Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chasing the Trickster by April Grey: Interview and Excerpt


One Man, Two Women, Two Gods…who will survive the Trickster’s snare?

Ghostly images materialize in Nina Weaver’s photos. Goons try to kidnap her. When her photographs are stolen and best friend is shot, she realizes that she has no one to turn to but her ex-lover, Pascal “Goofy” Guzman. Together they go on a desperate road trip in search of answers. The truth is darker and more terrifying than Nina could ever have imagined. After their love re-ignites, they fall into the Trickster God’s trap.

“You mentioned that you had written a book.”
“Yes. And I teach Anthropology. I was here in New York trying to find a publisher when we, you know—and, and I didn’t want to say too much about why I was here and jinx anything. Anyhow, in Austria—”
“We were talking about Japan and you switched countries.”
“Yes, I did.” He took my hand in his. “Because in Austria they also have masks. But instead of using them in a play, there is a community event which occurs.”
“Okay,” I said cautiously. “I’ll bite. So these masks also have souls.”
“Good. Something similar. I’m glad to see you are following.”
“Actually, I’m clueless and if you don’t get on with it, I’m going to start screaming.”
“On December Sixth in Austria they celebrate the Feast of Saint Nicholas, but on the eve of the Feast they celebrate a much older rite.” He jumped up from the bench again and began to pace.
I got that uh-oh feeling as I watched Joe begin to unravel before my eyes.
“Krampus,” he said with some agitation.
“Grandpas, like Grandpa Munster?”
“No, in Salzburg—on December Fifth, the young men of that region of Austria put on the mask of a minor demon called Krampus. They then run about the streets chastising children, reminding
them to be good for the arrival of Saint Nicholas on the next day.”
“That’s nice.” Over a candlelight dinner, all this might have been fascinating. But in the middle of a rest stop on the Jersey Turnpike? I sighed.
“I was in Austria on a conference. I tried on one of the masks and…” His mouth worked but no words came out then he closed his eyes and whispered. “How do I explain this?”
I don’t feel sorry for a lot of people, but I was definitely feeling sorry for myself now.
“I can’t do this.” There was panic in his voice.
“If you calm down.”
He ran his hands through his hair and turned away from me.
“I’m not Joe. I don’t go by the name Joe. I’m Pascal. I’ve always been Pascal.” His voice broke. “I can’t do this. You do it.”
I shook my head. Great, I slept with a certifiable nut job.
“I can’t help you there—Pascal.”
“I wasn’t talking to you.”
My mouth hung open ready to catch a few moths. I watched as he wrapped his arms around himself to self-comfort. Holy crap.
He sat down quietly, took a deep breath then opened his eyes—his green eyes. The brown contact lenses somehow disappeared.
During that precious honeymoon period of our relationship before I became a piece of chewing gum to be scraped off of his foot, I had plenty of time to get to know him. Those light green
eyes of his were natural and in bright daylight you could see golden specks in them. They were not contacts. So, when I saw him under the lights of the van, I knew he had to be wearing contacts to change the color of his eyes from green to brown. Suddenly, his eyes were back to green again.
The parking area smells of gasoline and heat-softened tar fled before the grassy scent which I associated with that magical time between Joe and me.
He tried to hug me and I pulled away. No. No Siree Bob, I don’t like unstable individuals who changed smell and eye color in a heartbeat.
“It’s me, Joe.” He said with that little smile which I couldn’t forget no matter how hard I tried.
“Hi, Joe.” I smiled back, ready to run.
“Nina, please don’t patronize me. You think I’m crazy?”
“Not crazy. That’s non-PC speak. Anyhow, in New York City, plenty of people walk about with two personalities....


How did you start your writing career?


After a 20 year career in theatre, I was ready for a change. In the stacks of Jefferson Market Library in Greenwich Village, NYC, I imagined seeing my own name on a book jacket. It took over twenty years for that visualization to come true. I took writing classes, and did workshops. Within a couple of years I made my first short story sale. Then marriage and a child took me off track for a while. But really that one instant of imagination got the ball rolling.

Does travel play in the writing of your books?


Yes, My main character is a New Yorker like myself, but the love interest grew up in Abbeville, LA and Santa Fe, NM. There's a car trip that happens in Trickster, cross country from NYC to Santa Fe.


As a child, my parents took me all over the US and Canada. I got to see much of America through the back window of a car during their trips. Memories of these journeys came to me as I wrote of places veiled in the mists of childhood dreams. 


Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?


Many writers have inspired me with their work: Charles DeLint, Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris and Amanda Quick. I took writing classes with Shawna McCarthy and Marta Randall. I consider Steven Barnes and Rayne Hall as mentors.

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?


