Let's see what Carol had to say about reading, writing and All Hallows' Eve!
1. It’s Halloween. Pick 3 of your favorite writer buddies to paint the town red with and tell us why you chose them.
Carol says: Actually there are only two I’d pick: Debbie and Beki. They’re the ones I go to Vegas with, the ones I hit fan conventions with – the ones who “get” me and my crazy emotional introverted fangirl writer life. They’re the ones I can laugh with, or not laugh with; the ones who are always there with a hug when I need it. I can brainstorm new stories with them and know I’ll get help I can actually use. They’re my teammates, more so than anyone else I know. The only downside is, we all live in different states. Oh… and as far as “painting the town red” on Halloween – we’d probably be curled up in front of the TV with a big pile of snacks, watching our favorite episodes of Supernatural.
Meredith says: I LOVE Supernatural!!
2. You’re ready to head out with your pillowcase to collect loads of confections on All Hallows’ Eve. What’s your costume and why did you choose it?
Carol says: I have a mental picture of myself dressed as Elsa from Frozen… and looking good enough that I won’t scare little kids. (Heh.) But since this is the real world (and assuming I could find a decent seamstress) I’d probably go in Starfleet uniform. Star Trek opened the door to my first sales as a writer, gave me a chance to work in Hollywood, and it’ll always have a place in my writerly heart. Beyond that – in the world of Trek, they don’t much care if you don’t look like Elsa from Frozen.
3. Old Mrs. Robinson opens her door and you’re holding open your pillowcase, patiently waiting. “Oh, deary,” she says in her frail, little old lady voice. “I forgot it was Halloween. Don’t know why you kids go begging, anyway. Let me go find something to give you.” She shuffles off and finally returns three and a half minutes later with 5 pennies, 2 peppermint candies that look like they went through the dryer, and her deceased husband’s dentures. “Take what you like,” she offers, squinting at you. What do you choose and why?
Carol says: The money. Always go with the money! No, seriously… if she’s an old woman, there might well be a rare coin in amongst those 5 pennies. You might end up with a 1943 copper that’s worth $80,000.
Meredith says: That would be awesome!
4. I really love reading Dean Koontz, but some of his stuff scares the bejesus out of me. What’s the spookiest book you’ve ever read?
Carol says: Books don’t generally scare me (which, yes, is an odd thing for a horror writer to say). I’m a very visual person – very affected by sight, sound, overall mood. Koontz tells some terrific stories, as does my lifelong favorite writer, Stephen King, but I can’t honestly say they scare me. What scared me the most was a 1980s movie called The Entity. I saw it alone in the theater at night, and it freaked me out so much I couldn’t go home. I had to go across the road to The Empire Strikes Back and detox before I could consider being home by myself in the dark.
5. You’re a writer by day and a supernatural creature by night. (Shed that human skin, you sack of bones.) What are you and why?
Carol says: Something that’s very ethereal, I think – something that can run, and fly, and slip through small spaces. Sometimes I feel very hemmed in by the limitations of my body, and I think it would be freeing to be “a wisp of air and smoke.”
6. Every author has a bookshelf filled with his or her favorite reads. Run on over to yours and tell us the scariest book you have.
Carol says: I’ve got an entire bookcase filled with Stephen King’s books, all in hardcover. He’s my guru, my Jedi master – the best storyteller I can point to, bar none. As I mentioned above, his books don’t honestly scare me because I’m too dependent on sight, sound, smell and so on. But a fair number of other people seem to be pretty spooked by The Shining, so I’ll go with that one. Dead women in the bathtub, creepy little-kid ghosts, a dad who comes after you with an axe… That’s got to hit all the buttons.
7. We don’t all write horror but there comes a time when you’ve got to surprise your readers and make sure their hearts are still beating. How do you prepare yourself to get in the spooky writing mood?
Carol says: Actually, it’s like writing anything else – you have to figure out mood and pacing. What images do you need to set up? What’s going on in the background? I’m a very visual person, so I parse out what’s there “on screen” as if I were creating a painting, filling in the details as I go.
Oh, and add some blood. ;)
8. Stephen King’s front porch light is on but there are no Halloween decorations.
a) trick-or-treat and cross your fingers that he’s handing out the good stuff
b) run screaming
c) call your mom to bring your favorite King paperback and beg for an autograph
Carol says: If I happen to be with my Musketeers (scroll back up to question #1), I suspect we’ll be ringing the doorbell and hoping not only for good candy, but the chance to shake the man’s hand and hang out for a minute. Hoping too that I could remain coherent enough to say a few words. After all, he’s The Man, and you can’t squander a chance like that. Though I suspect he’s the one who runs screaming from trick-or-treaters! He’s probably had about 85 billion of them show up at his house.
9. Congratulations, you just won the literary lottery and sold a million books at full price! The royalty check clears on October 28th. What are you buying for the neighborhood kids?
a) an assortment of mini candybars
b) an assortment of cheap, hard candies
c) full size Hershey bars
Carol says: That’s thinking kind of small, isn’t it? I’d throw them a party. Music, costumes, apple-bobbing, games. A full-on haunted house thing. Candy and cookies and cake. Maybe some grownups who went all-out with their costumes doing a bit of role-playing. A magic show. Give ’em something to remember!
10. Your writer friend calls you with some frightening news. They’re giving up on writing, can’t take the pressure any longer. What do you tell them?
Carol says: The same thing I tell myself when I run into a wall: give yourself a break. I always think of my mind as a sort of story-generating blender. If you don’t fill it up, nothing comes out. So go live your life. Read. Watch TV and movies. Watch and listen to other people. Fill the well up with material – ideas for scenes, people’s voices, snapshots of the things around you.
I think one of the worst things that’s happening these days is the rush to Publish All The Things. A book a month, or (heaven forbid) 5 books a month. Writers seem to grow very accustomed to big paychecks very quickly, and if there’s a bump in the road, they panic. The same thing happens if they force themselves to write stories that mean nothing to them – writing in a genre they don’t like, or trying to write too much, just for the money. To my mind that just makes you a shill. Do what you love. Live your best life, and tell stories. Don’t let it kill you. Live with good intentions, and write with joy. You may not make the big bucks, but you’ll rest easier at night.
Unless there’s something with big, sharp claws scratching at your window…
Connect with Carol!
Picture an 11-year-old girl with pen in hand, spiral notebook in her lap. That was me, back in the beginning: a shy little girl with glasses, who wanted more stories about her favorite characters...so she wrote them.
And nothing ever really changes.
What's been most important to me throughout my life is FAMILY, and that's what I write about - whether the story involves a couple of investigative reporters digging into a series of mysterious drownings, or a young girl who discovers that her colony's alien "staff" is being mistreated and killed, or a harried woman searching for "something simple." It all comes down to FAMILY, the one we're born with, and the ones we build through marriage, friendship, and shared experiences.
I was a secretary for 38 years. Now I'm a full-time writer and editor. I work on a laptop, but at heart I'm still a little girl with a pen who's anxious to share her stories.
My blog: http://caroldavisauthor.com