Grace Ombry, Author of Smokin' & Crying'

Grace Ombry

I write mainly pop-culture fiction with realistic characters in real-world situations. A few of my favorite writers are Barbara Kingsolver, Kurt Vonnegut, Nick Hornby, Jean Hanff-Korlitz, Maria Semple, John Krakauer, and Lauren Groff. For more about my reading habits, check out my Goodreads link on the right.

My published novels are Smokin’ & Cryin’ (2018) and State of Love & Trust (2016). They’re both available in print and digital.

My Work in Progress

As of this writing, I’m revising a Young Adult paranormal novel. The story takes place in Michigan following a high school senior prank gone disastrously wrong. It’s dark. The tentative title is The Remainders.

I realized I needed to write this book after I became obsessed with news stories regarding MV Sewol, a South Korean ferry that sank on April 16, 2014.  There were 325 members of the Danwon High School junior class aboard the MV Sewol at the time of the sinking, and just 75 of them survived.  The stories of these kids going back to class just 18 days later and dealing with the magnitude of their loss—250 classmates, siblings, and friends—hit me hard.  But their true story I feel is theirs alone to tell, and my fictional ferry and its passengers are another matter entirely.

How I Write

My characters grow organically from my writing, and my plots (mostly) grow from my characters. In other words, I write the story first then figure out how it all fits together, refining it until the plot works.  I adore character-driven fiction with stories developing out of the characters’ desires and foibles. I make it my job to be a student of storytelling.

I have to get to know my characters deeply and understand them as humans. Characterization is by far my favorite part of writing fiction. There is nothing more satisfying to me than creating a character who walks off the page and takes on a life of his own. I love all of my characters, good, bad, and in between. Especially those who are in between.

I enjoy exploring the dynamics between the characters in my fiction, digging into the subtleties of jealousies, grudges, crushes, love,  and nuanced, imperfect relationships. Sibling relationships come up a lot in my work. I’m fascinated with how different people can be even when raised in the same environment and circumstances.

Once I’ve written a novel, I rewrite it several times, developing the characters and refining the plot as I go. This means I do great quantities of writing, revising and editing. I don’t mind. Writing, for me, is like breathing.

More About Me

I graduated from Central Michigan University with a journalism major and marketing minor.  In 2022, I retired from my lifelong career in marketing and editing.

In my free time, I play guitar and ukelele. I treat myself to several rock concerts each year. I love taking in newer bands, and I have an enormous love for prog rock and a weakness for psychedelic rock. I also enjoy rustic camping with my family.

Home for me is Bay City, Michigan.