7 Questions With Author Carrie Weston
Carrie Weston is a young adult crime fiction author of the novel Xander Chase and the Unicorn Code. In this novel we see her combine a mix of crime fiction and paranormal fantasy with the introduction of her protagonist Xander Chase- who is an angel of death and judiciary of spirits.
Carrie lives in the mystical, countryside of Herefordshire, UK, where some of her book is based. She lives with her young son and crazy springer spaniel. Carrie has been dreaming of becoming a writer ever since she can remember, sending her first manuscript off at the age of thirteen.
Since becoming an adult she has had many jobs within the catering industry where she trained and become a head chef at the age of 19. After complex health issues, she returned to her love of writing and saw the publication of her debut novel in November 2018.
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Are you a plotter or a pantser?
To be honest with you I plan the bones of my novel (starting point/climax/conclusion) and then I’m a pantster all the way. I like to let my characters lead my pen through their journey rather than rigidly sticking to outlines that may end up going against my characters nature as they develop through the novel (although I need to state this is just my opinion on my own writing).
What were some major setbacks of this profession?
My major setbacks started with my dyslexia – I managed to be bamboozled into believing that I would never achieve my dream to become a writer because I couldn’t spell. (But that’s what computers do for us right – spell?)
I also have a condition that is my bane, known as CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome – which I am trying to help raise awareness about so please visit burningnightscrps.org for more information). My struggle with this dictates when I am able to do things and not and so that cuts into my life a lot both as an author and a single parent.
But one of the hardest setbacks for me is the crushing rejection letter. Some people sugar coat it, some people are pure and honest and others are harsh, even offensive. This is a seriously soul crushing thing to any writer, no matter what the letter says rejection is rejection. (But those pure and honest letters dull the sting a bit.)
And just to let everyone know, yes rejection happens to everyone! So don’t let it get to you, envision it as a bee sting – once the initial stinger (rejection) is out (is read) you will start to heal. So if you have a story to tell – tell it!
What’s your definition of the first draft?
The embers of a dream written in ink – Carrie Weston
Meaning that the first draft is an idea you have to nurture and encourage like a flame so that it can grow into something magical and strong as your ink flows across the paper.
What should readers expect from your next novel?
My next novel will hopefully be the second book in the Xander Chase series, so expect more magic than ever, deeper darker crimes, a love that will be tried and to be plunged into the spirit and fae realms full of fantastical creatures.
How do you imagine your target reader?
I imagine they would be someone wanting to discover ‘other’ realms, ready to immerse themselves in the magic of my written world where they will be transport you into a crime filled mystery full of a assortment of charactures seeking the suspect, as magical truths are unveiled and thrust upon them.
So if you’re looking for a little magic, crime fiction, with a touch of romance then check out Xander Chase and the Unicorn Code.
What are the steps you usually take from writing your first draft to publishing?
Okay, a toughie 🙂
So when I’ve pantstered my way through a rough draft I go back and makes sure it makes sense (sometimes my dyslexia gets the better of me – but that’s where computers help. J ) After I give it to my no.1 beta reader to see if the idea is interesting or not (no I do not ask for notes at this stage, just a simple yes or no).
If I get a ‘yes’ I go back and edit, spell check, bulk and cut chapter by chapter. I then give it to my beta and ask for notes on what they think. After I rewrite and adjust taking into consideration their notes and my own views. Finally, I use a spell checker and grammarly until I have what I view as a roughly finished manuscript.
At this point, I take a step back, give it a week or so then listen audibly to the whole manuscript and take notes on any final changes before sending it back to my beta to see if any errors of points of interest can be found.
After I adjust if necessary (remember nothings perfect) then I send the manuscript off to a professional line editor. On receiving their notes and adjustments back I adjust in accordance with my views, the manuscript one last time before proposing it to my publishers Austin Macauley (I’m a hybrid author, a writer that contributes to the cost of being published by traditional means – hoping that in the future I can get a traditional contract with my publishers).
If they say they want it then we agree on terms beneficial to both parties and sign contracts. After that everything goes a few steps faster. The manuscript is sent for house styling, editing and proof reading. Cover designs and titles are disgust. You’re asked to write your manuscripts blurb and thank you’s. Finally, the release date comes and my book is in my hands – finished!
Then my publishers start marketing and I watch as my book appears available all over the world! (It’s an amazing time). Next, it’s all media, interviews, blog cast bits and signings (mine are mostly local as I don’t travel much).
Just how much research is there behind a novel? Tell us how it looks behind the scenes.
Okay, so I do a lot of research to help ground my novel and characters into the real world. My novel is set in and around Herefordshire (the city where I live). I find novels need to be grounded so that when writers manipulate their world (for instance the addition of the fae and spirit realms that exist alongside ours) the context can be believable. Far-fetched maybe, but still a possibility.
I use a lot of checked and reliable resources on the internet, from my own books, the library and friends studying or living in the area I require information on. I also read a lot of fantasy crime books and watch crime fiction shows.
I like to check facts, for example what professionals can be found at a crime scene, what the role entails and even down to what they wear. My research is usually done after my ideas have been given a ‘yes – nice idea’ from my no.1 beta.
Find Carrie Weston here:
Twitter – @AuthorWeston
Instagram – carrieweston1
Facebook – Author Carrie Weston
Goodreads – Carrie Weston
Are you in the Writing Industry?
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And check out Lost in Amber: An Out Of This World Paranormal Romance if enjoy girl power, adventure & a toe-curling love story.
She just wanted to mope over her breakup but the universe had other plans for Zoey Mills.
Read the full blurb here.