Meet the Ladies in Red – Molly Kate Gray

I’d like to say thanks to the rest of the Ladies in Red for letting me drop in and chat for a bit.  I’m thrilled to be a part of this amazing group of authors.

Introduce yourself, please (name you write under). Is this a pen or personal name? Why did you make the choice to write under that name?

I write under the name of Molly Kate Gray.  No, it isn’t my given name.  I also write for the young adult and middle grade markets.  Once, when I was volunteering in my son’s classroom, I watched as a little girl chose a book at a book fair by a very popular author of a young adult series, however that book was definitely intended for adults.  I decided on that day that I’d only publish for the different age groups under different names to keep from confusing any of my readers.

Let’s get the details out of the way: Single, married, divorced, widowed?  Parent?  Living where?  Doing what, other than writing?  One—just one—physical characteristic

I’m happily married.  My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary this fall.  We have two children.  My daughter, who I’ve nicknamed “The Teen” on my Twitter and webpage, is almost old enough to drive now.  My son, “The Almost Teen,” will be beginning middle school this next school year.

We live in north Texas – not too far from the town my family has lived in since I was four.

I’m a former teacher.  I’ve taught first grade and worked with fifth graders.  I’m certified to teach through eighth grade, but most of the middle schoolers are taller than I am, which puts me at a bit of a disadvantage in the classroom.  Now, I’m a stay at home mom (I often joke that I actually run a taxi service).  My daughter is very involved in a local theater company (which is where I got part of my inspiration for Fade to Black.)

I think my most memorable physical characteristic is my lack of height.  Wearing shoes, I stand 5 feet tall.

What’s your secret passion? 

I have a television show I’m very fond of, probably a little too fond of, to be honest.  If you look around on my Pinterest board, you’ll likely figure out which show.

If you didn’t live where you do, where would you live? Why?

My husband and I have always jokingly said that when our kids are grown, we’re moving to Florida, but not for the typical reason.  I want to work for Walt Disney World. I’ve always thought it would be fun to be one of the hosts of the Haunted Mansion Ride.

Do you write about where you live or where you’d like to live?

All but one of my stories take place in small towns scattered around north Texas.  None of the towns are “real,” but each has bits and pieces of each other blended together.  I’ve created my settings by mixing my favorite parts of different cities.

Miller’s Grove, the setting for Small Town Secrets, is the only story I’ve written not located in Texas.  A little over a year ago, my family was looking at relocating to a small town in Georgia.  While the transfer didn’t work out, I loved the town so much that I’ve borrowed a lot of its flavor for this first book.  I loved all the trees, the Spanish moss, and the rolling hills of the town we visited.  I knew then and there that it was the setting of the novel I’d just started.

What did you cut from your book that felt like severing a body part?

I love writing interaction between siblings – probably because I’m an only child.  In this story, Tara originally had an identical twin sister whose wedding occurred early in the book.  While the dynamic between the sisters told much about each of their personalities, and the conversations between the two gave a little comic relief, I quickly realized that the story had too many elements and needed to be streamlined.  Maddie had to leave the story.

What’s the first creative writing you remember doing outside a class?

I wrote a story about a haunted house for a contest one Halloween when I was in fifth grade.  It won a blue ribbon, despite the kind of twisted premise.  Back then, I was very fond of The Twilight Zone.  In the story, everyone who entered the haunted house was turned into a ball of rubber bands…and that’s all I can remember about it now.  Looking back on it, it always makes me laugh, but the teachers and my friends at school really seemed to think it was pretty good.   That was the first time I realized people actually enjoyed reading the stories I frequently made up in my head.

 What else do you write?

I have a middle grade fantasy series that I began a few years ago, although that poor series has been placed “in the desk drawer” for a little while.  Also, I write young adult romance with a paranormal twist.  I’m going to a convention in a few weeks where I hope to begin making the rounds of looking for an agent and publisher for that story.

What one thing from your book did you take from personal experience?

An event in Tara’s past has left her closed off and makes her very wary of getting in a relationship with anyone.  While not exactly what I experienced, I based her backstory on an event that occurred during my own teenage years.

Give us a hint about what the next book’s like.

I’ve spent most of my time chatting about my first book, Small Town Secrets, which releases on August 13th, but the next book is already in the works.

Playing with Fire will be my second romantic suspense novel published by Crimson.  Della Chambers, and FBI field agent, left Pearson Crossing when she was 18 years old and never looked back – at least not until now.   a string of suspicious fires draws her back to her hometown, she comes face to face with Camden Gibson.  He saved her life once – and she’s never forgiven him for it.

Now the pair is forced to work side by side, and they discover the heat between them has nothing to do with fire.

Thanks for dropping by.  Please visit me at my website.  www.mollykategray.com