Review and Interview: William by Claire Cray

In the summer of 1799, young William Lacy watched his carefree life go up in smoke when a night of mischief landed him in shackles. Beaten, jailed, and sentenced to a long apprenticeship in the dreary woods of upstate New York, William was braced for the worst.

But he wasn’t prepared to fall in love with his master, a renowned and reclusive apothecary — a man — by the name of Silas Merrick. And he damn well never expected Merrick to be a blasted vampire.

Now, nearly one year after that summer of mystery, longing and unspeakable pleasure, William is still waiting to begin the future with Merrick he was promised. But it’s not easy becoming a vampire. Not only has Merrick become more secretive than ever about his nature and his past, but his feud with the beautiful and ruthless vampire Theo raises ever more troubling questions about the dark world William is about to enter.

William is determined to unravel the mysteries and find his happily ever after. But to do it, he must resolve Merrick’s doubts for himself. Can there be love and joy in this life of death and darkness? And will Merrick ever learn to open his heart?

I’m always wary when I read a book that is a sequel or later in a series when I haven’t read the earlier books. It’s not always “standalone” as I’d like them to be. This story was a pleasant surprise in that there was enough information given that I wasn’t hopelessly lost. There’s also not so much that I could completely skip reading the first one all together. There are things that I want to know the full story on what happened so I can go back and read the first book. But it’s not required to enjoy this one. I loved Merrick and William. Apart they are heartbreaking in their loneliness and need for each other. Together they are perfect in how in sync they are with each other. Watching them discover each other after being apart, and with William’s changes. The emotions were stunning. I liked that we learned the history between Theo and Merrick. Now it makes me want to know more about Theo, and hopefully he gets a story too.
Four and a half

Molly: What music, if any do you listen to when you write?
Claire: It depends on what I’m writing, but I generally stick with quiet, moody, atmospheric music. My go-to is Simon & Garfunkel. They actually drew a lot of inspiration from ancient ballads and folklore – just look at Scarborough Fair – and I like how their music dips into that sort of dreamy timelessness. I work well in that groove. Miles Davis would be a close second. This year I’ve also been getting into the zone with Lana Del Rey, which is weird for me, because I usually stick with older music! But her songs have a heavy, sexy swankiness and a dark mood that I really like.
Molly: Are you a full time writer, or part time writer?
Claire: I’m a full-time writer, but I only write fiction under this name. My alter-ego is a freelance journalist, editor and celebrity ghostwriter. My goal for the year is to gradually focus more on fiction, because I really love it and I feel like I’ve gotten so much better at it in the two years since I first started self-publishing. I’ve definitely got the bug.
Molly: Do you hope to one day be a full time fiction writer?
Claire: All my life, I’ve dreamed of making a living as a writer. Now I’m living that dream, and I’ll fight tooth and nail to keep it. But I do really hope to get to a point where I’m not as dependent on freelance writing projects, and can really dedicate myself to my own fiction. So that’s the transition I have in mind.
Molly: Do you have a word count per day you try to hit?
Claire: When I’m on fire, I’ll do a streak of 4,000 words per day. But I feel very content with 2,000 words per day. I’m one of those people who spends as much time editing as I do writing, and I like to do it as I go. So 2,000 words at a day leaves me with a good amount of brain energy to go back, reread, and rework to my satisfaction before calling it a day.
Molly: When you finish writing a book, how long before you begin writing the next one?
Claire: I don’t wait. I get on such a high when I finish a project, all I can think about is jumping on the next one. I also have a terrible procrastination habit where I’ll distract myself from my current manuscript by scheming up all these other things I want to do later. So by the time I’m done, I’m raring to get my hands on whatever I was sketching out on the side.

About Claire:
Claire Cray specializes in M/M romance and stories of an offbeat nature. Her tales feature intelligent characters, a vivid sense of atmosphere, and a (sometimes twisted) sense of humor. Born in a strange little village in the Pacific Northwest, Claire was raised on rain, trees, and spooky stories. An addiction to misadventure has carried her from the backwoods of Oregon to Portland, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York, where she currently resides.

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