About My Book

Learn more about my first book, Six Pack: Emergence.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Twenty Questions With Carolyn M. Walker

My guest for Twenty Questions is Carolyn M. Walker, whose debut novel Immortal Descent will be released April 3 by Clean Reads Publishing. The brief blurb about the book: "Twenty-year-old Ethan unknowingly inherits a rare and ancient power, instantly making him a target and a savior all at once."

You can learn more about Carolyn's work at her website or you can follow her on Twitter here.

So let's hear from Carolyn about her upcoming release.

1. How did you get interested in writing?
I have been interested in writing since I can remember, to be honest. Writing has always been like an art to me. From an early age, I began writing short stories. I love creating worlds and characters and then breathing live into them. My mother’s deep love for books became my own, growing up among hundreds of books in the home.

2. What inspired you to come up with this story?
I have long been fascinated with the supernatural. A few years back, during the angels and demons craze, I began research into the story of the fallen angels and their cursed offspring, the Nephilim. I wanted to explore the ‘what if’ when it came to these beings possibly having “children” of their own. From there the Lorns of Immortal Descent were quite literally born!

3. Tell me about the main character, Ethan West, and what inspired you to create him.
Ethan West’s character was inspired by a couple different things. He’s a lot like me in his love for history, art, and being a seeker of answers. Ethan also struggled with anxiety, something I dealt with at his age. His anxiety particularly comes from his dark past and broken family. When he was young, his mother died of cancer and his father was an alcoholic. Not only is he haunted by his past, he faces an uncertain and terrifying future. It was important for me to show how Ethan must face both his past and his future in order to survive the present.

4. What characters, other than Ethan, did you find enjoyable to write as you progressed with the book?
I enjoyed writing all of the characters but I particularly enjoyed writing about the characters of Rue and Tristan. Ruenna Dawe is a strong and complex female character. She is a very old and powerful Lorn with the capability to hear the thoughts of others. Rue forms a special bond with Ethan early on, as his protector. She represents a conflict for Ethan because he was attacked by a Lorn at the start of the story, yet he must entrust his life to one. Tristan Lowell was probably my favorite character to craft. He is the ultimate Machiavellian character as a cold, calculating, and ruthless tyrant. Yet despite his cruel and sadistic nature, Tristan is refined, with impeccable manners and an alluring disposition. As a Lorn with the ability of mind control, he is very manipulative and enjoys exploiting others. I really enjoyed creating a character you can’t help but love to hate, yet hate to love.

5. What are some of the themes you explored in writing the novel?
I explored the theme of loss, heavily throughout the book. So many of my characters have lost something significant, be it loved ones, their innocence, even their lives. For example, one of my characters named Victoria, is one of Tristan’s minions and she has the power of Banishment—the ability to erase another’s memories. Tristan forces her to use her own ability on herself, erasing her own past. Victoria constantly struggles with the fact that Tristan knows who she really is but because he controls her, she is powerless to do anything about it. That loss repeatedly defines the angry character she has become. Another theme I explore is “good vs. evil.” I expand the idea to encompass “order vs. chaos” on a universal level and the idea that both forces exist in every being. I tie this closely with the recurring theme of immortality and the quest for discovering its origin.

6. What things did you learn along the way as you wrote and edited the book?
I have learned that reading makes you a sharper writer. I have also learned that over-editing can be deadly! I continue to read, even as I write. I have found that some of the best inspiration can be found in reading other works of fiction and non-fiction. When it comes to editing your work, I have learned to be careful! As a professional writer and editor, it’s easy to edit something to death, taking away some of the magic it once had! When I edit, I have to remain constantly aware of this!

7. Tell me more about your short story: Swing High, Miami!
It was a short story I wrote when I was in my early twenties, about a weekend vacation down to Miami for my now-husband’s birthday. The entire trip was a whirlwind of disasters, one after another, making it more of a nightmare than a vacation. Looking back, I realized that the trip was such a series of unfortunate events that it was unbelievably comical. When I saw the call to submission for a “Best or Worst Vacation Story,” I knew I had to share this with the rest of the world.

