Gray, during the time of the interview, was a man of thirty-one years of age and was not very successful in his practice as a lawyer and a farmer. Gradually having to sell off his land bit by bit and many of his slaves, Gray tried to find other occupations that might pay higher than his current job. When the Nat Turner rebellion occurred, Gray had to have realized how big this story was. Not only had one of the biggest slave rebellions in American history just occurred, but also the authorities had the main instigator alive in a prison cell.
Gray probably realized controversy would erupt over what Turner had to say, and so he left for Jerusalem, Virginia right away to interview Turner before he was arraigned and hung. Gray could not have written the interview verbatim. The technology of the day would not have allowed it, and it is not normal for a person being interviewed to speak slowly enough to remind the interviewer to write down everything as it is said.
It is more likely that Gray just jotted down notes, bits and pieces, of what Turner actually said to him. After the interview, when Gray was writing the final article for publishing, he put it in words that Turner did not actually say. For example, "As we approached the house we discovered Mr. Richard Whitehead standing in the cotton patch, near the lane fence; we called him over into the lane, and Will, the executioner, was near at hand, with his fatal axe, to send him to an untimely grave."It is unlikely that Turner used those exact words.
Turner taught himself how to read and write. He might have had an extensive vocabulary but it is unlikely that he used those exact words. It is more likely that when Gray was filling in the empty spots he did so in his own words, and even sometimes with vocabulary that made Turner into a mad genius. Gray most likely did this so that it would increase the shock value of the story; a better story made for a greater aud..