A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Courtenay S. Gray

with Courtenay S. Gray

Author bio: Courtenay S. Gray is a writer from the North of England. She has been featured in publications such as Maudlin House, Daily Drunk Mag and Red Fez. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize (2020). Courtenay was a runner up for the 2021 Literary Lancashire Award in Poetry. She also has a poetry collection (Strawberry) out with Alien Buddha Press and is working on publishing another collection called Archie.

Social Media: Twitter – @courtenaywrites
Blog: www.courtenayscorner.com

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences and biggest influences currently?

Courtenay: I started writing when I was four years old. My main priority was short stories that would be classed as flash fiction, but I wasn’t aware of it then. I can’t define my first influences because books, in general, helped propel me into the literary scene. However, I can talk about my current favourites. I am a big believer in individuality, so I don’t tend to have role models. I am particularly fond of Nabokov’s style of prose. He is a master of lyrical writing, which is something I enjoy. I’m not a writer who is critical of the contents of books. I’d much rather be supportive and let people do their own thing. There isn’t one way to write. I love philosophical writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.

Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Courtenay: I usually tell people that writing is innate for me. I was indeed born with this gift, and I cannot imagine doing anything else. I come from a family of logical businessmen and women, so I didn’t have a familial influence concerning literature. All I know is that my childhood goal was to see a book that I wrote on the shelves in all major bookshops. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s still a dream of mine. I feel almost like a character from the Sims. I was given the desire to write when they were creating me.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing?

Courtenay: I am incredibly independent, so I ultimately helped myself. My father once described reading books as training. I am inclined to agree with him. By constantly reading, I had my eyes opened to different styles of writing and a vast vocabulary. I pride myself on doing things alone. I won’t ask for help unless it is necessary. If you have myriads of people moonlighting as teachers, you lose your sense of individuality.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?

Courtenay: I grew up in a small town in the North of England. I have not written a single word about where I live because not a lot goes on there. If anything, I wrote about the things I experienced whilst residing there, rather than about the place itself.

I have been fortunate enough to travel to places such as; Malta, France, Italy, Spain, the USA, Belgium, Ireland, Scotland, and Canada. I can attest to the fact those places have inspired my writing. On the last day of a trip to New York, we were sat in a restaurant. My cousin had spent the entire holiday rewriting a novel, so I was inspired to write one. We walked through the packed streets of NYC looking for a Barnes and Noble. I bought a novel-writing book, and the waiter at this restaurant saw it. “I hope you have a lovely day, and good luck with the novel.

I’ve only been to Paris once, and I was three years old at the time, so I don’t remember it. The literary scene of Paris enamours me, and I hope to check it out at some point. I vow to visit the Parisian cafe’s where the existentialists hung out. I have an unusual knack for writing about places I haven’t been but heard and read lots about. There is so much to be said for immersing yourself in other cultures. It not only broadens your perspective, but it reignites that magic spark you have as a child. I would implore every writer to visit other countries.

Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?

Courtenay: I would say that all of my work is meaningful in one way or another, but I lost someone to cancer in December, and I find myself dedicating every poem to him. His death has been a catalyst for me creatively. Everything I write has a sprinkle of him contained with the ink on the page.

The peculiar thing about meaning is that it’s personal. I can write a poem with great emotion and power, but that doesn’t mean someone who reads it will feel that. However, most people can relate to the experience. They may not know who you are writing about, but they feel your plight.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Courtenay: To relax, I usually watch television. It’s a form of media often dubbed a mindless activity, but it is far from it. I am constantly perplexed by writers who refuse to watch TV because it holds so much inspiration that I feel you’re missing out. If I am in the right mood, I read. Listening to audiobooks helps me relax, and it decreases my list of books to read. However, I would say that television is the thing that helps me relax the most. If I feel like something interesting, I usually find an arthouse film, but I turn to Friends if I want to be comforted.

Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza from a writing of yours or others?

Courtenay: A line from a poem I am currently trying to place is:

“Your face would radiate through the Hemingway smoke and the Camus coffee.”

