Friday, 25 January 2013
Author Interview: Carol Van Etta
Like most authors, Carol Van Atta is no stranger to the written word. She penned a short novel at age 12 (somewhat frightening illustrations included, and lots of bunnies were involved), and had a creative writing piece published in her high school newspaper (about David Bowie's Diamond Dogs LP). Yes, she's an ex-80's chick.
Devouring books from numerous genres, Carol developed a deep thirst/hunger for more reading material, and could almost always be found with her nose in a book.
She has contributed to several popular inspirational anthologies and devotional books, and lives in the rainy wetland of Oregon with a terrifying teen (another in college) and a small zoo of animals. She is taking an undetermined hiatus away from inspirational writing to delve into her darker side. (Though you can check out her latest spiritual suspense novel, Soul Defenders). It is rumored that this genre-jumping occurred after Carol discovered two suspicious red marks on her neck, and experienced an unquenchable urge to howl at the moon.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
Some planning and a whole lot of letting the story flow.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
Yes, and I tend to let them. They seem to know best!
What is your favourite food?
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
What is morning?
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
Micronesia. I read an awesome creative non-fiction book about a young man’s experience in the Pacific Islands during his time in the Peace Corps. I was fascinated by the culture and beauty described. Today, in my “day job,” I have an opportunity to work with several families from the islands. Their stories are beyond interesting. I want to go!
Do distant places feature in your books?
My current two books are set in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. I happen to be from Oregon which happens to be part of the Pacific Northwest. I have a book I’m working on that takes the characters to Haiti.
Do you listen to music while writing?
Not always. I can write with just about any background if I’m in the mood.
I Kissed a Dog is a paranormal romance with sizzling suspense and fantasy elements. My main female character, Chloe Carpenter, has an unusual talent. She can understand animals. When she stumbles into the thoughts of a very manly man, Zane Marshall, she is more than surprised, she’s shocked. Her ability has never included her human counterparts. Despite her new experience, her ability is still an animal-only kinda deal. The very human man is actually a very sexy werewolf (yep … an animal). Murder, mayhem, and mystery pull the two together and into an adventure they never saw coming and might not survive.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
A ton. I’m always learning. The publishing industry has changed immensely since my first published story was featured in an anthology over ten years ago. There are so many opportunities for writers to get their work into the hands of readers around the globe. E-publishing, smaller, indie presses, and self-publishing have become viable and acceptable options for today’s writers.
Is there anything you would do differently?
I would have spent more time perfecting my first book in 2003. I was accepted by a smaller indie press that I didn’t know much about. Let’s just say I learned a lot, and would spend more time researching publishers and polishing my work if I could go back in time. Thankfully, my experiences continue to get better with time and experience.
So many wonderful men and women have influenced me over the years. I have a dear, older friend, Roberta. She invited me to my first critique group. Her unconditional support of my writing journey helped me develop a foundation in my life and allowed me to improve my skills in a supportive environment. She encouraged me to follow my dream and not give up. God planted dreams in my heart and opened doors when the timing was right. Without my spiritual walk, I’d be lost back somewhere in the dust of despair. I’ve come a long, long way from my old haunts and habits.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Don’t give up. Keep writing. Find a mentor or mentors you admire and trust. Did I say: Don’t give up?
What are three words that describe you?
Bold. Encouraging. Creative.
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
That changes frequently. Really. I read so many genres and authors. You’d be surprised. I’m reading so many new authors now. As I mentioned, with low cost ebooks available, I’m trying and enjoying books I might never have picked up before.
Any places readers can find you on the web:
Thank you, Carol and good luck with your books :)