I caught up with Kyra Gregory, Author of “Ordinary“, “Despair & Decision“, “Lady in Red” and “Secrets Clad in Light” in an imaginary coffee shop next door to an imaginary bookstore at some ungodly hour close to dawn, with the morning chill still in the imaginary air.
I use the interview as a trick to get smart cuties to meet me for imaginary breakfasts.
She made the mistake of pretending to show up, and foolish questions ensued.
(I have a rich inner life).
You were in a band? You wrote lyrics? Did you sing? *laughs* I can just picture it!
A friend of mine has been a talented musician for as long as I can remember; I actually can’t ever remember not being in complete awe every single time he had a guitar or violin in hand.
He was always composing music and with all that time I spent around him, listening to the passion in his playing, it felt almost natural for me to write lyrics for it.
I knew he was a person who struggled to put feelings into words so I wrote lyrics based on the feelings I understood when he played music.
When he found out he encouraged me to keep doing it and eventually he made me try singing.
Initially singing was just meant to be some kind of stress relief after a long day but when he proposed performing for crowds together I had a good feeling that he’d had this in mind for a while.
His mind is a little devious like that (laughs).
Before I knew it he had a few friends come over here from Japan for a summer and we put together a few shows; this then went on for a few years. My role was lyricist and vocalist but I did much of the concept planning for shows also because of my ability to tell a story.
When you’re young there’s sort of a level of…innocence or, maybe, ignorance that adults expect from you. I didn’t really have that.
My friend, more than myself, was suffering around the time I began writing and I was always listening to him and I knew of the kind of horrors he was facing.
Feeling like I was unable to share any of this with anyone to remain loyal to him I wrote a lot of it down in stories.
I wrote from his perspective, sometimes from my own as a person who had to watch as someone she cared about suffered and sometimes I’d even put myself in his position. I didn’t let anyone see these out of fear of what they may think of me and how they will misinterpret it.
I was right to be afraid because when I was about fourteen years old someone discovered these dark stories and it got me into a lot of trouble.
Which of your published works comes from that period, if any?
None of my currently published works are from that time but the third story in a series I plan to publish is and was very much inspired by a lot of my friend’s experiences.
Well I’m glad you got over that and decided to share. I notice that your recent work tends to focus people who have a tough time due to their sexual orientation. What is it about this theme that you find so fascinating?
I love stories that are mostly character driven rather than only plot driven and nothing quite drives people as personal struggle, especially that which is with their own identity.
I’ve always found that quite interesting and perhaps this theme came about from me being a bit of a romantic also.
I think when there is a plot driven by goal the journey is made most interesting from the personalities of those trying to achieve it. The heart alone is so unpredictable that I love discovering what choices will turn a plot one way or another.
This can be said for everything in my stories but it can be seen the most through struggles with sexual orientation.
Have you known individuals like this or is there some autobiographical element?
I don’t often write things that are based on myself personally, although my own feelings will often creep into the story which is only natural, but I do feel that this is personal to me.
Growing up I began to see the line between girls and boys getting wider, something which never really occurred to me.
In my mind I always thought “I am who I am” and gender roles never really came into it. (Me Too!)
I developed normally as a girl but I could almost say I hated it because I would look around at all the other girls my age who had little more than fashion and boys on the brain and I would just wonder, “is this what’s expected of me?!” (Nervous laugh)
Needless to say I took that as a bit of a shock. I don’t really hate being a girl and I’m not sure I ever did but I certainly felt like I didn’t ever suit that image.
Therefore, it could be said that struggles with identity aren’t something I’m unfamiliar with. Of course then there are experiences of those close to me that I draw from because they stand out in my mind.
Because I appear pretty confident in my own skin now people confess things to me with a bit more wariness; as though they think that I’ve never experienced such self-conflict and will judge them for it.
I have a lot lined up for 2013 so my mind is on completing and coordinating all my projects at once. I’ll be releasing a series, something I haven’t done yet, which is a fun and intriguing venture for me. I’ll be revealing more about this in due time (laughs).
How can people find out more?
My blog: http://kyralyrical.wordpress.com/ – always the fastest way to get news of latest releases, events and promotions.
Thanks for chatting, Kyra. I’ve got lots of other questions, but no time lately. Let’s talk more soon!