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Monday, April 07, 2008

Carol Steward Interview

Congratulations to Carolynn W! You've won a copy of Pamela Tracy's Broken Lullaby. To be entered in the contest to win a copy of this week's book, please post a comment below and be sure to include contact information.

1. Tell us about the book series, Reunion Revelations, and your book in the series.

Reunion Revelations brings friends back together at their 10-year college reunion. Soon thereafter, during a construction project, a skeleton is discovered. The classmates begin to try to figure out who the victim could have been. In the process they reveal dark secrets about several people on campus. In His Sights is the story of Dee Owens, a public relations specialist who is hired by the hero, Edgar Ortiz, Assistant Director of Admissions, to spin the damage caused by the murder investigation and accompanying scandals.

2. How did you get to know your hero and heroine for this book?

Dee and Edgar were probably the most challenging characters I've ever written, but once I figured out who they were, they let me tell their story. I worked in a college admissions office, so that part was easy. The toughest challenge was trying to understand how a PR specialist works. I did a lot of online research, then found out that one of the other authors of the series worked in PR in a previous career. That helped a lot.

3. What process do you use to write your novel? Are you a strict plotter, or do you allow for some surprises?

Writing a continuity series like this is very different than plotting out my own novels. With a large portion of the plot elements "required" by the outline the editors give us, we, as a group of authors, have to work together to figure out how to make the stories work together without ruining one or another story in the series. So yes, I had a stricter plot-line with this book. Even though the events of the story needed to be met, the characters truly drive the story in their own way, which allows for some great surprises.

4. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Keeping the additional elements from the other author's books straight. Who knew what when, what we could and needed to say to lead into the following book was another challenge. Writing a continuity series is a lot of fun, a lot of work, and really stretches what you as an author believe about your own writing style. Most continuity series are by invitation from the editors, and since they give you the "overall story" it usually contains elements that I would normally never do. For example, in the first continuity I was asked to write, a child care provider kidnaps one of the children that she'd been hired to care for. Since I was a child care provider, writing it about killed me. However, I believe it did allow me to broaden my writing skills, and now, in my In the Line of Fire series of police officers, (whom I admire greatly, in spite of the bad ones that do exist) I am able to write conflict with a much more real feel to it.

5. Looking at the book list on your web sites, you have a lot of heroes in law enforcement. What’s been your best resource for research?

My father was a deputy sheriff, his father a sheriff, my husband worked summers as a seasonal park ranger and worked closely with full-time law enforcement of all types, and now my son is a police officer. I suspect that if I'd have been born a generation later that I would have realized sooner that I, too, could have been a police officer also. Yet even though I've been around law enforcement heroes all my life, I do a lot of research, from citizen's police academy, to interviews and ride alongs. Mostly, though, I think the reason it's worked for me is because I'm close enough, yet far enough away. I understand the law enforcement way of thinking, and in fact, it's deeply ingrained in me. Even though I'm not in law enforcement, I'm a great detective in my administrative duties. I dig for the truth. And somehow, I have a gut instinct that won't be still! I'm afraid my bosses wish I'd have gone into police work at times as well.

6. What are your current projects?

I'm working on my final book in the In the Line of Fire series, Shield of Refuge. After it is finished, I'm expecting my third grandchild, so I'll enjoy the summer and prepare for my cherished duties as grandma while the next book takes shape. I think it's going to be another suspense.

7. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Mainly maintaining a writing schedule. I work full-time at the Graduate School at the University of Northern Colorado, so I spend a lot of time at the computer, and that makes sitting down at the computer in the evening difficult some days. Okay, most days. Especially now, when I'm reviewing theses and dissertations for 8 hours, then coming home and trying to turn off the editor and become the writer. I try to take an hour or two to make dinner with my husband and kids and granddaughter who are living with us right now, and let the editor take a hike. Then, hopefully, when I get back to the computer, the creator is ready to get to work.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I have several favorite authors, however, I don't make my reading choices simply by authors that I like. With such limited time, I read more to see where the market is going and try to learn something new about writing and see who the readers enjoy, too. I read almost exclusively romance now, but I'd also like to branch out and read more from other genres as well.

9. Do you have any advice for other romantic suspense writers?

The same for all writers, write what you believe, what you have a passion for, and what you want to read, and from there, do research to make the facts right and the story believable. The market moves too fast to try to write to follow a trend, and life is far too crazy to spend this much time doing something you don't enjoy!

Thanks for the interview Carol! You can visit Carol's website at: http://www.carolsteward.com/index.html


Blogger Pammer said...

I've been reading this series and I'm anxious to read Carol's installment. After a friend of mine being in a continuity, I have a new respect for those writers. So many other forms of discipline come into play as well as creativity and talent.

I'd like to be entered in the drawing and you can reach me at pamngreg @ sbcglobal.net (without the spaces).

I'll be looking forward to your next book, Carol. Great interview.

8:14 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Thanks for an interesting talk with this author. It is always fun to read about the person behind the book/books! Please enter me in your drawing. I appreciate it! Thanks,Cindi

12:21 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Thank you for the wonderful interview. I hadn't heard about this series. I will certainly pick it up, I'm always looking for good reads.

I just finished a great new book called Dancing Above The Waves , by Author Susan Walerstein. It's a psychological suspense with love, loss, deceit and intrigue all rolled into one. It also has vivid descriptions of Boston and Cape Cod. The author really knows how to putll you into the story. I couldn't put it down. I hope you have a chance to pick it up

Thanks again for the interview.

Happy Reading!

9:35 AM  
Blogger buddyt said...

I Haven't read any of Carol's books as yet but from the interview it sounds as if I might like them, so please enter me in the draw.

Thank you.

2:45 AM  

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