Author Spotlight: K S Gray
For this week’s episode we chatted with K S Gray about their book, Color Blinded, a fictional retelling of the events and political climate that surrounded the outbreak of COVID-19. We greatly enjoyed having K S Gray on the show and discussing his process and the challenges he faced in writing and publishing this novel.
How did K S Gray get started writing?
K S Gray explained that in his work as a lawyer, he does a lot of technical and factual writing, and he felt inspired to try writing fiction and use the more creative side of his brain. He started dabbling in fiction about twenty years ago, but with life responsibilities he wasn’t able to focus on his writing until more recently. Last year, he picked up writing on a more consistent basis and the result of that is his recent book, Color Blinded.
What made K S Gray decide to take the leap from writing as a hobby to deciding to publish?
Overwhelmed by the constant negativity in the news about covid and America’s political climate in 2020, K S decided to turn to writing for a ‘break’. But after sitting down to write, he was surprised to discover covid was exactly the thing he wanted to write about. K S described how writing about covid gave back some control, and as the author he was able to decide how it ended.
Has K S Gray found difficulty to market his fiction due to the subject matter still being very intwined in contemporary issues?
K S Gray admitted to expecting the pandemic to have resolved by the time his book released, and hoped that globally people would be in a place where they were still able to relate to the issues, but where it wouldn’t feel like a fresh cut over an unhealed wound. Unfortunately, he like many of us have been surprised by how long and how far covid has extended into each of our lives. He believes that this has in turn affected his sales. Sarah pointed out that people work through issues in different ways—some people prefer not to read about it, but others will use fiction to process the events that are happening around them, so it could work both ways. At any rate, the book will still be available in the future for when people are more willing to pick it up.
How does K S Gray juggle his family and work life with writing?
He has heard of the sentiment that ‘you have to write every day’. He understands though, that this does not work for everyone and he is one of those people. He writes when he feels in the mood to write. But he does devote some time to the creative process, usually at around 5 or 6am when the rest of the world is asleep. If he doesn’t write, he often will take a section of work he has done previously to edit, or come up with ideas such as character creation.
Is K S Gray a plotter or a pantser?
K S Gray has a general idea of where he wants to go, but he likes to leave it open and see where the story takes him. He tried, initially, to have an outline of the plot events, but found he didn’t follow it closely. So now he relies on a sense of the story he wants to tell in his head and lets it develop while he is writing.
Was there anything K S Gray found helpful to develop creative skills?
He did a little bit of reading on writing, but found that each person has their own way, which is true of many other things as well (he likened this to learning golf). Due to this, teachings can be inconsistent. He thinks rather than relying on specific resources, though they can be helpful, the key thing is having an openness and being objective about your work: always attempting to improve. He also has the view that feedback and critique on your work can be invaluable.
How did K S Gray find publishing?
In publishing Color Blinded, K S used Ingram Spark as he was more determined to go wide with his audience, and thought it was better to have the book positioned across multiple different retailers than sticking only to Amazon. He was also impressed with the quality of Ingram’s printing and the way it turned out.
Does K S Gray mainly stick to topical things in current news to draw his inspiration?
He does enjoy writing about topical news, but in doing so there is a lot of research he completes in order to creative a realistic and informed perspective in his novels. He attempts to weave in the factual exposition, as he feels that’s an important part of portraying the reality of the situations his character’s face and their subsequent decisions.
What did K S Gray find most challenging throughout the process of creating Color Blinded?
The hardest thing was how close the book was to his current reality. Though there were some historical elements, most of the book he was writing in ‘real time’, and these things were issues people were having very intense, visceral reactions to. Sarah expanded this question and asked whether K S Gray himself ever felt overwhelmed at any point, or was it mainly a cathartic experience. K S agreed it was carthartic in the sense that he was given back control of a situation that he wasn’t able to influence.
What’s coming out next?
K S made the decision to leave Color Blinded with an open-ended moral question at the end of the book. He is now working on the sequel to Color Blinded, but is focusing on different things other than covid. Readers can expect the sequel to be more heavily focused on politics.
You can contact K S Gray on Instagram, and his book, Color Blinded, is available through multiple ebook platforms, and in both paperback and on Kindle through Amazon.
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