JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Erick S Gray, author of Cuddles & Lay
Cuddles & Lay is a love story, told through the couples’ eyes, Cuddles and Lay. Cuddles is a southern girl from South Carolina who travels to NY to find excitement and fame. She wanted something different in her life. She meets Lay, a thug and stick up kid, and a compelling love ensues. But when everything comes crashing down around them, Cuddles and Lay have no choice but to brace themselves and hold on tight – to each other.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Cuddles & Lay?
Erick S Gray: It was just a story I thought about writing one day. I wanted to write some gangster love story between a wide-eyed southern girl from Greenville, SC, who falls in love with the bad boy thug from Brooklyn, NY.
I woke up one day with this title, Cuddles & Lay in my head and knew it was the perfect title to a great love story. But I like thug love stories, I feel that there’s love for everyone, even for the hardest gangster on the block.
JP: What sets Cuddles & Lay apart from other books in the same genre?
EG: I really don’t know. It’s a short story, a thug love story, and I think this couple’s relationship is different Lay has to keep a promise to his woman, the love of his life. No matter what he does, robbing and stealing, he makes a promise to Cuddles that he won’t kill anyone. Cuddles accepts Lay for who he is, but she doesn’t like bloodshed and murder.
And for Lay to make a promise like that to Cuddles and try desperately hard to keep it, especially the world he lives in and comes from, with the wolves in his hood, always trying and hunting him, is testimony to his love for Cuddles.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Cuddles & Lay getting out to the public?
EG: I completely love what I do. I love to write. I love to tell a strong and compelling story, and will always love to do so in years to come. But I put much thought and effort into my characters, developing them sharply, making them jump out from the pages. But with my books, I try to be entertaining, along with informative and thought-provoking from page to page.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Cuddles & Lay?
EG: My writing process is pretty much simple: I just sit down and do it. When a story comes to me, I write it out, from one sentence, to one page, continuing to one chapter at a time. I don’t force myself. I don’t rush it. When you rush something, then you’re going to mess up.
I tried to let it come natural, let the story and characters flow, from the action scene to the dialogue. I tried to have a theme for each of my books. And usually, it takes me an average from 2 to 3 months to write a book. But I also have been known to complete a book in one month.
JP: What’s next for Erick S Gray?
EG: So many things. I’m trying to break into film. I have my acting/film debut in October. I’m starring in this film called, “Darkest before Dawn.” And it’s due to be released sometime this fall. But I’m writing scripts, and trying to get into production.
Writing novels and doing poetry will always be my first love. I have two new books dropping in July, America’s Soul and Boyfriend #2 which I co-wrote with Caleb Alexander. But I’m trying to become a mogul in this genre.
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I would say this: if you want to be successful, then believe in what you doing, know what you’re doing, and simply love what you’re doing. Success and accomplishments isn’t an overnight thing. It takes time to build a city, and usually it starts from block to block.