Interview with C.M. Gray, author of 'The Flight of the Griffin'

Born in England, C.M. Gray spent most of his youth growing up in the Essex countryside. A beautiful part of England, close to the Suffolk border, but he was born with the need to expand his horizons, so as soon as he could get a passport at the age of just seventeen he packed a backpack and went exploring!

A slightly risky decision, and one his parents were not too taken with, yet a number of years later he is still traveling…. but with a slightly larger bag. Over the years, C.M.Gray has been lucky enough to live and travel in many many parts of the world, met some incredible people and experienced some amazing places. In fact, he has now lived for more years outside of England than he ever spent living there – It is, after all, a very big and exciting world!

During his journey he worked and trained as a carpenter and a house restorer… picked more types of fruit over the years than he knew existed - from grapes in France to avocados in Israel. After living in Israel for a year, he was lucky enough to be invited to travel with the Bedouin in the Sanai desert for several months and then moved on travelled around India and then called a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayan Mountains home. A short while later he had changed tact, bought a suit and did a stint as a stock broker in the clamor of central Hong Kong.

To celebrate the millennium he traveled back to Europe, then found and restored an old farmhouse in deep rural Burgundy, France… but then looked to the open road and spent an number of years in Amsterdam… but the winters were cold so he went south again in search of the sun.

Always vowing to return and sink some roots back in English soil... he hasn’t quite got there yet, but maybe someday, it seems there are just too many interesting places out there to see first! He does, however, live a little closer to England now, just outside of Barcelona in Northern Spain, in the middle of the forest with his dogs and two wonderful children, he claims the Pyrenean mountains and forests of northern Spain are a great place to write and let his mind do the traveling.

As you will have noticed, his writing is mostly fantasy and he says that many of his experiences in Asia, India, Africa and the Middle East come to life in his writing. He has seen and done some pretty strange things on his travels, and bumped into some amazing characters, so writing fantasy is almost like writing fact for him… you just wouldn’t believe it if he presented it as fact – there are people and things out there in this world of ours that would simply amaze you!

His latest book is the mystery/thriller The Flight of the Griffin.

To explore his life and writing more, please visit his webpage and blog at

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About the Book:

The Kingdom is dying… 

The Darkness is coming… the balance between Order and Chaos is rapidly shifting and the world is falling towards evil and horror, and all misery that Chaos will bring. 

But there is hope… 

Pardigan’s had enough, he’s only 12, but he’s breaking into the home of one of Freya's richest merchants... and he’s doing it tonight… 

A burglary that will change their lives forever sets four friends upon a quest, a race against time, to locate three magical objects and complete an ancient and desperate spell. 

Sailing their boat The Griffin, the crew are quickly pursued by The Hawk, an evil bounty hunter and master of dark sorcery, and Belial, King of Demons and champion of Chaos who seeks to rule the world of man… yet first he must capture the crew of The Griffin and end their quest… 

Purchase your copy at AMAZON US or AMAZON UK

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE.

 Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Chris!  Now that your book has been published, we'd love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us back to
the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write the book?

Hi Writer’s Life, it really is a great delight for me to be with you today. 

The beginning of my personal writing life started a little strangely to say the least. It happened about five years ago, I was watching television as I did most evenings, indeed as most people do to unwind from their busy day, when a friend came to call. After he had settled he asked me what I was watching, because the advertisements were playing… I thought and thought, but I had no idea… I couldn’t remember what I was watching or what the previous programs had been either. At that moment, I guess I had one of those ‘waking moment’ things and realized I had been numbing my brain, I was horrified! 

The next evening I refused to switch on the television, and haven’t really since, instead I sat down and stared at a blank screen on my laptop. I’ve always been a voracious reader so decided I would write a book, it couldn’t be that hard, could it? As I sat there watching the little curser blink on and off I had no idea what my story would be about, but I’ve always loved fantasy and adventure, so I started with a first line…

The floorboard creaked under the sole of his felt boot - a calculated risk whenever entering a sleeping man's room uninvited.

