If you've been hankerin' for some southern delight, well, look no further. Pull up a rockin' chair and pour yourself a glass of sweet tea. We're gonna while away some time with the lovely CAROL NORTH!!
She's dishin' up some tips every newbie will wanna take a gander at. MISS BISQUE AND THE COLONEL is Carol's latest release and just like a slice of peach pie, it's sure to please.
Get comfy because we're makin' like molasses in January. Put your feet and enjoy!
1) If you were a book, what would your blurb be?
Ten minutes after birth, a baby dons running shoes and dashes off to observe and savor life experiences so she can write about them when she grows up.
2) Using three words, describe your voice.
Clear. Not the clear as a bell kind of clear. I strive for the easily understandable and having a logical flow type of clear.
Powerful. That doesn’t mean action and adventure. It means depicting emotion so the reader “feels” what’s happening.
Sensual. To me, “sensual” means “engaging the senses.” A sex scene is an aspect of sensual. I believe sexual tension can be more sensual than the sex act itself. For example, I’ve never read a sex scene that stirred my senses and primed my pump half as well as the lusty eating scene in “Tom Jones.” They never touched except through their gazes and thoughts.
I haven’t fully achieved the goals for my voice, but am working on it.
3) What is the best writing/career advice you've received?
4) Any tips for the newbies out there about querying publishers or agents?
My advice is “don’t query until your work is ready to sell.” It’s a waste of time and money; both are spent more productively on improving your craft. Why set yourself up for disappointment? Instead, prepare yourself for success by learning technique and how to prepare a presentable manuscript and an enticing query letter.
When I decided to become published in fiction, I bought books covering the various aspects of the craft, including basic grammar, dialogue, setting, character development, plot, and point of view. One by one, I practiced the aspects until I felt comfortable with each. After many months of practice I wrote a short story.
I purchased a book on manuscript submission and followed it. Then sent out the story as a multiple submission. Two publishers fought over it. That story, “As the Seed is Sown,” is a free download on my website: http://carolnorth.com/stories.htm
5) Do you have any tricks for creating believable settings? What's your favorite element of building your characters' world?
I treat my settings as characters. I select settings with which I’m familiar because I want the story to have a feeling of authenticity. The setting for Love’s Reflection is created around building a robot. I wrote a training course for Motorola called “Introduction to Programming Robots.” I was able to play with a small robot and visit a lab. That experience was transferred to my story.
The bridal salon in Eternally His was the result of working part-time as a bridal consultant while studying writing and grammar at a local college. Miss Bisque and The Colonel takes place in Savannah, Georgia, my adopted home town.
6) From newbie to pubbed author, how has your writing grown?
Writing has become easier and quicker. Is that the result of practice or of the confidence that comes from being published? I believe it’s a combination of both those factors.
7) What's new for Carol?
My most recent release is Miss Bisque and The Colonel. In the story, Miss Bisque is living a hand-to-mouth existence because her deceased husband set up his estate to hide his secret life. The “Casanova of Savannah,” Colonel Parker Hill, helps Miss Bisque become a successful artist. When accused of murder, she needs more help than even the colonel can provide.
Sarah, thank you for interviewing me. I appreciate the opportunity, especially since your blog is so well-respected.
(Oh, my! Carol, you've gone and made me blush!)
Miss Bisque and The Colonel
My diamond tennis bracelet sparkled especially brightly in the intense lighting in the pawnshop. The shop owner placed the jeweler's loupe in his eye and looked at it. He seemed to be appraising each stone as he moved his fingers the length of my bracelet. This was a slow process. I entertained myself by studying the top of his head as he bent over. I noticed several blackheads in the middle of a bald spot and hoped he hadn't touched his head before handling my bracelet. It took every bit of strength I possessed not to snatch it out of the hands of that wretched-looking man and run out of the shop clutching my beloved bracelet.
“Eleven hundred.” He raised his head enough so I didn't have to look at those ugly blackheads.
“Eleven hundred? My husband bought it from a wholesale jeweler for three thousand dollars ten years ago. I expect it's worth a lot more today. Those are perfect stones.” I reached for it.
The man pulled his hand back, still holding my bracelet. “Okay. Okay.” He took the jeweler's loupe out of his eye. “Twelve hundred dollars and not a penny more. Do we have a deal?”
I hesitated, looking at it for what I feared was the last time. It is the bracelet or a career in painting, I said to myself, and took a deep breath. “Yes, we have a deal.”
“Good. I'll do the paperwork.” He turned and laid the bracelet on the back counter. I suspected he didn't want me being close enough to grab it and run out of the shop. Then he walked to the end of the counter. I just stared at my bracelet, so out of my reach, and said “goodbye” to it and to the memories it held; memories of when I was the wife of a prominent man and we attended many formal events.
When he returned, I signed a paper saying I was the owner and was agreeing to the terms and the interest. Interest? It seemed to me more like robbery, but I had no choice. He took the paper and photocopied it, gave me one in exchange, and counted out twelve hundred dollars in fifties and twenties on the counter. “You have ninety days to redeem it, and thirty days grace period.” He grabbed the bracelet from the back counter. It disappeared in his fist.
“Yes. I understand.” I looked at the ceiling and thought in the direction of my deceased husband, Johnny Bob Wiley, I'm hoping you understand, too. I don't have any place to wear the bracelet now that you're dead. Better it provides me the opportunity to have a career and an income, rather than just sitting in the safety deposit box. I promise you, I will buy it back. I'm thanking you for your confidence in me. Rest your sweet soul.
I picked up the money and went straight to the art supply store.
Excellent excerpt! I loved the imagery. You're studyin' paid off, Carol. Miss Bisque and the Colonel sounds like a fabulous read! For more on Carol North and her books, be sure to mosey on over to her website.
GOOD NEWS!!! One lucky commenter will be chosen to receive an eBook of Carol's best seller, ETERNALLY HIS.
I'd like to thank Carol for takin' some time out of her busy schedule to be here with us today! And THANK YOU, TLN'ers, for showin' the love and swingin' by! You're mighty fine, indeed.
I'm gonna to show my country roots and send ya'll off into the weekend with one of my favorites. Here's Lynn Anderson with ROSE GARDEN! An oldie song, but definitely a goodie! Rest up and enjoy the two day respite from the Mon-Fri 9 to 5. Ya'll come back now, ya hear?