Grace Ombry, Novelist

Grace Ombry, Novelist

Slow-roasted, 100% organic, locally sourced artisanal novels 

Hi. I’m Grace Ombry and I’d rather not talk about myself in the third person, so forgive me for dispensing with that conceit (except as necessary to satisfy the weird demands of SEO).

I write mainly pop culture fiction, particularly rock n roll novels. I don’t think there are nearly enough of them so I’ve made it my mission to rectify that. A few of my favorite writers are Kurt Vonnegut, Nick Hornby, Nick Sheff, Maria Semple, John Krakauer, and Chuck Klosterman. For more about my reading habits and opinions, check out my Goodreads link on the right.

How I Write

Everybody’s creative process is a little different, and I’m not so enamored with my own to think that it will be especially interesting to anyone else. So if you stop reading here I won’t be offended.

Oh, are you still with me? Cool.

My characters grow organically from my writing, and my plots (mostly) grow from my characters. In other words, I’m a pantser, which means I write the story first then figure out how it all fits together, refining until the plot works.  I adore character-driven fiction and letting stories develop out of the characters’ desires and foibles. This is the opposite of plot-driven fiction with characters who exist to serve the plot (and, if done poorly, can seem like paper dolls being moved from scene to scene).  However, I couldn’t succeed as a pantser if I didn’t understand storytelling, so I make it my job to be a student of the craft. Because in the end, a bunch of interesting characters bumbling around with no plot might be even worse than paper dolls moving from plot point A to plot point B.

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.

My second-favorite part of writing fiction is dialogue. Writing good dialogue is a blast. Subtlety and innuendo in dialogue are what I live for. I can’t stand reading on-the-nose dialogue or redundant dialogue tags. Poor dialogue in fiction is a lost opportunity.

My go-to writing exercise, especially if I get stuck, is an open-ended character interview. Some of my favorite scenes have developed while using this productive writing technique.

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, perhaps because 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.

My Work in Progress

As of this writing, I’m elbow-deep in a monomyth with epistolary elements. In plain English, it’s a novel written in the style of a rock n roll memoir that includes album reviews, magazine interviews, etc. Except unlike a real rock n roll memoir, it has a plot. This story is set in the early 1970s and centers on a boy named Robin who runs away from home to front his older step-brother’s band. This story sprung naturally from my love of music, musicians, and long hair (on anyone), as well as my years of reading every rock n roll memoir I could get my hands on. It has been fermenting in my brain and in various states of disarray on my electronic devices since at least 2008. I’m in the final round of edits ahead of beta reading. I can’t wait until this one is finished, but at the same time, I love these characters so much that I know I’ll miss them when this book goes to print.

Random Facts About Grace Ombry

Many moons ago I graduated from Central Michigan University with a journalism major and marketing minor. My day job (which I happen to love) is Marketing Director for the greatest glue factory on earth, and editor of Epoxyworks magazine, which has been in continuous print since 1992.

In my free time, I help manage an online grief support group and website.   I play guitar and ukelele. (Since you ask, I have two Taylor acoustics, a Fender Mustang, an Electra Les Paul and a Lanikai concert uke). Every year I treat myself to several rock concerts. Pearl Jam and My Morning Jacket are longtime favorites, but I love taking in newer bands, and I have an enormous love for love for prog rock). I also enjoy rustic camping with my family. My strangest hobby is probably keeping bees in my urban backyard. But writing is and always has been my number one love, and the majority of my free time is spent working on my current novel.

Home for me is Bay City, Michigan, but I’m at home anywhere as long as my husband (since 1995) Michae and our son and daughter are there. We have two cats and a pug dog. Oh, and thousands of Russian honey bees who work their striped butts off every day. (Except for the drones. Drones are lazy). Really, you should think about beekeeping. It’s fascinating and good for the environment, too.

What Grace Ombry is Bad at, But Does Anyway

  • Gardening
  • Singing
  • Housekeeping, especially folding laundry
  • Social Media
  • Self-promotion
  • Grace Ombry
  • Search Engine Optimization (Oh, you see what Grace Ombry did there?)

One More Thing

My first novel, State of Love & Trust is available through Amazon.com.