What books have most influenced your life?
When I was a child, I read Pippi Longstocking over and over again. Her fear of growing up, her amazing adventures, her bravery and her kind heart… they were all things I wanted. I wanted to be like her, and for years I dove headfirst into my imagination, making up all sort of adventures for me and my friends, and faced tough situations wondering: what would Pippi do?
In my early teens, I read The Truce, by Primo Levi, and Italian author who survived Auschwitz. The Truce is the story of the crazy months immediately following the end of the war—Primo, during the tortuous road across Eastern Europe and Russia before going back to Italy, observes and records the madness of rebirth—the vertigo-inducing energy of life starting again, tumbling and rushing, like a fresh unstoppable stream, after so much despair and horror. It fills me with hope and excitement, and Primo’s courage, his relentless love for life, are always an inspiration.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I have way too many hobbies, I confess! When I’m in London, I love to go out with a friend and stroll around museums, talking their ear off blabbering on about art history. I also love just having a walk around Camden Town, looking at the crazy hairdos of random passersby and indulging in my beloved sweet ‘n sour chicken noodles. If I’m too tired to go out—I confess, Scrubs is my guilty pleasure when I need to just chill out and not think for a bit!
When I’m in Italy, instead, I usually go bother my cat while he tries to sleep, or I pull out the sewing machine and whip up a new handbag, or I go sit on the balcony with my grandma, painting our nails and just chatting. Spending time with her always makes me happy.
How did you start your writing career?
While I’d always been writing—I’d been writing M/M since I was, heck, 13!—I never really gave much thought to publication. Then, almost two years ago, I stumbled across a call for submissions for an anthology, completely by accident, as I was browsing a friend of a friend’s blog. It was almost a surprise—I’d never even wondered whether there might be a market for my beloved M/M stories. I scribbled down the story during the Christmas holidays, a light-hearted, sweet short about a clumsy angel and a blues-loving, world-weary cop. And on January 27th, my 22nd birthday, I got the best present ever: my first contract in my inbox! And what can I say, I just keep craving more.
Tell us about your next release.
My next release will be the short story Bounty Hunter in the gun-themed anthology by Storm Moon Press. It’s a scorching hot meeting in a cramped room above a saloon where a bounty hunter and his prey finally clash together after a years-long chase. Picture long, worn-out leather coats, suntanned skin, hard, fiery men, strong muscles, sizzling anger and desire, gunpowder and dust and scorching heat, and a gleaming, burnished vintage Colt gun… and brace yourself for some scorching heat when it all crashes inevitably together.
Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
Definitely! I usually have a couple of tracks that I play on a loop for each story. They really help me remain in the atmosphere, working on a story in different moments, taking pauses and maybe skipping a couple of days in between writing sessions, I’m always in different moods when I start typing. Plugging in the usual soundtrack helps me slip back into the headspace of the story, and keep my writing consistent, without any jarring jumps of tone or attitude.
As for the genre, it really depends on the mood I want the story to convey; I go from slow hypnotic tracks, to bouncy Irish tunes, to screaming Metallica songs. For example, for my latest short story, City of Foxes (published by Storm Moon Press), I was listening to When the Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin and Wrong by Depeche Mode.
Cornelia Grey is a student of creative writing with a penchant for fine arts and the blues. Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where she collected her share of poetry and narrative prizes, she is now based in London, and she is thoroughly enjoying the cultural melting pot that is the City.
Her interests vary from painting to photography, from sewing to acting; when writing, she favors curious, surreal poems and short stories involving handsome young men seducing each other. She loves collecting people’s stories and re-discovering lost tales that deserve to be told.