My birth name is Avril, French for April. I thought how nice it would be to have a name that people didn't stumble over. Grey is my favorite color. It has shades and moods. I needed a pen name because at the time I started writing fiction I was also writing non-fiction, giving attachment parenting advice under my own name.

What was the scariest moment of your life?


My husband, a little before his 40th birthday, had his first heart attack. They put in a stent (later this medical device was the subject of a class action lawsuit) and five months later had a second heart attack and quadruple by-pass. He wasn't out of shape; it was a genetic thing.  

What are you passionate about these days?

I feel very passionate about the environment and rights. Human rights, women's rights, animal rights, gay rights, children's rights, housing rights. The right to clean air, water and non-toxic foods. I've been a long time activist on all these fronts and these concerns are reflected in my writing. 


Have you attended a high school reunion? What did you learn?


I was surprised to discover that no one knew how miserable I'd been. They all had happy positive memories of me while I could only remember the joy of my nose in a book and a warm cat purring on my lap. It was like two different worlds, their memories of me and mine.


April Grey's urban fantasy novel, Chasing The Trickster, is published by Eternal Press. Her short stories have been published in such print anthologies as Demonmind's Halloween 2010, The Best of Everyday Fiction 2, Northern Haunts, Ephemera and Terrible Beauty, Fearful Symmetry. Many of these stories can be found in her collection, The Fairy Cake Bake Shoppe available through Amazon and Smashwords.

She and her family live in Hell's Kitchen, NYC in a building next to a bedeviled garden. Gremlins, sprites or pixies, something mischievous, lurks therein. Someday she'll find out.

April will be teaching a class this January at Savvy Authors:

Jan 28 - Feb 10

Writing for e-zines 13 SPOTS LEFT

April Grey. The best piece of advice I ever had as a budding novelist was to also write short pieces. The benefits of publishing short stories and/or non-fiction articles with e-zines (and other publications) are huge. You can make a name for yourself as a writer, create a platform, improve your craft and get paid by selling to e-zines. This course will teach the beginning writer how to research markets, evaluate their own work, write a cover letter/follow up query and track their stories. Students will sub... {more info}

Duration: 13 days. $20/$30 (Craft, Plotting, Characterization, Industry, Genre, Intermediate)

Blog  |  Website  |  Amazon  |  Smashwords  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads


 2 copies of Chasing the Trickster (paperback). US ONLY.
Ends November 10th 11:59 PM Central Time




April Grey said...

Thanks so much for having me, Laurie!

Sharon Extine said...

Hi, Thanks for giving the interview, it's nice to know a little about the authors. The excerpt was very good, it is on my to read list. Good luck with your writing!

Alice Gaines said...

Your story sounds fascinating, April. High school reunion? You're a lot braver than I am.

DougK said...

Hi April,

I like your bio. I myself started by writing a mess of short stories. Writing a novel-length work was too mind-boggling to consider, and it would be years until I finally managed it. :)

John Hoddy said...

Hi April,

Great advice on writing short stories to improve novel writing skills. I tend toward wordiness and over explaining, and you don't have the luxury for either in a short story.

April Grey said...

Thanks for the kinds words, Sharon.

Alice, thanks for dropping by.

I agree, Doug. It worked for me to start small and work up to novels.

Agreed John. You learn to write tight in short stories.

Anonymous said...

Hats off for using such an interesting use of a great supernatural concept!

April Grey said...

Thanks, John!

Goldenmane said...

A very intriguing excerpt. This will definitely go on my TBR list! I, too, would love to write. In fact I even know the characters and the story, but I think the fear of failure stops my almost soon as I get started. Just a few pages written. Perhaps I'll develop some courage.

Stacey V said...

Looks like a great read!

angela said...

sound interesting and looks interesting

Anonymous said...

This giveaway was fun! Hope you link up more!

April Grey said...

Goldenmane said...

Dear Goldenmane. Of course you will fail. That is the only way to learn how to walk and the only way to learn how to write. I hope that you trust yourself enough to allow yourself to fail, because that is the only way you will become a writer.

Dear Stacy and Angela,

In honor of Gaiman's AllHallows reads here are some free stories:

The Fairy Cake Bake Shoppe and 13 other Weird Tales free with coupon code BT78V

The Vision, a dark romance- Free with coupon code FZ85G

Quicksilver Moonlight Pt.1 Regency Gothic- Free with coupon code UN28W

Anonymous said...

thank you for the chance to win

Natasha said...

Thanks for the chance to win!
Sounds really good!!

DH said...

great giveaway

Star S said...

Sounds intriguing...thanks for the giveaway

daniel thornton said...

I liked the interview.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway I've posted on strictly Canadian coupons and contests for u Elaine