Interview with Ronan Cray

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I enjoy the surprise characters and events. I set out with an outline, but the characters develop organically, independently, even stubbornly. They interrupt me, contradict my preconception of their character, and push into or fade away from the limelight.

In Red Sand, I never intended to write the character Colin. He had a nameless, bit part (pun intended) of a savage with no tongue. By the time I finished writing, he had an entire chapter to himself!
What do your fans mean to you?
I’m in this for the reader. When they enjoy something I wrote, I get great satisfaction out of that. I think my readers are sophisticated, savvy, and expect a great deal for their time. When I can deliver on that, I’ve done my job well.
What are you working on next?
I’m very excited about my current project. After a year I’ve almost completed my next novel, ‘Dust Eaters’. It’s a zombie apocalypse novel with a few (I hope) original twists. It’s a journey across two continents.

Crazy Robot Games has picked it up pre-publication as the source for their next video game! We have a Kickstarter on right now to raise funds. It’s an exciting time.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass - A masterpiece of human understanding.

The Quiet American by Graham Greene - nothing compares to his great writing, the deep soul searching of his characters

Jerusalem Fire by R. M. Meluch
Although a rare and obscure science fiction book, I have re-read it nearly every year for twenty years. Each time I find something now to appreciate. Although set in outer space, the truths spoken here are universal about war, love, fame, accomplishment, religion, and empire. Star Wars is for kids. This book is better.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
The most frightening book of fiction I have ever read. The author writes "No matter where you are, you'll watch yourself dismantle every assurance you ever lived by." Don't start it late at night, and don't start it if you have something else to do in the next 48 hours, because you won't do it. You'll be reading and slowly losing your mind.

The Gormenghast Novels (Titus Groan / Gormenghast / Titus Alone)
by Mervyn Peake.
Mervyn Peake has the ability to describe every detail of a room, every movement, every thought of his characters, taking you into a world as if you live there, as if you've always lived there.
What do you read for pleasure?
I rarely read a book published after 1918. The world changed after World War I. We lost our innocence, as a species. Writing became more literal, less nuanced.
I read anything with a leather cover. Stephenson, Kafka, Hugo, Dickens, Conrad.
If you know something modern of their caliber, let me know. I want to try it.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don't have one. I'm old fashioned. I still read physical books. I like putting them on a shelf when I'm done, seeing them there, like friends on a park bench waiting for you to walk over to say hello.
Describe your desk
I have a small secretary desk with a leather top and plenty of drawers filled with nibs, ink, stationary, wax, and seals. A bronze lion watches over it the bills and notes that collect like leaves. My wife calls it the black hole, but I do clean it once in a while to make room for letter writing.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm passionate about being an indie author.
I wrote a non-fiction book that was under serious consideration from a major publisher. Then they asked me to prove that I knew twenty thousand people to market the book to. What? Market? I'm a writer. I stay in a dark room talking to myself. Where would I meet twenty thousand people? When would I have time to write if I were meeting all these people?
That's when I learned the ugly truth that publishers are little more than glorified printers. Sure, they have connections, they might get you into bookstores for a month. After that, you're on your own.
I had a choice between working very hard, over several years, to convince an agent and publisher to love my book, or I could put the same effort into convincing readers to love my book. I write for readers. That was a no-brainer.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I watch a lot of movies. I don't remember life before Netflix. I spend time with my family, my whole little world.
I read. I work a day job like everyone else.
Flaubert said, and I paraphrase, "Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work."
I took that to heart.
What is your writing process?
I write on the bus and the train, typing with one thumb on my iPhone 3. I average 1,000 words a day. I email each entry to myself. When I get a chance, I stitch them together in Word.
I jump around in the story a lot. I don't get writer's block because I can dive in anywhere in the story. I think about what the characters are thinking, feeling, based solely on my perception of what I would do in the same situation. I admit, every character is me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Alaska, Colorado, and Nevada. I've lived in nine states and two countries. I've been fortunate to travel widely. As a result my stories tend to have a strong international focus, with international characters and multiple locations. i like that. It keeps the writing interesting, and it gives me the whole world to draw from.
Published 2013-09-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dust Eaters North
Price: Free! Words: 76,320. Language: English. Published: October 4, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Adventure » Travel
Ronan Cray returns with his zombie adventure novel, Dust Eaters North. A character driven adventure in hope, sadness, and redemption, Dust Eaters begs the reader, "What would you do?" Without heroes, Cray's characters suffer to survive one more day in an epic journey across continents. Hopeful and horrifying, startling and relentless, Dust Eaters will haunt you long after you turn the last page.
Red Sand
Price: $2.95 USD. Words: 65,760. Language: English. Published: October 2, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
(5.00 from 1 review)
Winner of the 2014 Indy Reader Discovery Award, Ronan Cray's debut novel landed him on the Top 10 New Horror Authors list by Horror Novel Reviews. Cruel natives rescue the survivors of a cruise ship explosion, forcing them to work on a volcanic island until an approaching hurricane threatens their survival and wakes a deadly secret. Lost meets Treasure Island in this thrilling adventure.