As for a poem by another, I love this line from “An Almost Made Up Poem” by Charles Bukowski:

“she’s mad but she’s magic. there’s no lie in her fire.”

Q8: What kind of music do you enjoy? Favorite musical artists, influences, songs that inspire?

Courtenay: My favourite band is Pink Floyd. I’ve been listening to their music since I was a small child. I am also a superfan of Lana Del Rey. Her music inspires my writing enormously. Her entire aesthetic and persona mirror my own. My favourite album of hers is “Born To Die (Paradise Edition)”. Last year, I was introduced to the Canadian band Alvvays, and I have completely fallen in love with their stuff. One of their songs inspired the title for my current work in progress.

Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Courtenay: I have a blog where I post a lot of my work. All you have to do is type www.courtenayscorner.com into the search bar, and you’re golden. I have poetry and flash faction forthcoming in Sledgehammer Lit and Gutslut Press. You can follow me on Twitter (@courtenaywrites) for all updates

Bonus Question: Are there any funny memories that you can recall during your writing or creative journey?

Courtenay: I am not a prude by any means, but I find writing sex scenes to be slightly embarrassing. I will gladly watch and read sex scenes, but I get silly about it when it comes to writing them myself. I secretly read the entire Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy when I was fourteen, but I still can’t write a sex scene without bursting into hysterics.

Other Links:



A Book Review of Doctor Lazarus by David Hay . A Review by Maid Corbic

“David Hay Doctor Lazarus” (Alien Buddha Press) is the dark side of poetry that the author decides to create because he hopes for some maybe better times or worse, because there is no solution for this world anymore. And so he goes through all the states of this world and believes that one day he will leave everything behind, but he must always be disappointed in everything that surrounds him. He always clearly leaves his actions to the people around him to try to interpret everything he says. But it always makes it clear that this world is very black and that we have to say goodbye to some things, believe in what is written to us and sometimes do not trust some people around us because it always leads us to lies and problems This collection offers us many answers to some things from reality, but also to the people themselves who can always explain to us some events to which we have become very blind and lazy over time and years. to see through the shaft of our destiny what in no way gives us nights of peace.

Divided into selections themselves, each captor tells us about people who were a thing of the past in our lives as well as that love is always present in ourselves and not in some objects. Every story must have its consistency, just like this one, which always speaks to some things clearly and loudly, alluding to memories that times must suffer unnecessarily. The real value of this collection are the beautiful arranged lines that are written in free verses and forms. His goal is to always portray some dreams in two dimensions of the world, because the third does not exist. The author clearly distances himself from anything that has become so nothing and almost insignificant to him, but he believes in hope. Although he writes black things, he believes that the world must be colorful and bright, not just black, even though he writes about it. It means that he is going through the cataclysms of time and that only he as such knows some solutions from our story that have become strange in nature. The hectic world and unequal rules lead to the fact that each of his presentations is repeated by the previous chapter with meaning, clearly speaking about the parts that bother him the most, paranoia, stress, anger, fear, hunger … And the sacred has its own, because such is the real world he portrays him, his works are very clear and especially interwoven, because he lives for dreams that always give him an account of reality.

The objects he adorns and describes are once supernatural, but he always speaks in his face; yes. And in some works he also talks about the problems that indirectly make it even harder for us authors to hide, because he wants us to understand what it’s like to be in someone’s skin that is not completely skin, but not quite human. pale because there is no reason for us to create something better by the existence of nature if we know that it is just a fictitious lie from which we cannot get away so easily. And of course we live with the idea of ​​this collection, because it is impossible to escape from anything that accompanies us directly or indirectly, and it is simply a life that gives us a lot to say and that we must always be clear and loud when performing our equals. the rules and rights of speech that we have are clearly engraved in our wonderful hearts that beat fast and do not allow to disappear so easily without any body language and dreamy soul that must live and survive. He also talks here about the cities that I would like to visit one day, to live in them and, in the end, maybe to realize all his dreams there, which he still sees in a pessimistic way. All his depictions are experienced somehow in those states of the soul that he tries to gladly resist, but he doesn’t know any way to get closer to everything that bothers and oppresses him all his life.

