Bio: Besides my family, my greatest love in life is books. Reading them, writing them, holding them, smelling them…well, you get the idea. I’m the author of the Flocksdale Files: Have You Seen This Girl? (out now) and House of the Lost Girls (coming out Nov 3rd). I also have two previous titles: This Is Not About Love and Grayson’s Ridge. I’m a total genre-hopper. Basically, I like to write what I like to read: a little bit of everything! I reside in Floyds Knobs, Indiana with my husband and children.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? First and foremost, I’m a reader. Always have been, and always will be. I never in a million years planned on writing my own books. There’s so many great books out there to read that I never really saw a point in adding to the pile. But…several years ago, I couldn’t sleep—mainly because I didn’t have a book to read. I was trying to cut down on the number of books I read each week (because they’re expensive when you like to read paperbacks like I do) and alas, I ran out of books to read on a Saturday night. Unable to sleep, I was suddenly hit with a crazy idea. Why not spend the weekend writing my own story, something I’d like to read myself? Well, I learned the hard way that writing a book in one weekend isn’t humanly possible, and at the same time, I fell in love with writing. It was so much more difficult than I’d imagined, but so fulfilling and natural for me. I struggled with finishing my first book, and once I did, I had no plans to submit it to publishers. But my sister pushed me to submit and I was blown away when I was offered a contract. And…the rest is history…once I received that validation with the first book, I’ve been writing ever since!
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I don’t write every single day. I try to take a month or two off between books. But when I am working on a book, I work on it every single day and every free chance I get until it is done. I have three kids, so it’s hard to structure my writing during the daytime. I usually write here and there throughout the day and then finally, when they’re asleep and the house is quiet, I’ll write for 2-5 hours straight at night—sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I’ve only been writing for a few years, but so far…I’ve never experienced anything like writer’s block. My problem is usually quite the opposite—I get so overwhelmed with ideas and plots, that I don’t know where to start or which one to work on first.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story? Ha ha! I love the term “panster”. Okay…I think I’m a little bit of both. I usually start out free writing. Once I’ve written a significant amount—5k-10k words—and I know I’m committed to writing the full story, I usually sit down and try to plot the whole thing out. Sometimes I get so excited about what comes next that I just plot 2-3 chapters at a time. I rarely know how my stories will end until I’m at least halfway or ¾ of the way done, and I never stick to my own script.
5.Are you traditionally or self-published, and what was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors? I’m traditionally published. My first and second books, This Is Not About Love and Grayson’s Ridge, were published through Sarah Book Publishing. I recently signed on with Limitless Publishing for the Flocksdale Files series. Although my books were accepted, I received rejection letters at some point for all of them. My advice to aspiring writers—Read! Read all the time! Reading improves your vocab, helps you identify what’s hot in the market, and decide which genres you enjoy and excel at writing. Also, do your research on publishers and agents. It’s okay to consider all of the routes—agents, small pubs, or self-publishing. Everyone has to decide what works best for them, but it helps to be well-informed about all of the different avenues you can take. I, for one, had no clue what I was doing when I first submitted. Also, learn how to write a really good cover letter and query because that’s usually what gets your foot in the door with agents and pubs. Make friends with other authors and bloggers. Join every book group and club you can! Some of my greatest supporters and friends are other authors I’ve met over the last few years. Other writers are not your competition, they can be your greatest resource and biggest supporters. And lastly, never give up!!!
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Hands down, the best moments for me were when I received my initial acceptance letters and when I got to hold my books in my hands for the first time. It’s so exciting to see this little idea that was in your head become a manuscript, and then ultimately, become a real book. For me, that’s when it feels real—when I get to see the actual, finished result and sit down to read it myself.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. My first book in the Flocksdale Files is called Have You Seen This Girl? Here’s a little bit about it:
Wendi Wise is a troubled young woman who snorts her breakfast through a straw and spends more time in rehab than in the real world…
Her life is seemingly out of control.
But now she has a plan.
That plan involves a sharp set of butcher knives.
She’s going back to where all of her troubles began…
Wendi was lured away from a local skating rink, at the age of thirteen, and held captive in a place she calls ‘The House of Horrors.’ Dumped off blindfolded on the side of a dirt road, Wendi soon discovered that she was addicted to the drugs they fed her while she was captive.
Too scared to go home, and having a new habit to deal with, she hopped on a bus, vanishing from the family she loved.
Vanishing from Flocksdale…
The town of Flocksdale is littered with fliers with a grainy image of young Wendi, and the words ‘Have You Seen This Girl?’ written below.
Now, eight years later, she’s on a mission—a mission to find the mysterious house from her youth and the monsters who dwell inside it.
The second book in the series, House of the Lost Girls, releases November 3rd! Here is a little bit about it:
Marianna Bertagnoli is miserable…not only did her father leave her five years ago, but now she’s being uprooted and forced to move with her mom and new stepdad to the creepy town of Flocksdale.
Flockdale has an evil, ugly history—a history that involves young girls getting kidnapped, a girl named Wendi Wise…
Shortly after moving to her new house, her mother disappears and one of her new friends is found murdered. Has evil returned to Flocksdale? If so, will Marianna survive long enough to bring it to light?
8.What audience is your book targeted for, and what genre does it come under? It falls in the mystery/thriller genre.I originally intended the book for a young adult audience, but because of the graphic violence and language I’d say 17+. I love featuring teenage characters but struggle with “toning it down” for a younger audience.
9.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? When I’m not spending time with my family, I’m reading. I know it sounds boring, but there’s rarely any other hobby I’d rather do besides hanging out with them and books.
10.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) I’m still working on that myself J. Do you have advice? Ha ha!
Seriously, I’d say…always befriend other authors and make yourself accessible to fans. I’ve found Twitter, Facebook, and goodreads to be the best ways of making connections. Always connect with bloggers because they’re a fabulous resource and if you’re lucky they’ll review your book for you or offer an interview J.
11.What is the hardest thing about writing? The hardest part for me is trying to make my books fit certain guidelines or molds (like word count expectations, targeting specific audience, or falling in a certain genre). I like to just write the story and not worry about those things, but it’s hard not to.
Limitless Publishing: http://www.limitlesspublishing.net/authors/carissa-lynch/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/carissaannlynch
Word Press: carissaannlynch.wordpress.com/
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Carissa-Lynch/e/B00REPXXW6/