This week, I’m interviewing Gray Newman from my upcoming YA debut, A Breath of Eyre. Gray and my protagonist, Emma, have known each other since they were little, but now that they’re teenagers, they’re not sure how they feel about each other. Here, Gray offers a rare glimpse of the heart hidden under his sleeve.
EM: Tell us a little about yourself.
GN: Um, well, I’m eighteen. I’m a lifeguard. I’m on the swim team at school.
EM: And where’s that?
GN: Braeburn Academy, outside of Boston.
GN: Yeah. It’s this hippie alternative school my parents sent me to a few years ago. We have harmonic huddles every week where we sit around in a drum circle and bare our feelings. It’s torture. I try to act mysterious and disturbed so I don’t have to talk.
EM: You prefer sitting alone and brooding?
GN: No, I prefer swimming. Head under water; no talking, no thinking.
EM: So you’re the strong silent type.
GN: I guess so.
EM: Funny, because I heard stories that you were a big party animal. Hot lifeguard making the moves on the summer girls?
GN: I’m officially over summer girls. (EM looks at him in disbelief.) Seriously. They’re so shallow. All they care about is how they look in a bikini, and they want you to remind them of it every five seconds. Don’t get me wrong, I like a girl in a bikini. It’s just, I’m looking for something more than that.
EM: So no more one-night stands?
GN: Definitely not.
EM: And what about the partying?
GN: Let’s just say the party’s over for me. Can we change the subject, please?
EM: Sure. Do you have a girlfriend?
GN: Wow, you’re direct.
EM: Is that the same as being pushy?
GN: No, you just ask some pretty personal questions.
EM: I’m just trying to figure you out. You’re kind of cryptic and evasive. You dodged that last question by deflecting, so we ended up talking about whether I was pushy or not instead of whether you had a girlfriend. (GN gives a sly smile.) So? Oh, come on, give me something. At least tell me if you have a crush.
GN: Alright, yeah. I have a crush. Happy?
EM: Not yet. Can you tell us a little about her?
GN: I’ve known her, like, forever, but I only realized recently how cool she is. She’s super smart and pretty in this quiet way that gets more obvious every time you spend time with her. And she’s got these incredible deep brown eyes. I swear they can see right through me.
EM: And what do they see?
GN: I don’t know. Hopefully not the same thing I see.
EM: So why don’t you tell her how you feel?
GN: It’s not going to happen between us.
EM: Why not?
GN: She’s two years younger than I am, and I’m joining the Coast Guard after I graduate. It’s not like I can ask her to wait for me.
EM: No, you’re probably right. Why bother? Besides, if she’s as great as you say she is, I’m sure she'll have guys beating down her door. She’s probably better off without you anyway.
GN: Yeah. She most definitely is.
And on that note, I conclude my interview with Gray Newman, a modern guy who takes a lot of his cues from the brooding men of Victorian literature. To take a quiz to find your literary soul mate or to learn more about A Breath of Eyre, come visit my website or add my book to your Goodreads list.
Eve Marie Mont is the author of A Breath of Eyre (Kensington/KTeen, March 2012), the first in a trilogy about a girl who gets lost, literally, in her favorite books. Please stop by her website for more info, news, and updates.