Once again Twitter has granted me a new author contact. Carolyn Arnold (on Twitter at @Carolyn_Arnold) is doing a book release blog tour to promote her third title and was kind enough to accede to an author interview here (where I’m frantically trying to stay on top of my Nanowrimo word count this month). Enjoy!
1. You are in the process of releasing your second title this month, Eleven, and you say on your website that you have another handful written and getting ready for publication. Seeing as how you have a day job, and you really only started writing seriously/consistently four years ago, where did you find the time to be so consistently productive over such a short span? (Have you slept at all recently??)
Who needs to sleep? Just joking. I just love writing and it’s become part of who I am. They say when something is important to you, you make time for it and that’s definitely the case with my writing.
As you mentioned I do have a day job and that takes up 40 hrs/week, but I’m not going to let that stop me from doing what I love. When I’m writing, I prefer to do so first thing in the mornings and can churn out about 900-2000 before work. I also write on my lunch breaks at work for a half an hour, and on weekends or holidays I’m behind my laptop pecking on the keys.
2. How did you discover your calling as a writer, and what inclined you toward self-pubbing, likely indie status?
There’s a terrific story in there! Four years ago, I was working for a larger company and was facing a department layoff. Needless to say none of us were too motivated to work, so toward the end of a work day a co-worker sent me an email and asked me to tell her a story. I typed up a few paragraphs and sent them back to her within a few minutes. She asked for more. I complied and she told me I had to see this through. I did and LIFE SENTENCE became my first completed novel.
3. You say your heart is mostly inclined to thriller and suspense novels. What drew you to those genres?
It came from what I love to read and watch. I love a story that pulls me and intrigues me. I like to tap into the darker side of humanity in fiction, and explore what makes them that way.
4. How long did you take to write this novel?
I wrote the first draft of ELEVEN in 2 months.
I guess we’ll see. It definitely has potential to become a series and I already have an idea for the next book if I do go this way.
6. It seems you have a penchant for writing characters investigating crime scenes professionally. Is this something from your own professional background, or do you have research assistance with the procedural details?
I wish I had this as a professional background. I know some mystery, thriller and suspense writers have taken night courses in Forensics and I have considered doing so. Most of my research is derived from books on the subject and the Internet. I suggest to anyone researching to cross-reference material to make sure you have a clear understanding. I have also been fortunate to have some contact with a former forensic investigator, a detective sergeant and a police officer.
7. You note that you graduated high school but never trained in English, literature, or creative writing. What do you do to hone your craft?
I wrote. Just like with anything, the more you do something the better you get at it. I also read a lot of books on the writing craft, on developing relatable and believable characters, on dialogue and dialogue tags and on creating suspense by ways of example. I became part of an online community of writers, which allowed me to post samples of my work for feedback and critique. All of these things help one grow as a writer.
8. How many revisions do you go through before you decide a story is ready for release? What is your editorial process?
Personally, I made at minimum twelve passes of ELEVEN. With other novels, I couldn’t tell you right now. All I can say is when it’s finished you’ll know it. I know some writers can edit one book for many years but at some point you have let the world enjoy it. The other thing you need to answer is: are the edits strengthening the work or weakening it? If you’re not certain, it may be time to step away from it.
9. Have your beagles ever shown up in one of your stories?
In TIES THAT BIND, Madison Knight’s partner Terry Grant has two beagles. One of them is named Todd and this was in honor of my first beagle.
10. What is your favorite reading material?
My favorite authors are David Baldacci and Sandra Brown.
11. Where can we find your books and connect with you online?
My novels are available on Amazon in print and for Kindle.
Good luck, Carolyn, with your new release!