Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Writers Corner: Tiger Gray

I have recently met someone I want to introduce you to, another fabulous writer...Tiger Gray.

A month or so ago I had the privileged of not only meeting and talking with  Tiger, but also reading some of what Tiger is working on.  I loved it.  Love Love Loved it.  I've been seeing some little blurbs and excerpts, little snippets here and there for awhile now, and then we met and I actually got to read some bigger pieces and my, oh, my.  By the time I was done with the first chapter...I was throughly impressed, my heart was racing and I was pretty much all grabby hands and desperate for more.

Yeah, I was hooked.  Tiger rocks. Oh yeah.  Rocks.  

So, what does it all mean?  Well... play blog of course.  So, gather 'round, pull up a chair, make yourselves comfortable, and allow me to introduce you to the awesome... Tiger Gray.

Amara:  Hi Tiger, come on in, I’m very excited to get a chance to sit and chat with you, thanks for coming by.  Please, have a seat. Can I get you something to drink?  Coffee, tea, beer…?

Tiger:  Coffee! Double six ounce cappuccino, if you don’t mind. Can you tell I’m a little obsessive about these things?

Amara:  *laughs* So am I, if there’s one thing I obsess over, it’s my coffee.  Have a seat m’dear, one double six oz cappuccino, coming right up. 

*passes cappuccino*  So, Tiger, why don’t we start with you telling me a little bit about yourself.  Who is Tiger Gray?

Tiger:  I am a product of the Pacific Northwest, which means I’m a food and coffee nerd that likes to walk in the rain. I’m unemployed, but I’ve come to see that as a blessing. It gives me the time to write, and the time to participate in volunteer activities. I’m transgendered and disabled, and want to do more advocating for those things. I often blog about them. I’m waiting on a response from graduate school, where I would be studying in the field of psychology. That is one of my big passions, apart from writing. 

Amara:  *smiles* Very awesome.  You know… I’m so vera impressed with the bits and pieces I’ve been able to see of your writing so far, and I have to say, that piece you sent me was… Ah-mazing.  Tell me more about what you’re working on right now.

Tiger:  I’m revising an urban fantasy with the working title Sacrificial Magic. It’s about a former Delta Force team leader who discovers he has divine powers, and goes on to use the principles he used in the military to fight a magical war in the Pacific Northwest. There is a lot of cognitive dissonance for him involving his personal life versus his public persona, his friendship with his former teammate and his relationship with his wife. Between battles with terrible snake monsters and undead, of course.

Amara:  *smiles* Of course. So, what inspired your book?

Tiger:  So many things. The story began as a roleplay concept over six years ago. I lead that game and put a huge amount of work in to it, and then I realized that I could take what was essential and interesting about the characters and themes and make it something modern and new. It doesn’t bear much resemblance to the source material anymore! I also craved an urban fantasy that broke the mold. Ashrinn isn’t the only character with a point of view in the story, but he definitely drives the narrative. He’s struggling with a lot of things and has a will to survive that carries him through a number of very human challenges. I wanted to write about survival and the limits of the human spirit. I’m not saying my writing is superior to what is currently out there, or that no one writes about those things, but I wanted to read something genre defying. I couldn’t find it, so I’m writing it instead.

Amara:  Awesome.  I love that. Tell me about your characters, specifically, Ashrinn and Malkai.  *grins, leans in and whispers* I’m already in love with them by the way *leans back* who are they, and what’s their deal?

Tiger:  Thank you! I love them so much, and it’s wonderful when other people feel similarly. As I mentioned, Ashrinn is a former Delta Force team leader. Malkai is his best friend and former teammate. They bonded way back in basic training over having strange names, and as they became closer they made a pact that they would do everything in their power to avoid being separated by military bureaucracy and selection processes. Luckily Delta thought them both good candidates, and they both passed. They stick together even after they both leave, and both get divine powers.

 Ashrinn is a man caught between a lot of dualistic concepts. He’s half Persian and half British by blood, which is the most obvious source of that dualism. But he’s also caught between his public persona and his personal persona, and his opinions of himself and his capabilities in each of those similarities. He’s bisexual, too, which is another good example. Malkai, on the other hand, is something of a foil for Ashrinn. He has a broad build and he’s white, where Ashrinn is rangy and looks very Persian except for his green eyes. Malkai is very confident whereas Ashrinn questions himself frequently. Malkai has his own problems, of course, but they’re very deeply buried. Ashrinn, on the other hand, sometimes has a lot of difficulty hiding his responses to things.

