Saturday, May 30, 2009

Author Interview & contest!

Welcome Carol,

You’re an author with an extensive history in writing. Beginning as a free lance writer for newspapers, to writing articles for travel magazines, somewhere in between all this, you found the time to write a cookbook, and several historical books about your home town of Candor, New York before jumping into romance with your latest release “Amazon Connection”.

Can you tell us a little about the book?

CH: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about Amazon Connection. A subject that brings a smile to my face every time I think about it. Some people may think it’s all about saving the rainforest and that my heroine goes on and on ad nauseam about it. Not true. That’s not me. It’s simply a backdrop that gives the heroine an excuse to be in Amazonian Rainforest, or jungle as she comes to think of it. End of lecture.

As a world traveler, was it a visit to the Amazon’s that seeded this storyline?

CH: Definitely! I fell in love with the Amazon. Although we had lived in Europe for three years and had done a lot of traveling around the States, that was the first of our ‘vacations of a lifetime’, and the experiences lived on. In fact, I sold to Porthole Cruise Magazine (that furthered my career in writing for cruise ships in-cabin books – but that’s another story). I was reading the newspaper one day and read about a pipeline that was going through the rainforest. That led me to do some plotting. What if? It didn’t start out to be a suspense adventure, but that’s what it turned out to be.

Is this a mildly tame or hot erotic romance novel?

CH: Amazon Connection is a mildly tame romance. It’s set in an exotic location. The hero and heroine make love, but the reader doesn’t get a blow by blow description of the actual act, body parts. I’m not a prude, but I have a hard time (for now, anyway) thinking about the people who know me who are going to be reading this book and I tend to try to ‘keep it clean’. In fact, my 21-year old granddaughter was a little shy about reading it knowing that her grandmother wrote sex scenes. I’m sure she’ll get over it once she finally reads the book. Of course it doesn’t help that my husband jokingly tells everyone that I practice all my sex scenes with him! Naturally, he enjoys telling all his male friends he’s going to be busy again because I’m starting my next book – China Connection.

What inspired your heroine’s character? Are there any parallels to you and the heroine?

CH: I’m lumping these two questions together because they sort of go hand-in-hand. Holly may be a bit like me in some ways, but not in others. I like a good adventure, but a safe one. Although I never shied away from the ‘creepy-crawly’ things, Holly on the other hand grew up afraid of such things. I needed a heroine that had to overcome an internal conflict (or two), and having her face these fears was ideal. Otherwise her trek through the jungle wouldn’t have been such a struggle for her. And having Jake rescue her would have been too easy. She had to come full circle and finally face her fears. It just cried out to me, and I couldn’t resist. Don’t we all have fears that we want to or need to overcome? There really are no other parallels that I can think of, although others in my family might disagree.

There are parts of the novel that really happened. I especially wanted to include the alligator hunt scene, but wasn’t sure how to fit it into the story. In fact, I didn’t put it in until after the first few drafts. Then, I found it the perfect opportunity to have Jake force Holly to see that she wasn’t capable of delving deep into the rainforest/jungle with him. The hunt really happened like that (including the alligator, the paperweight spider, the sprawling anaconda, and the snakes wrapped around a young girl’s hand shoved into my face!), so describing the entire incident was easy. It’s an adventure I’ll never forget and I wanted to share it. I think it set things up nicely for what Holly was going to face later in the rainforest/jungle later in the story.

Was there an AH HA moment as your wrote this book?

CH: The AH HA moment was when I realized there was more to writing a book then starting on page one and ending on page 200+. Although I’d attended a lot of conferences and workshops on writing, and I had a ton of writing books on my neatly arranged bookshelves, I was talking to a friend who mentioned The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall, and I said, “Hey, I’ve got that book, too.” So I pulled it off the shelf and read it from cover to cover this time. The things I learned about what goes in a book, and how it all comes together. I must admit that combined Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon, I made up my own forms to follow, I filled them in according to what was already happening in Amazon Connection, and found out that I was missing was a boat-load of motivation, action and what if’s. My characters were flat and there really wasn’t anything very interesting about them.
I had another AH HA moment when my hero didn’t seem to come to life and be a hero. Stevi Mittman was giving a talk at one of our chapter meetings and she mentioned she had the same problem until she changed the name of her hero. So I tried it out. Wow! Jake is a far better hero’s name/action figure than Adam – at list in this story. For me the character really took off and became the hero he needed to be for this story.

