What made you decide to be an author? I’ve always made up stories, and I’ve always been into all kinds of magic. If a book had a wizard, a witch, an angel or a demon in it, I’d read it. At some point my love for reading and my love for writing meshed. Naturally I gravitated to writing Middle Grade in my teens and then Urban Fantasy as I got older.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least? The process of writing is unbelievable. Readers often ask: how do you come up with your stories? They’ve always been there. It’s tough to pick the right one, but once you sit down and create a world, it becomes you favorite hangout, and your characters become your best friends.
My book is my child, and although it is not perfect, it is perfect to me. Once you send it out in the world, you can only watch. It’s too late to correct a typo that slipped through the net, or to change a character here and a scene there. That’s tough.
How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? I’ve had a happy upbringing. That makes it tough to write about characters who are at odds with their family, but on the plus side, my parents and grandmother have encouraged my creativity from an early age. That gave me the confidence to write for the school paper, where I learned the benefits of criticism. Combine that with unlimited imagination, and you might see that writing was a natural step for me.
Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with? Yes, it happens with all my books. Well, I have a thousand what ifs in my brain on any given day. What if the prophesized heroes failed? What if two girls from opposite ends of the spectrum had to work together? Once I have the characters, things just happen. Lea, a geek who searches for the meaning of life. Nieve, a jaded warrior who believes love and friendship have no place in her life. This set-up was all I needed to write Divide and Conquer.
You’ve written 3 novels and are working on a 4th novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? I’m a procrastinator, so asking me for time management tips maybe isn’t the best idea. But once I get my butt in the chair and start writing, I don’t stop until I have to. That’s what happens when you get lost in the world you create.
Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? I started as a pantser, then tried my hand at plotting. Neither suited me. Last year I took a course that changed my writing forever. The course is called “Turning Points” offered by Laura Baker. I now plot the main turning points, making sure they align perfectly with my character’s flaws and personality. Once I have this framework, the rest just comes to me while I’m writing.
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? Work on your showing and telling. Once mastered, your writing will reach new heights within a short period of time. No other aspect of writing has quite the same aspect.
Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote? I write entirely without music. It’s uncommon for writers to write in silence, but I prefer it.
Tell me more about Divide and Conquer.
Sure. Here’s a short description:
Flung from her mundane Seattle existence into a world of magic, scientist Lea struggles to make sense of a destiny she doesn’t want. The moment she finds comfort in the arms of a man who appreciates her inner nerd, a new magic sweeps the realms.
Nieve, Lea’s instructor, may be seasoned in the art of war, but she’s clueless when it comes to romance. To save her world, she allies herself with her enemy, a kindred warrior soul, who leaves no doubt he’s after more than her cooperation.
As each tick of the clock swallows another person’s memory, Lea and Nieve will do anything to hang on to theirs, but betrayal drives a wedge in their friendship. Can they reconcile and rally the troops before the magic wipes out their pasts?
How about an excerpt from Divide and Conquer?
NIEVEI dropped my magical defenses, allowing my luster to envelop me in a powerful light. Without the sun’s ready supply of energy, that meant using some of my precious resources.“Whoa.” Lea jumped out of her bed and squeezed against the far wall of the room.Finally, some reaction. “It’s called luster.” I twirled to prove I wasn’t hiding a flashlight behind my back. “It’s a by-product of an Elonian’s affinity with light. Anyone sensitive to magic can see it unless I suppress it.”In my mind, rows of thick bricks piled one on top of another around me, extinguishing my luster.“A-are you an angel?” Her airless voice barely traveled the distance between us.I kinked back my head and laughed. “Definitely not.”She unglued herself from the wall and took a few steps toward her bed. “You said I’m an Elonian. Why don’t I shine?”“You can’t see your own luster, but it’s there. Without the training to suppress it, you’re a living flame to the Shades. It’s the reason they call us Sparks. It’s also how they’ll identify you. You know, before they kill you.”Lea picked up a sweater from the floor. Her focus went distant, no longer in this world. Something I’d said must have triggered a switch in her brain. Not a day too soon.I trotted to the corner by the window and picked a collection of stuffed animals off the armchair. From the deep V between Lea’s brows, I concluded her thought processes weren't going anywhere fast. Once the toys occupied the windowsill, neatly arranged by height, I sat.With her dark lashes, a tiny nose and a sprinkling of freckles, she looked so young and so…Kindred. Unexpected sadness ripped through my chest. The misery pressed onto my diaphragm, making me feel like I was an evil monster come to chop up her innocence like next week’s firewood.
Even though she was predicted to be my ally through the dark days, she was still a total stranger. Yet her pale, elfin face stirred something in me, some glimmer of recognition, of familiarity even. My childhood friend Belinda had a similar innocence about her. She’d chew the end of her pen for hours while pondering her words. Her poems were meant to bring joy to a war-torn land. They burned with her when Galleo invaded her village.Lea would not share Belinda’s fate. I’d see to that. By the end of her training, she’d be able to take on a whole battalion of Shades by herself. I squinted at her short stature and took a sobering breath. If not a battalion, then a group of ten.
About the Author: Carmen Fox is an Amazon no. 1 bestselling author in the vampire and werewolf mystery categories for her book Guarded (The Silverton Chronicles). Guarded was also the Amazon no. 1 urban fantasy novel in Australia. She lives in the south of England with her beloved tea maker and a stuffed sheep called Fergus. An avid reader since childhood, she caught the writing bug when her Nana asked her to write a story. She also has a law degree, studied physics for a few years, dabbled in marketing and human resources, and speaks native-level German and fluent Geek. Her preferred niches of geekdom are tabletop games, comics, sci-fi and fantasy.
Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
Carmen, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.
It’s been my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
2 copies of the Divide and Conquer e-book
1 copy of the Guarded paperback (unsigned)
3 $10 Amazon giftcards