Amara:  Mmmmm, Ashrinn.  *blushes*… Um… *mumbles* no moaning in interviews Amara… *clears throat*...Great character names, how did you come up with them, and what, if anything, do they mean?

Tiger:  When Ashrinn began as a character, he was only a footnote in another story. A friend named him. We were trying to come up with the most highfalutin noble name we could think of, and it doesn’t get much more noble and impossibly British than a last name like Pinecroft. Within my world, the British side of Ashrinn’s family has a tradition where the patriarch of each generation has a name that begins with Ash, so his parents picked something they could both live with. Malkai is a corruption of Malachai. His father had such chicken scratch that they didn’t sort it out until later. At that point his mother put her foot down and wouldn’t let them change it, because she felt an unusual name like that meant her son would be destined to do unusual and great things. 

Amara:  Interesting.  So which character is your favorite, and why?

Tiger:  I love them all, but Ashrinn hands down. Not only have I put so much heart and effort in to him, I’ve never had other people have such a strong reaction to something I made. I have a friend who has been interacting with and hearing about him for over six years, both as a roleplay character and as a book character, and she still isn’t sick of him. I think that says a lot. I see a lot of myself in him, too, but arranged in such a way that he’s his own person and has approached those broad stroke personality traits in a very different way from me. I think that says something about how well rounded he is and the crafting I’ve done.

Amara:  Ha! Awesome.  I’m totally in love with him.  Just from the little I’ve seen of him so far… Love.  *shakes head and smiles*… It’s love. 

So, Tiger…*flips thru notes, grinning*… If you’re book was an alcoholic beverage, what would it be?

Tiger:  Whiskey, though Ashrinn and Malkai would argue over which kind is superior. It comes up in the story several times.

Amara:  *nods* Nice.  Hm… if you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?

Tiger:  Honestly, I know it’s unpopular to say this but I am not much of a fiction reader. I adored Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series, and I owe a lot to Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar, even if what I ultimately ended up writing is very different from it. But I never really wanted to be anyone from those worlds. I don’t think I invest in characters quite that way. A non-fiction person I would like to emulate is Helen Keller, who gets reduced to a cheap joke a lot but in reality did so much, from furthering feminism to introducing the Akita breed to America.

Amara:  Oh, Tiger… Helen Keller?... Really?... I adore her, absolutely adore her. 

Um, ok… if you came with a warning label, what would it be?

Tiger:  Parental advisory: explicit content.

Amara:  *grins* Niiice.  So, how long before you think I can get a published Tiger Gray in my grubby little hands?

Tiger:  Well, I’ve given myself a revisions deadline of September first. I’ll be submitting to that point. Then another round of revisions if it’s accepted, so perhaps December or so.

Amara:  Ya know… I suck at patience.  Hm, I guess I’ll have to work on that.  *wicked grin* Do be expecting me to try to get little tidbits out of you every now and again.  I’m not going to be able to help myself… consider yourself warned. *winks*

So, where do we find you online?

Tiger:  Everywhere! I have a blog at I post excerpts there, opinions on world issues, and so forth. I wanted it to be a blog that let you get to know me a little, as well as my writing. My twitter is!/Tiger_Gray, and I am very active there. Those are probably the two best places to follow me. (though I am on Steam and Bioware Social Network if you’re a gamer.) 

Amara:  Awesome.  Thanks Tiger, I can’t wait to see more of your book and … *grins*… Ashrinn… *whispers*… did I mention I love him?  Hmm, yeah, can’t wait for more of him.

Thanks again Tiger!


  1. Hmm, I am so intrigued. I must learn more about this Tiger Gray. :P

  2. Lol 'morning Vivien.

    Meeee too! Tiger rocks. Tiger rocks tough. I'm having a hard time keeping my grabby hands under control and not driving Tiger crazy for more Ashrinn stuff. 'cuz ya know... Ashrinn rocks too!



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