I’d like to introduce you to the fifty-fifth interviewee in my ‘Meet the Author’ series. She is Carolyn J. Rose.
Hi, Carolyn! Welcome to Susan Finlay Writes blog site. Can you tell us a bit about your background as a writer? Does your husband write with you?
For years I worked at as a TV news producer and assignment editor and wrote down-and-dirty stories about minor fires and bank robberies and car accidents. I learned to write fast and never missed a deadline. One day I decided it would be fun to kill off a TV consultant (in a fictional way) and I started a mystery. Consulted to Death came out in 2001 and is now out of print and probably will stay that way. I learned from it and the two other books in the series (Driven to Death and Dated to Death), but I’ve moved on and have so many projects planned I don’t have the time to update and revise these books.
My husband was a radio deejay and we wrote five books together but probably won’t do that again. I’m not a great collaborator and he’s moved on to writing screenplays. We are revising and re-releasing those books and hope to have them all available again by the end of 2014.
The first book in one of your mystery novel series is No Substitute For Murder. Can you tell us about the book? What inspired you to write it?
Since 2001 I’ve worked as a high school sub, so this was a natural. Barbara Reed, the protagonist, discovers a particularly overbearing teacher strangled with his own tie and she becomes a suspect because he bullied her. In the sequel, No Substitute for Money, just out, she tangles with drug dealers who use her car as a distribution point. I hadn’t planned on writing a series, but several readers wrote and urged me to write a sequel and provide a romance for Cheese Puff, Barb’s ten-pound dog. The writing went faster than I expected and now I’m working on a third in the series.
You’ve written eight other novels, most or all of which were published by small presses. Can you us about your books? Are they part of a series, or is each a stand-alone book?
There are several short series that may grow longer over time and since we’ve been slowly getting our rights back, most of our work is now self-published.
An Uncertain Refuge and Sea of Regret are set at on the Oregon Coast and involve Kate Dalton who is given a child by an abused woman who is then murdered. In the first book Kate faces the killer. In the second book a dispute over land development puts her in jeopardy again.
Hemlock Lake and Through a Yellow Wood are set in the Catskill Mountains and are darker mysteries with arson, betrayal, vengeance and, in the second book, a serial killer. I hope to write a third in this series this fall.
A Place of Forgetting is a coming-of-age book set in 1966 in the Catskills and the Ozarks.
Drum Warrior is a young adult fantasy set on Humbug Mountain on the Oregon Coast.
Death at Devil’s Harbor and Deception at Devil’s Harbor will be re-released this year and are cozies set on the Oregon Coast with a quirky cast of characters. They were originally released as The Big Grabowski and Sometimes a Great Commotion.
Your website says you and your husband plan to revise and self-publish some of your books that were with small presses. What made you decide to do that?
I began to self-publish in 2011 when the press that published Hemlock Lake turned down a second book. Once I realized that I liked having more control of the process and was having more success, I never queried again. When contracts expired, we got our rights back.
In 2014 we’ll revise and re-release the last of the batch, The Hard Karma Shuffle and The Crushed Velvet Miasma.
Do you create your own book covers and book trailers?
Two years ago I convinced my cousin that he should find an outlet for his creativity with a camera. He’s created the covers for A Place of Forgetting, Through a Yellow Wood, Drum Warrior, Sea of Regret (which I think is stunning), and both substitute books. You can see more of his work at: http://brokencork.blogspot.com/
We wrote three book trailers and had a friend shoot them. We may or may not do more. They’re fun, but they take time away from writing.
You also do writing presentations and workshops. Can you tell us more about these?
I used to teach a novel-writing book camp through a continuing ed program at a local college, so the workshops grew out of that. We focus on deepening description and characterization, the elements of mystery, plotting, and overcoming writers’ block. We put these on at writers conferences and at libraries.
What is your favorite or least favorite part of writing?
I love revision. I wake up in the night thinking about places I could work in subtext and add foreshadowing. I have blinding flashes of insight in the shower, and I’ll turn around and come home from shopping if I realize I have a logic flaw that derails the plot.
If you could meet any book character, who would it be, and what would you do with them?
If I knew I’d come back alive, I’d like to sail on the Pequod with Captain Ahab. I’d also like to walk the moors with Sherlock Holmes and jump in and out of books with literary detective Thursday Next.
What do you like about writing mysteries?
I can create some really nasty people and bump them off. And I can arrange things so that justice is done. Too often, in real life, the bad guys get away or the justice that’s meted out just isn’t satisfying.
Please list any websites or social media links for yourself or your book. Thanks!