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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Author Interview: C.C. Cole

Today I am pleased to present to you all the eighteenth in a series of Author Interviews. Recently I sat down with the definitely not boring C.C. Cole and our conversation went something like this:

Paul: I like to start my interviews by asking if you have any writing rituals?
C.C.: No. I write when I have time and creative energy.
Paul: What types of books do you like to read?
C.C.: Any genre but straight romance or erotica.
Paul:  Who are your favorite authors? Michael Crichton and Richard Yates. Why?
C.C.:  Chichton was a master of sci-fi/action and a great inspiration for my books (notably “Timeline”). Yates, the author of “Revolutionary Road” captured a disturbing concept and exposing it rarely seen in fiction; in other words, he took his characters and drove them all the way down. Few writers can do that to their characters.
Paul: If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
C.C.: Action and drama with dark inner concepts. Not romance or comedy.
Paul: What is a typical day for you?
C.C.: I work days and some weekends. In the evening and weekends if I’m home I turn on a film I find inspiring and open the laptop to write. Overall, my lifestyle is pretty boring these days and I love it.
Paul: Do you have a favorite character in each of your series, aside from the lead?
C.C.: Zermon is my favorite character of the Gastar series.
Paul:  If so, which one and why?
C.C.:  His personality is my older brother (not the evil part). I read his dialogue aloud, and my husband said it sounded like my brother. I thought, “Oh, my, I’ve written my brother!” So I went with it. Now it’s a family joke. We call him Zermon when he gets obnoxious.
Paul: In all the years you’ve been publishing your work, what is the biggest mistake you made that you could share so others can avoid making it?
C.C.: The biggest mistake was publishing with a money-pumping self-publishing company. In hindsight, I’m not sure I’d have done it differently, because it was before the ebook boom in 2009 (at least before I knew about it). They created a fine product and did everything I purchased but it was way over-priced.
Paul: How do you find the time to write?
C.C.: Being a long time migraine patient, I don’t do much out of the house when I’m not working. So as a homebody, I’m usually writing, reading, or watching a film (I’m book and film-obsessed).
Paul: What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
C.C.: Don’t tell my readers that my books are boring. No book is for everyone, just please, not boring.
Paul: If you are self-published, what led to you going your own way?
C.C.: I’m pretty impatient and read about five “How to get Published” books on how to please agents and editors. After sending and getting back about six SASEs (self addressed stamped envelopes) of query letters almost as fast as email, I knew that route was not for me.
Paul: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
C.C.: I know generally what will happen; I didn’t publish Act of Redemption until I knew how Shevata’s story would end. But in-between, as I write, the story “falls out.”
Paul: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
C.C.: I edit so much I lose count, and then have at least two professional editors before publication. When readers tell me I need an editor, I sigh.
Paul: Do you have to do much research for your stories?
C.C.: I do some research on weapons and wardrobe for the medieval backdrop, but the stories aren’t based on historic events.
Paul: What is your most recent book? Tell us a little about it
C.C.: My most recent published book is Children of Discord which came out in 2011. It is the second of the four Gastar novellas. In this story heroine Shevata returns to her home city of Gastar to face her evil rival teenage boy Goldeon. The ageless powerful teens lock up in a secret war that places the unknowing people of the city in danger of annihilation.
Paul: What inspired you to write this book?
C.C.: I started writing the Gastar series following the death of my sister to a domestic violence incident. The story does not specifically relate to her death, but the creative outlet gave me inner peace and closure.
Paul: Do you also write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
C.C.: I am a blog writer of two to four articles per week, and I review books of most genres.
Paul: Do you have any pieces of work that will never see the light of day?
C.C.: I started a drama in play format that I’ll never publish. I’m not sure I’ll finish the story, but if I do, I’ll do it in a novel format. The idea of publishing plays sounds great, but I don’t know enough about the industry to do that yet.
Paul: Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
C.C.: I entered Children of Discord in a competition last year, and it won an NABE award for fiction.
Paul: How much marketing do you do for your published works or for your ‘brand’?
C.C.: I market mostly on Twitter, through my blog and have used paid ad sites for short periods of time (though I don’t find ads to be very effective so I’m cautious about selection and cost).
Paul: What’s your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life?
C.C.: Favorite aspect of my writing life is the experience of being a writer. To create something others enjoy and to enjoy the work of my fellow writers to me adds immensely to the human experience. The toughest part to me, it that writing is hard work. I realize a lot of writers find it frustrating to get noticed and hard to get sales, but to me that’s just part of the business and I don’t let that part soak up my energy. We do what we can.
Paul: Has anything surprised you?
C.C.: The excellent people I’ve interacted with surprise me more than anything else. To non-writers, I look like a loner, but I rarely feel alone in this virtual world (in a totally non-sicko way, please).
Paul: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
C.C.: I spend time with my husband, read on one of my five e-readers, cook New Orleans style cuisine, drink martinis, and I’m one of the few that still gets buttered popcorn at the movies. Twice a year I spend a week on the beach. I’ve done martial arts, had a pair of beautiful greyhounds that are in doggie heaven now, and will never see the film “Seabiscuit” enough times.
Paul:  It was wonderful talking with you, C.C.. I wish you every success for the future.

About C.C. Cole: C.C. Cole is a Dark Fantasy writer from rural Mississippi. Schooled in the medical field, she lives in the suburbs with her family. Interests other than writing include adopted greyhounds, medieval and 20th century history, and martial arts. She has published two books of the Gastar series, with a third upcoming in 2013 and four planned altogether. The first novella, "Act of Redemption" was listed Best Independent Novel earlier this year on Goodreads, and the second novella, "Children of Discord" won an NABE award for fiction in 2011.

C.C.'s Blog: C.C. Cole
C.C. on Twitter: @gastarbooks
C.C. on Facebook: Gastar Series
C.C.'s latest book: Children Of Discord (Amazon)

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