My guest today is Carole Gill, author of The House on Blackstone Moor. Welcome, Carole.
Please give us a brief bio, and include something about yourself that readers might be surprised to learn.
Thanks, Susan. Surprises: I went to the same acting school Al Pacino did but not at the same time unfortunately. Learning The Method I think benefited me with regard to dialogue writing. Currently I am widely published in sci-fi and horror anthologies. I wrote my first story at age 8. It was about a Martian invasion of earth which wasn’t all that unusual as both of my parents were sci-fi fans.Life got in the way of my writing but I turned back to it some years ago, joined a local writer’s workshop and just started to write for publication. North West Playwrights of England selected me for further development, but I found I preferred fiction writing. Besides, I didn’t think I would be another Harold Pinter! My debut novel, The House on Blackstone Moor was published by Vamplit last year. It’s been pretty well received. Vamplit suggested I do the sequel and I am. Unholy Testament will be released in the spring.
How many books have you written?
I actually have written about three, but never sent the other two away (just as well, I think)!
Give a short synop of The House on Blackstone Moor.
The House on Blackstone Moor is a tale of vampirism, madness, obsession and devil worship as Rose Baines, only survivor of her family’s carnage, tells her story. Fragile, damaged by the tragedy, fate sends her to a desolate house on the haunted moors where demons dwell. The house and the moors have hideous secrets, yet there is love too; deep, abiding, eternal, but it comes with a price, her soul.
How do you motivate your protagonist—with fear, desire, both or something else?
I don’t write anything without first thinking of the character’s motivation.
I mentioned The Method which teaches the actor to become the character he/she is playing, well frankly, I ‘method write.’ As I wrote Rose Baines (and the other characters), I became them.
Once I do that everything else evolves. Also, I don’t (I would if I could) write with an outline. So the motivation is the key thing for me. For example, the sequel to my novel is about a demon’s confession of all the sins he has committed in his existence. His reason for doing this is so that the woman he loves can better understand him, if she can understand him at all. His love for her is the motivation for the novel as it is his motivation. To answer your question more specifically, anger, fear, hatred, love evolve fairly easily when the motivation has been carefully considered I find.
What elements are important to include in your plot?
There again—those elements that make people act the way they do. Dare I say it: motivation! Conflict must be present. Not a punch-up but the conflicts and challenges we all deal with in the course of our lives. We are always overcoming something or striving for something or waiting for something.
In school we might have a crush on the school athlete who doesn’t know we’re alive. For me and the way I write it’s all tied in with motivation really as it’s the conflict that makes the story evolve by kick-starting everything.
How do you make certain that you’ve included all necessary elements in the book? Do you use specific techniques like maps or timelines?
I suppose I do. But they tend to be in my head. I mean take the sequel, it spans thousands of years. My protagonist has an encounter with Countess Bathory for example. Well, I know when she lived and where she lived so I just read some books about her. I find that once I get a feel of the time and place I am comfortable enough to start writing.
What sets your book apart from others?
I think all writers want to write the best book they can. But we write for different reasons. In my case I read that gothic romance was passé.I didn’t believe it was and studied the markets, I found there is a wide readership out there for it. In my opinion it probably needs to update itself. I’m not talking about paranormal romance with ‘racy bits.’ I am talking about dark gothic horror with romance combined.
I guess you could say I had that in mind when I wrote my novel. Further, I want to continue writing in this vein. I have with regard to my sequel and intend to for the book after that.
Is the book available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?
Yes, it is available in print, ebook and kindle also.
What has been your most rewarding experience during the writing process?
Seeing that I was able to keep to a commitment, actually sitting down nearly every single day for several hours was most rewarding to me. During the entire writing process, first being able to summon up enough courage to actually send out a story, was rewarding. Getting rejected on occasion and not letting that deter me in the slightest was also rewarding as it made me feel stronger and more determined.
Were any of your books more challenging to write than the others?
Yes!!! The sequel, Unholy Testament is by far the more challenging.
I’m meticulous about research and well, my main protagonist has existed for thousands of years—well that was a lot of ground to cover! It helps to be a nerd though, which I am. I love reading history. But it was and continues to be very challenging!
When writing, how do you determine when enough is enough?
Seriously? When I begin to nod off at my laptop! I overdo it most of the time. So I have to be careful not to perish from exhaustion!
We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?
Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook are handy as well as my blog. I prefer a blog to a website, though. I find the website is too static for me. Promotion is so difficult and finding the right balance is the key whatever sites you use!
Can you tell us your writing goals for 2012 or beyond?
I’d like to write a book a year. Actually I’d like to write two a year. I can’t see myself not writing!
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?