Okay, so I have another AH-HA moment. I took a branding class and found out what it really was I was writing. Boy did my story take off. Confidence in you and your story is key.

What would you tell inspiring writers?

CH: Don’t give up! Don’t give up! Don’t give up! Having said that, know that maybe you need to find that learning curve, and above all else remember that everyone has their own likes and dislikes – critique partners, editors, agents, and especially well-meaning family members. Find what works for you and stick to it. And Don’t. Give. Up.

What really pushed me along on the road to writing a full length novel was retiring and having the time needed to finally concentrating on the actual writing process without interruption. Every writer who is married with children, single with children, or taking care of someone else, knows how difficult it is to be able to focus for long periods of time on their creativity. It isn’t always easy. I can only urge them to not give up their dream. It may take sometime, but if you give up, you will never know the euphoria of success!


Having sold several nonfiction books, and now your romance novel, what would you say was the most important steps you made to make that first sale?

CH: The most important step? Submit it! Get it out there, but make sure it’s really ready. Here’s where I went wrong. I had the opportunity to sell Amazon Connection to Harlequin. Twice. But both times it really wasn’t ready. So of course it was rejected. I hadn’t hit that big learning curve yet and it showed. But I didn’t give up and I took their advice (although general) and went back to the drawing board. I’ve got to admit that Amazon Connection now is not the Amazon Connection I submitted to them. It’s a completely different book. But, I didn’t give up. Bottom line!

If you could do getting published over, what steps would you avoid or eliminate taking, this time around?

DH: Isn’t hindsight great? This is hard to say. Avoid negative people that aren’t supportive. I once went to a President’s Retreat at a RWA conference and the topic was about toxic people who bring you down and that you should break away from them immediately. I took heed of the advice and it was the best thing ever. Took some time to get over the negative experience, but if I hadn’t done that I probably still wouldn’t be published in romance. You need to have supportive, nurturing people around you. People who are encouraging, yet honest in their critique of your work. Brainstorming is a good alternative to critiquing if you find yourself changing everything about your story according to everyone’s wishes. You simply lose your own voice and your story will show it. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to go for it.

What is the most important promotional tool to you as an author?

CH: Publishing in an internet-savvy world today, and being published with a smaller house that mostly does e-publishing, I’d say great sites like yours are very important, as are reviews from many of the sites that do reviews. Of course getting a great review helps. A lot! Also, knowing a bit about marketing helps. And not being afraid to market yourself along with your book. Sometimes not easy for the first time novelist. Especially romance.

Amazon Connection is available through The Wild Rose Press website store as a e-book or POD book, or from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble website, or can be ordered from a book store near you. Feel free to visit Carol’s website at: Carol Henry or write to her at carolhenry@frontiernet.net.

Awesome and very informative, Carol. Thank you for your time.

Readers, come back next Sunday and enter my contest. Yes, I’m going to make it harder! And Blodevedd you send your answers to my private e! ;-) LOL

Carol’s offering a very gracious give away. The winner of the contest will get a free copy of her signed book “Amazon Connection” AND the second and third place winners will get a free copy of her Cookbook! Woo Hoo!!!

I hope everyone’s having a super great day!
Hawk

43 comments:

Lea said...

Fabulous interview questions and answers Hawk and Carol!

Amazon Connection sounds wonderful!

I'll be here for the contest for sure and will pimp at my blog. :)

The cover art is beautiful by the way..

Harder questions for the contest? Yikes... I'm going to resort to Google this time. ;)

Warm Regards
L

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi Hawk and Carol!

Great interview and there's a lot of good information there.

Carol - Amazon Connection sounds great and I'll be looking for it.

Hawk - I'll give you're contest a shout and I'll be back for it!

You know Hawk, me brains a wee bit o' mush, I'll be tryin' me best, but I can no' make guarantees...lol...

