Monday, 26 March 2018

#MondayMeet - Sarah Marie Graye

This Monday we’re thrilled to have Pict author Sarah Marie Graye joining us on the Pict blog to talk about her debut novel The Second Cup.

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So Sarah Marie, what inspired you to write The Second Cup?
I've suffered from depression for most of my life. But it's really difficult for those people who've never experienced it to really understand what it feels like in order to be fully empathetic. 

So I decided to write a novel where I could "show" people rather than "tell" them. The story is about how a group of friends react when someone commits suicide – and how it affects their own mental and emotional wellbeing.

Where is The Second Cup set?
It's set in my hometown of Manchester (in the UK). There are two versions of Manchester – pre and post the 1996 IRA bomb which destroyed much of the city centre. 

The city was regenerated – and most Mancunians agree that it's benefitted from the bomb. (Nobody died, so it's easier, as time passes, to look back on it differently.) 

But there's a definite nostalgia for how things were beforehand, and that fits very well with the theme of my book – the idea that some events change everything and there’s no going back.

Who is your protagonist and how did you create them as a character?
This is a difficult one to answer without spoilers! My book is an "ensemble cast" and the person who you think is going to be the main character isn't. What I can say about all my characters is they are a mixture of people I have met, people I have imagined and elements of me.

How long did the process take from start to finish – from idea right through to publication?
A ridiculously long time if you count all of the faffing and thinking about it. But from the point where I committed to writing it, it took three years. I think the pre-writing stage is often a very long time on a debut novel.

Have you learned anything about yourself or your writing during this process?

That I like poetic language – and the indulgence that offers to both the writer and reader. It's not just about telling the story it's about capturing the mood, the essence of each character.

Do you have any writing routines?
I don't have any routines! I will be pondering about my book, I'll have an idea, and I'll suddenly have to write! This often happens as I'm lying in bed, so I do write quite a bit late at night. But I write other times too.

You took part in the recent March Indie Book Giveaway...
Yes, I did, which was really exciting. We had over 1,000 entries into the giveaway and we finished the two weeks with a live event on Facebook – which was terrifying but also great fun.

So why did you choose to join Pict Publishing?
I think it's the perfect combination of a publishing brand while still retaining independence. I wanted to write my particular story and I know a traditional publisher would have wanted to change and adapt it for the market. I chose an editor who gave my book the lightest of touches. So it's still the story I wanted to tell.

So what's next?
The Second Cup is on FREE PROMO for the next three days (27-29 March) as part of a post-giveaway promo. It's to give people a chance who were interested in my book but didn’t win a copy to get their hands on it. I'm hoping to get lots of downloads – I want to be able to reach as many people as possible with my story.

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