October 10, 2016

Interview Around the Globe with Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr Interview
Let welcome to our latest and newest member to our list of authors. Let welcome Lauren Carr to Nighttime Reading Center. She here on a book tour. She is stopping by here on October 10, 2016. I work with +Laura Fabiani iRead Book Tours and I happy learn about her books and giveaway.

I got the chance to read her books "The Murders at Astaire Castle". I enjoy both books. I would suggest that you read my reviews for "The Murders at Astaire Castle". You got a chance to win a  - Prizes: ​ Win an audiobook copy of The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr (2 winners - open int’l). Enter her giveaway The Murders at Astaire Castle Giveaway

Let read her Bio and then go to her interview. #Interviews, #Interviewsaroundtheglobe, #NRC, #Giveaways #bookreview,  #thriller, #mystery, #adultfiction, #policyprocedurals, @TheMysteryLadie and @iReadBookTours

Author Heather Siegel at Nighttime Reading Center
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Open Season for Murder is the tenth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder.

Three Days to Forever introduced Lauren Carr’s latest series detectives, Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday in the Thorny Rose Mysteries. Look for Kill and Run, the first installment in this series, to be released September 1, 2015.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. Visit Acorn Book Services’ website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook 
Nighttime Reading Center Interview, Author Interview
Describe your book in 20 words or less.

Quick tour of haunted castle turns into a mystery involving strangest characters Mac has run into—including a wolf man.

Where or how did you come up with the idea for your story?

Anywhere and everywhere. For The Murders at Astaire Castle, I had decided I wanted to do a Halloween mystery. What better than a haunted house—or better yet a castle? Of course, you needed a murder mystery. Then, I asked, who would be the victim? Who else but a paranormal author.

Halloween has always been a fun time. It’s the time to break out and be someone else. As a child, I would pretend to be one of the Bobbsey Twins searching for clues to lead me to a secret treasure. If I was lucky, it was made up of chocolate. As a teenager, I was Nancy Drew. Always, when October rolled around, I craved mysteries with something extra added—something beyond the normal—something supernatural. As an author, I couldn’t resist taking this one Mac Faraday Mystery on a scary Halloween adventure.

How important are names to you in your book(s)? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you use​ any resources ​in assisting you ​​to choose the names​?

Character names are very important. I’ve even gone so far as to change a character’s name between the proof and the final release of a book. Sometimes, a character’s name will come to me first and from that name, the character will come to life. Other times, I will create the character, based on their role in the mystery, and from that, I will find their name. Sometimes, I have to do some hunting to get the right one.

There are a number of things that I take into consideration—not the least of which is the way a name sounds or it’s meaning. I try very hard to not have characters in the same book with similar sounding names. Also, one thing that is unavoidable is my own subconscious opinion of a name based on past experiences with people who’ve had that name.

For example, I was recently trying to name a female antagonist in my current work-in-progress. I had already rejected a couple of different names. So then, I determined the young woman’s birth year based on her age and went to the Social Security Administration website to find out what girl names were most popular for female babies born that year. There in the top ten was the name of my character.

What made that name pop out at me? Because one year I was a substitute teacher for a Sunday School class in which there was a pre-teenaged girl who was a total hellion—just like this character. Now, my use of that name is not to say that every girl with that name is a man-eating hellion, but, based on my own personal experiences with a real life person by that name, this character sprang to life once I gave her that name. Truthfully, this is the way it is for most writers.

The Social Security Administration website is quite valuable. They list the most popular names for babies based on the year they were born and even the state. One thing that writers need to consider is the age and background of their character. For example, the name ‘Madison’ never made the top one-hundred of most popular girl’s names until the late 1980s, after the release of the hit movie Splash, in which the mermaid was named ‘Madison,’ after Madison Avenue. Until then, it was not a common first name for girls. Therefore, it would be less than authentic for a writer to name their female character, who had been born in the 1920s, ‘Madison.’

Which of your characters (in this book) is your favorite and Why?

Gnarly, of course. He’s a German shepherd who is so very bad, but so very good. He is a classic anti-hero. When I created the character of Gnarly, I set out to create the Anti-Lassie. If Mac was stuck in a well and told Gnarly to go for help, he would. Then, later, you will find out that Gnarly had pushed Mac into that well. Yet, when the chips are down, you know that you can count on Gnarly to come through for you.