Look out google and ask.com, I'll be paying a visit...lol...

((hugs))

Dottie :)

Blodeuedd said...

Great interview :)
Sounds like a great book.

Lol, now I really have to do great when I have all this pressure on me to get the right answers.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Lea...

The Cover is awesome, isn't it?

Next week I'll try to get a short blurb from Amazon Connection and I'll run the contest as well...so get ready!

lol YES...I have to make the questions harder because of Blodevedd! She's way too smart that little smarty pants. LOL

}:-( NO Googling!

Boy what you girls will do to win a free book! Makes me think you all love to read or something!
It's o.k., I'd do it too! LOL.
So... go for it girls! Let's see who wins the contest this time!

Hugs
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

{8-O Dottie! YOU TOO?

No peeking for the answers!!! I'm going to put out a notice to google and ask.com and let them know all your names so they know not to tell you girls anything!

Man-o-man, I'd hate to see you girls at Christmas...your little noses must be pushed right up against those wrapped gifts under the tree.

Alright admit it...how many of you are still lifting the papers edge to get a peek inside to see what's in the x'mas boxes?
I WANT TO KNOW!

DOT...thanks for the shout out about the contest! xoxoxo hugs darlin'

Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Ah, the trouble maker! BLODEVEDD!!! Miss smarty pants! See what you started?

LOL...I hope you know I'm just kidding with you hon!
It'll be fun to see how you girls do!

Hugs sweetie
Hawk

Vicki said...

Great interview and the book sounds great.

I love the cover. :)

So you're making the contest hard, eh? Hmmm...you know I'll try, but with everything going with the house who knows.

Hugs!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Vicki!

Oh the girls are going to be mad at you...when they see what you've done!

You don't know what you did yet...but come next week you will! Tee hee hee.

No, no, no...you'll have time for this contest! Trust me...you'll have time! You have to come...so the girls can point at you when they see what you've done to make this contest one they can't google the answers to! LOL

The devil made me do it, girls! And she's wearing red if you haven't noticed!

ROTFLOL
Hawk ;-)

Virginia Henley said...

Great interview! When asked on the radio if I practiced my sex scenes with my husband, I replied:
Yes, that's why he's so short--it's from banging his head on the headboard!"
Virginia Henley

~Sia McKye~ said...

Nice interview Hawk!

Carol, some great advice: Don't give up, learn all you can, don't be afraid to put yourself out there, and steer away from negative people.

Love the Parrots on the cover, btw.

Carol Henry said...

It's great to be hearing from so many of you already. And, I'm glad you're all hanging around for the contest. Hawk has me curoius as well. For those who love my cover, I agree. And, really, it is what the book is all about, including the parrots! As for the advice, I'm glad to hear it seconded by Ski. And, I simply love the hand-banging scenario. It's one to remember!

Vicki said...

I did it? I didn't realize the little horns where showing...lol

Really it's the wings, but don't ever completely trust the wings. :)
j/k

Hmmm...now I'm really wanting to know what all of this is about.

Virgina you crack me up!!!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Sia!

I agree ... I apply "The Secret" to my life in every way I can...the secret is about positivity NOT NEGATIVITY.

I don't have room in my life for the negative people. Life is way too short for that...Those who waste time with bad vibs must know they have time to waste...I've been here on borrowed time since I was nine...I've got to make each day, hour, minute and second count!

Here's to happiness to all who want to be happy in their lives!

Hugs
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Carol!

We're all having fun talking with you...and I know your words of wisdom will help a lot of us out here working to get our foot in the door. Thanks you for sharing with us!

Hugs
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Vicki!

You want to know what's going on? Tee hee hee - you'll find out next week when you come back for the contest!

But if the girls don't like it..you'll be to blame! If they do like it...you'll be the one to blame as well!

Ooops, are my horns showing?
:-D LOL

JUST WAIT! ALL OF YOU - I'VE GOT YOU ALL NOW...you all thought you could get around my contest with google....HA, I say! Just WAIT till you see this contest!

Hawk

carol henry said...

