On Fridays right here, writers talk about their books, their process, where they’ve been, and where they’re going. Today we celebrate R.E. CARR's win on Kindle Scout with FOUR, a deliciously quirky paranormal romance novel recently launched by Kindle Press.
Finding a job is never easy, and the only employment Gail usually finds is acting as Girl Friday for the mob. Lucky for Gail, Georgia Sutherland has just the job for her, that is, if she can handle working nights, managing a little blood, and a boss who's been dead for centuries.
In a single interview, Gail's world turns upside down as she discovers that all she’s seen in Hollywood isn’t quite true; vampires don't combust in sunlight, but they do fall in love.
Are Georgia's stories enough to persuade Gail to take the gig catering to an antediluvian vampire who's thirsty for a new personal assistant? If Gail wants to live out the year and retire rich, she just needs to remember the Four Rules that govern undead society.
- FOUR did well on Kindle Scout and won a contract with Kindle Press. How did you manage your campaign, and how have you enjoyed the process of publication since?
“Managing a campaign” is an interesting way of putting it, as it implies conscious thought and planning. I stumbled into Kindle Scout because a friend of mine thought I should try for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (which was replaced with the Kindle Scout program). I had been in a dark place, writing for the better part of a decade and, honestly, had given up. I didn’t expect to be selected and once I was up there, I was sure I had no chance, but my friends constantly supported me and cheered me on. I did a few funny tweets and posted on Facebook to my friends, but I was really uncomfortable the whole time. Naturally that changed completely and my funk melted like ice cream in July when I actually was selected.
- Can you tell us what motivated your choice of subject matter and genre?
FOUR was born of a dare, an epic rant. Even though I was a Goth in high school and college, vampires were never my favorite. In fact I liked to mock them, a lot, yet I watch the Underworld series as my ultimate guilty pleasure. So I suppose my relationship with the genre is complicated. After a particularly vitriolic session breaking down how mad I was at the concept of sparkling vampires, my friends dared me to “do better.” I honestly don’t know if I did better, but I certainly did different. At that point I just needed to write something, and it was completely unlike the science fiction and traditional fantasy that I'd written in the past.
- What did this book teach you about yourself as a writer?
It taught me that I still had stories to tell. I felt like I had somehow pressed the pause button for years and lost myself in the process. I started FOUR while my mother was dying and it hit hard that there comes a moment when you run out of time. I learned through this book that I still has some spark left and words to say.
- There are deft touches of humor in your writing that reviewers have applauded. Can you talk about the aspects of writing you find most challenging, and those that come relatively easily?
Dying is easy, comedy is hard. A lot of the black humor was my own emotions welling up. We tend to tell jokes at funerals in my family and I wanted to just make people laugh. I love listening to people and usually love to talk, so dialogue is easy to me. On the flip side I tend to get lost in moments as a right brain dominant thinker and have to really force myself to write a linear plot. Almost always as I write it unfolds like an Eddie Izzard comedy routine – layers and layers of information that circle back from time to time and only make sense after you step back and think the whole thing through. I also have yet to master the happily ever after concept.
- What inspires you to write, and where do you look for motivation?
I’m inspired sometimes by the most random things, including a coworkers total hatred of cilantro, but when I really need to settle down and recharge my batteries, it’s always music. I can lie back in bed with my headphones and just travel to other worlds. Each of my characters has a theme song and I make a playlist for each story I write. I just wish I didn’t get inspiration while in the shower, driving, or other inconvenient places.
- You get to the end of your life, and there to escort you through the tunnel to the light beyond and show you around is a philosopher / author / artist / scientist / celebrity you've always revered. Who is it, and why him/her?
This question actually made me tear up. I think I’d want to be shown around by Jim Henson. I just want to sing It’s Not Easy Being Green and have a few moments to play, to talk to someone who created such beautiful creatures and kept me company when I was little and alone. Also I’d want to thank him because his tragedy saved both my and my son’s life. If I hadn’t learned the dangers of walking pneumonia, neither one of us would still be here today.
- How do you see your career as an author developing?
Right now I’m indulging my right brain and enjoying the moment. I want to finish the story I never thought I’d start within FOUR. I want to enjoy my stories and find more to tell, but whatever happens, I know now that I’m going to fight a little harder than ever, because time's arrow never stops moving forward. Also, one day, maybe I’ll write something with an unambiguous happy ending…maybe.
R. E. Carr likes to split her time between the alien (well, resident alien) she married, her two adorable offspring and the vast army of characters who constantly argue in her brain. She uses her past life as a video game reviewer to remind herself just how awesome it is to be writing novels now.
Rachel writes because she knows so many people and places that never quite made it into this version of the universe. It's her duty to let them out. Writing also gives her mind a certain peace and calm rarely felt in this multi-tasking, wired world.
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