Was there a certain scene in this book that was harder for you to write than others?

The beginning scene where Mac and Archie, his wife, are learning the background of Astaire Castle. The end result was two chapters of backstory. The reader needed to learn about the history of the castle in order to bring them up to speed for the current mystery. I was pleased with how it came out with an interesting and witting conversation between the characters, one of whom being a doubtful Mac Faraday.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

I am asked that question all the time and I really have no particular actor in mind who could play Mac Faraday.

What was your favorite part to write and why?

Dialogue between my main characters where they are bouncing clues and theories off of each other. At this point in the Mac Faraday series, these characters have all come to life and they have such a great relationship and rapport that it is fun for me to write their witty exchanges between each other.

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?

I’d be publishing other authors’ books and watching their dreams come true.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

View writing in the same manner that an athlete views his sport. He has to do it every day in order to keep his skill up and to continue improving. That athlete will also watch other athletes in the same sport to study how they execute their moves in order to see what he could do to improve himself.

It is the same with writing. Writers need to be readers—even reading a bad book can help you to improve your own writing. A fellow writer and I do beta reading for each other. When she first started writing books, I pointed out to her that when she would introduce a new character, she would bring the whole story to a halt to give that character’s back story. I had explained that it interrupts the flow of the book, some of the information is not necessary, and that it would be more interesting to let the reader find out the back story by bits and pieces along the way.

However, she didn’t understand what I was telling her—until she read a book in which the author did the exact same thing. Upon seeing the same mistake made by another writer, she emailed me saying that she slapped herself on the forehead. She suddenly realized what I had been telling her.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes, I do read my reviews and I do send a thank you to the reviewer, even if it is a bad one. If the review is bad, I will start reading it. If it has a snarky, sarcastic tone, then I will stop reading as soon as I see that and read no further. If, however, the bad review is written in a professional manner and has constructive advice, then, I will read it through and send a thank you.

Well written bad reviews can be valuable. For my second book, A Reunion to Die For, some reviewers complained that I had too many characters in my book. Now, I write complex mysteries. My goal is to challenge the reader. I do not want the reader to flip a coin to decide who the killer is. Since I was not going to reduce the number of characters, like these reviewers wanted, I opted to include a cast of characters at the beginning of the book—listed in the order of appearance. Now I read reviews that say every author should include a cast of characters at the front of the book.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I am now writing the second Thorny Rose Mystery, A Fine Year for Murder. This will be released New Years Day.

After ten months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family living near a winery owned by distant relatives she was visiting and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?

Bonus Question: Characters often find themselves in situations they aren't sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

When my son, who is now in college, was in preschool, my husband would often travel for business. That would leave the two of us home alone. We live up on a mountain in West Virginia and there are not a lot of neighbors around.

One summer day, I was out on the back deck, which was off the second level of our home, and my son stepped outside to join me and pulled the door shut. That was okay until I went to go back inside to see that the door was locked. My son and turned the button the lock it. That’s okay. We had a second door that led inside. But that was locked, too.

We were stuck out on the deck. It was a twenty foot drop to the ground below, which was all huge rocks. Inside, our three dogs were peering out at us. We had no phone, no neighbors, and my husband was not coming home for another four days.

So, I took the garden hose and slipped that over the railing, hoping that I could shimmy down below, without falling on the rocks and breaking my back—leaving my three-year-old son trapped up on the deck by himself.

I was just about to climb over the railing—actually had one leg over the rail—when I saw the UPS truck making his way up the hill toward our road. Tristan and I jumped and screamed—hoping he would see us and luckily he did. He said it was against the rules to come into the house, but he made an exception due to our emergency. Luckily, the front door was unlocked! He came in, waded through the three big dogs, and let us inside.

He got a really nice Christmas bonus for that!

Thank you for stopping by Nighttime Reading Center, Lauren. I hope to see you around here. I hope you stop by once in awhile. I started to laugh with some of the answers. I am happy and will and hope to catch up with your books and in these series "The Thorney Rose Mystery" "The Mac Faraday Mysteries", "The Joshua Thorton Mystery" and of the other ones that come with these.

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