Interview with Minerva Grey, Author of Smoke and Mirrors

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What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Smoke and Mirrors?

I began musing about writing a supernatural mystery series before I had heard of Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series. After reading that and a few other urban fantasy novels, I realized that this was a genre that captivated me, but also that much of the literature on the market operated around the premise that the supernatural element was a secret in society at large, and that you as the reader were given entry into a hidden society through the book. I wanted to flip that on its head and explore what a world would look like where supernatural beings and magic were out in the open, influencing normal people and being influenced by them.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Smoke and Mirrors, what would they be?

Meares – “Blood On Your Name” by the Brothers Bright. Meares’ character is so involved in his fears, and how that plays out in terms of protecting himself and trying to overcome them. His relationship with fire and hounds, both a focus of this song, is complex and at times consuming.

Church – “The War Was in Color” by Carbon Leaf. Church, like so many men of his generation, was in many ways formed by his experiences in the war, and good or bad, they live on influencing his actions.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

For reading, absolutely my favourite is straight-up mystery novels. I cut my teeth on the early 20th century female mystery novelists, and they’re still a go-to favourite for me. Mystery-based genres aren’t always my favourite to write, though, since they require a much more planful approach than sometimes I feel up for. When I just want to let a story unfold, I tend towards general fiction with a hint of romance.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

The Village of Eight Graves and Gokumon Island by Seishi Yokomizo; Marina Hyde’s What Just Happened?!; anything in Elizabeth Ferrar’s Virginia and Felix series if I can find it.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

The scene where, from Meares’ perspective, we learn who has been breaking the mirrors and why. This scene was intended to be the big spine-tingler of the novel, and I hope that the revelation achieved that. Until this point, the mirrors have been a small part of a larger and more sinister mystery, but now they leap to the forefront and we both understand the reason they were destroyed and have the opportunity to realise just how insidious the criminal is.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I can’t listen to music while I write, but I love some soft ASMR in the background, especially rainfall and thunder. The explosion of ASMR as a genre on the internet has been a gift.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

Prejudice and hatred are ubiquitous in any heterogeneous society, but so is love.


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