Interview with Nowick Gray

Published 2013-10-25.
What was the inspiration for your book, Rendezvous?
The core story in Rendezvous is a real-life adventure my family and I experienced in 1987 in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia. The successful outcome of that adventure, with its numerous challenges and pitfalls, allowed me to muse on a variety of “what-if” scenarios stemming from the actual story line - most of them disastrous. In the paranormal sense, and structurally in the novella, I conceived of these as alternative timelines or parallel realities. Somehow karmically the other characters and I “chose” the one scenario leading to our survival.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is to tap into that miracle of creation itself. The characters take on a life of their own, the story writes itself through me. There is a lot of satisfaction too in working with the material, helping to shape it as it shapes itself. There is also the hard-earned joy of crafting and improving the work after the first drafts. But the core joy comes from the role of midwife in the birthing of a new reality.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are necessary to affirm and confirm that the work has been worthwhile, that there is something worthwhile being conveyed. Fans mean that there is a fulfillment of purpose in the writing, without which it would be a meaningless exercise. Fans motivate to create more and better work, because in the end it's their experience as readers that counts the most.
What features distinguish your book, Rendezvous, from others on the subject?
To the true adventure genre, Rendezvous adds a paranormal dimension, woven through literary innovation in narrative structure. Virtually a “choose your own adventure” plot with multiple endings, the story blends elements of fantasy and magical realism with the vivid detail and palpable suspense of a real-life wilderness survival tale.
Who are your favorite authors?
Thomas Mann, Jack Kerouac, Jim Harrison, Peter Matthiesen, Bruce Chatwin, Michael Crichton, Emerson, Thoreau, Vladimir Nabokov, Iris Murdoch, Jack Vance
What kind of experience has writing your book been for you (fun, exciting, agonizing, etc.)?
It’s been a experience with different dimesions. First, the desire simply to tell the basic story, to share a powerful life-and-death experience. Probably somewhat therapeutic in that regard, as a way to process and integrate it. Exciting, to realize that in the literary form, as a structural challenge, I could incorporate all the intriguing “what-if” scenarios together as divergent possibilities: a “cat of nine tales,” as it were. Then, of course, the writing and editing process itself, which like all such efforts is both agonizing and satisfying.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a great believer in a balanced lifestyle. Before writing comes survival, good health, family and friends, connection with nature. I actually gave up writing for nearly ten years and focused instead on performing and teaching music, which offers the advantage of immediate gratification and social context. I also have enjoyed extensive travels in recent years, again searching for ways to optimize my overall lifestyle. And of course, I have to make a living, so I work as a professional freelance copy editor - which also feeds back to improving my abilities as a writer.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, in sixth or seventh grade, a sci-fi story called "The Work of Sron," about a ship traveling to the edge of the universe.
What is your writing process?
The process varies with each book. Some begin as nonfiction, journal material, autobiography and by degrees are fictionalized. Some start with a dream or other seed idea or inspiration. Some begin as a short story. Some begin as a burst of sheer inspiration and find their own direction as I go.
What do you read for pleasure?
The subject matter and genre can be all over the map. What counts is quality, which of course is quite subjective, and it can come from any number of elements: plot, voice, characterization, theme, innovation, irony. In recent years with the Internet I've done most of my reading online, delving into news behind the news to explore the layers of what is real and what is illusion, as the line between fiction and nonfiction blurs in every corner of the media universe, depending on one's perspective, spin, worldview and imagination.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
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