We love meeting new authors — not only are we pumped that they’ve realized their dream of publishing a novel, we also love finding new writers whose books we have to read. Today we’d like to introduce Rina Gray, whose debut, Fool for You, is out next week! Welcome, Rina!
Name: Rina Gray
Book: Fool for You
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Book #1 in the Crush on You Series
Current Home: Atlanta, GA
Author Icon: Brenda Jackson, Farrah Rochon, Maya Angelou, and Stephen King
Favorite Word: Loquacious. I learned how to spell the word during vacation bible school and I drove my family crazy by spelling it out loud all summer. Personally, I think they were just jealous.
Was this the first full-length novel you ever wrote? No. I am actually a huge paranormal romance fan and I attempted to write a vampire slayer series. I needed a break from fangs and fur so I wrote a contemporary romance.
Tell us about your day job. I work in digital marketing and eCommerce in the hospitality industry.
How did you start writing? I’ve always loved reading and dabbled in writing poetry since I was a child, however I actually took it seriously in 2012 after I was laid off from a job. I was staring at the ceiling of my bedroom, willing myself not to cry, when I heard a voice in my head (I promise I’m not crazy). The voice said: “You can either cry or you can write.” So I rolled out of bed, put on my big girl panties and wrote. So writing (and listening to Nina Simone on repeat) literally healed me during a dark time in my life.
What was it like when you got “The Call”? It was a cold, dark night…kidding! I live in Atlanta and it was pretty warm. But on a serious note, I was reading a book while my husband was gaming beside me. The email from the publisher popped on my screen and I could see it was a response to my query. I saw the first line of the email and it seemed positive. Hands shook, palms were sweaty…lots of visceral responses. I finally opened the email and did a little dance in my living room. My husband didn’t look up as he is used to my outbursts, and then I yelled that I had an offer from Crimson!
What’s your favorite paragraph in Fool for You?
“You’re marrying V-Vanessa?” Melanie’s eyes darted between Damien and the offending object in her hand.
Despite the coolness from the ring, a pool of liquid heated at the base of her stomach. Pressure built. Not slow, but fast. Supersonic fast. The pressure rushed up and seeped through long, jagged cracks that had formed across her chest.
She tossed the ring onto the table like dice. Rolling and spinning, the silver band toppled in front of Damien. “I didn’t know that … ” She cleared the large achy clump that blocked her throat. “I didn’t know that you and Vanessa were serious. Or engaged, for that matter. Oh, wait, that’s not right. You couldn’t be engaged because you haven’t asked her yet. But I didn’t know … didn’t realize you were serious about her.” She was babbling but couldn’t stop herself. It was either ramble like a lunatic or cry like one.
What’s been the best and most unexpected part of your writing journey so far? Not to sound like a Saved by the Bell episode but…friendship. I wrote in secret for the first few years and later joined my Georgia RWA chapter and met great writers. I also attended several conferences like Romance Slam Jam and writer’s retreats like Margie Lawson’s Immersion Master Classes. Some of the writers I met are now my critique partners and meeting up with them is the best part of my week. To borrow from life coach Lisa Nichols, all of the writers I’ve met have an “abundance mentality,” meaning that everyone can succeed. The positive and inclusive spirit, feedback, and encouragement had a major impact for me.