Saturday, June 09, 2012

Carla Swafford on Her New Book, Her Writing and How She Balances it All.

I met Carla when I first joined the chapter Southern Magic—she was and is still one of the most gracious people I know.  She knows a lot about writing and the business—still manages to hold down a full time job, have her family, and write.

When her new Circle of Danger I had to celebrate and bring her here to talk about her book, how she balances it all...and keeps writing. (I am taking notes)
Tell us/Give a blurb about the new book: 
Circle of Danger is book two in The Circle series, but can be read as a standalone. The hero and heroine of this story are Ryker and Marie. They have a common bond as survivors of a mad man, and in their healing process, they try to understand their place in the dangerous organization called The Circle. But when Marie is injected with a designer drug that has killed four other women, Ryker does everything he can to make sure she’s comfortable (wink) and then goes in search for an antidote. He’s captured by a new evil and must become the monster he always feared to save the woman he always loved. I actually can’t wait to read this book…you write some action packed stories and all of these characters stand out to me.
 What was your favorite aspect about this book? A character? A situation?
Of course, it’s Ryker. He’s a very much on the edge sort of guy. For most of Marie’s life, he’s been there looking over her, protecting her, and now she wants to be her own person and work as an  operative for The Circle. He wants to be supportive and let her find her place in the organization, but one situation after another goes wrong, and he’s freaking out. Of course, as an Alpha male, he’s bossy and possessive, and although Marie is a little thing (only five-one), and unlike everyone else in The Circle, she’s not afraid of him. She has loved him all her life and understands Ryker better than he does himself. By the end of the story he realizes how much he needs her. I believe everyone will see how they’ve made sacrifices for each other. Now, that’s true love. I agree, and that is what makes your books shine—there is a depth to the emotion that really is woven through these stories.  
  What was the hardest scene to write?
Oh, that has to be the tent scene toward the end. At that point, memories are bombarding them. Ryker confesses to what lengths he willingly went to in effort to protect her when she was younger, and she has to tell him it didn’t help. By then, he realizes he’s been trying to protect her from himself more than anyone else. She shows him that she wants him, scars and all. I don’t worry that I ruined the end of the story for you; everyone knows it will have a happy one. How they get there is what makes it so exciting. Of course, the ride is the best part! J I love these type of stories.
I have to mention, though it’s not a scene, it’s more to do with a literary device that was hard to deal with. Ryker has one blind eye due to scarring on one side of his face and body, and he wears a patch most of the time. Not until this book did I realize how often I refer to a person’s eyes, as in plural. So many times I had to go back and correct scenes because I would say something about Ryker’s eyes. Yes, he still had two eyes (the blind one was white), but the patch covered one. So his eyes couldn’t narrow in anger or widen in surprise. One was hidden, so how do we know? You get the idea. So no more one-eyed heroes for me. LOL! I had to laugh—it’s the small things that come back to bite us. I will keep that in mind. 
How has your writing habits changed since you’ve been published?
Truthfully, not much of a change. I’ve always written pretty much every day, in the mornings before work, as soon as I return from work until 10:30 or midnight. And then all weekend as long as I didn’t have family obligations. The only change is that I take vacation to write, all in effort to meet deadlines.  I am taking notes--Because this is hardest thing for me to juggle—specific writing time.
   How do you juggle day job, writing and business aspect of writing?
It’s been hard. Whenever I’m working on a promotion or writing a blog (), it takes time away from writing on the next book. I would rather write than do almost anything else. But in this day and age of the internet and instant communication to the world, it’s necessary. Otherwise, how would people know I have a book for sale? As the editors didn’t come knocking on my door asking if I had a book for sale, readers won’t know unless they hear about it from me. So I try to tweet and blog (including Facebook) every other day or so. Just for a few minutes and not let it dominate my writing time. That’s a good idea, trying to balance the social media aspect is tough. I like that you take every other day. I need to keep that in mind *scribbling in notebook*
  Do you have a Critique partner or Betas? Do brainstorm alone or with others?
The main reason I don’t have critique partners is that I don’t have time to critique their manuscripts, and that would be unfair to them. So I rely mainly on my two beta readers, Candi Moody and Terry Nguyen. So far I don’t need to brainstorm for ideas or even on how to get my characters out of bad spots. I guess I’ve been fortunate in having lots of ideas. Probably one day I will need help, and lucky for me, I have lots of friends (like you) who are willing to help. I adore brainstorming. J  Anytime my friend.
   Besides the three planned are there more books in The Circle series?
You betcha! I have at least three more, but it’s up to Avon to want them. And the only way they will do that is that everyone went out and bought my books (the third one is Circle of Deception coming out 11/27/12; that’s Rex and Abby’s story).   Oh, I so hope you get to write them. You’ve developed a very intricate world and I’d so hate to see it go away. There are some characters I want to see more of.
   Is there another project you are working on following The Circle series? Can you give us a hint?When I finish the third one, Circle of Deception, I’m seriously thinking of doing a novella about two characters from The Circle in the hope it will draw interest from more readers if they can see what my books are like. Novellas can be priced much lower than regular length novels. I like that idea and they are very popular. I enjoy reading them myself.  
For a totally different series, I have a couple ways to go. One is a small town series with emphasis on the romance and only a little suspense. The first two books are finished and just need revising. Or maybe a paranormal romance. The first book is written but needs some deep editing, and I already have the first chapter of the second book. Sorry, for now I rather wait to see if Avon or another publisher is interested in them before I give more details.  You know I really want to see you dip your toes back into the paranormal. J I just like that you have all these ideas.
Which do you prefer? Coffee, Tea? Or other? 
I prefer tea. Sweet iced tea. The sweeter, the better. Though during the winter I love hot orange-clove tea. Great for sore throats.  Have you tried Agave as a sweetner? That is awesome. I Like tea as well, Iced tea I had to get used to when I came down here. Let’s face it, no one makes sweet tea like the south! J 
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you come by again, because I am going to pester you incessantly about your other books.  

