Award winning author Carolyn Wren can’t decide which genre of fiction she likes writing best – so she writes most of it.
Suspense, paranormal, sexy ghosts and vampires – add Romance, of course!
Carolyn was happy to park her gumboots on the doorstep (she brought her own, found on sale - reduced from $100 to $10 - a typical shopping experience for CW).
Before she gets any more awards, let's go ...
Carolyn - what are books for?
Books are for pleasure, for joy, for information, for education, and perhaps best of all, for curling up on the sofa on cold rainy days and escaping into another world.
Will you tell us about yourself and those genre(s) you love writing?
I started writing by accident back in 2009. A scene popped into my head and I simply had to type it out.
Prior to that, I worked in finance with a series of multinational oil and gas companies. What transitioned me
from the world of numbers to the world of words? Who knows? But it was a life changing experience and I can’t believe I spent so much of my life not writing.
With regard to genres, when I pick one, I’ll let you know. Ideas pop into my head regarding all forms of subject matter. I do tend to steer towards Romantic Suspense. My seven part contemporary secret agent series definitely falls under
that category. My full length paranormal WIP contains a murder needing to be solved, and even the vampire series I wrote for a friend ended up being about a serial killer!
Thankfully, my sexy Christmas novella mostly managed to escape my minds' tendency to creep into the dark side!
And this is the story we're chatting about today.
Carolyn's first Holiday story, Ghosts of Grace Cottage.
Carolyn says: It’s about a woman who buys a run-down English cottage at Christmas only to find it’s haunted by two sexy ghosts. You’ll be pleased to know the story contains not one, but two country manors.
(Two? Oh, please - how could anyone be so lucky?)
Will you share a paragraph from Ghosts of Grace Cottage?
Although the story is about my heroine, Eloisa, and her sexy ghostly lodgers, Eloisa also has a best friend in the book. Sally is a cheeky, straight talking, real estate agent and I loved the banter between the two characters. This is the opening scene where Eloisa is seeing Grace Cottage for the first time.
Sally, her lifelong buddy and trainee real estate agent, looked dubious. “It’s old.”
Elly let her gaze wander over the deep red bricks of the cottage almost obscured by the climbing white roses. She saw the faded paint on the window frames and doors, the cracked tiles on the roof. None of that mattered. Something about this place called to her, tugged at her. “Imagine it with snow on the roof.”
“I’m imagining the roof collapsing.”
“Just look at those flowers. Whoever heard of roses blooming so close to Christmas?”
“It’s a freaky property. The climbing white roses bloom all year round. The bushes in the front garden don’t bloom at all,
“Imagine lying in bed and letting the fragrance waft over you.”
“Imagine lying in bed and letting the freezing cold wind waft over you from the cracks in the wall caused by the climbing roses penetrating the mortar between the bricks.”
“You do realize, Sal, you have no romance in your life.”
“I have plenty of romance in my life. It’s six inches long and comes with batteries.”
When starting a new story, what do you begin with? Character? Scenario? Setting?
Generally it’s a single scene without any specific context. In my book Diplomat’s Daughter, it was a man wearing a tuxedo holding a woman dressed in a ball gown in a darkened room while she slept. In The Hostage, it was a woman silently watching a man chained in a dark cell – gosh, I just realized I have an obsession with dark rooms! – Once I have that one scene, the characters come to me very quickly. Then it’s about establishing chemistry between them.
In Ghosts of Grace Cottage, I visualized a tired and grumpy young woman trying to sleep in her new home, and grumbling about her ‘noisy neighbors’ not realizing the voices were actually those of the ghostly inhabitants.
Oh look. It’s another dark room…I truly am obsessed. Perhaps it’s because
these initial ideas tend to come to me at 3am.
How much of you goes into each story you write?
I’m not a danger seeking thrill seeker, but my heroes and heroines do continuously get themselves into all sorts of perilous situations.
Perhaps there is a small part of me who secretly pines to be a deadly secret agent, and this way I get to stay at home in safety, while my characters do all the hard work.
(I LOVE this pic!)
Who or what is your biggest champion and support?
My husband, first and foremost. When I first began to write in 2009, it took weeks before I owned up to my new obsession. Instead of assuming his accountant wife was having some sort of mental breakdown or midlife crisis, Guy nudged me out of the computer room and spent the day setting up a backup drive, an updated version of Word, and a series of folders on the desktop. To this day, he doesn’t utter a single complaint when I disappear into my writing cave
as an idea hits, or when I need to spend the whole weekend doing edits in order to meet a deadline.
What writing project did you put aside to answer these questions?
Because my series, The Protectors, is now complete, I am blissfully free of editing deadlines for the first time since August last year. This means I’m free to write whatever I want to. The trouble is, I have numerous WIPs (Works in Progress) and can’t decide which one to tackle first.
My favourite test reader and best friend, Lynne, is hoping I’ll complete my paranormal trilogy. To be truthful, she isn’t just hoping, she threatened to send out a hit man if I didn’t resolve the suspenseful cliff-hanger of the last chapter I wrote over six months ago.
For the sake of my continued well-being, I should probably tackle that story first.
The seven books from The Protectors Series. The last (so far as we know it's the last...) is due out a week before Christmas, giving Carolyn time to think about how wonderful a year it's been for her! (And hopefully, enjoy a short rest because she picks up the pen again.)
And for an encore, Carolyn - would you like to share a tip for running the country manor in a more efficient way – giving us time to read and write more? (Like a cleaning tip, 25 ways to fix the broken tractor, how to fold a napkin, useful
uses for old tyres or anything that comes to mind.)
In Ghosts of Grace Cottage, one of the country manors in the story is converted into a luxurious hotel. My efficiency suggestion is this…
Sell the manor to an exclusive, high end company such as ‘Small Luxury Hotels of the World.’ Broker a deal whereby you retain a wing for your personal, private use, and write to your hearts content whilst the hotel company
attends to the upkeep of the house and gardens.
That’s smart thinking. Now all I have to do is get the country manor so I can broker that deal although truthfully, if I get the country manor – I’d hate to broker that deal!
Thank you so much, Carolyn! Have a magical Christmas, and hit us in the New Year with another new story, will you?
See below for where to find Carolyn and her books!
Jennie & Carolyn