Interviewed by Clea
Today I would like to welcome Carol Hone, author of the novella Edge of Humanity, which I reviewed in February. Welcome Carol and thanks for agreeing to do this interview.
Thank you, Clea, for the interview.
First off, tell me a little bit about yourself. For instance, how long have you been writing and how did you get into it?
I started writing when my children were toddlers and I had an urge to improve on their picture books. Not a good start though and I’ve only arrived at adult fiction in the last couple of years. Children’s writing isn’t my forte and even YA seems too restrictive to me now.
Was Edge of Humanity your first book? What was your goal in writing it?
My first adult book, yes. I have another that’s since been converted to adult from YA, called Machinations of the Blood. That book was written first. Edge was inspired by a friend’s story that had an agonizing yet uplifting end to it, where love was taken to the utmost extreme -- a very Romeo and Juliet tragedy, yet with vampires. I wanted to grab that raw emotion and put it in my own book. I also wanted to explore some ideas from Machinations and develop my setting further, and flex my writerly muscle a little to see if I could do something different character wise.
Do you see yourself as a genre writer, and if so, what kind of genre would you fall into?
Ha. Trick question,yes? I’d call Edge a fantasy but it has managed to squirm its devious little pages into the realms of romance, tragedy, steampunk and even maybe a bit of sci-fi. My favorite genre to write would be fantasy though.
What is your writing process like? Do you have to have characters and plot all planned out, or do you just start writing and let things flow? Do you need complete silence to write or do you need some sort of back ground noise?
I generally like peace and quiet to write. Noise-cancelling headphones would be great if I had them. TV is a curse, by the way. As for the structure -- I like to have some details in my head and write out some sort of synopsis so I know my characters and key plot points, but I never really know exactly how it will turn out until it is finished. In a recent story a character who was a background one, hopped up and did something that altered the way the ending unfurled. Nice when they do that. I must admit I do always like to have some idea as to the ending as It helps me focus, even if it changes as the story progresses.
Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
I wouldn’t say they haunt my dreams. Not yet anyway! I like to feel as if I’m in their skin when I write them though. It’s the best way. You have to be them to know their thoughts and likely actions.
From what do you derive the most inspiration for your writing?
Ooh. Really hard question. I find inspiration anywhere it comes from. Really limiting yourself is a bad idea. The world revolves around us and that’s what makes things live. Radio, TV , other books , the internet, people you meet -- it’s all good for inspiration.
Has being published changed you at all? If so, how?
Not a lot, as such. I’ve slowly absorbed knowledge about epublishing and know it’s not a golden road paved with money. Being published gives you confidence though. If I’d gone the route of self-publishing I still wouldn’t know if what I wrote had any true value. Now I understand that my stories do hang together well enough to be enjoyable. Like a single thread in a well-constructed tapestry, being publishable helps round you out as a writer. Please, don’t repeat that awful simile!
Now let’s change gears from writing to reading. What do you like to read? Do you have an all-time favorite book or author?
So many lovely books are out there. An all-time favorite author? No. I have many favorites, and on different days I’ll tell you a different favorite author. Robert Heinlein, Roger Zelazny, Iain M. Banks, Jacqueline Carey and China Mieville are some of them.
What books are on top of your "To Be Read" pile?
Iain M Banks latest, Surface Detail. Naamah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey. Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi is definitely in my plans also.
Alas, I have more writing than reading ahead of me and I’m finding it difficult to get time to read between balancing work, writing and family.
In your opinion, what makes a great book?
If I had to pick one element -- the characters. If you don’t feel some empathy for the characters and believe in them, you won’t feel the impact of what happens to them -- you won’t feel their sadness or happiness or agony. If someone says they cried during a story, you know you’ve done well, and I’ve had that pleasure. Of course, if it’s a comedy, that’s less of a success, but at least you’ve touched the reader!
If I can be more general, a good story comes from the interweaving of all the elements. Hard to do but gorgeous when the author succeeds.
I guess we should begin to wrap things up now, but before we go would you like to tell our readers about what you’re working on?
I’m doing the edits for Machinations of the Blood, which is a novel set in the same world as Edge of Humanity. That book's due for release in September from Lyrical Press. In this book and in the next novel, Needle Rain, that I’m rewriting, I get to introduce my Immolators, who are warriors enhanced by ‘needling’. A young woman, Ellinca, features in Machinations of the Blood. Her touch does something startling to an undead prince and we follow the two of them on a journey across the empire. My trinketology from Edge of Humanity, and my gheist weapons which are fuelled by ectoplasm, also inveigle their way into the plot, along with the ramifications on religion and society of people’s ancestors being used in weaponry.
Finally, how could readers find out more information about you and your books?
My website is carolhone.com.
I’m on Facebook also as Carol Hone.
Again, thank you so much for spending time with us today, Carol. I really enjoyed Edge of Humanity, and I look forward to reading more from you.