Okay, now that I'm in for the evening, I'll do a better catch-up with everyone. First apologies to Sia who I referred to as Ski. Both names are beautifuly, BTW. And, yes, life if far to short to deal with negativity all the time. I do try to turn it around whenever I can, but sometimes, it just don't work.

We'll Hawk filled me in a bit about the contest and I've got to say I'm up to the challenge. Glad they'll be a few of you around to give it a whirl.

I'll scan through Amazon Connection to look for the right romantic scene to post next week. In the meantime, why don't we talk about what you think goes into such a scene. It doesn't have to be especially mushy or sexual, but there needs to be a bit of tension. Right? Hawk asked me about the AH HA moment. What is for the Hero and heroine? Hmmmm.

Cecile said...

Hey Ms Hawk and Ms Carol!!
Love the interview. Thanks for letting us get you know you a little better!!
The cover is beautiful!

Harder questions... and no googlin... okay then I am emailing Blodeuedd for the answers then... bettet yet.. I will just offer a truckload of chocolate to anyone who does NOT enter the contest!!
And yea Hawk, you should see me at Christmas... it is worst!!! Bribery does work... sometimes lol!!!

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi Carol

Sexual tension is the best, when two characters are attracted to each other, even when they can see it. And when they do realize what could be, it's sooo fun to watch the sparks fly! Romance doesn't need to be erotically portrayed (no bad when it is, lol) but without the romance, life would be unbearable.

Dottie :)

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Oh Dottie,

I agree, I couldn't live without romance...it's what makes to world go round...and when you have the perfect hero to make it happen...it's like being in the arms of heaven.

Hugs
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Cecile!

Why you little devil you!

"""Harder questions... and no googlin..."""

That's RIGHT! {:-D

"""okay then I am emailing Blodeuedd for the answers then..."""

LOL, that's not going to help you!

"""bettet yet.. I will just offer a truckload of chocolate to anyone who does NOT enter the contest!!"""

{8-O NO CHOCOLATE OFFERING!!! Not allowed!

"""And yea Hawk, you should see me at Christmas... it is worst!!!"""

OMG...ROTFLOL!

"""Bribery does work... sometimes"""

Young lady! No soup for you!
LOL ROTFLOL! NO soup for you!

Cyber hugs
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

CECILE!

Thank you for the shout out on your blog about the contest next Sunday for Carol's book!! (((HUGS)))

O.K., you can offer the truck load of chocolate...if you really want...but I'm telling you - you're going to want to do this contest!

Hugs
Hawk P.S. How does one comment on your blog?

Carol henry said...

Hey, I'm not entering the contest, does that mean I get the truckload of chocolates? I prefer dark chocolate if I win the no-entry contest!

I 'loved' Dottie's take on the romantic tension thread. How do the rest of you feel? I think the key here is the romantic aspect of the hero and heroine coming together. Ahhhhhh...

Carol Henry said...

Me, again. I meant to comment on Hawk's take on the romance topic, too. She is sooooo right! And I've been lucky enough to find the right hero -- we've been married for 43 years! He still makes my insides flutter.

Cecile said...

Hey Honey... head over to my place to pick up some awards that I have there for you!!!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Cecile,

Sweetie - I wanted to answer you on your blog but I haven't figured it out yet...so for now....THANK YOU FOR ALL THE beautiful and wonderful and touching blog awards!

You're such a sweetheart!
cyber hugs
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Carol!

Well if you get a truckload of chocolates - I do too! I'm not entering either...well...CECILE???

I prefer dark chocolate as well. {;-D

Oh Carol, I have to agree with you. Dottie always has such insightful statements...why do you think I write about so many crazy subjects?

>>>>I've been lucky enough to find the right hero -- we've been married for 43 years! He still makes my insides flutter.<<<<

This is true love in my book...I know the only place I feel safe is in my hero's arms...and he takes me to heaven when he makes my "insides flutter" as you say.

Hawk

Carol Henry said...

Hi, Hawk, I'm just checking in for the morning. I see others have been as busy as I have this morning, so I'll go make hubby some lunch seeing as he's been working so hard today too. Weedeating/wacking is tough work. I even got him to take some light fixturs down so I could wash them. I'll check back later this afternoon.

