Today’s post is brought to you by the hard work and thoughtful mind of author C.L. Roman whose most recent YA novel, Fire Candidate: The Witch of Forsythe High Book 2, will be released on March 23.
We’re having a big Facebook party and everything! You should really come.
But today she is answering five burning questions that every author gets asked at one time or another. Not one to be stingy with words, C.L. has offered up bits of expertise and a glimpse into the mind of an author. Don’t get scared now…
Five Questions you always wanted to ask an author:
- Why do you write?
The simplest answer is also the one that confuses people the most; “because I have to.” Ok, so writing isn’t as necessary as say, the last bucket of fresh water on a desert island. But that’s only because you can’t write if you’re dehydrated. Or dead. Writing, for me anyway, has become a sort of healthy-ish addiction. The words squirm around in my brain, sending thorn studded tendrils to pluck at my soul until I give up and spit them out onto paper. They might never get published, but they have to be written, or they will eat me alive.
Writing is like any other passion in life. The more it is fed, the more it grows, and yet not feeding it, not putting pen to page, carries a peculiar kind of agony. Ask anyone who surfs or cooks or teaches or plays professional sports, why they do it – the thing that makes their chest thump and the blood whoosh audibly through their veins, and you’ll get the same answer. Because they have to.
- What inspires you?
Oh goodness. What a question. The same thing that inspires every artist on the planet, I would guess. Next question. What? Not specific enough? Ok, fine. Here’s the deal. It’s hard to pin down what a writer finds inspiring because it’s kind of, well, everything. I’ve been inspired by dreams (really weird ones, but that’s another post entirely), by a chance comment made by a friend or heard on TV, brainstorming sessions with fellow writers, my grand-daughters crazy sayings, nature and Facebook posts, among a wide variety of other stuff. Inspiration has struck in such disparate places as driving to work and on trips to the water-closet. That’s the thing about ideas. They don’t wait for an appropriate moment. They just show up and you have to write them down or they get offended and leave.
- Where do you get your characters?
From life mostly. Are you volunteering? Digs frantically in a knapsack, pulls out a ragged piece of legalish parchment. Here, sign this. No? Ok, have it your way, but you did offer.
Most of my characters are Frankenstinean conglomerations made from parts of people I’ve known, met, or just seen in real life. I may never know the real person’s name or what they are truly like, but that doesn’t stop me from basing a character on them and shoving him/her into a book or three. Julian, in First Candidate, is based loosely on several former students. His speech patterns, body language and general attitude are all framed by things I’ve witnessed in my day job. Even characters I have built from the ground up, so to speak, often manifest some attitude or characteristic I’ve seen in real people.
And, before you ask, no. I have never deliberately written a character based solely or directly on a single person. Yet.
- What would you do if you couldn’t write?
You mean like writer’s block? Recoils in horror. Gulps tea. Manages to collect herself and respond. A spiritual journey to the Himalayas? Water board my muse until she coughs up a new story? Crawl into a hole and die? Shrugs. I really don’t know, to tell the truth. So far, my muse has been nothing if not faithful, and it hasn’t happened. The only thing that came close was a period many years ago when I had a bad experience with a publisher. I didn’t write for quite a while after that, but then, I wasn’t trying either. I think every writer has peaks and valleys in their creative journey, and I imagine that it is the same for other artists. That isn’t necessarily a block — just a hiatus.
- What do you consider to be a successful writing career?
Wow, you sure do believe in saving the hardest for last, don’t you? There are so many definitions of “success” out there. I’ve been told that publication is success. Others say that hitting the best-seller list is success. And there are myriad markers in between the two. The term is so elastic that, to be meaningful, it has to be tailored to the individual.
I have goals in mind for my work. When I achieve those goals I have a choice — stop where I’m at or set a new goal. Either way, I’ve done what I set out to do. For me, that’s success. I try not to measure it in arbitrary numbers: sales figures, star ratings, books sold or given away. Such things are useful for marketing, but they don’t tell the whole story. Every one of those measurements is based on someone else’s opinion. If you gauge your success on someone else’s instruments, you end up chasing a chimera. And those things bite. I can only say what success is for me and work toward it. My concept may be totally different from yours and that’s not a bad thing.
C.L. Roman writes fantasy and paranormal young adult. She currently has two series in the works: Rephaim and The Witch of Forsythe High. Most days you can find her on her blog, The Brass Rag, or working on her next novel or short story. She lives in the not-so-wilds of Northeast Florida with her husband and Jack E. Boy, the super Chihuahua.
Sometimes learning to trust yourself is the hardest lesson of all…
Most girls don’t set their birthday party on fire, no matter how rebellious they feel. But Lila Stuart isn’t most girls, and she never has been. Now her brand of strange is attracting a very bad crowd. She and her family must relocate, leaving everything she knows behind.
Tracked to her new home by a predatory demi-god, Lila is sold to a human trafficking cartel that specializes in people like her, first generation angel-human hybrids with powers that could make them heroes or deadly villains.
When the cartel threatens her family, Lila must choose: serve as an assassin or live as a slave. Will she find a way out, or is the cost of fighting back just too high?
The second installment in The Witch of Forsythe High series is a fast paced fire-storm about the choices life requires of us and the consequences they bring in their wake