Virtual Book Tour: A Conversation with Christi J. Whitney, author of ‘Grey’
Christi J. Whitney is a former high school theatre director with a love for the arts. She lives just outside Atlanta with her husband and two sons. When not spending time with them or taking a ridiculous number of trips to Disney World, she can be found directing plays, making costumes for sci-fi/fantasy conventions, obsessing over Doctor Who, watching superhero movies, or pretending she’s just a tad bit British.
Her latest book is the young adult urban fantasy novel, Grey (The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1).
For More Information
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Christi! Can you tell us where you are from?
A: Thanks for having me here, and I’m super excited to answer your questions! I’m from Atlanta, Georgia. I live just inside the metro area, and I really love the location. I’m just a few short hours from the mountains, the beach, and – my personal favorite happy place – Walt Disney World.
Q: How did you come up with your title?
A: Sebastian Grey is the main character of the series, and I wanted the first book to reflect that, but the word is more than just his surname. It also describes so much of what he is going through – something that becomes increasingly evident as the story progresses.
Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?
A: Absolutely! I think the lovely team at HarperVoyagerUK did a stunning job with it, and they asked for my feedback and opinions quite a lot during the process. Cherie Chapman designed the cover, and I absolutely adore it. The effect is one of mystery, and I believe its subtle attention to detail completely captures the essence of the book.
Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?
A: I’ve already mentioned that there’s some mystery involved in Grey, and it appears to first center on the arrival of the Circe de Romany and a girl who shows up at Sebastian’s school. But actually, the mystery involves Sebastian himself, as well as the secretive world in which he finds himself caught. If you like urban fantasy with a twist, then Grey is definitely up your alley.
Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?
A: My favorite fairy tale has always been Beauty and the Beast, but I’m a softie for any story involving the theme of not judging a book by its cover. There are similar themes in Grey, which are set up at the beginning and flourish throughout the entirety of The Romany Outcasts Series. I won’t say anymore than that. You’ll just have to read and see for yourself.
Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?
A: Oh gosh,my favorite chapter? That’s a hard one to narrow down! There are several times throughout the book where Sebastian is really struggling to keep things together, and those scenes were super fun to write. If I had to pick one chapter, I’d probably go with chapter 12. It contains one of those moments, and a pivotal scene in the relationship between Sebastian and his brother Hugo.
Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?
A: I’ve always wanted to write something like this: A story that revolved around my favorite themes, with an underdog character who doesn’t quite fit the mold of a traditional hero. Those are the people I’m drawn to in books, films, and television. I love quirky or awkward characters and those that might sometimes appear unnoticed in the shadows of a larger-than-life hero or heroine, and I just really wanted a story with a character that embodied all those attributes.
Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?
A: I’m deeply, deathly, paralyzingly terrified of jellyfish.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
A: The United Kingdom, specifically London, but honestly, I need several months so I could explore all of it—the cities, the countryside, the seashore. Basically, just absolutely everything. And then, after that, I’d love to fly to New Zealand. Aim high, right?
Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?
A: I’m a total night person. I can’t stay up as late as I used to without paying the price the next day, but I still prefer the night. Don’t even look in my direction in the morning unless I’ve had at least one cup of coffee. It won’t be pleasant. Just ask my kids.
Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?
A: I’m the only writer, but we have several avid readers, especially my son Liam. He devours books like candy.
Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?
A: I definitely was, and I still am. As a child, I constantly dreamed of stepping through magic wardrobes or solving mysteries with famous sleuths. I used to make up stories and record myself delivering them in various voices and accents.
Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?
A: Selfish answer: To be able to travel the world at any time. Less selfish: World peace.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?
A: Thanks so much for having me! It’s been a blast, and I hope you enjoy reading Grey as much as I enjoyed writing it.