Welcome Sarah Graye!
Graye’s debut novel The Second Cup was published in July 2017 by Creativia Publishing. The book, which follows four friends as they come to terms with a suicide, was longlisted for the Book Viral 2017 Millennium Book Award and made it into Read Freely’s Top 50 Indie Books 2017. Sarah Marie is currently working on her second novel, working title The Victoria Lie.
Tell us about The Second Cup. What inspired you to write it?
I was diagnosed with depression aged 9 and mental health has been a shadow cast over my life for decades. Writing about your depression is meant to be an excellent form of therapy, but I took it a step further than they typical journal and decided to write a book.
Who is the protagonist?
The Second Cup has an “ensemble cast” of four characters: Faye, Beth, Abbie, and Olivia. The book is written in first person and they each take it in turns to tell the story. How their actions affect each other is a big part of what I’m trying to share – that your actions can have unexpected consequences.
Where is your book set? What draws you to this setting?
Most of the book is set in Manchester, which is my hometown. I felt I knew the city well enough to write confidently about it, so it made sense as the starting point. My characters also visit London, Blackpool and Birkhamsted, which are all places I’ve either lived or where I have relatives.
Did you study in college with an eye towards your writing career?
Once I’d decided to write a novel, I enrolled on an MA Creative Writing at London South Bank University. The course was a “research through practice” approach where you research as and when your novel requires it. There’s academic work involved too – including a dissertation – but all creative aspects of the course were focused on my novel.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I don’t really do either. I have ADHD and we’re known to “live in the now” so thoughts and ideas happen when they do. As I have an idea, I add it to my Evernote app – which holds a collection of photos and voice messages to myself as well as written notes.
Every few weeks I review my entries and even though my thoughts jump about day-to-day, I find coherent narratives building over the weeks and months. I’ve not met anyone else who writes like this!
If you could give advice to a new writer starting out, what would that be?
I have two main tips.
The first is that, although you can read many great articles and books about “how to write” ultimately you’ll only discover your approach, your style, by actually writing words on a page. So get writing as soon as possible!
The second is never delete anything you write – save it for later. I have a document called “the bin” which is where I cut and paste all my rejected paragraphs. It’s a great place to revisit when I need to get ideas flowing. And sometimes I realise how to rewrite something and make it work when I see it again a number of days or weeks later.
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