18 October 2007

Thirteen Things about Sela Carsen

Thirteen Things about Sela Carsen

1 - Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your life?

I’m actually rather dull. *gg* I’m a wife, a mom, a writer. I’m also a bit of a gypsy. Aside from college, I’ve never lived anywhere longer than three years, including several overseas addresses. My dad was in the oil business, so I spent time in Norway, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. My mom is from Central America, so my summer holidays were almost always spent in Honduras. My husband was in the Air Force, so we got to live in England and go on European holidays. It sounds awfully glamorous, doesn’t it? But it was just life.

2 - When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

On a cloudy February morning in 2002. No kidding. I’d always written for one reason or another, but that was the day I sat down to write a novel. Which is unfinished and will never see the light of day.

3 - Do you write everyday? Any routines or rituals? Are you a plot or seat-of-your-pants writer?

I write or do something writing related just about every day. No real routines or rituals. I do a lot of my writing at home on the PC, but I also use my Alphasmart. I love it when my children have lessons and classes outside of school because I use that waiting time to write.

And I’m most definitely a pantser. I’ve tried various plotting methods and they all fail for one reason or another. Usually I have the vaguest idea of a few things that might happen, half a clue about the black moment, and then they live Happily Ever After. There. That’s the extent of my plotting.

4 - How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing?

Mostly paranormal, though I’ve also written straight contemp in some very short stories. Then there was the foray into historicals. I’d actually like to revisit that story someday – the Italian Renaissance, what a setting! At the moment, I’m writing something combines both history and the paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi element. It’s actually Western Steampunk.

5 - Western Whatpunk?

Steampunk. Think Wild Wild West or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It began with Jules Verne and HG Wells, the fathers of science fiction. Steampunk is historical fantasy with a tech twist, taking the science of the day one step further.

My working title is pretty bad, but I’ve come up with a tagline to keep me on track:

Jem Fullman and Thalesia Turnblood must outwit Wild West villains in a world where science fiction meets steam-powered technology. What do you think?

6 - What are the challenges of writing paranormal romance?

Challenges? I wouldn’t call them challenges. I’ve always approached the paranormal the way Anne Shirley talked about Green Gables – There’s such scope for imagination!

7 - What would you say are the biggest challenges that you face (could be as a writer, as a person, as a wife... just some challenges you face)?

I’m ADD and it affects everything I do. A lot of things get half-done at my house and it’s frustrating for everyone. Like a lot of ADD people, I’m able to hyperfocus on a few things, to the exclusion of everything else. Not ideal for the multitasking that families require.

8 - What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

Finishing the book. I’m easily bored and distracted and when I hit the tough spots in a story, there’s nothing I want to do more than quit. So every time I get to “The End” it’s a huge accomplishment for me.


9 - What web sites or reader groups / author groups do you frequent and recommend?

I belong to Romance Divas and I can’t say enough great things about them. For one, it’s free. For another, the owners and mods have made it a great gathering place. Every month, there are guest authors, classes, and workshops. But you really get more out of it when you participate in the community. I’ve made great friends there.

I also hang out at the Steampunk Forum at Brass Goggles. There’s a fascinating subculture developing there and the people are so inventive. It’s really helping my research to know what they’re interested in.

10 - 1What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?
Romance. It’s true. I’m a huge fan of my own genre. Currently, I read a lot of paranormal romance, as well as sci-fi and futuristic. I’ve also developed a taste for urban fantasy.

As for favorite author, well, I can’t pick just one. I have three. The immortal Harper Lee. I’ve gone through three copies of To Kill A Mockingbird. I read them so often they fall apart. I’ve done the same to Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. Robin McKinley is another favorite. I’ve read almost everything she’s written. She’s a genius.

11 - What are the goals you are still working toward?

Writing a full-length novel. The Steampunk is the first single title length work I’ve seriously attempted and I’m only beginning. It’ll be a challenge, but it’s time for me to expand my boundaries and go for it.

12 - It's a special night - cook in, or eat out?

It depends. I enjoy cooking, so sometimes I love making a really special meal. My dh is also a very good cook, so that’s something we like to do together when we have time. But we also enjoy good restaurants. Our kids have come with us to restaurants since they were infants, so they’re very well behaved. And we’re all adventurous eaters, which I find exciting. On our second date, dh took me to an Egyptian restaurant – my hero!

13 - Now for the most important question - what do you believe makes a book sexy?

Characters I can engage with and a plot that moves. I don’t care if it’s a children’s book or erotica, literary fiction or science fiction. Those are my two must-haves.

Find out more about Sela by visiting her website at http://selacarsen.com/
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