In conjunction with National Novel Writing Month, the Los Angeles Public Library is proud to spotlight some of our great local authors who have submitted their e-books to our Indie California collection.
Author Bio: Darcy Fray is a multifaceted artist/author born and bred in the Endless Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania. She currently resides in Los Angeles where she is the Director of Creativity at iamthinker.com, a multi-disciplinary visual boutique specializing in photography, film & graphic design. The Officially Unofficial Files of Dr. Gordon B. Gray is her first novel.
Caltech physics professor, Dr. Gordon B. Gray, is plucked from the safety of his intellectual cocoon and thrust into the spotlight of a smart adventure thriller that takes him around the world on a quest to save mankind. For fans of James Bond, Indiana Jones and The X-Files.
The Officially Unofficial Files of Dr. Gordon B. Gray was designated a SELF-e Select title by the staff of Library Journal and is now available at participating libraries nationwide. The Los Angeles Public Library congratulates Darcy on her award—let’s hear a bit more about her and her winning title!
The way you have woven all the characters and plot lines together in your novel is very impressive-- what was your strategy to keep all the threads together while writing?
Firstly, thanks for speaking with me, it’s a real honor to be a part of the inaugural launch of the SELF-e program.
The bulk of the novel was written during NaNoWriMo and I had absolutely no idea where it was going to take me on a daily basis. I don’t outline, mostly because I enjoy teetering on the edge of precipices when I’m in creative mode. I like staying open to the impossible and allowing for a little chaos to enter the equation. Having said that, I would be absolutely lost without the program Scrivener, which is an amazing organizational tool for writers.
Much of the novel’s action takes place in Russia, and you do an excellent job setting the scene. Have you travelled extensively in that part of the world?
Unfortunately, I’ve never visited Russia, other than the virtual trips I’ve enjoyed via Google Maps street view and Google image search. I find writing with the aid of photographs to be very helpful when establishing a location. If you’re reading this and you’ve never seen a photo of Saint Petersburg, Russia, please go have a look. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, definitely a bucket list trip for me.
The Officially Unofficial Files has some truly great action scenes, and we noticed you included Steven Spielberg in your acknowledgements. Have you done any screenwriting?
Novel writing has been my focus the past couple of years, but I do have a few screenplays on the back burner. I thanked Mr. Spielberg, because he played a pretty big role in shaping my childhood imagination and he definitely piqued my curiosity about the existence of intelligent alien life forms. To quote Fox Mulder’s poster, “I want to believe.”
We don’t often read an adventure thriller with a physicist as the protagonist! Do you have a personal interest in science that informed the story?
Science is sexy. I’m looking at you Neil deGrasse Tyson.
What other writers inspire you?
I recently had the honor of studying with Chuck Palahniuk—not only is he a talented writer, but he’s also a brilliant teacher. Some other favorites—John Kennedy Toole, Philip Pullman, John Irving, Madeleine L’Engle, Michael Chabon and George Orwell. The list changes daily.
Do you have any advice for first time authors attempting to finish their first novel? Do you have a daily writing routine?
Just keep swimming, novels don’t write themselves and ignore the naysayers— especially the one in your own head. Most importantly, stay curious and seek wonder.
I don’t have a specific routine, other than to spend at least two or three hours writing every day.
When writing The Officially Unofficial Files, did you complete multiple drafts? Did you show unfinished versions to friends or beta readers for feedback?
Yes and yes. I lost count of how many drafts I wrote and my family members were my early guinea pigs. Eventually, I ended up working with a fantastic independent editor named Jill Bailin, she made sure I wrapped up all the loose ends and dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s. If you’re going to self-publish, working with a seasoned editor/proofreader is a must.
The self-publishing industry has really exploded, especially in e-books. What advantages and/or challenges do you see in self-publishing your work?
The main advantage is that you have complete control over your work—this is also the main disadvantage, as all that control can be quite exhausting and isolating. I think it can be difficult to be heard above all the noise without the support and guidance of professionals in the literary/publishing world—and that’s what makes SELF-e such a great tool for indie writers.
Explore the SELF-e collection to discover more great new talent!
If you are a self-published author please consider submitting your work to the Library’s SELF-e platform. Click here to learn more.