Oct 8, 2010

Get Enticed With Carrie Jones

Growing up in Bedford, New Hampshire with the Meyers brothers on Saturday Night Live and MadTV is where her story begins.
Carrie Jones, currently in her thirties, now resides in Ellsworth, Maine, with, “two huge dogs and an obese cat.” Once, she had a séance with Sarah Silverman; “It was incredibly freaky and [she] swore off séances ever since.”
No, she‘s not a witch, pixie, vampire, werewolf or any mythical creature for that matter--or is she? Carrie Jones is an author. A writer of the normal and paranormal universes, she brings to the table powerful, entertaining, and all around impressive writing that keeps a book up against a readers’ nose at any chance possible.

*FYI: This interview took place before Entice, therefore, there is no mention of the third book in the Need series.

1. For those people who don’t know about your books, please give a brief description.
Need and Captivate are the first two books in a series set in Bedford, Maine, which is a semi-fictional town loosely based on some Hancock County towns. They are about Zara who moves up here from Charleston and gets stalked by a supernatural creature and then has to become pretty kick-butt to defend her friends and town.
Tips On Having A Gay (ex) Boyfriend was inspired by a hate crime in a high school where this girl was harassed because her boyfriend came out. Love (and other uses for duct tape) is the sequel.
Girl, Hero is about this girl whose life is horrible. She's a freshman. Her mom suddenly has a weird boyfriend. Her dad has started cross dressing, and she has to become a hero for herself. That sounds so Hallmark.

2. Who are your favorite authors? What authors inspire you and your writing?
I am totally in love with Sherman Alexie. I like most authors actually. We're a pretty tight bunch, and they've all inspired me. Pretty much every book I read I think, "Oh... wow... Look at how she does this."

3. How do you come up with titles for your books?
I don't. The only title that is mine is Need. The other books were retitled by the publishers.

4. What pulled you into the world of writing?
I used to be a newspaper editor and every time we drove somewhere my daughter would get bored. She was all, "Tell me a story, Mommy." So I did. The stories got longer and longer and eventually it became a lot easier to write them down. Then I realized it was a lot more fun to write fiction than newspaper articles (No offense). So, I went to get a Masters in Vermont College for writing. That was in 2006. My first book was published in 2007.

5. What training did you go through to become a writer?
Well, I was a newspaper reporter and editor so I know how to write pretty quickly on deadline. At Bates College I took some undergrad classes. Then I went to Vermont College of Fine Arts and got a masters.

6. Do you ever have struggles on what point of view to write in, and how do you decide between first and third person narration?
I tend to naturally write in the first person present. I think this is because I started out as a poet. I have a much harder time writing in the third person. I try it, but it always comes off flat to me.

7. What surprised you most about the process of publishing?
That I'm actually published at all. I've been incredibly lucky because:
1. I make enough money to make a living. (Most writers earn about 3-5,000 a year on average).
2. That I'm published.
3. That I get fan mail. Seriously, how weird and cool is that?
4. That my books are published in different countries.
Actually, I guess everything surprises me.

8. What advice would you give someone who wants to get their writing published? 
To think of writing as a craft like guitar or sculpting. The more you do it, the better you get. And also to live the biggest, fullest lives you can because it will all some day make your story better. Sky dive? Do it. Fall in love? Do it. Eat 5,000 strudel in some weird Swedish contest on a cruise ship? Go for it.

9. Please describe your relationship with your editor. What parts of writing did the editor help you with?
My current editor, Michelle Nagler, is a genius about story structure. She makes the story so much better. Basically, I write the first draft. She gives me feedback like "Too many love scenes. CUT!" and then I do it, send in another draft, and she gives me more feedback. It generally takes me 3-4 drafts to get to the finished product.

