I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
Introducing Mark Gray
January 13, 2017
Who is Mark Gray and why are you on his website?
Well first of all, I’m Mark Gray. Nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by.
About six years ago, I began work on my first book, a thriller called Deny, and I self-published it in April of 2013. Last year, I published, Release, the sequel to that book as well as a more family-oriented holiday story called My Winter with Reese.
If anyone has ever actually completed a novel, you know that it’s incredibly hard work and the fact that these three books even exist is something I’m extremely proud of. I feel like I learned a lot while writing them and I’ve learned even more since then and I can say with some degree of certainty that these are probably not the books that are going to land me a publishing deal. I’m going to start posting weekly on this site and next week I’ll get into some more specifics about my thoughts on my past work as well as what’s on deck for the future. A lot of things I’m really excited about. Just as an FYI though (in case you’re interested after that ringing endorsement), for those of you who have never read my previous work before, each book is available as an ebook for 99 cents on Amazon (you can find direct links on the Books page of the site). They are all also available in paperback. And yes, despite pursuing some other things, Turn, the final book in The Cassie Trilogy will arrive as promised. Obviously later than I expected but it should arrive before the end of 2017 if things go as planned.
I’ve pursued other passions in my life and there are several things that bring me fulfillment, but the need to write is something I’ve never been able to shake. In fact, I came across a school assignment from when I was 7-years-old where I talked about how I wanted to grow up to be an author. The desire has been inside of me since I was a child. I started and stopped a bunch of stuff in college, but it wasn’t until Deny that I actually finished something. And it felt really good. And exciting.
There were definitely some ups and downs in the three years since I published Deny and all of that probably affected the trajectory of the book to some degree, but more than anything, I wasn’t willing to put in the work that an independent author needs to in order to make sure their work finds its audience. I like writing books, not promoting them.
The purpose of this revamped website is not to transform me suddenly into a salesman for my books, but rather, to invite people who may be interested along on the process. So you can get to know me and understand what moves me and inspires me and, from there, decide if my books are something you want to check out.
I know self-publishing three books in three years in nothing to be ashamed of, but to be honest, I often feel upset with myself for not working as hard as I could. I know I could have done more. I’ve got stories to tell, things to get off my chest, characters waiting to come alive and I’ve got an audience out there somewhere waiting to discover my work and we’re never going to find each other if I spend so much time waiting for it to happen.
I recently saw a clip of a panel that George R. R. Martin and Stephen King sat on together and Martin asked King how in the world he was able to put out so many books every single year. King just said that he forced himself to write six pages every day and that’s how he gets it done. Obviously it works differently for everyone, but I’ve got myself on a very aggressive schedule, I’m holding myself to checkpoints and deadlines and I’m really excited for the results. This is the approach I wish I would have been taken the last few years because I have been blessed with a schedule that gives me time to invest in writing. But, live and learn. The plan is to spend the next two years churning out as much quality work as I possibly can and revealing more of my creative identity through the process. Whether, from there, I’m able to find some success independently or if, one good day, some publisher might take an interest, I really don’t know. What I do know is that I can’t halfway do this.
I had a talk with my wife one night a while back, just really sharing some of my frustrations as to how things have progressed with my writing, some of the blame I took for that, but the genuine hope and desire I have for something more. I know that I’ve been working hard at times to get this thing off the ground, but I’ve also allowed setbacks, discouragements and writer’s block to stall me a couple thousand times too many.
I’m 29-years-old and have had the secret personal goal to be published by the time I was 30 (which I’ll be as of tomorrow). It’s hard not to feel a little more skeptical about that now, but if it doesn’t happen, I don’t want it to be for lack of trying. So I’ve been back on track, giving 1000%, pushing through any difficulties and finding inspiration even on days when it’s a little hard to get started. And the persistence is paying off. I believe I’m doing my best work now and will only continue to grow.
But I don’t want to grow alone. I want my books to end up with the audience that will appreciate them. I don’t talk a lot about my day job because I pursue my writing as its own separate thing, but I look at it this way. I currently work for a place that I believe in and am thrilled to be a part of. If I got published tomorrow, I would still stay for as many years as they’ll keep me. I don’t want to get published or discovered or whatever because I want a new life, it’s just that as my day job, I get to be part of someone else’s vision. It’s a vision that I believe in and I’m glad to be a part of and it certainly coincides with my own vision, but with my writing, it’s entirely my vision and my vision in its entirety. The things that are personal and unique to me that I need to say. And I’ve got exciting stories living in my head and heart that I hope and believe will help bring some of these concepts to life.
I never dreamed of getting published by 30 because I wanted fame and money (although, you know...money is nice). I’m not talking J.K. Rowling level success here. But the idea of connecting with an audience and then getting the opportunity to continue to grow and age and share my stories with them over several decades sounds like such an incredible, fulfilling dream come true. I’m doing all I need to do to make it a reality.
So, like I said, it’s gonna be a busy next couple of years.
If you’ve never read my work before, I hope you’ll give it a chance. You’ll get to know me more over the next several posts, of course, and we can just go from there.
Oh yeah, and some of this hard work is gonna pay off when I release a new book on January 31st.