Thanks so much for being here today with us Carolyn! It's been a lot of fun having Mind Games as our July Book Bloggers Anonymous book!
Carolyn: Hey, thanks so much for having me! I’ve been so excited that you chose Mind Games. It’s a real honor.
Can you tell us about yourself?
Carolyn: Well, I live in the middle of Minneapolis. I’m married with two cats, and I live a pretty sedate life. I love writing and reading. In addition to writing novels, my freelance/day job is writing websites and brochures for businesses, which is cool because I have to learn about a whole lot of different things, from how windows are made to the shapes of tiny lenses on reflective vests. You never know when that will come in handy in a novel! Right now, I am struggling a lot with trying to be less of a messy person.
Where did you get the idea for Mind Games?
Carolyn: Well, the way I got the idea is that I had just read this horribly depressing quasi philosophical book (Straw Dogs by John Grey) that takes a super dismal view of humans. It made me feel really awful, and I thought, if I had an enemy, I would give them this book as a gift, so that they could feel as disillusioned as I did. In fact, I actually recommended it to somebody I was mad at. (Snort. I’m not really a bad person! But I did do that.) Then I thought, what if there were people who disillusioned other people for money? Hey, that would make a great book!
Who have been your greatest inspirations?
Carolyn: For Urban Fantasy, it would definitely be Kelley Armstrong. I think she’s amazing. Her writing is so tight and good, her characters are rich and real. Uh! I could go on! Also, Kresley Cole. She’s an inspiration in a different way - I feel like she has this bold, fearless, playful creativity. She does really big, wild things in creating her characters and plots. Also, Laurel K. Hamilton. She has been such a teacher to me.
Who are your favorite authors or what are your favorite books?
Carolyn: In addition to Armstrong, Cole, and Hamilton, I love books by Meredith Duran and Megan Hart. I’m endlessly impressed with the intricate, convincing way they portray emotional struggles and romantic interaction. I think Jeri-Smith Ready (WVMP series) and Meljean Brook (Guardians) and Nicole Peeler (Tempest) are doing smart, strong fresh things right now.
What books had you heard amazing things about but were very disappointed with when you read them?
Carolyn: Gah! I plead the fizzith!
Is there a character in fiction that you've always identified with more than others?
Carolyn: Yes! Georgina Kincaid from Richelle Mead’s Succubus series. I don’t identify with the succubus part, LOL, but I’ve always felt like I would enjoy being her friend, and I feel as though I “get” her. I also identify a lot with Anita Brookner’s loner heroines.
There is a somewhat comic book type feel to Mind Games, was that what you were going for? Have you read many comic books?
Carolyn: What’s funny is that I didn’t grow up on comic books, but I absorbed enormous amounts of 1970’s TV reruns, like Get Smart, Batman, Wonder Woman, Six Million Dollar Man, graduated to James Bond and other action adventure movies. And I was the biggest Nancy Drew junkie ever. So, I feel like I’m coming out of more of an adventure tradition. Though, I went through a big Judge Dredd comic book phase, and I know that’s there.
Can you tell us a bit about Mind Games?
Carolyn: I wanted to write a book where I could pack in some of my favorite fictional elements. I love tortured heroes. I love messed-up underdogs finding each other when the whole world has rejected them. I enjoy books where things aren’t black and white, where there aren’t easy answers, because that sort of thing makes me think. (Though, much as I like questions and ambiguity, I like conclusions, too. FYI.) I love being surprised when things aren’t what they seem. And of course, I love a bit of smutty action. LOL. I think a writer has to be really engaged in the stuff she’s writing about.
Who was your favorite character to write?
Carolyn: For sure that would be Shelby. I loved coming up with the stuff she’d say. She is so extreme, but there’s a weird way where she sometimes makes sense. Also, I enjoy her fashion sense. I love coming up with her outfits.
Is there a scene that was particularly difficult for you to write?
Carolyn: The scene where Justine comes home to Cubby and finds him with the Silver Widow was hard. And she has to make that sacrifice, letting him go to protect him, and bear his loathing. Justine is somebody who has always wanted people to like her, especially Cubby, and I felt for her there, in the details, like the Silver Widow wearing the robe instead of her, and Cubby having put her clothes by the door. Looking at Cubby’s favorite glass later in her apartment. Those details had a lot of sad impact for me.
What I'm sure many people want to know is, where did the idea for a hypochondriac hero come from?
Carolyn: Fear is almost always a liability, so I liked the idea of turning it into a strength. And the hypochondriac thing is something I know, because a few people in my family are hypochondriacs (and I’ve gone through phases of it, though nothing near Justine, but enough to get how it works). I have acquaintances are the serious kind of hypochondriacs, and I got a lot of details through the years about what they deal with. So it seemed like an interesting challenge, I guess!
I know you just got back from RomCon. Are you going to be at any other events, conventions, or signings anytime soon?
Carolyn: Nicole Peeler and I are working up a fun little Midwest mini-tour for early October (Chicago, Milwaukee, etc) Which is perfect, because Double Cross, Book #2, comes out at the end of September. And I might visit the San Francisco Bay area this winter, and arrange signings for then. Other than that, I hope to attend RWA in 2011. I’ll put anything that happens on my website and in my newsletter.
Thanks so much for joining us!
Carolyn: Thanks so much for having me! Seriously, you are my first book club, and it’s just such an honor!!
Stop by tomorrow where the questions you all have been asking will finally be answered! I’ll also be having one last Mind Games/Double Cross Giveaway!