10. Fantasy has been all the craze these days. Tell us about your pixies and weres. Why did you write about them?
My pixies are not nice Tinkerbell, fingernail-sized sprites. They are human sized and can be pretty darn evil.
I was at the Common Ground Fair, which is this huge, cool fair in Maine that’s sponsored by Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association (MOFGA). To get to the main part of the fair you have to walk through this sweet trail that curves through these tall spruce trees.
Right in front of me was this guy. He had a weird vibe. He was wearing all corduroy – blazer, pants. And sticking out from his blazer was this long tail-like appendage that was wrapped in different colored earth-toned cloth. I guess he could tell I was checking him out because he turned his head and looked at me. His eye was this startling silver color. How startling? So startling that I actually gasped and got creeped out.
Then when we were in line to pay we made eye contact again and his eyes were brown.
I know! I know! I probably imagined the silver eye color.
It doesn’t matter. That was one of the main things that got me started. Then, I just had this image of a man standing outside an airport pointing at an airplane this girl was on.
It also creeped me out.
So, I started writing.

11. In your first pixie book, Need, each chapter started with a phobia. Throughout both books, Zara has an obsession with phobias. What’s up with all the phobias?
Zara's dad just died and she feels like she's a zombie or else she feels like she's controlled by her fears, so she names them and that makes her feel better, like she's in control. Plus, phobias are interesting, I think. My  mom is pretty phobic about everything, actually. Birds. Bridges. Small spaces. Big spaces. Water over her head. It's amazing. Anyway, I think that's partially why I'm interested in them. Plus, it's cool to watch Zara get beyond that and become tough.

12. What’s your thought process? Do you just sit down and decide to write? Or do you wait for the next chapter to just pop into your head? How do you do it?
I write every day. That's it. I don't outline. I just sit down and write and sometimes I daydream about strudel or check my email way too much, but that's my process.

13. You were recently on a book tour for Need and Captivate. How was that? Is it something that you would like to do again in the future?
It was pretty fun. It was crazy busy. Sometimes we wouldn't get our first meal till 9 p.m., but it was amazing to get to stay in hotels for free, and order room service all the time. I'd do it again definitely. It was amazing fun seeing fans and stuff like that. Some people made me a Bedford High t-shirt, which was beyond awesome actually. That's the high school in Need and Captivate.

14. How many pixie books do you plan on writing? 
At least four. Maybe five.

15. What happens when you’re done writing about pixies?
Well, I have two non-fiction picture books already being published and I have a scary upper YA novel about this demon guy trying to possess people in a town that's totally Ellsworth.

Sep 28, 2010

Meet "The Body Finder" with Kimberly Derting

A few months ago, I interviewed Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder and the upcoming Desires of the Dead (March 15, 2011), for my school paper. Now, I am posting the interview for my readers and Kimberly fans! Kimberly lives in the Pacific Northwest, which, she says, "Is the ideal place to be writing anything dark or creepy." Derting lives with her husband and three "often mouthy" children that "serve as an endless source of inspiration" for her writing. It is my greatest pleasure to introduce the lovely, the fantastic, the talented, Kimberly Derting.

Would you mind sharing a little biography of yourself?
Kimberly Derting lives in the Pacific Northwest, which is the ideal place to be writing anything dark or creepy. She lives with her husband and their three beautiful (and often mouthy) children, who serve as an endless source of inspiration for her writing.  

For those people who don’t know about your book, The Body Finder, please give a brief description.
The Body Finder is about a 16-year-old girl Violet Ambrose, who can sense the “echoes” that the murdered leave behind and the matching imprints that attach to their killers.

Who are your favorite authors? What authors inspire you and your writing?
My all-time favorite book will always be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Although when I was around 12, I started my all-things-Stephen King phase. It probably could have been classified more as an obsession, but his books really hooked me on reading, and steered me toward writing horror/thriller/supernatural (basically anything creepy!).   I’ve mentioned him so much lately that I wouldn’t be surprised if I receive some sort of internet-stalking restraining order from his people at some point in the near future.

What pulled you into the world of writing?
I fell in love with writing when I signed up for Journalism in the 7th grade. I knew then that I wanted to be a writer in some capacity. First I thought I wanted to be a journalist, but somehow traipsing through jungles or war-torn regions just to get “the scoop” really doesn’t seem like me. Plus, there are all those facts you have to gather. And truth-telling. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I much preferred making stuff up.