His ideological solution is for this world to be more sustainable and for everything we do to be only for this world. The author also talks about selling himself for one express train to Britain where he sat alone, he didn’t have anyone to share the happiness as much as he wanted to share the problems, but again somehow, he was just one doctor Lazarus of his dreams who wanted to possesses in the bottom of the soul. He lived for some happier and better times, which in the end partially came true for him. His epilogue is to be still alive and enduring with the time of his existence and to look forward to some times, some events and coexistences of nature that he may have needed in the end as well.

This work of over seventy-one pages can still be read indefinitely because each chapter opens the page to the previous one and gives an epilogue to the events of free form imbued with poems and stories from his angle that were strange but persistent, as well as clear and loud. The times that agree are now becoming very important because everything that works and dreams and wants to come true is just a story from the past that is gradually opened to him, he must be what he is and is not. He lived for the time given to him, he dreamed of reaching his goal, and whether he came or not, the authors must find out. This work is very psychologically apologetic and it takes a little time for the authors, especially new ones, to get used to it, but of course it is not a problem for all those people who like to create and believe that they will understand this. We can say that the challenge was to read this accordingly that his works are very difficult to understand, but that through the captures everything is later clear where it is clearly numbered at the end of each chapter and finely edited in this PDF book, and certainly in libraries around the world . Fleeing from ourselves as a lesson we flee from everything around us and this is sometimes so little unnecessary because we have to look at the world as if it is equal and that in fact it is, after all, only large in color and size surrounded.

Book Review by Maid Corbic: 2 poems by Maid Corbic : Counterculturality & Decriptivity II

A Quick-9 Interview with James Lilley (the boxing poet from Swansea)

Q1: When did you start writing and your first influences?

James: My first memory of writing poetry was during a school trip. We stayed in a place called Borfa House and one afternoon we were tasked with writing poetry. My poem the sea cat at night was later published in a magazine or newspaper and I still have the original poem.

Q2: Who is/are your biggest influences today?

James: There are so many to name in truth. Since speaking to a poet from Swansea, Matthew M C Smith, I have met and spoken to loads of poets and writers. Reading their work, conversing with them and the support has led me to write in ways I did not think were possible.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?

James: I grew up and still reside in Swansea. The city is very proud of its history and culture and Dylan Thomas’s influence is embedded into the town. The geography of the town also plays a part in my writing.

Q4: Have any travels from home influenced your work/describe?

James: In my profession and hobbies, I am lucky to do quite a bit of traveling and see lots of new places and people and they certainly find their way into my work.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist/poet?

James: Since that moment on the school trip, I have always written. I never showed anyone my work and I thought it was just a hobby and would be nothing more. I tried to ignore but truthfully there were stories and poems inside of me that needed to be told to the world. I spoke to Matthew M C Smith and submitted my first poem.

Matthew M C Smith
A Review for Black Bough Poetry: Dark Confessions

Q6: Favorite activities when not writing?

James: Boxing, training in the gym, spending time with my family.

Q7: Any recent or upcoming promotional work you’d like to acknowledge?

James: I have just had a micro collection “the Thousand Ghosts of You” published with Alien Buddha Press.

This is the U.K. link for the book on Amazon.

Q8: Who has helped you most with your writing?

James: As with my influences, there are many. I would like to thank Amy-Jean Muller, Stephen Golds, B F Jones, Max, Scott, Tisa, Wayne, Alec, and a few more. They know who they are.

Q9: For more work from James Lilley:


check out Punk Noir Magazine

Bio: James Lilley, 34, father of 3 studying part time in a degree in Creative Writing. 2020 saw first work submitted and published with poetry being accepted with Black Bough Poetry, Versification and Spillwords. Is an active MMA and Bareknuckle fighter and a retired professional boxer dubbed the ‘Punching Poet’

Wolfpack Honorary Contributor: James Lilley

Poem by James Lilley “Pink Gin”

Poem by James Lilley : The Blue Hour in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020