So that is how the first book in my trilogy started, The Flight of the Griffin, a fantasy questing adventure. The story just poured out of me, there was no structure to build upon, no plan, I just wrote. The whole process has been a great adventure! And now the second book in the Griffin trilogy has just been published, Chaos Storm.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I think that the very fact that I hadn’t attended any courses or read any of those books with titles like, How to Write a Book, meant that writing a book was a real pleasure, it wasn’t hard at all, I had no rules, it was fun… that is until it was finished and the editing and rewriting and editing and rewriting etc etc took over, that part I found extremely difficult and was where my greatest learning curve came in. 

For me, the writing is a blast. It’s like watching a great film, reading a fantastic book and playing the very best computer game all rolled into one. I get to nudge my characters in certain directions and then watch over them while evil is lurking in the margins waiting to jump out.

My tip to aspiring writers, those blessed with an imagination, would be throw away the rules and just let it flow, write with joy and give your characters the room to amaze both you and your readers!

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Well, first I went the traditional route and managed to get a good London agent (I’m an Englishman living Barcelona Spain which is another long story) and she soon had The Flight of the Griffin in an auction between two of the large publishers, vying for US rights, then European rights and, how exciting,  film rights etc etc, but after a couple of months, it all kind of blew up, which was confusing and made me upset with the whole publishing world for a while, so I sacked the agent and self-published. 

Being in command of my own destiny is going great so far. I’m selling more and more books and building up my writer’s platform with a webpage, Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as a strong presence on Goodreads of course, all of which are necessary regardless if a writer is self-published or has gone the traditional route. I’m learning a lot, gathering fans and writing what I want to write, so I’m happy. Would I go traditional if approached? Well I would certainly be happy to discuss it!

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

My first surprise, which was one of delight, was how many emails I started to get as well as reviews from readers that were saying such wonderful things about The Flight of the Griffin and Shadowland, my other book. Every writer likes feedback, it’s a lonely world when you’re writing a book, so this contact came as a wonderful surprise, one that I wasn’t expecting. 

The second surprise was a little less fun. The amount of editing and rewriting took forever before I felt I had done all I could and was comfortable handing it over to my editor to track down all the rogue commas and unnecessary semi-colons that I had thrown around, but now just couldn’t locate. I’m a storyteller, which doesn’t mean I’m naturally capable of perfect grammar… but I’m getting better, learning a lot and what I don’t catch is being caught by a wonderful team that is growing around me!

Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?

I had two feelings to be honest. The first was the joy and excitement that I’m sure every writer experiences when seeing their book for the first time. However, the second emotion I had when seeing The Flight of the Griffin for the first time was what an awful cover! When I saw it, I knew it had to go. The story might be fantastic and the writing excellent, which I think it is and hope you will too, but if the cover is unattractive then nobody is going to pick it up! I now have a fantastic cover for The Flight of the Griffin. I’m now really good friends with a wonderful graphic artist, Adriana Haganu and we work closely together getting each cover perfect, teasing the reader to pick it up and see what’s inside. We just finished the final cover for Chaos Storm and we’re now working on updating the cover for Shadowland too.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I have two series that I’m working on. The Flight of the Griffin is the first book of The Griffin trilogy, which is a pure fantasy adventure aimed at Young Adults of every age. The second book, Chaos Storm is now out and the third will be available end of 2014… I hope.
The second series starts with the book Shadowland and is about Uther Pendragon, father to King Arthur of legend, leader of the ancient Britons, friend of Merlin and wielder of the magical sword Excalibur! It has a huge following and nearly 200 reviews on Amazon, I’m currently working on the sequel which should publish summer 2014. I love writing about Saxons and druids again!

Q: Fun question: How does your book contribute to making this world a better place?

My books are placed in the YA fantasy genre, but only because I don’t write steamy sordid love scenes, describe violence too graphically or feel the need to use profanity. I actually find my books are read and loved by as many adult readers as teens. Both series describe the challenges of growing up and of good overcoming evil, so I think they leave the reader a happy, entertained person, all of which has just got to help make a better world!

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

In The Flight of the Griffin there is indeed a message, but I don’t want to give too much away. Let’s just say that sometimes sacrifices have to be made for good to come forth and rise up in our lives. You will have to read the book to see what I mean!

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I would like to thank you for chatting with me today, it’s been a real pleasure. Thank you readers for making it through to this point, I hope you’ll try my books, you can read the first chapters of each on my webpage  And to any writer or to a new writer possibly just contemplating writing their first book I would say smile, have fun and just let it flow.


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