Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Carolyn Hughey - Magnetic Attraction

I have the honor of interviewing Carolyn Hughey, another Avalon writer who has branched out and applied her talent to books in a variety of genres.

Carolyn, when did you first know that you were destined to be a writer?

I guess I’ve always been somewhat of a storyteller. When I was a kid, I’d tell my uncle these elaborate stories I’d made up. They were usually about some friend I was gossiping about. He got such a kick out of it, he called me Percy after some guy that worked for him who was always talking.

I'm smiling at the image of you as a little girl telling your stories. What part of writing do you find most satisfying?

I enjoy the total package. Coming up with an idea, brainstorming then sitting down to write it. Seeing your idea come to fruition is an awesome feeling. Hearing that others like it is even better.

Sounds like you haven't changed that much from that little girl who loved telling stories. I think that's what makes your books such pageturners. Your enthusiasm comes through loud and clear. What part do you find most difficult?

Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, the words just won’t come. I’ll sit for a while and wonder why I decided to write this particular story, and then it’s as if something magical happens and the words come to me.

On a few occasions, I’ll write words that make absolutely no sense, but when I go back to edit, the funny stuff comes out. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself to finish a story. The one thing I do know though is that you can’t just decide you want to make something funny. It has to come naturally. Forced humor is like slapstick comedy.

I don't think there's a writer alive who can't identify with that. What comes first for you? Characters? Story? Setting?

I guess I’d have to say story comes first. My settings are always on the east coast because that’s where I grew up.

Tell us about Magnetic Attraction.

Magnetic Attraction was the second book I ever wrote. I thought I’d use it as my option book for Avalon, but they didn’t like the story. The way this story came together was during an evening with friends. We were having a glass of wine and she was telling me how she and her now husband met. She spoke about how she wanted to impress him and the silly things she did to get his attention. Jordan’s story is about my friend, Karen’s mishaps.

JORDAN BAILEY has issues. She wants it all—like loving and being loved, the flowers, the candy, the romance, and please, a relationship that doesn’t end in disaster. That’s not asking too much, is it?

Apparently so. Discovering her boyfriend of three years is a two-timing dirt-bag isn’t her idea of the happily-ever-after kind of relationship. And while she’s getting even, who could have predicted she’d have a chance encounter with Dr. Jeffrey Mitchell who teaches her how fate, friendship and passion all contribute to “having it all” or will he be swooped up before Jordan ever gets that chance?

How are the K. T. Roberts books different from Carolyn Hughey books?

I thought you’d never ask. K. T. writes mystery and contemporaries with sizzle. Carolyn books are sweet romances.

Why did you decide to use a pseudonym?

That’s a good question. Actually, I chose to use a pseudonym because I wanted to differentiate between my writing. When someone sees Carolyn Hughey, they know it’s going to be a sweet romance. Although with the onset of Amazon taking over our line, I’m hoping the rules are lifted somewhat so we can have our characters living and vocalizing normal everyday language. In real life, I could never imagine offering a guest a glass of iced tea or a soda instead of a glass of wine. I also can’t picture any one of my friends saying, “Oh fudge, I messed up.” I think the dialogue needs to relax a little and be more realistic. Saying ‘crap’ and ‘damn’ is not the end of the world or does it infringe on someone’s belief.

So, using the different names lets the reader know what to expect. What other projects are in the works?

I’m currently working on the last in my chef’s series and then I’ll go right into my next self-pub, the second in my detective series titled Elusive Justice. The tag line is “Nothing is ever as it seems.”

Great premise for a mystery. What else do you do when you're not writing?

Entertain, exercise, read, play games, swim, and watch movies. Our family lives on the east coast, so I don’t have the luxury of hanging out with them. This is how I fill in. But quite honestly, I’m such a workaholic, I rarely take a lot of time away from writing.

You're obviously a very busy lady. Do you have a schedule for writing or do you squeeze it in when you can?

I write all day long from early in the morning until around 5 PM. I’m fortunate that I’m my own boss.

Plotter or pantzer?

I learned this the hard way. I am a plotter! But it wasn’t always like that. I realized once I began writing mysteries that plotting was the key to a good story. Sitting in front of your computer after you’ve had a burst of energy for a scene trying to figure out where to go with the next one is non-productive.

I hear you. My experience is much the same. What refreshes you creatively?

Reading a book in the genre in which I’m writing. Seeing a movie and having it pique other ideas.

Where can we find you on the web? and I hope you’ll stop by and say hello.

In honor of the 4th of July, I’m offering a free epub copy of Magnetic Attraction to two lucky winners. I’ll select the names at random and post them on the Avalon site.

Thanks, Carolyn, for taking time to answer my questions. Magnetic Attraction sounds like another good read from you. Readers, good luck on winning that free copy.


Gina/Katherine said...

This is probably why I'll never successfully write a mystery. I can't plot and I can't keep a secret. Magnetic Attraction is a fun read with great characters. Everyone, whether they win here or not, should read it!

Carolyn Hughey said...

I think keeping a secret is way harder than plotting. ;-) Thanks for stopping by!

Fran McNabb said...

I do a little plotting, but I guess I really am a pantster because after I "say" I've plotted, my story takes off where it wants to go. I envy anyone who can do a detailed plot before actually writing anything.
Thanks for the great interview.

Carolyn Hughey said...

Thanks for stopping by, Fran. I agree with you that even after plotting, there are times when the story does go where the characters want it to. But the changes are rarely so drastic that it completely changes the storyline. But I do have to say, for me, that plotting/outlining does make the writing go much faster. :-)

Sandy Cody said...

Fran, that happens to me too, but I need at least a direction before I can start. Otherwise, I spend way too much time staring at the screen. The more detailed plan I have, the quicker the words appear.

Carolyn Hughey said...

Yay, another kindred spirt! LOL Thanks, Sandy. I was beginning to think I was the only author on earth who outlined. :-)

Leigh Verrill-Rhys said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh Verrill-Rhys said...

Comedy is probably the most difficult thing to write successfully. Congratulations, Carolyn.

Carolyn Hughey said...

Thank you, Leigh.

Carolyn Brown said...

As my (at the time) three year old granddaughter said when I quit the newspaper business to write full time, "ewe-doe-dudda-hen"! That's you go girlfriend in three year old talk.
I told you last year that this was going to be our year! And it is!

Carolyn Hughey said...

You're so sweet, Carolyn. It has been a good year and I hope you continue to think good thoughts and send them my way. :-)