Cornelia Grey Sharing Pinspiration and More About ‘The Empty Hourglass’ by Cornelia Grey (giveaway and guest blog)


The Empty Hourglass

The Empty Hourglass (Deal with a Devil) by Cornelia Grey
iptide Publishing
Cover Art by Jay Aheer



Hello! I’m Cornelia Grey—welcome to the Empty Hourglass blog tour! At various tour stops, I’ll be sharing some secrets about my writing process, sources of inspiration and future projects!

Comment on each stop to be entered in a drawing for a $15 Riptide Publishing gift card and the two previous titles in the Deal with a Devil series— Devil at the Crossroads and The Circus of the Damned—in an e-book format of your choice. Thank you for joining me on the tour!


Authors are often asked where they find inspiration. Among various sources, I find what works best for me is visual inspiration… I studied fine arts and history of arts for several years, so I’m very fond of paintings, incisions, photography, digital art and comics—and I find they do wonders to fire up ideas and storylines in my brain!

On some occasions, seeing a single image has been enough to spark a chain reaction that ended up in an entire plot somehow pouring out of my brain. Other times, a picture of a potential character intrigues me enough that I start wondering who they might be, what their story could be like, and end up with a protagonist on my hands in need of an adventure.

One of my current favorite sources of visual inspiration is Pinterest—I used to scour the internet and save tons of pictures on my hard drive, neatly divided in settings, characters, props, various historical eras… but, unfortunately, they ended up getting lost in the mix when the folders became too big and it was time-consuming to keep them all properly organized.

With Pinterest, I find the feature allowing to mimic a corkboard ‘pinning’ the pictures and having them all available at a glance much more convenient. So when I started working on The Empty Hourglass, I spent some time browsing through the website looking for inspiration for the characters, the setting and the general atmosphere of the story (Just a word of caution… gotta be careful that a bit of browsing for inspiration doesn’t accidentally turn in hours of procrastination 😉 )

So, allow me to introduce you to a few of The Empty Hourglass’s characters!

If you have read the previous installments in the Deal with a Devil series, you might have noticed that our resident devil, Farfarello, looks different in each one. Discovering what he’s going to look like in the current story is always one of my favorite aspects when working on this series. And usually, I come across a particular image that just strikes me—you know, the ‘there! That’s him!’ feeling! And this is what he looks like in The Empty Hourglass:


As for our protagonist, toymaker Thomas Escott, who grew up on the streets of the capital, I was rather charmed by this fellow:


Our reclusive inventor, Jethro Hastings, was instead inspired by Algerian actor Tahar Rahim—please notice the curly inventor hair!


This lovely lady and her spiders were the inspiration for Dragana, the blind inventress, although my character ended up looking fairly different, with dark hair and skin:


And as for Mina, the little ghost girl inhabiting Jethro’s garden, I found this picture absolutely lovely for her:


I hope you enjoyed this little introduction to The Empty Hourglass’s characters! If you’d like to see more pictures—of Jethro’s mansion and laboratory, for example, or of his prosthetics and, of course, the devil’s hourglass, please feel free to have a look at the Pinterest board for this novel!

About  The Empty Hourglass

Thomas Escott has always wanted to be a toymaker, yet just as he achieves his dream, an accident claims his right hand. He’s certain his life is over—until he hears about groundbreaking prosthetics being made by a reclusive inventor.

Jethro Hastings is perfectly content to live alone up in the mountains working on a secret masterpiece: a humanoid automaton that will change the scientific community forever. He’s behind schedule, and the date of the unveiling is fast approaching, so when Thomas shows up on his doorstep offering help in exchange for a mechanical hand, Jethro agrees. Time, after all, is running out on another deal he’s made: one with the devil.

The devil gives Jethro’s inventions life, but he can just as quickly take life away—Jethro’s, to be exact. As the sand in the devil’s hourglass falls, marking the time until the end of the deal, inventions go haywire, people get hurt, and Thomas realizes he needs Jethro just as much as his prosthetic. Now he must find a way to save Jethro’s soul, but negotiating with a devil is just as difficult as it sounds.

About Cornelia Grey

Cornelia Grey is a creative writing student fresh out of university, with a penchant for fine arts and the blues. Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where she collected her share of poetry and narrative prizes, Cornelia moved to London to pursue her studies.

After graduating with top grades, she is now busy with internships: literary agencies, publishing houses, and creative departments handling book series, among others. She also works as a freelance translator.

She likes cats, knitting, performing in theatre, going to museums, collecting mugs, and hanging out with her grandma. When writing, she favors curious, surreal stories, steampunk, and mixed-genre fiction. Her heroes are always underdogs, and she loves them for it.

Connect with Cornelia:


To celebrate the release of The Empty Hourglass, Cornelia is giving away the two previous titles in the Deal with a Devil series—  Devil at the Crossroads and  The Circus of the Damned—in an e-book format of your choice, plus $15 in Riptide credit. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 16, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following  the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!