Monday, September 23, 2013

Interview: Carol A. Kauffman

Author Interview of the Week

Meet Carol A. Kauffman, author of the Time After Time series.

Photo by William R. Kauffman

What made you want to be an author?

From a young age I liked to string words together to form something new and entertaining.  I taught first grade for many, many years and I wrote the paragraphs for reading comprehension testing.  I used to make up stories for the kids in the family at bedtime or on car trips.  It was never a conscious effort.  I just preferred reading and writing to math and organic chemistry.

Who has inspired you to the most?

Personally, my father.  He taught me anything was possible, but that intelligence alone wasn’t enough.  It had to be a combination of brains and effort.  Perseverance and willing, hard work were just as important as raw talent.  He also had a fantastic sense of humor and the patience of a saint.
Professionally, M.C. Beaton, the British author of the Hamish Macbeth series, and the Agatha Raisin series, as well as historical romantic adventures under he name of Marion Chesney.  She showed me through her work how to mix genres, to defy the outline and the formula, and write with heart.  I am so sad at the end of one of her books that she can’t write any faster!

Can you tell me about some of your earlier writing days?

My first serious writing efforts as an adult, probably about thirty years ago, were in the area of children’s books.  I wrote six of them, but was so busy with work and family and everything else, I never did anything about getting them published.  They sat around in a white banker box.  They were about an elephant named Captain Packy and his adventures.  We had a flood.  The box got ruined.  I threw them out.  There was no back-up.
So after I wrote BLUE LAKE and BELTERRA, I discovered Kindle Direct Publishing, and remembering all too vividly the floating box, I decided to just do it.    

How has your life considerably changed since you’ve been published?

Oh, this is a good question!  And it touches upon one of my favorite topics: how writing improves one’s personal health.  I am off all blood pressure medicine.  I think I am much more mentally organized.  And I sleep so much better.  I am a happier person because I’m doing what I want to do, need to do, feel compelled to do.  I feel this, writing, is what I was meant to do.  Published?  I think the only one impressed with that is…me!

You’re n E-Author.  Have you published print books or only those for e-readers?

All seven of my books are ebooks only at this time.  I have submitted a few of them to publishing companies, but the process, from platform to query letter to selling yourself is not pleasant for me.  I hate to talk about myself, and I can’t sell anything to anyone even if they truly NEED it.  And right now my head is so full of ideas and thick plots and exotic locales that I need to be writing novels, not the perfect pitch.  Maybe later.

What inspired you to write the Time After Time series?

In one word: loss.  Mine and those around me.  I have seen those close to me devastated by the loss of their soulmates.  As a woman, there are only three options: you’re going to leave him, he’s going to leave you, or he will display the ultimate rudeness and up and die on you.  As Cher sang to us, sooner or later we all sleep alone.  The series, TIME AFTER TIME, follows a pair of quintessential lovers, Richard and Nicole, through their lives together, in different places, in different times, at different ages, with different names and faces and sometimes even on other planets. But they are drawn to each other.  They recognize each other.  This follows the alternative theory that the relationships we forge in this lifetime, both the good and the bad, do not end but are continued into the future, and are rooted deeply in our past. Whatever we do, whomever we love, and the good and evil deeds we do this day follow us into the future. Unsettled issues will present themselves again and again until they are ultimately resolved. Those people who have had a profound effect on us in this lifetime will find us again in the future.  And although everything changes, love remains.
Okay, make that two words: loss and hope. 
By the way, Nicole and Richard are a couple from literature.  I leave hints, but will not reveal their identity until the final Time After Time book.

What has been the best experience so far on your journey as an author?

Wow, another good one!  Twofold answer here, intrinsic and extrinsic.  Writing is a cathartic experience.  We all have these balls of tightly wound emotions, of pain and longing and hurt, whatever, that we constantly tamp down, deeper and deeper into our psyches.  Writing allows those little balls to be released.  I’ve always said, we ALL have a book inside of us, our personal journey of strength and determination, or maybe sheer guts.  And you should get it out and put down on paper, even if no one wants to read it.
And getting fan mail has been an absolute thrilling experience, either online or those lovely notes that come in the mailbox in envelopes with stamps on them, telling me how much they’ve enjoyed the story, or loved the characters.  I can’t tell you how much that means to me.  I keep every one of them.  I carry the very first one around with me in my handbag.   
Can you give us some insight into upcoming projects?

Yes!  Here are a few:

“LORD OF BLAKELEY” in the Time After Time series, with be released this month on for the kindle.  My Blog-buddy, Parker Kaufman, the talented Houston paper collage artist, made the beautiful cover for this one and I’m so excited!  Set in the future on a rather primitive planet, LORD OF BLAKELEY tells the story of a farm boy Andrew, who rises to power, marries his secret crush, the beautiful Lady Aleese, this incurring the wrath of a jealous man.  They get catapulted to present day Chicago, where his wife goes missing, and he’s put on trial for her murder.

“CHARMING DECEPTION” is finished, and is presently being considered by a publishing company.  The first few chapters are available on our blog, Vision and Verse as single page episodes.  It’s the story of a woman who wakes up naked in a hotel room with a man she doesn’t know.  It involves time portals and body doubles and soul-sucking aliens in the jungle.  Just a sweet little love story!

“MACKALVEY HOUSE” in the Time After Time series, is the story of forty-year aristocrat Kenneth MacKalvey, his struggle to be with the woman he loves and keep dark secrets at the same time, is due out in December, 2013.

Dr. Laura Martin, Chief Extraterrestrial Life scientist at the Touchstone Research Center, hires young Scott Connor as her very over-qualified personal assistant.  They must fight a giant hostile alien fish-woman, the same one who captivated Scott’s missing father and now wants Scott. Expected to be done March 2014.

“DARK RETURN”, a Time After Time novel
This is the sequel to BELTERRA, which was my 2012 bestseller, is a sci-fi romantic adventure.  It picks up five years after the end of BELTERRA, where a race of bat-like, carnivorous lizards is taking back the planet that was once theirs.  Braedon and Neeka must save the planet and what’s left of the human race.  Due date is June 2014.

“WAIT FOR ME”, a Time After Time novel
A knock on the door.  Misha answers it, and discovers her long, lost love from a previous life, Mick.  They hug, they kiss, they revel in their joyous reunion, and Misha’s husband walks in and shoots the guy.  Due September 2014.

What advice can you give to any upcoming authors?

First, don’t think about it, just right.  Those first attempts aren’t going to be wonderful, but that’s okay.  Keep writing.  Write every day, and not for an hour or so.  Write until the writing takes over. 
Second, read as much as you can.  Read the old guys, read the new ones.  Find something in every book you read that you like, maybe the way the descriptive passages are used to slow down the action just enough to build suspense, or the way the characters function as multi-faceted, true to life people.  You might have to look really hard, but find SOMETHING you admire. 
Thirdly, keep pad and pencil close by at all times.  That perfect character name always seems to come to me as I’m careening down the street, late for an appointment. 
Fourth, connect with as many authors as you can.  The online writing community is a treasure trove of helpful, wonderful, supportive people.  Make friends.  Do book reviews for them.  Share their pages.  Chat them up.  Always be kind.  You can be honest and still be kind. 
Fifth and lastly, ignore the critics.  Don’t let anyone discourage you.  Rejection letter, bad review, nasty comment from a relative, whatever, read it once, take away from it anything constructive, then step over it, and keep on going.

Thanks so much, Carol for interviewing with us! Don't forget to follow her outlets listed below!
Carol A. Kauffman Website

Want to get your hands on a copy of Time After Time or one of Carol's other books? Click here!

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