8. What do you find is the right environment for you to write?
When writing, I like to be in a secluded or private place. Sometimes I like to have complete quiet to concentrate. Other times I like to tune in to instrumental music to “get into the zone” for a particular scene.

9. Are there specific programs or tools you find useful to help you with the writing process?
I used to write out all my stories long hand in a spiral notebook. These days, I use Microsoft Word. I often use Notepad for note keeping. While I type up all new works, I still like to use the old-fashioned pen and paper method for new ideas, character bios, and even outlines. I keep notebooks everywhere—by my bed, in the kitchen, at work, in the car…just in case an idea hits me. And they often do! I have a whole filing case of spiral notebooks, filled front to back with just “ideas” for future stories.

10. What have you found to be useful methods for promoting your writing?
I have a long background in digital marketing, so I find a comfort zone there. I do think that word of mouth has been extremely valuable, if not sometimes the most valuable method to promote my work.

11. Tell me more about the home library your mother had and how that inspired your interest in writing and reading.
My mother’s home library was like no other! She had everything, from fiction, to non-fiction, to poetry, to reference, to picture books! A lot of the books she had were rare books, collectors sets, limited editions, banned volumes, and those no longer in print. In our den, she had custom bookshelves made from hand painted pine wood, to house her books. The shelves covered entire walls and ran from the floor to the ceiling. She even got an old-fashioned library ladder chair for reaching the topmost shelves. I was fortunate to grow up among so many great books, which inspired my love for reading and writing.

12. What would you say is your favorite genre or genres to read?
I absolutely love psychological thrillers. I love how nothing is as it seems! I’m also a sucker for a good mystery! History is a wonderful way to blend mystery and suspense, so I love historical tales too.

13. What are some of the famous books or authors you have enjoyed or inspired you?
Richard Matheson and Neil Gaiman are among my favorites. I also love Nora Roberts, Anne Rice, and John Grisham. Classics I adore are by Edgar Allen Poe and CS Lewis.

14. Any aspiring or independent authors whose books you’ve read that you liked and want to mention to others to check out?
My sister Lynn Veevers just published her debut novel “Pinnacle” with Clean Reads as well.

15. What advice would you give to those who want to write a novel before they actually get started?
Keep writing! Starting can be exciting but it’s the keeping on that’s the real challenge. There will probably be a point that you might begin to wonder what you are doing, or if your story will really go anywhere. You might even wonder why you are trying to write a book at all! Whatever the questions, don’t let them lead to doubts that have you pausing. Even if you only write 100 words in a day, don’t doubt and don’t stop. So many great books never get finished because the author doubted themselves and then stopped.

16. What can you tell me about your work for The Southeast Review and what you learned from that experience?
I worked at the Southeast Review as an intern during my junior year at Florida State University. I wanted to learn more about the inner workings of a literary journal, so I served as a contributing writer and editor for a semester. It was a wonderful experience, and I got to meet with and interview some amazing writers, authors, and talented literary connections that helped me to better understand the industry.

17. I see you enjoy traveling – are there certain places you’ve visited that you particularly enjoyed or were an amazing experience?
Years ago, I was a travel agent and I loved booking people on vacations around the world. Learning so much about travel inspired me to do as much of it myself. Though I’m originally from California, I also spent some time in Washington State where I enjoyed some of the most beautiful snow days ever up there! The mountains are simply breathtaking! My family enjoys diving and snorkeling so we have visited every beach in the state, plus many springs. I’ve also visited Mexico and the Cayman Islands, but my biggest goal is to go abroad to Asia and visit Japan! That’s next on my bucket list.

18. Any particular scores and soundtracks you listen to that inspire your writing the most?
Some of my favorite composers and artists are Hans Zimmer, Philip Glass, Nathan Barr, and E.S. Posthumus.

19. What would you say is the biggest difference between living in southern California and living in Florida?
The humidity, hands down! I have been in heat so dry it was like trying to inhale blow dryer air on the highest setting. But the moisture in the air that is humidity that gets me every time!

20. Who would win a battle of superhero skills: Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman?
Wonder Woman, of course! 😉

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