Fiction Vixen is pleased to welcome author Cornelia Grey today!
Hello, Sophia, Catherine, Samantha, Amy, Jen and Angela – thank you so much for having me!
My paranormal novella Devil at the Crossroads was just released by Riptide Publishing, and I’m really glad to have the chance to chat a little about how this story was born. And, at the end of the post, there’s also a juicy giveaway for all lovely readers…!
If you’d like to check out my other posts about Devil, you can keep track of the blog tour here !
I don’t speak ‘music’
One of the reasons why music fascinates me so much is that… I don’t speak notes. Music is a language I don’t know.
When I studied music in primary and secondary school, I was embarrassingly bad at it. I could learn by heart the movements I needed to make in order to play a simple tune on my keyboard, but that was it; I had no ear, no ‘feel’ for the music and no musical intuition whatsoever. I took no liberties because I had no idea what I was doing, and I absolutely could not compose anything. My father tried to teach me how to play bass guitar, once: one single, epic failure of a lesson was enough! I remember all too clearly sitting with the guitar on my lap, trying to awkwardly fit my body around it, my hands on the strings. It was like stepping on an alien planet, and it didn’t take long to reach the inevitable conclusion: I was completely useless at it!
If I think about it, it’s a bit how I feel when I try to cook something beyond an omelette or a dish of pasta – cooking is another arena in which I have zero talent! I need the recipe to guide me step by step, and I panic if even the slightest bit of information is missing (“cook until it looks ready” – what does that mean, how am I supposed to know what it looks like when it’s ready, good Lord I’m going to set the kitchen on fire and poison my entire family!). I have very little experience and zero ‘culinary intuition’. My grandmother seems to instinctively know what flavors would go nicely with what she’s cooking, what spice would fix a slight taste imbalance I can’t even spot, in what amount. She always tells me that she has never followed a recipe in her life – she just improvises, she just knows what will work.
I suppose the same applies to most, if not all, activities and crafts that involve creativity. You can follow the rules and a step-by-step guide, and you can even become pretty good at stuff, but if you don’t have that spark of talent, that intuition, you will never be able to create something out of thin air, without the help of any crutches. That’s what happened to me in regards to drawing. I got excellent grades and results at the fine arts high school, but I was always relying on rules and guidelines, and I could not truly create anything. That was how I realized that art could never be more than a hobby for me, and that my true calling lay elsewhere.
At the very least, though, with drawing, following the rules did anyway provide some good results. I can’t say the same about music! Mine was such an utter, complete absence of any scrap of talent that, of course, I ended up being even more fascinated by it, the way I always am by the things I don’t understand. (Take science, for example. I love science. But my brain starts knotting when I try to grasp even the simplest chemical reactions and I still suspect, deep down, that electricity is really black magic. That’s also why I love scientists, who are a bit like magicians to me, but way cooler.)
I think one of the reasons why my boyfriend and I got interested in each other when we first met – almost eight years ago! – was that we spoke very different ‘languages’. I was already writing consistently and loved to read and study. But, even though I loved music, I observed it from a distance with a mixture of fascination and utter incomprehension. My boyfriend, instead, spoke ‘music’ at the highest, most delightful level: pure intuition. He had never had the chance to study musical theory and couldn’t even read the notes, but he was able to recreate a tune after hearing it just once, and remember it for months. He was, and still is, a genius of improvisation: he just has ‘the ear’ for it. That also looks a bit like black magic to the uninitiated!
I have been writing for so long, ever since I could hold a pen, that I can’t imagine cataloging my thoughts and emotions through anything other than words. Conversely, my boyfriend has trouble translating his thoughts and emotions into words, and as a result he prefers playing rather than speaking. I love sitting next to him and listening to him create a piece of music out of thin air, conjuring up emotions in a way that allows me to perceive them as well, even though he’s speaking a language that’s foreign to me.
After reading this, I suspect you’ll recognise where I got my inspiration for some traits of Logan’s character. I admit it… busted! I loved having the chance to write a character who connects with the world in such a different way from what I do. I also loved the challenge of trying to portray music through words – maybe I finally found a way to connect to that language, albeit in my own. It was a very meaningful achievement for me because, as I discussed in my previous blog post, blues music is dear to me for very personal reasons, and two of the most important people in my life happened to be guitarists. Writing this story felt like a way of reaching towards them – of bringing together our different languages and finding a new connection.
What about you? What’s your favourite ‘language’, the one that allows you to express yourself more freely? I’d love to know!
Attention, dear readers – this release comes with a trivia contest, and the winners will receive a free ebook of their choice from my backlist!
There are three easy questions, whose answer can be found reading Devil at the Crossroads. Keep an eye for the answers as you read the story, then email me the answers at corneliagrey [at] yahoo [dot] com – do not leave them in the comments, remember, you don’t want to make life too easy for the competition !
The deadline for the contest is September the 30th: I will randomly select two readers among those who emailed me replying correctly to the three questions. The winners will be officially announced on my blog (as well as emailed!) and they will receive a free ebook of their choice from my backlist!
Ready for the questions? Here we go…
1) What is the model of Logan’s guitar?
2) Throughout the story, three spider tattoos are mentioned. Where are they located?
3) Farfarello happens to mention a future birthday of Logan’s. Which birthday is that?
Good luck! And remember, email me your answers by September the 30th to be entered in the contest !
Cornelia Grey is a creative writing student fresh out of university, with a penchant for fine arts and the blues. Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where she collected her share of poetry and narrative prizes, Cornelia moved to London to pursue her studies.
She likes cats, knitting, performing in theatre, going to museums, collecting mugs, and hanging out with her grandma. When writing, she favors curious, surreal stories, steampunk, and mixed-genre fiction. Her heroes are always underdogs, and she loves them for it.
You can find her at www.corneliagrey.com
Devil at the Crossroads Blurb:
The devil covets more than his soul …
Six years ago, Logan Hart sold his soul to the devil to become the greatest bluesman of all time—and now the devil has come to collect.
The irony is that Logan squandered his gift. High on fame, money, and drugs, he ignored his muse and neglected his music. And despite managing to escape showbiz in a moment of clarity, it’s too late to redeem himself. All that’s left is to try to go out with some dignity. Alas, the prospect of an eternity in Hell isn’t helping much with that goal.
But Farfarello, the devil who bought Logan’s soul, isn’t ready to drag him down to Hell quite yet. He’s just spent six years working his ass off to whip a bluesman into shape, and he refuses to let that—or the opportunity for more sinful pleasures with Logan—go to waste.
You can read an excerpt and purchase ‘Devil at the Crossroads’ here!