You can find Carla at:
Twitter: @carlaswafford
Also on Facebook and Pinterest


Eli Yanti said...

I loved tea too :)

your book sounds great, carla :)

Rashda Khan said...

Good luck with your new book Carla! I have to say Ryker is an intriguing character! Love your daily writing discipline...need to get more in that mode.

Happy writing!

Carla Swafford said...

Thanks, Eli!

Carla Swafford said...

Thank you, Rashda. I'm always amazed how the characters become so real as we write them.

Can't tell you how often I'll delete dialogue or action or narrative because it just didn't sound like that certain character. It's a strange job we have, making unreal people real.

Lexi said...

Awesome interview, Mary. Carla, you KNOW I'm your fan girl! Much and continued success with your writing. Carving out writing time is something I struggle with, too, because I have a day job as well. ;-)

Katherine Bone said...

I'm so excited for you, Carla! Looking forward to reading the entire series. It's been a great joy to see you achieving your dreams.

What has been the most eye-opening experience you've had since publishing your first book?

And, what is the best advice you can give aspiring writers struggling with hanging on?


Carla Swafford said...

Back at ya, Lexi! It's a crazy ride, ain't it? Though I hope it never ends. THANKS!

Carla Swafford said...

Thank you, Kathy.

Hmm, the most eye opening is how much you're on your own when it comes to advertising/promoting your books. *shrug* That's the breaks. :-)

Look inside yourself. Is this something you're willing to sacrifice family time, nights, weekends, paid vacations and maybe after reaching the pinnacle of being published by your dream publisher, you're still not the best selling author you'd hoped with the first book? So you're willing to sacrifice more?

If it is, then you have what it takes and it will happen. Maybe not the way you dreamed it would or when you'd dreamed it would happen.

I will say it's certainly worth it all. So never give up.

M.V.Freeman said...

So glad y'all stopped by! :) Thanks for everything. It's always fun to talk to Carla--and I adore asking about her heros.

Carla Swafford said...

Thanks, Mary, for interviewing me here. It's kinda cool to do this at home base. LOL!


Patricia Preston said...

Another sweet tea lover. Could not write without it!! You gave some good advice. I have worked almost every weekend since January, plus every evening after work, I doing promotion or writing. Requires a lot of dedication.

Carla Swafford said...

Thank you, Patricia! AMEN!

Chris Bailey said...

Carla, you're an inspiration. Please share a little bit about your promotional efforts. Are you mainly working online to promote? Do you have a specific target market ?

I'm pulling for you, and I hope your great reviews draw a lot of new fans!

Carla Swafford said...

You're a sweetie to say that, Chris.

I tweet, post on Facebook, have my blog attached to Goodreads and add books there (I do not rate them at all) along with giveaways on Goodreads and during blog tours when my books come out. I do contests and plan to buy some ads when I get a little extra money.

What really helps is getting people to do (nice) reviews of your books on GoodReads and the booksellers (Amazon, B&N, etc.).