I think I'm going to have to go get some dark chocolate before too long. My mouth is watering for them for some reason.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Carol,

That's what the problem is...I was wondering why I kept roaming the kitchen today...I'm looking for MY CHOCOLATE!!! Cecile?

LOL

Hugs
Hawk

Bec said...

An interesting interview. The book sounds great! I liked the advice about avoiding negative people, and not giving up. Thank you. :)

Bec

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Bec,

Thank you for dropping in! I hope you come back next week for the contest and to win Carol's book Amazon Connection!

It's going to be fun!
Hawk

Carol Henry said...

Bec,
Thanks for stopping in and leaving a message. I wish someone had given me that same advice years (and I mean years) ago! I'd be much farther ahead today -- in a lot of respects. Negative people seem to squash self-esteem as well. Don't let that happen.

Lea said...

Hey Hawk:

There is an award waiting for you at my blog... :)

http://lea-closetwriter.blogspot.com/2009/06/blog-awards-contests-and-something.html

((hugs))

L

I Heart Book Gossip said...

What a great interview. Please count me in for the contest.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

I heart...to enter you have to come back this Sunday to enter the contest! It's going to be a hands on contest! It'll be fun.

Looking forward to "seeing" you...that's a hint to all of you AS TO WHAT THE CONTEST IS!

LOL
Hawk

Carol Henry said...

Hawk, even I'm getting excited about the contest this Sunday. You are so clever.

I Heart Book Gossip, thanks for the compliments on the interveiw. Hawk has a knack for asking the right questions, doesn't she?

Be sure to come back for the contest.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Carol,

Thank you but it's you who made asking the questions so easy. You're a easy person to talk to and you made me feel at home right from the start!

Personally - I think it's how the question is answered that makes it a good question or a stupid one - soooo...with your wise words my questions looked brilliant. lol, BTW thank you for making me look so smart. {;-)

:-D Yes, I'm getting excited too...I think the girls are going to enjoy this contest and right now they're all brushing up on their google and what they don't know is.... it's not going to help them!!! Tee hee hee.

Hawk - oh I am a devil at times aren't I?'Tis just part of me Irish blood I thinkin'

Tina M. Russo said...

Excellent interview.

Dear Hawk, please email me.

Tina at TinaRusso dot com

Liza said...

Hawk and Carol, I loved the interview. Amazon Connections sounds great. Can't wait for the contest on Sunday. Hope everyone has a great rest of the week.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Tina!

Thank you for coming by to visit! I hope you'll come back for the contest posting on Sunday! It'll be fun.

I sent you an e did you get it?

Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Liza - hey sweetie, how you doing?

Ooopps, guess you can tell I'm married to an Italian!
*G*

Yes, the contest will be fun...I can't wait to see what you girls are going to do with this test...and there's no way to copy each other on this one! Tee heeheehehehehehe.

You girls can't out smart me...I'm an Irish girl! LOL
Aren't you glad I wasn't one of your teachers in High school?

I must admit...you girls do keep me on my toes....if you all weren't so smart I wouldn't have to go to such lengths to fool you!

So...it's Friday...time to put your "crafty" hats on, 'cuz I'm going to get ya' on this contest! (Hint)

ROTFLOL - I'm going to get you! :-D

Hugs
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

GIRLS!!!

I've been giving hints all week to the contest...hope you've been coming back to read the comments I've made to each of you!

Tee hee hee.

Hawk

Carol Henry said...

Hi, Hawk, and everyone,

I've been checking to all week and am looking forward to the contest on Sunday. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a good Friday and the rest of the weekend, but don't forget to tune in to Hawk's post Sunday morning, or my romantic clip of Amazon Connection. I can't wait to find out what you think.

TTFN, Carol

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Carol,

This week has been great...your insightful comments have been wonderful and greatly appreciated by all...specially me...your wisdom has taught me a lot.

Thank you.

Now for more fun...this weekend and the contest! We're going to be busy so rest up Sat 'cuz Sunday is coming! Woo Hoo...I can't wait! *G*

ROTFLOL!
Hawk