Monday, September 20, 2010
Author spotlight with Carol A. Guy
Carol thanks for agreeing to this interview.
What has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
Authors like Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Dorothy Sayers, Paul Wellman, John Dickson Carr and others influenced me a lot. I began reading Wellman and Christie when I was a teenager. Mysteries and paranormal were the genres I loved and now it’s what I write.
How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
Ecstatic and relieved. I got my true crime book, A Picture Perfect Kid—Zumaya Publications—and my first cozy mystery accepted in the same week from different publishers. Talk about a happy dance! But I also realized that there would be a lot of work ahead of me because I had so many ideas for other books. An author’s work is never done.
How do you categorize yourself: pantser or plotter?
I’m definitely a plotter. I have to have an outline. It’s just a general outline, however, because I realize that once I start writing, other ideas will come to me and specifics of the scene might be altered.
What makes a book great in your eyes?
Well defined characters who are a little unpredictable.
A plot that keeps you guessing.
Good dialogue that is true to the character.
Page turning action.
A surprise ending.
I’m talking mysteries here, of course.
What is the biggest piece of your advice you can give a beginning writer?Pursue your dream and don’t let anyone discourage you. Also, don’t take rejections personally. Always remember why you began writing--because you love it and it gives your life more meaning.
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
You mean besides chocolate, which I’m not supposed to have? Well, let’s see—I’m a sucker for a cute puppy or kitten, which is probably why there are four cats and a dog in my house.
What influences your writing? And why?
What influences my writing is the need to tell the stories that fill my head. I see stories everywhere I go, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on the situation.
Name one thing readers don’t know about you.
I’m hooked on crossword puzzles. I work at least two or three a day. Can’t get enough of them. What? You were expecting some scandalous disclosure? Not until we know each other better!
What are you working on now?
House of Secrets, the fourth book in the Spirit Lake series. Fair warning: this one is not for the faint hearted.
Who is your favorite all-time author?
I have to say it is Dame Agatha Christie. I love the way she developed the characters and wove her plots.
Are love scenes easy/difficult to write?
Love scenes or sex scenes? There’s a difference in my mind. Writing sex scenes is easy, but writing a real love scene takes a lot more finesse and can be a real challenge.
Do you write in one genre or several different ones? And why?
I’ve written in several genres in the past including erotica. Now I write the paranormal mysteries and cozy mysteries. I write in those genres because they come easily to me. I toyed once with the idea of writing true science fiction, but gave it up.
If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
On a beach. It’s been a cold snowy winter here in Dayton, Ohio.
How do you deal with the dreaded writer’s block?
I’ve never really had writer’s block—knock on wood. I guess if I did, I’d just take some time off and relax. I don’t think you can force the ideas to come and fretting about it would only make it worse.
Do you have another career besides writing? What is it?
I’m retired now. I was the business manager for numerous hospices, worked in hospital and home health business offices and even did a stint as a pharmacy tech way back when. Then of course, I worked as a newspaper reporter in South Carolina for a while.
What’s your biggest reward in being a writer?
Knowing that people enjoy my work. I’m not on any best seller list by any means, but I have a loyal group of readers who read my books and are like friends to me.
To date, which is your favorite story? Which one did you have the most fun writing?
Personally I like the Canid books best—Night of the Canid, Shadows in the Night and Night Watchers—but most of my readers go for the Spirit Lake ones. The Canid books—about shape shifters—are the most fun, although I have to admit I really enjoyed writing the fourth Spirit Lake book, House of Secrets. I’m not sure how it will be received though, since there are some very shocking developments included.
How do you go about developing your characters and setting?
I do character profile sheets. I have always felt that if you want to breathe life into your characters you have to give them a life. I use a form that I developed. It includes everything about the character, right down to their favorite color and whether their parents are alive or dead. I give them a past—where they went to school, do they have siblings, pets, make, model and color of the car they drive, etc. This helps me prevent errors like saying in one scene that they drive a Honda Civic and in another referring to the Dodge Stratus they own. See what I mean?
If you had the opportunity to say one thing to your readers, what would that be?
Keep reading! Don’t ever stop. And let me know what you think of my work. I love getting feedback. I’ve been knocking around this business for a long time and I worked for newspapers, so I’m not going to curl up in a corner and cry if I get criticism! Also, don’t be afraid to read books that are outside your normally preferred genre. It can only expand your world. And support your local libraries and promote literacy.
Visit my website for updates about my books and my life, and other fun things at: www.goodmysteries.webs.com .