Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Guest Author - R. E. Carr

I am the lucky girl who fulfilled a twenty-one year old dream by getting a novel polished. I embrace the wacky and macabre and won’t be stopping any time soon.

What is the background noise when you write and why is it there?

I almost always write to music. Whenever I am dreaming up a book, it’s like a movie scrolling through my head and every movie needs a brilliant soundtrack. I sometimes think that I’m in The Matrix though, because it’s an awful lot of Techno that keeps me going nowadays.

What is your most recent excellent read (book, short story or essay) and why?

I am still quite obsessed with Andy Weir’s The Martian. One, I’m a science geek and I love the near real world technology of the tale. Two, I’m very sarcastic, and Mark Watney (the lead character) speaks my language. Finally, it’s just a gripping study in pacing. It manages to both perfectly capture frantic excitement and crippling boredom in a single story, and I really admire how the author did that.

Are you a plotter, pantser or something in between and why?

I’m an accountant by day so by all rights I should be an excellent planner. I scribble out notes and make little doodles and tell myself “today, I’m going to outline my novel.”

…And then I actually start writing and the insane, right-brain-dominant Rachel takes charge. I start dancing around my laptop going “Whee!” like a three-year-old on a scooter, and just write whatever I see along the stops of the crazy train. It’s quite thrilling actually.

When you start reading a book do you always finish it? If not, what causes you to permanently put a book down?

I tend to push myself to finish any book I start. As an author, I am keenly aware of just how much heart and soul is poured into any piece of fiction and I feel like I owe it to the creator to at least stick it to the end. Usually I’m turned off by overly neat and tidy endings or what I like to call the “Tinkerbell-Jesus” syndrome: where a special character of special-ness thinks positive thoughts or a bunch of people sing or something and then – boom— there are sparkles and happiness and people back from the dead and…everything is suddenly better. Yeah it’s enough to make a girl write a tragic run-on sentence!

Do you read reviews of your books? Why or why not?

I used to read my reviews compulsively. I began wandering down that slippery spiral of self-doubt and found myself so paralyzed by the opinions of others that I couldn’t function. The best and the worst of them made me cry and I finally decided that it was no way to live. Now, I remind myself every day that those reviews aren’t for me, they are for my readers and I have a “bouncer” skim them for anything genuinely useful (e.g. pointing out a typo) or to give me snippets for my editorial review sections.

What do you do that you suspect causes your copyeditor to pull her/his hair out?

You mean other than make them look up words in the Urban Dictionary? I am apparently physically incapable of using a comma correctly for more than 500 words at a time. While I have no problem writing papers or boring stuff, once I get going on a work of fiction all bets are off!

When you compare your first draft to your final draft, do you net add words or subtract words? In general, what is it that you add or subtract between first and final draft?

I usually end up with a net-zero sum when I edit. I have to usually add a few clarifications and transitions. I tend to be dialog happy so I often have to add who said a particular line when I go back and read the work. Then I get savage and trim out the unnecessary fluff since I know I tend to go mental with adjectives and adverbs while I’m drafting. My last book, Six, ended up with a less than 100 word difference between the first draft and the last.

How did you develop the idea for your most recent work?

Originally I wasn’t going to write anymore paranormal/urban fantasy. I was happy with the way Four ended and I certainly wasn’t going to cloud my vampire mythos with something silly like werewolves. Then the very same co-workers who dared me to write Four in the first place started teasing me that I needed to write about werewolves, and I just remember snapping back with “heck, the werewolves are in Accounting,” and then the damn idea never left my head. It seems that most of my recent works begin with sarcasm, including Six.

A piece of writing advice you think is worth sharing.

There will always be that voice in the back of your head telling you that you aren’t worth it, that you should just quit; or, even worse, tell you to sell out and do whatever is popular. It’s OK to have that little bit of reservation in your subconscious, but it is also OK to imagine a roll of duct tape to stick its virtual mouth shut.

To find out more information about R. E. Carr and her writing be sure to check out her author page on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01259PCNI or you can tweet her @TotalRECarr. Four is currently available on Amazon and its follow-up, Six, is available March 29th, 2016.

And here is a quick blurb for Six:

Paige Carmichael has one simple rule: don’t rock the boat. She lives a quiet life in the suburbs with an adequate boyfriend and a job that pays the rent, all the while trying to hide the fact that she’s the daughter of a world-renowned paranormal investigator. Her happy bubble bursts when the father she’s tried so hard to forget appears at her door with an ominous message—vampires are real.

Paige’s safe little life doesn’t have secretive strangers that hide from the sun, arcane laws, or mysterious covens that stretch back for eons, but change as sure as the cycle of the moon is headed her way. Unfortunately for Paige, it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and if she doesn’t learn to adapt and discover her own inner strength, she might just find herself at the bottom of the food chain—quite literally.

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