Sunday, October 28, 2012

Author Interview Featuring Carol Marvell

Q)  When did you start writing?  What keeps you going?
A)  I started writing about twenty-five years ago. Slave Trader of course was my first novel and then I wrote a series of stories after it, all of which follow on from each other. My stories are based around the same main characters, where I’ve incorporated them into different and dangerous adventures.  For many years, my stories lived in the bottom drawer. I wrote purely for pleasure and had no intention of publishing. It wasn’t until I bought my first computer that I dug some of them out and expanded them from note form into manuscripts. When I look back on them now, I laugh. I am not kidding when I say notes. I seemed to have put down a mere portion of my thoughts on paper. They are very basic with no details and only cover the bare skeleton of my stories.  To this day my love for writing hasn’t dwindled. I think having a number of manuscripts on the go at once has its advantages. I’ll edit one and then go on to the next. By the time I get back to the first one, it’s like reading a new story. By using this method, my stories don’t become stale or bog me down. And now, having Slave Trader published has spurred my confidence on in leaps and bounds.

Q)  What was your most encouraging moment as an author?
A)  Having my daughter love Slave Trader. She was my first ever reader and I couldn’t believe how enthralled she was by it. She’d read a few chapters and then race in to discuss what my characters had done and the twists the story had taken. I remember picking her up from a three day music camp and the first thing she said to me was, ‘I couldn’t stop thinking about your book.’ If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t have published it.

Q)  What was your most discouraging moment as an author?
A)  Probably the most obvious – rejections from publishers. I feel this is the hardest and highest hurdle – actually finding a publisher to take you on. In a way, every rejection made me more determined. I knew there had to be someone out there who would like my story and be prepared to publish it. Thankfully my perseverance paid off and Wild Child Publishing gave me the chance.

     Q)  What’s your antidote to writer’s block?
       A)  I can’t say I’ve actually had a writer’s block. When I wrote my stories all those years ago, they just seemed to flow. Writing became my passion, and when I wasn’t writing, I was always thinking - plotting ideas and developing schemes and strategies to either strengthen my existing work or to create new ones. I couldn’t get my characters out of my head which I guess is why I had no trouble creating storylines. I never actually followed a plan so I never knew what was going to happen or how or where the story would turn, or end for that matter. If I did get to a point where I wasn’t sure which way to take the story, or if I found I’d led my characters into a tight situation, leaving it for a day or two always cleared my head and refreshed my ideas to find a solution.

Q)   Describe the typical writing day:
A)  I try and write every spare minute I can. Unfortunately with my day job, it can be hard to find the time, or at least the time I would like. I find writing early in the mornings is my best time, when my mind is clear. Most days I write a little before I head off to work. I might write for an hour or so after work and then again after dinner. The beauty of having a laptop is, I can still be with my family while I’m working.  If I’m not too busy on weekends, I try and squeeze in an hour or two, or more, and maybe a little bit more. The social side of publicizing my book now takes up a lot of my writing time so it’s a balancing game, but I feel it is necessary to promote, promote, promote. I guess I’m lucky I did all the leg work for my books back when I seemed to have more time. Now it’s a matter of polishing them ready for publication.

Q)  From where do you draw your inspiration?
A)  When I started writing, I was inspired by the idea to create a heroine. Back then, there weren’t too many around, either in books or movies. Though there were plenty of tough front men heroes, not that I didn’t enjoy reading about them or watching them on the big screen, I thought it would be good to have a heroine take the lead for a change. I wanted someone who wouldn’t crumble at the first sign of trouble, someone strong in character and genuine in personality, and someone able to look after herself …hence Detective Billie McCoy stepped into my world.  Still my love for fast moving plots and plenty of action feeds my inspiration.  The aspect of unique friendships also adds its appeal. I have friendships which grow with each book. It is this unity that I feel shape my stories, encouraging my ideas and plots to work around a special camaraderie.  I’ve also based my stories around issues in society we don’t tend to hear about, although now they seemed to becoming more accurate than I ever envisaged, an example being the real life slavery stories spreading across the globe. When I wrote slave trader, I was writing pure fiction…or so I thought. Now there are more people in slavery than at any other time in history, and the industry makes $32 billion a year. It’s frightening.

Q)  Tell us about your latest book:
A)  Slave Trader – In the Name of Freedom was released in May this year with Wild Child Publishing. It is a fast paced action adventure based on a modern day slavery racket run by a crooked cop, Captain Bates, the chief of Missing Persons. For the past three years, he has secretly abducted young attractive prostitutes and destitute women, choosing only those who hold a prison record and won’t be missed from society. With the help of his sidekick, Mrs Bland, a cruel burly woman whose job it is to keep the prisoners in line, he transports his victims from Sydney to the far north of Queensland along the edge of the desert to sell as sex slaves to overseas buyers.  The main character Detective Billie McCoy, a member of an elite undercover squad, is on assignment when she stumbles across one of Bates’ abductions. Taking the risk of jeopardising her own mission, she goes to the aid of the misfortunate girl, Jane Walker. Well trained in self-defence and experienced in many different styles of combat, Billie has no trouble overpowering Jane’s two assailants. Before she can get her out safely, Bates and reinforcements arrive. Here are two cops - both well respected throughout the force - now in opposite circumstances, now forced to turn on the other.  Plunged into a web of corruption and evil, not only does Billie have to contend with the slave traders, but her fellow prisoners – all who hate cops. Entrapped in the back of a truck with six women already on edge due to the distressing situation, they make it clear they want nothing to do with Billie after learning her status. The detective is forced to defend herself both verbally and physically against them, as well as Mrs Bland on their trek north.

Q)  What author have you been most influenced by? 
A)  Two authors stand out in my mind, and both during my teenage years. I loved Peter O’Donnell with the Modesty Blaise series, and J. T. Edson with his many westerns and the Bunduki series. I still have every book. J  More recently would be Matthew Reilly. I love the way he thinks big when it comes to plots and action, pitting his main characters against not one enemy but usually a whole army. His stories are well out of the square, leading the reader far beyond imagination.

Author Bio:    Carol lives on a small property in Queensland, Australia. She works in a local primary school as a School Officer / Librarian / Community Development Officer. Born in Childers, she grew up on a cane farm. Carol has been married for twenty-six years and has three children, two girls and a boy. She has travelled extensively throughout the world, visiting the US, UK, Europe, China, Japan, Thailand, New Zealand and of course, Australia. Her other passion is music. She plays bass guitar in a country rock band with her husband and two other guys, and is also a member of a symphony orchestra. With over fifty members, the orchestra is voluntary and visits retirement villages and small towns.

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  1. Thank you very much for having me, Kimberly.

  2. Thank you, Carol, for an amazing interview! Cheers to you and your success...

  3. Great interview Carol. How neat that your daughter kept you writing with her encouragement. Same with my mother and I. I kept nagging her about what would happen next with her story. Then she returned the favor. Great to have a Mother/Daughter bond with writing =)

  4. Thanks Kimberly, I appreciate it very much. You are an inspiration and I wish you all the best.

    Hi Terri, thanks for dropping in. Yes, it is great having a mother/daughter bond. She really wants to write only she hasn't come up with an idea yet, lol. Mind you, she is busy at Uni. I'm sure one day it will happen. My other two children have also read it and give me just as much encouragement. I love it when we all get together and have a Slave Trader chat, particularly when they hear back from their friends who have read it =:)

  5. I loved hearing about your life. It sounds fascinating. No wonder your book is so intriguing. The best of luck with it!

  6. Thanks Molly. And thanks for dropping by.