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Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Interview Chat with Author Carol North - PART ONE- The Writing Process!
Martha: Carol, you now have three books out. Of course the first question is: What made you want to write in the first place?
Carol: One of my earliest memories is declaring, "I'm going to be a writer when I grow up."
It might sound corny but I believe it's my "soul bent." By that I mean being born with an inclination toward becoming a writer, if only because my fingers fit the computer keys and I have a run-away imagination. Or maybe it's genetic. Writers, artists, readers, and warriors abound on both sides of my family. The warrior part is needed to tough it out until publication. For whatever reasons, writing comes easy to me.
I believe. however, anyone devoted to the idea can be published. For some it may take longer or require more effort. If being a writer is your dream, you can make it come true.
M: I think a run-away imagination sure helps. I love the warrior part though to tough it out.
Would you say you write from experiences or imagination?
Carol: My experiences, the experiences of others, and images fire my imagination. For instance, Eternally His was inspired by working as a bridal consultant. I wanted to share the beauty of the bridal salon environment. The model for the Victorian bride ghost was a doll in a Franklin Mint advertisement.
M: That is very cool. Since my daughter recently got married I can agree that there is beauty in the salon environment. But you took it the extra step to create your ghostly bride.
Did you need any help staying motivated or getting any element of your stories to cooperate?
Carol: I probably do, but don't notice because of my training. I'm fortunate to have more than 20 years experience as a business and technical writer from which to draw. Early on, I realized a client won't pay you while you're having writer's block or waiting for the muse to sit on your shoulder, so I trained myself to spend every minute of my writing time being productive.
If I'm stuck in one area, I move to another. For example, from writing to research. Webbing and mind or idea mapping are techniques I successfully use to get back on track. The techniques are especially useful when plotting stories.
M: I’ve never heard of the term “webbing.” What is that?
Carol: It's a brainstorming technique basically the same as mind or idea mapping; it just goes be a different name. You start by drawing a circle in the middle of the paper. Write a name or term in the circle. Draw another circle and connect the two with a line. Write the first thing that comes to mind in the second circle. Keep doing that until you run out of ideas for the new circles. When done, you'll see your subconscious mind has given you a lot of ideas for continuing your story or writing a new one.
M: That sounds like an awesome tool.
Your three novels are all contemporaries but in different genres: paranormal, sci fi and straight contemporary. Do you have plans to write in any other genres?
Carol: Yes, 20th century historical. My next book begins in 1910 and covers three decades of the heroine's life. I have an urban fantasy novella, "Gifts for the Goddess," under contract. For me, the story idea comes first, rather than genre preference.
M: Wow – you are across the board. That is wonderful.
Do you enjoy promoting your book and do you do anything special to promote?
Carol: After spending many months writing a book, the characters become like family. Yes, I enjoy promoting because it's an opportunity to talk about my "family."
I have fun making promotional graphics, like excerpt booklets, bookmarks, and bookplates. My most successful promotions are contests for tees and tote bags decorated with covers from my books. I've been told people are trying to win the entire set.
M: Ha! Promoting the “family” eh?? Yes I’ve heard the totes are popular and we are pleased that you are offering two as Giveaways during this interview series. Thank you.
Did you have any input in getting the covers of your books?
Carol: Publishers provide to their authors "cover information" forms. The forms include questions about the location and time period of the story; and physical attributes of the main characters, such as hair color, build, typical attire (formal or informal). The rest of the questions are more conceptual: genre, tone of the story, symbolical objects in the story, and so on.
An author friend said to me, "The cover gods have smiled on you." I agree and am happy with all my covers. They tell the stories as much as the computer files and the pages between the covers do.
M: Yes I think the cover gods have smiled on you. I like each one.
CONTINUE THE INTERVIEW TOMORROW NOVEMBER 4, 2009 with Crystal at My Reading Room!
REMEMBER TO ENTER THE TOTE GIVEAWAY AT THIS LINK. Comment on this interview for extra entry. And check out the Review post and comment there for another extra entry!