About the Author
"From an early age I have always been fascinated by the written word and the mood and atmosphere it creates for a reader; especially those books that affect me and transport me to some far-off place. These are the elements I strive to create in my books. My books in many ways record what most affects me: my feelings and experiences with family, friends, and those I have run into on my life's journey. My hope is that in my books you will find something that touches you, something which will resonate in your soul and remind you that you are strong and can overcome anything, especially if you have the support of loving friends and family." - Ayr Bray
Ayr Bray is from the Pacific Northwest, but travels as much as possible so she doesn't have to deal with the cold. Ayr loves to hear from readers.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
I wrote my first short story when I was nine years old and continued to pursue writing short stories and poetry until I graduated from high school. My mother most inspired me. Although she never published her writing, she penned six novels. I always wanted to be like her.
For years I abandoned my passion for writing while I attended college, worked, got married, and started having children. I renewed my passion when I was confined to my bed for seven months during my second pregnancy. That is when I wrote my first novel. Two years later it was published and the rest is history.
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
I have written 14 novels/novellas in two genres using two pen names. My primary genre is Historical Fiction/Jane Austen Adaptations, however I have one contemporary romantic suspense novel and one contemporary romance novella.
3. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects? ? I always have four or five books in process, but my main project right now is my Pemberley collection. This is a collection of stand-alone novellas which all take place at Pemberley they first year of Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage. The fun part about this collection is that each story reads like an episode of your favorite T.V. show.
Cowardly Witness was book 1 in the collection. In it, Matthew Poe is the only witness in a case of murder and corruption in the lead mining industry. After an attempt is made on his life, he seeks refuge at Pemberley. When Mr. Poe’s secret is revealed with disastrous consequences, Darcy has to protect not only those he loves, but also the witness. He is forced to make some hard decisions.
Pompous Schemes is book 2 in the collection. It picks up a few weeks after book 1 ends. Book 2 has less criminal activity and more of a love story.
Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam is Mr. Darcy’s cousin. On his way to attend a fox hunt he is thrown from his horse and left to find his way to Pemberley on foot. He is offered a ride by the de Bourbon’s a family he knew years ago. When their carriage is robbed, the lady’s dowry stolen, and Lord Agen is injured, Colonel Fitzwilliam directs the driver to take them to Pemberley where the Darcy’s take them in and offer refuge and a place to heal.
There are plots and schemes afoot though and those at Pemberley become entangled amongst them.
Presently I am working on book 3; Blinded Recluse. The book begins with Elizabeth visiting a Pemberley tenant who just had a baby. With this opening, I begin to show Elizabeth’s motherly instincts and her desire to have children. On her way home, her carriage comes upon an accident where a father is seriously injured and a little girl is stranded in the river. We learn the little girl and her father were on their way to find her estranged grandfather.
The Darcy’s take in the father and his daughter and provide him a safe place to convalesce while Mr. Darcy takes it upon himself to find the grandfather who is a recluse and wants nothing to do with people in general, even his own kin.
Book 3 in the collection tugs a little more on the heartstrings than either book 1 or 2 did.
4. What does your writing process look like?
My writing process begins with a walk. I love to talk through book ideas with my husband. He has worked extensively in the publishing industry always has ideas to help me design a book concept. Once I have a concept I sit down and plot.
I use Martha Alderson's plotting methods. I have attached a picture of the plot graph for The Illegitimate Heir. Each of my books has a similar plot graph like this. I try to weave together three key elements into each novel/novella; dramatic action, emotional development, and thematic meaning. When I write I attempt at the 25% mark of the book to have my end of the world event, the beginning of the end. It is this event that sinks my character into the depths of despair (to quote Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables). The event they believe they will never recover from. Then I build up to my crisis which happens about 75% through the book and leads to my climax and resolution.
The second element is to chart my hero and heroines character development. How are they going to grow and change throughout the novel.
Then I dive in and write, not coming up until the novel is complete.
5. Where is your favorite place to write?
First you must understand, my family and I sold our home and everything we owned over three years ago and moved into an RV. We have spent the past three plus years exploring the USA. So, now that you realize I have a family of four living in less than 250 square feet you will realize my writing space is unique compared to others. We call it the command station. When we bought our RV there was a couch here. We removed the couch and built in a desk.
6. How important are the names in your novels? How do you choose names for your characters? Do you have any name resources you would suggest? I have a love-hate relationship with character names. I love to pick unique and awesome names, but writing historical fiction that is hard because most people used the same fifteen names for men and women. All right, that is a slight exaggeration, but not too far from the truth. My favorite resource for names is Ancestry.com. I love to give my characters names from my families past. For instance let's talk about a couple characters. Amalie Aldrich (Threat of Scandal), Amalie is the middle name of one of my husband's ancestors. Aldrich is my oldest son;s name. He wanted to be a duke so I gave the Duke of Blachedone the surname of Aldrich. Now, he had a large presence in the book. Helen Malham (The Illegitimate Heir) is a variation of another of my husband's ancestors names. Malum was their last name, but its etymology is Sweden and so I adapted the name for England.
7. What authors/novels that you enjoy would you recommend? My pleasure reading is vast. First, I have to recommend Jane Austen. If you haven't read her novels, particularly Pride and Prejudice you must! In fact, you should start reading it today! Right now even. *Smile* I recently read books by Danelle Harmon, C. S. Harris’s Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery’s, Agatha Christie, and Ashley Gardner. In my book hopper are books by Anne Perry and Tasha Alexander. Right now I am trying to focus my reading on Romantic Suspense and Mysteries since that is what I am writing. I try to not read too far outside the genre I am writing because if I read too much contemporary while writing historical my writing takes on a contemporary feeling which has to be edited out.
10. If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character?
It is my dream to see Richard Armitage play Mr. Darcy, whether it be in my book or anyone else. He is perfect! (Image courtesy of Angelmommy333)
11. What inspired the idea for Pemberly Pompous Schemes? That is a hard question. I am not sure what inspired the novel. My husband and I were out on a walk one day and started talking about regency jewels. One thing led to another and viola, Pompous Schemes was born. The story adapted a lot with my research about lesser royals and their attempts to appear richer than they were. My intent was to make the scheming front and center. I wanted everyone scheming someone else in a circular fashion.
12. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing? Travel is a key hobby. It is something our family has done for the past 3 years. We live in our RV and travel around the USA. So far we have extensively visited 39 states. Other hobbies include reading, sailing, swimming, and running.
8. Where is your favorite place to read and why?
My favorite place to read is on the bow of the sailboat. It is quiet and peaceful and I combine my two of my favorite things, reading and sailing. I do not have a picture of my reading on the sailboat, but here is one of me when I was working on the edits for one of my books. (See image)
9. What period of history interests you the most? The Regency era has long been a favorite mine. The Regency era has so mane amazing aspects to write about; balls, parties, and society events, manners and the lack of manners, war and peace and the balance of power, royal intrigues, colonization of America, the early industrial revolution, and explorations.
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