Learn about author Sarah Marie Graye today as she takes time out from writing to discuss her debut novel, The Second Cup. Remember to scroll to the end and enter Sarah’s international giveaway. Three winners will each receive a signed copy of The Second Cup.
FD: Where are you from?
SMG: I’m originally from Manchester (in the United Kingdom). I’m a typical Mancunian in that I can’t hear anything negative about my hometown, although I’m not sure I could live in a big city again. I lived in London for a while, but it wasn’t for me. [SMG shudders] I currently live in Whitstable on the north Kent coast – and one of my local bars is called ‘Novelist’ so it’s fate! I recommend a daily dose of sea air to anyone thinking of moving to the coast.
FD: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
SMG: I’m a natural daydreamer and spend many hours living in the world inside my head. I’ve always enjoyed reading and found myself writing the next theoretical chapter of a book in my head once I’d finished reading something.
I loathed school, but found English the most tolerable subject! [SMG rolls her eyes] I studied English Literature at A Level and enjoyed the range and depth of books we read. I also studied Performing Arts and went on to do a degree in Scriptwriting at Bournemouth University before working as a journalist. A few years ago I completed an MA Creative Writing, which supported me in writing my debut novel.
FD: What inspired you to write your first book?
SMG: The final-year project on my degree at Bournemouth was a feature-length script. The feedback I got was that my writing was a too descriptive for a script – and also wasted on it because the audience didn’t get to read it, and that I should consider writing a novel. The thought stayed with me for over a decade before I got round to doing anything about it! I’m a typical “Turtle Writer” (a group of writers who write slowly, who support each other on Twitter).
FD: Who designed the cover?
SMG: Cover Mint (www.covermint.design). It was one of five covers sent over as ideas from my publisher Creativia. I fell in love with the one I chose instantly. Turns out it was their favourite too! I especially love the font – it has given my novel a very strong look. When my first order of paperbacks turned up I found myself hugging them – it’s when it really hit home that I was a published novelist.
FD: What genres do you enjoy reading and what are you reading now?
SMG: I love psychological fiction that gets inside the head of the main characters. I prefer slower paced books, so I don’t read too much psychological crime/thriller fiction. I’m currently reading The White Lie by Andrea Gillies – I’m actually re-reading it, which is cheating a little, I guess [SMG grins]. Before that I read The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards and I’ve got How to Stop Time by Matt Haig and The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman next on my to-read list.
FD: How do you relax and have fun?
SMG: I love going for long walks. Well, I’m more of a meanderer – no real speed. I’ve learned the coastal bus routes in Whitstable and Herne Bay so I can get myself back home if I walk too far and tire myself out. I also enjoy binge-watching TV series on Netflix – recent recommendations are The Code and The Sinner. And reading, of course! I obviously love reading! [SMG laughs] I’m also a bit of a sleep addict; I try to get 10 hours every night. Sleep is so important for health and general wellbeing and needs no fitness levels in order to be achieved.
FD: What’s one thing from your bucket list you’d like to experience or accomplish?
SMG: To spend a year or two living on one of the Canary Islands and writing a book in the sun. It’s difficult to get work out there, so it’s very much a wistful idea at the moment. I have a plotline for a novel where tragedy strikes on holiday, so it would be the perfect excuse. If I ever win the lottery I’ll head out there and have a lovely long writing holiday!
FD: What are your current projects?
SMG: I’m working on my second novel, with the working title of The Victoria Lie. I’m just over 10,000 words into the first draft, so it’s not much beyond the embryonic stage at the moment. Unlike The Second Cup, which is mostly set in my hometown of Manchester (plus London, Berkhamsted and Blackpool), The Victoria Lie is set in London and Whitstable.
FD: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
SMG: I write in first-person multi-narration, so different characters tell different chapters. The section below comes from the first draft of Ruby’s first chapter. She lives in Whitstable and is visiting London – so she sees it through the eyes of an outsider. A homeless person has just recited a poem on the tube as a way to beg for money. Ruby notices the way most people on the tube don’t even see them.
She finishes her poem and stands briefly at the end of the carriage that was temporarily her stage before walking slowly between the two rows of seats, ignored by most, acknowledged with a nod by a skinny girl who looks like she could do with a decent meal herself – the nod says “I would like to help but I can’t, but I see you as a fellow human”. The nod is important.
Nobody else puts their hands in their pockets or their purses. I know rhyming couplets aren’t clever, and maybe it’s the hundredth time that everyone else in this carriage has heard the poem, but I want to reward this homeless woman for attempting to connect with a carriage full of people who mostly want to pretend she isn’t there.
I have no idea what an acceptable amount to give a homeless person in London is, so I guess at £2. I fish the coins out of my purse and hand them over. I can tell from the slight flex of muscles on her face – a hint of surprise – that I’ve been generous. Even though people earn more in London, it doesn’t seem to matter; people are protective of their own pennies.
FD: Where can readers find you online?
You’re most likely to find me on Twitter!
FD: Many thanks for visiting with us today, Sarah Marie. Continued success to you!
SMG: Thank you! Lovely to meet you and talk to you about about my writing. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to catch up again once I’ve finished The Victoria Lie.
Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.
Faye’s heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.
With the fragility of life staring them in the face, Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and Faye her friendship with Ethan. And poor Olivia is questioning everything – including why Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest. Is she about to take her own life too?
Universal Purchase Link – https://mybook.to/SecondCup
Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. One of five daughters, to the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing… until aged 9, when she was diagnosed with depression.
It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision.
Now in her early 40s, and with an MA Creative Writing from London South Bank University (where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder), Sarah Marie has published her debut novel – about family, friendships and mental health.
Win 3 x Signed copies of The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye (Open Internationally)