I would like to introduce Author Jane Gray, the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion. If you have any enquiries about IndieBRAG and you are a self-publishing author please visit our website at www.bragmedallion.com
The Bitti Chai is basically a story about an endless love between two teenagers from very different cultures. It explores family emotions and ties, loyalty and love. It deals with bereavement and the grieving process and how the family pulls together to support and cherish their loved ones. I hope it portrays an accurate and positive image of Romany culture rather than the negative stereotypical image often portrayed by the press and some television programmes. There is an occult element which runs through the story and this is something I have always been fascinated by.
Was there any research you did for your story? If so, please explain.
The research for my book was limited with regard to the Romany aspect as I was brought up by my Romany grandfather and our culture and family values are central to the background of the book. Being heavily involved with horses myself this aspect of the story was second nature to me. However I have had to carry out research on Traditional Witchcraft and folklore but this relates more to the follow up novel as the story expands.
How long did it take to write Bitti Chai?
Not long really perhaps I had the bones of the book down in a few months, learning to hone it into a readable book without continuity errors and head hopping was a different story. I am basically a storyteller not yet a writer.
Is there a character in your story you feel connected too?
Yes undoubtedly Reigneth. She is named after my great aunt who was born on the road side at Rainworth (pronounced Renath). I feel very drawn to her character in all ways, she epitomises what I myself value in a young woman, strong and determined with good values.
Who is your least favorite character?
Initially Grace as she is such a cold fish but she is getting better and improving thanks to Reigneth but Jed Cummings is so obviously the most vile character, a wife beater and generally not a pleasant fellow.
What is your next book project?
The follow up to The Bitti Chai called The Lost Souls, it’s pretty much complete and just needs the finishing touches. Minimising head hopping is a problem for me I want to tell the reader everything and from everyone’s viewpoint. My editor Jo Field is amazing I’d be lost without her.
What books have most influenced your life?
Aside from the obvious classics like Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Rebecca etc. I tend to like books with a strong female lead. Plays – Taming of the Shrew again strong female character. I like what my friends jokingly call “boys books” Conn Iggledon Conquerer Series (Ghengis Khan), Lian Hearne Tales of the Otori (Samurai) etc. Generally though my taste is very varied with the exception of spy thrillers I’m not too keen on them.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Be tenacious! Short and sweet I know but the writing is the heavenly part when for a short time you can be anyone you want to be. The marketing that’s a whole different ball game and not one I am particularly good at. You need to learn to network though whether you like it or not and that is time consuming in itself. If you’re not good at it, learn quick.
What is your favorite quote?
I’m still waiting to discover it! Although Winston Churchill takes some beating with: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Jane Gray who is the author of Bitti Chai, one of our medallion honorees at http://www.bragmedallion.com. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as Bitti Chai merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.