Sunday, February 1, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Girlfriend Visiting

WOW. Simply, wow. That is the only word I can use to describe this masterpiece. It has been such a long time since I have read such a rich, emotional and tension filled romance.
-- Kate Garrabrant, Romance Novel TV

If you get a chance to chat with Carolyn Jewel in person--do it!

We met in California at a convention, and we had a great time. (I'm now rummaging through My Pictures for our photo together, can't find it, rats, who's supposed to organize these things...oh, I am)

Anyway--she's hilarious. Intelligent. Clever. Unpredictable. Ingenious. And so much fun! Her newest book: SCANDAL is burning up the review pages!

Jewel plays readers' emotions like a virtuoso, ensuring they will eagerly follow her characters into dramatic, intensely passionate and gripping love stories that will steal your heart and make you beg for more. She grabs you at the first word and never lets go.

So you can't do better than that. Girlfriend Carolyn is now here for a brief chat! Might as well talk about romance first!

HANK: My most embarrassing-in-retrospect heartthrob is Number 6 on The Prisoner. Who's yours? (I also had a crush on Henry V, but that's not embarrassing. Is it?)

CAROLYN: I have only ever loved Adrian Paul and Jet Li. Ever in my whole life.But Ringo was my favorite Beatle.

HANK: Since becoming a writer, what's the most glamorous thing you've ever done?


HANK: But seriously. (I know serious is hard for you....)What's the main thing you hope people take away from your book?

CAROLYN: A burning and insatiable desire to buy my backlist and everything else I ever write for the rest of my life. And to tell everyone they know to do the same thing. OK, seriously, I just hope they enjoy the heck out of the story.

HANK: I print every page of my first draft. The edit it on paper. Then fix the changes. Then go on. What is your process of getting out a first whole draft?

CAROLYN: I print out drafts from time to time because the words look different on paper. I rarely have a complete draft. I just have more and more words that make up a mess that needs constant and massive fixing which I do constantly until somehow the story isn't a mess any more. And then it's done.

HANK: If you could only own and read 5 books for the rest of your life,(excluding your own) what five books would you choose?

CAROLYN: Villette by Charlotte Bronte, Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Some edition of O'Henry Best Short Stories, A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh.

HANK: Who are your favorite musical artists?. What music would your characters love?

CAROLYN: Paolo Nutini, James Blunt, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters. Scandal does not include any musical references, but if it had, it would not have been any of these four. Lord Banallt would probably prefer John Lee Hooker while Sophie would actually prefer Vampire Weekend for having written Oxford Comma.

HANK: What's your Writer Fantasy? To see your book made into a feature film? To be on the New York Times bestseller list for 40 (or so) consecutive weeks?

CAROLYN: Hmm. My fantasies typically involve Adrian Paul or Jet Li. But I could live with 40 weeks on the NYT bestseller list. If I had to.

HANK: What's one piece of writing advice you've found valuable on your journey to publication?

CAROLYN: Dorothea Brande's section of Tapping the Unconscious in "Becoming A Writer” which included this warning; "If you fail repeatedly at this exercise, give up writing. Your resistance is actually greater than your desire to write and you may as well find some other outlet for your energy early as late." (79).

Alas, I failed miserably and repeatedly at her freewriting exercise. It seems I am a no-talent amateur with delusions of grandeur. I can't explain my ten (counting through the end of 2009) published novels, given this failure. I think I must be a freak of some sort.

Brande's book taught me that writing advice can, and possibly should, be ignored. Writers follow different paths to success and one path is nevermore valid than another. What works for me may not work for you and there's nothing wrong with that. The point is to actually go out and find what works for you.

HANK: Any stories about your cover?

CAROLYN: My editor at Berkley, Kate Seaver, sent me some cover art by someone she was thinking of using to see what I thought of his style. She also asked me for my ideas and for samples of covers I liked. As it happens, I am completely clueless about what makes a good cover (aside from knowing a good one when I see it attached to somebody else's book). My samples were all fairly dreadful. They were great for books that were not mine,though. The people whose business it is to create covers that sell books ignored me, thank goodness, and came up with a very passionate cover that conveys the emotion between my hero and heroine. I love my cover and I am really, truly grateful for the talented people who worked to make it come together so wonderfully.

HANK: Tell me a little about what inspired your book.

CAROLYN: Terror. I'm only partly kidding. Just about all my books are inspired by the terror of believing it isn't working and that, working or not, I won't be able to finish on time.

More seriously, Scandal is set during the English Regency period (which was 1811-1820) and I very deliberately drew on my grad school research on a woman who wrote during this time period. Women of the English upper classes had few resources if the men in their lives did not, for whatever reason, fulfill their cultural obligation to take care of their female relatives.

Writing novels was one of the few things a woman could do, openly or secretly, to make money. I was astonished to discover that the money a novelist could expect to make in 1815 isn't much different than it is today. The chief difference between then and now lies in the copyright. In 1815, publishers bought the copyright outright. The author was paid once and that was it. Today, authors typically retain the copyright to their work.

HANK: Where do you write?

CAROLYN: Since my son plays on a traveling soccer team, I am often writing in the car during practice or before games. The backseat of my car is minimalist and I typically get a lot done since there isn't much else to do. During crunch times, I also write in the car during my lunch break. My room, where I do most of my writing (when not in the car) is a cluttered mess. My dog sleeps on the chair tucked behind my back while the cats take turns on my lap.

HANK: What's up next? Do you have another project in the works?

CAROLYN: In June, 2009, Grand Central Publishing will release My Forbidden Desire, the second of an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance set in a world that includes mages and demons. Indiscreet will be an October 2009 historical from Berkley Sensation.

Thanks Carolyn! Check her website for more info...and to WATCH THE TRAILER and see you back here soon for THE LATEST!