Saturday, February 28, 2015

0 Lynn Carthage, author of HAUNTED, comparing ideas to ice cream sundaes

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

There’s a plot twist in the book that occurs about midway through, and that was my “aha” moment. I felt all along there was something missing to the book, and it needed an extra boost: this plot development allowed me to explore deeper themes and hopefully give pleasure to those who didn’t see it coming.

As I write, Goodreads is exploding with readers who did see it coming, and are scornful that I thought anybody wouldn’t. Readers love figuring things out before characters do, and so I had hoped this would be a bit of a pleasure for savvy readers…if you haven’t read the book yet, I hope you can approach it with an open mind and enjoy the plot twist if you get it early…and please, no spoilers for those who haven’t read it yet!

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

My ritual is basically that I have to get out of the house. I work well in cafes so long as I’m not sitting by very loud people; I can generally tune out music and regular-volume conversations. Unfortunately, I’ve learned I cannot tune out country music, and once had to leave a cafĂ© for its twangy, brain-incisoring soundtrack.

My favorite place to work, though, is the library. If I can manage to get one of those glassed-in private study rooms, I’m in heaven. All three of the libraries in driving distance for me have vistas of green trees (and in one case, a goose-adorned pond), so I look up periodically to gaze out at the fortifying view and puzzle out dialogue or “what comes next.”

I also love being surrounded by books. I let my eyes pass along the spines and occasionally get up to pull a book off the shelf and flip through it while I let my mind percolate. It’s heartening to know other writers’ words, ideas and carefully-constructed plots form my borders.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

A writer writes. Anybody can have great ideas, anyone can describe an incredible premise…but until it’s written down, it’s not any more valuable than someone talking about the ice cream sundae they’d love to eat. Until there’s ice cream in the bowl, it’s meaningless.

We joke about the A/C ratio (ass to chair): it really is about sitting down on a regular basis ---or standing, if you have a standing desk—and putting those words on paper. I believe pretty much anyone can have a spurt in which they write about 25 awesome pages…even that is not writing a novel.

You need a sustained practice in which you pass the hundred-page mark, in which you wallow in the despair of the middle-of-book doldrums, in which you eke your way towards 200 pages, in which you finally hit “the end.” The only way that will happen is if you calendar time for it. Put it in the calendar like a dentist appointment: “3:30-5:00, work on novel.” That way, you’ve set aside sacred time for your novel to grow. You won’t get detoured and wind up eating French fries with your friends at the corner diner. If you’re realistic with the time you can carve out and stick to it, you’ll be pleased by what you can accomplish in small spurts.

Finally, we’re all so electronic these days. On a regular basis, print out your pages. You’ll feel pride at how much is there: your book is tangible and real, and you believe in it more when you see the tower rise. I also find I catch errors more readily in hard copy form. Good luck!


by Lynn Carthage
Released 2/24/2015

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Irving has traded life in San Francisco for her stepfather’s ancestral mansion in rural England. It’s supposed to be the new start her family needs. But from the moment she crosses the threshold into the ancient estate, Phoebe senses something ominous. Then again, she's a little sensitive lately—not surprising when her parents are oblivious to her, her old life is six thousand miles away, and the only guy around is completely gorgeous but giving her mixed messages.

But at least Miles doesn’t laugh at Phoebe’s growing fears. And she can trust him…maybe. The locals whisper about the manor’s infamous original owner, Madame Arnaud, and tell grim stories of missing children and vengeful spirits. Phoebe is determined to protect her loved ones—especially her little sister, Tabby. But even amidst the manor’s dark shadows, the deepest mysteries may involve Phoebe herself…

Purchase Haunted at Amazon
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Lynn Carthage, author of HAUNTEDLynn Carthage is a novelist living in Sacramento, California, near where the Gold Rush launched. Under her real name, she was a Bram Stoker Award finalist. Born in Vermont, Lynn has lived in Maine, Ireland, and Arizona. She reads voraciously, loves anything French, gets “itchy feet” to travel on a regular basis, and finds peace in the woods, in meadows, in nature. She has always been fascinated by how history allows us to imagine how people of the past lived and breathed and felt.

HAUNTED is her first young adult novel, and will be followed by the next two books in the Arnaud Legacy trilogy.

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