After high school, I finished my first manuscript, which was an adult horror novel, and I even managed to get an agent for it.  What I didn’t know was that it would be a different novel, with a different agent, in a different genre, and in a different decade, that would be my first published work. Oh, and my first novel (forever locked away!) was called One of Them.  And it was awful.

What training did you go through to become a writer?
My training is spotty at best.  I studied journalism, creative writing, and was the Copy Editor for my high school yearbook. And while I took some writing courses in college, my major was actually biology…which is crazy considering that I’ve always wanted to be a writer!  But along the way, I was always reading everything I could get my hands on, and studying the way other writers crafted their stories.  And even in college, writing term papers and essays is incredibly good practice for any budding writer.

Do you ever have struggles on what point of view to write in, and how do you decide between first and third person narration?
I’m not sure I’ve ever given it a lot of thought.  I’ve almost always written in third-person, including in The Body Finder.  However, I recently completed a Young Adult manuscript in first-person, and I kind of loved it!

What surprised you most about the process of publishing?
There are SO MANY things that surprised me about publishing, but one of the things that surprised me the most was how little control even the publisher has over the final cover.

I knew the author had little or no input about their cover designs, but what I never realized was that the big chain stores (Barnes & Noble and Borders) really have the final say over what cover designs make it into the stores.  They can veto everything from font, colors, cover models, or just plain everything about the cover and make the publisher start over from scratch.  They spend a ton of money on market research and they know what sells!

What advice would you give someone who wants to get their writing published? 
Go for it! Really, that’s my advice. Life gets incredibly busy, but if you’re serious about writing, you can always find a little time, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. Keep writing, it’s the only way you can improve. And learn to be okay with rejections because everyone gets them!  Even Stephenie Meyer who wrote Twilight received rejections before finding an agent to represent her. (Although I’m sure those agents who rejected her are kicking themselves now!)

Please describe your relationship with your editor. What parts of writing did the editor help you with?
Basically, an editor is your creative partner, the person whose job it is to help you shape and polish your book into something that’s ready to be put on shelves.  My editor and I work very well together, and she is both my mentor and my biggest cheerleader. I’ve learned more about writing from working with her than I’ve learned from any class I’ve ever taken or from any manual I’ve ever read. Writing has gotten easier because I’ve learned which traps to avoid (like too many adverbs/adjectives), and how to give more oomph(!) with fewer words, and I hope to continue learning from her. Can you tell I adore my editor???

What inspired you to write a novel about murder and a girl who can find dead bodies?
It was actually my husband who first said: “What if there was a boy who could find dead bodies?” (In his head it would be this great middle-grade adventure!)  Of course, I had a different vision, and decided it should be a teen girl finding the dead bodies.  And then she needed to have a love interest because, well, I'm such a girl!

What kind of research did you have to do for The Body Finder?
I actually did interview a couple of friends who have decades of experience in all things police, fire, and rescue. They were so incredibly helpful! When I interviewed them separately, they both immediately switched into this super-professional mode which was a side of them I’d never seen before. Up until then, I had only seen their super-smart-alec modes!

How do you come up with your characters, from names to looks to personalities?
Mostly they’re made up.  All of the main characters, and even the secondary characters are all imaginary, even the names.  But for some of the tertiary characters I asked teens I knew if they wanted to have their names used. So several of the names that are only used once or twice (including the dead girls!) are people I really know.

What’s your thought process? Do you just sit down and decide to write? Or do you wait for the next chapter to just pop into your head? How do you do it?
It’s not so much a process as it is just sitting down and writing. I’ve never been an outliner, so mostly I just open whatever document I’m working on and go for it. But despite the fact that I don’t have a hard outline, I do have a very distinct idea of where I’m headed with the story. I may have even written it down (in not-too-many words) I just don’t always know exactly how I’m going to get there. That’s what revisions are for, to clean up my first draft mess. For the second book, Desires of the Dead, my editor requested an outline, and I did the best I could, but by the time I submitted the final manuscript it was NOTHING like the outline I’d given her.

