When I think of this writer the first word I think of is class.
She is a true Southern beauty, highly educated, graceful, stylish, and kind. Winston Churchill had many famous quotes, but Carla Conrad is the embodiment of “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.” Thankfully she’s never asked me to take that particular trip.
Carla is one of the many authors whom I’ve worked with in a critique circle setting, and helped shape ‘Everything That Counts’ into the novel it is today. Although she is a romance writer (she’s been awarded over three times for her work in the genre) Carla is not afraid to read stories about bloodsuckers, or mass murder and give you valuable information on how you can enhance your story.
I can’t count the many times that Carla has helped me out of a creative jam, but I’ll never forget what a true friend she is when it comes to my personal life.
Carla Conrad is a writer that every reader should be on the lookout for if you like mystery, intrigue, with a heart pounding hunk of romance to boot. So without further adieu I give you Carla Conrad and her answers to my 20 questions.
Twenty Questions With… Carla Conrad
- Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?
- Probably one of the Nancy Drew mysteries.
- How old where you when you started writing?
- I began my first mystery story when I was 11 years old. I think I titled it Treachery on the Amazon. I seriously doubt that I completed it. I still have a problem completing stories. I think I just don’t want them to end.
- Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.
- You should enjoy this since it would require zombies. Two of the writers are dead:
- Dorothy Dunnett (deceased)
- Frank Yerby (deceased)
- Sylvia Day
- J.K. Rowling
- What would you eat?
- I’m more worried about what they would eat. Don’t zombies chow down on brains?
- How do you plot out your work?
- I need to be better at this. I straddle the line between being a plotter and a pantser. Plots percolate in my head for years before I conquer my inertia enough to put them on paper. Once I reach that point my outlines are more of a sequence of events I try to push, shove, squish and squash into a cohesive narrative resembling the three-act structure. I’m afraid that’s as good as it gets before I dive in.
- Do you write in the morning or evening?
- I’m actually most productive in the afternoon. Since I tend to be lazy, it takes me most of the morning to get going.
- Is there music on?
- I’ve tried several times to write to music, but I love it too much and find myself listening more than writing. However, I do find songs that inspire scenes and create a soundtrack appropriate to the book. The selections can be highly eclectic.
- What inspired your last story?
- The genesis of the idea came from a television special many years ago featuring David Copperfield. Like my heroine, I’ve always been fascinated with magic acts.
- I nicked the idea of large cats from Siegfried and Roy, who primarily performed with tigers. Not to appear a completely shameless thief, I gave Julian lions he named for artists he admired (or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).
- Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.
- I can do better: any books in the following three series.
- The Lymond Chronicles: (historical)
- The Game of Kings
- Queens Play
- The Disorderly Knights
- Pawn in Frankincense
- The Ringed Castle
- The Crossfire Novels (contemporary)
- Bared to You
- Reflected in You
- Entwined With You
- Captivated by You
- One With You
- The Harry Potter Series (YA fantasy)
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?
- My current favorite television show is Lucifer. The concept is unique and I love the tongue-in-cheek humor.
- Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?
- The visual I used for Gigi isn’t an actress. Arizona Muse is a model who did a series of print ads for David Yurman jewelry. She’s done many other fashion features, magazine covers and ad campaigns, but the Yurman ads are the ones I used for Gigi.
- Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?
- Always the one I’m currently working on.
- Which was the easiest?
- The one I haven’t started yet.
- Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?
- I have an excellent critique circle as you know, so I pay attention to their feedback.
- What are you working on now?
- Finishing a draft of Devotion and Deception, the first book in the Now and Then trilogy. It’s due to the editor the end of August. Book three, Forgive and Forever, is partially written. The big gap is book two, Reunion and Revenge.
- What story do you have to write before you die?
- Whatever I happen to be working on when the Grim Reaper appears. I’ll be like Anthony Hopkins in Meet Joe Black. Me: “Uh, can you hang on a moment, I only have 1,000,000 pages to go.” Don’t laugh. Completing his Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series may be what’s keeping George R.R. Martin alive.
- What’s your best fan story?
- Sadly I don’t have any fans yet. (sniff, sniff. Pass me a tissue for my tears, please). I haven’t published, but I’ve won and placed in a few RWA contests.
- What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?
- It’s either the first line of Forgive and Forever: Disappearances can be deceiving.
- Or when Julian asks Gigi where she’s from and what she’s doing in Paris. “I’m from Houston, Texas, and I came to Paris to lose my virginity. Are you busy tonight?” I could be more subtle, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, I liked the image of Julian choking on a swallow of espresso and spewing it back into his cup.
- Have you ever based characters off of real people?
- Not intentionally, but there are probably elements of my personality – or who I’d like to be – in both my male or female characters, and some of my husband in Julian. I think most writers unwittingly or intentionally infuse different characters with aspects of themselves. How could we not? We spend years trying to impose our belief systems and values on our children. Thankfully, they usually retain only what they want and become separate individuals.
- Who’s your favorite character?
I presume you mean a character I didn’t create. I’m partial to many male characters, but Frances Crawford in the Lymond Chronicles may be my all time favorite.
For female characters, number one has to be Scarlett O’Hara. Except for her inexplicable (and ridiculous) obsession with Ashley Wilkes, Scarlett has it all: courage, determination, self-focus, and defiance.
If you mean characters I have created, it better be one, or more, of those I’m writing currently.