, Blood God, will be the conclusion of the series. While this is a work in progress right now, it will answer any questions that are left and will wrap up the stories of Mercy and her friends.
What did you find the most challenging about writing your book?
One of the most challenging things about writing this book was keeping the story interesting in a limited setting. Since this book features Mercy’s journey to the Northern continent, most of the story takes place onboard a ship. Though the setting of the ship isn’t as dynamic as the settings in the first book, the ocean definitely is.
Also, keeping good pacing was a challenge. While there is a great deal of action and excitement, the lulls in the action are balanced by the characters’ interactions. The interactions between the characters changes throughout this novel. Some of the relationships become closer while others become more fractured. I feel that the pacing between the action and the interplay of characters was successful in the end.
The novel focuses mostly on the danger of a journey on the ocean. There are storms, pirates, and monstrous sea creatures that the characters have to contend with and all the while there is also danger from within as well. In such close proximity the characters learn a great deal about one another, along with some things that they wish they never knew.
Which aspect of writing do you enjoy the most?
I think the aspect of writing that I enjoy most is when the characters surprise me. Even though I write from a rough outline, my outline usually changes throughout the manuscript. It sounds strange to say, but the characters tend to make their own decisions which can even change parts of the plot as they grow and develop throughout the story. It’s very satisfying is when your characters begin to change and overcome some of their flaws.
I also enjoy the days when I feel particularly inspired. Sometimes, I find myself getting lost thinking of future scenes, and new ideas that I believe would make the characters more interesting and add to the story. It makes me feel as though I’m thinking about a book I’ve been reading rather than the one I’ve been writing, wondering where it will go next.
Do you have any works in progress?
Right now I’m working on the third and final book of the Blood Rain trilogy, Blood God. The characters are finally approaching the end of their journey and their most dangerous adventure yet. They’ve travelled throughout the continent of Lacern, made powerful allies and enemies, and now they’re going to confront the ones responsible for the blood rain to attempt to stop a war that could destroy everything they hold dear.
I’m also working on a mid-grade horror series similar to the Goosebumps series. The working title is the Junior Investigator’s Club. It’s about a group of children investigating supernatural rumors involving their school and the areas around it. The series is horror with some urban fantasy elements. They soon find that some monsters aren’t exactly what they seem to be. From dark fey creatures to possessed stage props, the children are forced to face their own fears and eventually come together to help the other students with problems which others won’t believe.
I’m also working on a series of steampunk fantasy stories in western setting. The main character, Tick-Tock Tremaine is a man searching for vengeance against the bandits that destroyed his town and his body. His friends managed to revive him using a combination of steel mechanisms and mystic practices. As Tremaine searches for his quarry, he solves supernatural crimes using his wits, his enchanted firearms, and the help of a smarmy jackalope companion.
About the Book
Title: Blood Moon
Author: Nancy Gray
Genre: YA Fantasy
Mercy finds herself on a ship bound for the Ashen capital with her companions. But things don’t go smoothly there after Mercy, Mirilee, and Erebus decide to sneak ashore to take part in a festival. They get more than they counted on when they witness a public execution of Sylvan Islanders and Mercy is captured after being mistaken for a Sylvan spy!
Dark and sinister secrets are revealed on their perilous journey. Erebus is forced to confront his inner demon, while Mercy discovers a demon of her own. In the midst of it all, Mirilee has a dark vision of the war they are trying to prevent.
What will become of Mercy and her friends?
Nancy Gray lives in West Columbia, SC, with her husband, two daughters, and two crazy cats. She attended college at the University of South Carolina and attained a BA in Media Arts with a cognate in English. Her original career was as a graphic designer but writing is her calling. Her favorite genres to write are horror, fantasy (particularly young adult), steampunk, cyberpunk, urban fantasy, and occasionally light science fiction (space opera). Many of her short stories and novels also blur the lines of genre fiction. Nancy is an avid reader and also enjoys drawing, video games, and table top role playing games. She also enjoys anime and manga.