What is it like for you to write a book that takes place in the area you reside?
The setting became almost like another character in the book for me, I loved writing about Lake Tapps and Mount Rainier and Buckley.

It was funny, though, because when it came to the details of the real White River High School, they don’t actually have lockers and I really wanted the high school in my book to have them.  I had to ask my editor if it was okay for me to basically “make them up.”  She told me it was fiction and I could do whatever I wanted!  So my White River High School totally has lockers.

How many books do you plan on writing?
Well, as I mentioned, I’ve already finished the second Body Finder book (Desires of the Dead), and I’ve started making notes (notice I didn’t say outlining?) for the third one.  That’s about as far ahead as I can see right now, at least in that world, but I certainly have other ideas I’d like to work on.

When and what can readers expect from the sequel to The Body Finder?

I can’t reveal too much yet, but I will say that it won’t be another “serial killer” storyline. I didn’t want to just repeat the same plot, so it’s really completely different this time.  Although, I will tell you that there will probably be a dead body. Maybe two.

What are the best and worst parts about being a writer?
I love almost everything about the job of being a writer, to the point of being almost obsessive about my work. I understand now how people can become workaholics, and I’ve had to set “work hours” for myself so I don’t completely neglect my family.

My least favorite part was the waiting. It was 18 months from the time I knew The Body Finder was going to be published until it finally hit shelves. That. Felt. Like. Forever!

Anything else?
Something that most people don’t know:  The “flower” on the cover [of The Body Finder] is really a three-foot wide fabric creation designed by the guy who does the wings Victoria’s Secret Angels.  Pretty cool!

Sep 19, 2010

Keep "Speak" In Schools!

I'll be honest when I say I haven't read Speak in about five years, so my memory on it is sketchy. However, I do remember one very important thing: It is one of the best book I have ever read. Everybody should read it, not just because it's so good, but because it teaches you a lesson.
    Now comes this guy (click link) wants this book out of schools! I'm sorry, but has this guy lost his mind? For those of you who have read the book, look at this paragraph he wrote, and please, agree with me when I say this is a bunch of bull:
    "One such book is called "Speak." They also watch the movie. This is a book about a very dysfunctional family. Schoolteachers are losers, adults are losers and the cheerleading squad scores more than the football team. They have sex on Saturday night and then are goddesses at church on Sunday morning. The cheer squad also gets their group-rate abortions at prom time. As the main character in the book is alone with a boy who is touching her female parts, she makes the statement that this is what high school is supposed to feel like. The boy then rapes her on the next page. Actually, the book and movie both contain two rape scenes."
    This guy also thinks that the two rape scenes in Speak are "soft pornography." Where has this guy been? If I'm reading porn, it's a Playboy magazine, not a book that was a National Book Award Finalist.
   Speak is not a pornographic book. Speak teaches a lesson. Speak is a fantastic, extremely well written book. Don't let this guy win in his fight to get books such as Speak and Twenty Boy Summer out of schools. If he wins, so many books will be banned. To help support go here. Trust me, it's the right thing to do.

The Reader

P.S. Leave a comment letting me know what you think of all of this, please! (:

Sep 17, 2010



   If you didn't read the sidebar, you may not know who I am. Well, let me tell you. My name is Rachel, and I am The Reader on "For The Love Of Reading." What is "For The Love Of Reading," you might ask? Well, FTLOR is the title of my Senior Project, which is going to be an author event! (For more info, ask!) Anyways, I created this blog for two reasons: 1) To help build hype and provide information for my Senior Project, and 2) To review all the books that I love and read, and to post any interviews that I have with authors.
   As you may notice, none of that is here yet. That's because I just started For The Love Of Reading, and I haven't had a chance to do any of that yet. But if you stay tuned in, you'll see something up in a few days!

The Reader