"When it comes to authors,we may hide ourselves from others but within our pages, our true souls emerge." - Nicole Hill
"I want a Vampite of my very own. Until I find him, I'll just keep writing him into existence." -Nicole Hill
" I write like people talk. It may not be perfect but it's damn entertaining." - Nicole Hill

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Author Spotlight of Carlie MA Cullen Author of Heart Search


Carlie M A Cullen

The title of her work of art:
Heart Search, Book One: Lost

Where Carlie creates:
I was born in East London and grew up in the county of Hertfordshire. I now live in a small town in Essex

The genre that gets to claim her:
Fantasy primarily, but with a little Paranormal Romance

In Carlie's words, Heart Search is about:
It’s about a young couple, Remy and Joshua, in their twenties and about to get married, when he vanishes two days before the wedding just leaving a note. Remy’s distraught and when all efforts to contact him fail, her twin sister encourages her to fight for him. She puts together a plan and sets off on a lonely, emotional journey to find him. While this has been going on, Joshua has turned into a vampire and joined his maker’s coven.

As Remy travels around the country, drawing on an inner strength to keep going, strange things begin to happen to her, things she can’t explain and she begins to question her sanity. Meanwhile, drama after drama unfolds within the coven. Joshua discovers he has some unusual and powerful gifts in addition to the normal enhanced senses, strength and speed. He also begins a relationship with another coven member, but is still haunted by his love for Remy. He finds himself embroiled in coven politics which culminates in a fight for survival.

There is a link between Joshua and Remy appearing throughout the book which makes the two stories connect in an unusual way. Remy discovers she’s pregnant with twins and just before she’s about to return home, she sees Joshua. She tries to follow him but he eludes her. The story ends on a cliffhanger.

Her muse starts off following the rules but then it just veers off whenever it feels like it: 

To be honest, it’s really a combination of the two. I start off with a synopsis and brief outline, but when I start writing the story takes on a life of its own, suddenly throwing me curve balls, twists in the plot I hadn’t intended. These tend to make the story stronger and more exciting, allowing me to explore other avenues within the tale.

When I started this book, I planned out all the characters, the relationships, the powers the vampires were going to have, physical descriptions etc., had a synopsis, an outline of how the story would progress and a plan for the first twelve chapters. By the time I reached chapter four or five, the chapter plan was about as much use as a chocolate teapot and from then on, I just went with the flow and let it just happen.

Has Carlie ever written anything and thought  " The world has got to see this!" ?

If you’d asked me that a couple of years ago I would have said no. I didn’t have the confidence in my work or self-belief that I had enough writing skill then. It’s actually amazing how time and experience changes your perceptions and self-belief systems. When Heart Search Book One was finished, edited and polished till it shone I then thought it was worthy and the world had got to see it.

Who do we thank for helping to get Heart Search ready for the masses?

I have a fantastic editor, Maria V A Johnson, who has been so helpful and supportive. When I finished the first draft, I took advice from published author friends who explained the pitfalls of trying to self-edit so after some careful searching, I found Maria. She is an absolute gem, and I won’t ever go to anyone else.
As for the cover, I’m certainly not skilled enough to do anything like that! My cover designer is Nicole Antonia Carson, who is also a talented author. She has tremendous vision and ideas for book covers and she gave me about ten to choose from. Funnily enough, the first one she did I fell in love with (although I did have a tiny bit of input which is how the dove ended up on the cover), and whilst all the other designs were amazing, they paled in comparison to her first one and that’s what I stuck with.

Who can we thank for inspiring Carlie to write? 

This is an incredibly difficult question to answer; so many great authors have influenced my writing life. Reading Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm as a child fired my imagination and that’s when I actually started writing. I’ve not stopped since. Writing has been an integral part of my life as I’ve grown into adulthood and at times it’s kept me sane through some difficult periods. So I guess I would have to say Hans Christian Andersen, although I’ve not read any of his stories since I was a child. If you had asked who influenced me to actually try and make a career from writing you would have got a completely different answer. But even though you didn’t ask that I’ll tell you anyway – J.K. Rowling.

What she finds the most challenging:

When I’m writing in my genre, I think my only challenge is making sure I don’t over-describe or over-emote. I’m a great believer in writing so readers can picture the scene and relate to the emotions of the characters. I actually mind it more of a challenge trying to write in different genres.

Does she write her characters or do they write themselves through her?

I begin writing my characters, but then they take over and write themselves through me. It’s interesting how they develop themselves, often catching me unawares when they do or say something I’m not expecting.

Does she  ever write herself into the characters?

To a small degree I think I do, although not intentionally. There are places in the book where Remy and her twin are bantering and I can clearly see snippets of the dialogue are very similar to when my daughter and I are joking around.

 Is writing her full time job or is she  "Keeping her day job"? So to speak.

I would have been ‘keeping my day job’ and writing in my spare time. However, in recent months problems with my spine means I’m now disabled and cannot work. So now writing is my full time job. It’s the only thing really keeping me sane through the pain.

If she could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be?
There are quite a few who spring to mind, but I think it would have to be Merlin from the Arthurian legends. I’ve always been fascinated by that time in history, after all a lot of it is based in fact. Proof has been found that Camelot did exist as did King Arthur. It would be great to go back and see where the facts left off and the myths began. Who knows, maybe none of it is myth – I’d love to find out.

There are millions of new books released every year. What in her mind makes her's stand out from all those millions in your genre?

I broke a few rules writing Heart Search and I’m continuing to do the same with the rest of the trilogy. The way the story develops, the fact you have two parallel stories running through the book with little connections between them along the way, and two protagonists, one written in first voice and the other in third voice makes the structure of the book and story more unique.

I've had loads of fun here with you today, Nicole. Thank you so much for having me. 

Nicole: No problem Carlie. Loved your answers. Especially about Merlin. That is after all what The Avalon Legacies is mostly about at the heart of them. LOL

Links Follow Carlie's career:
Twitter: @carlie2011c 

Grab your copy here: