Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Interview with Caddy Rowland

Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream (The Gastien Series)
Caddy Rowland grew up in the Midwest with a stack of books that almost reached the ceiling before she was five. Books, along with her vivid imagination, have always been her closest friends. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, who was her high school sweetheart. They are owned by two parrots. Yes, they can talk, and yes, they can bite! Melanie, the African Grey has such an extensive vocabulary that Caddy sometimes thinks Melly is preparing to become an author. After over 20 twenty years in advertising sales, Caddy decided to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an author in 2011. There are four books planned for the Gastien series, and many other books in her head. Now, if only she can learn to type 2000 words a minute... Her goal as an author is to make readers laugh, cry, think, and become intimately connected with her main characters. To her, a good main character stays in the mind long after the story has been read. They should become as real in the mind as the person next door.

The Gastien Series

Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream
Gastien Part 2: From Dream to Destiny
Tristan Michel: Bloodline of Passion
Coming Fall of 2012: Giselle: Bloodline of Passion
Final Book in Series Coming in Early 2013
Michelle: Caddy, it's a pleasure to have you appearing on my blog today.  Tell me a little bit about your latest book?  

Caddy: My latest book is Tristan Michel: Bloodline of Passion.  It released in May and is the third book in the five book series called The Gastien Series.  This book is about Gastien’s son.  I think the description says it rather effectively:

From the bustling streets of New York City to the smoky speakeasies of Roaring Twenties Chicago, Tristan finds huge financial success. Along with respect, tradition, and family, he promises himself that this will be enough. Having achieved peace by forgiving his father his debauchery, he’s certain that there is nothing that could induce him to follow in his father’s lascivious footsteps.

Like father, like son will never apply to Tristan.

Then the urgent whisper that has been telling him there should be more than what he is experiencing with his wife becomes a full blown roar. With a very proper wife that refuses to loosen up, Tristan learns that the passion of the father is very much the passion of the son. To deny it may be impossible, but to embrace it could cost him everything. Book 3 of The Gastien Series.
M: How did you come up with the title?
C: The title was easy to come up with because Gastien was a man of extreme passion, both for women and for painting. Tristan Michel is also very passionate about his career and  also about being successful and acceptable. He desperately tries to deny the sexual passion that he inherited from his father.

M: Do you have a specific writing style?
C: I have been told my style is unique. Most people seem to enjoy it. At least that is what I have been hearing. I have also had one person say that my style sucked and two that said it was just okay.  Compared to the many that have said they get lost in the stories and love the series, I can accept that a few don’t love it.  I don’t care how you write or what you write, some will hate it and some will love it.  You just have to hope most love it.

I like to write gritty, and I am not shy about writing graphic sex. This series has adult themes, but is not erotica. I also like to show the bad sides along with the good sides of a main character, and show some good in bad people throughout the series.  People are seldom all sinner or all saint in life, so why should they be one or the other in fiction?

M: Do you plan your work or just go with it and start with the initial idea?
C: I start with the initial idea.  I always say that the main character writes the book.  As I write things come into my mind that would be a good addition to the story, so I jot down a word or two to remind myself.  I have a piece of paper with words scribbled all over it while I am writing.  It would make no sense to anyone else. The characters just happen. I can be typing away and all of a sudden – boom – there is a new character!  That is one of my favorite parts of writing, when a new character arrives out of the blue.

M: What inspires you to write?  Where do you find your influences?
C: I have always liked telling stories. I am also a painter, so the Impressionism Era in Paris is interesting to me, and the styles that evolved from it are even more so.  I would say art and love of artists influenced me.

My inspiration now comes from the emails and messages that I get from readers telling me that they love my work and can’t wait for the next book.  That is truly rewarding.

M: What are your current projects?
C: Right now I am working on Giselle: Keeper of the Flame.  This will be the fourth book in The Gastien Series. It will come out this fall. The fifth, and final, book of this series should come out in early 2013.

The Gastien Series is a dramatic family saga and historical fiction.  It is for both men and women.

M: Are there any downsides to being a writer?
C: Sure.  That is true no matter what you do.  It is very hard to make a living until you have several books out.  Even then, if you don’t market the books you still won’t.  That would be one downside.  Tons of time is put into writing and getting it ready for release and many authors never see any financial success.

Also, you live inside of yourself when you write.  I would say that is true for any artist. You observe things, but it can be like you aren’t really there.  I can’t remember the exact quote, but one novel I read described it as not really being present but standing apart from others in real life, as if you are behind glass watching.  It went on to say that was how it was meant to be or else the writer (this character was a writer) could not absorb enough to be able to create characters and situations.  Rather than feeling like he was living the experiences, he was observing them and storing them away for reference. I don’t know if that makes sense. I guess it is a long way of saying that writing can be isolating! I make sure that I get out and socialize with friends and that I get out of my head while doing so.

Also, it is hard to live separately from your book.  It is like you must pull yourself out of one world and join this one. That in itself is a skill that takes time to learn.

M: How do you come up with your characters?
C: I come up with a vague story idea and then a character comes to mind. I sit down at the keyboard and ask the character to come to me. While I am writing, ideas are jotted down in one or two words. For example: Marries. So then I need a spouse.  The name just comes. And, many times while writing a scenario or characters just come out of the blue. When I am writing a book, thoughts come to me while doing other things.  I write down the word that will remind me and later it gets added and the person just happens. Sometimes the person happens in my mind and that word reminds me or sometimes, as I said, they just show up.

I am very seat of the pants when it comes to the story and the characters.  That does not mean I don’t research.  Once I start typing a scene into the book, I will stop and research. I am currently writing historical fiction, so research is very necessary.

Another thing I do is, while writing, I will go on internet and type in “historical eventts 1920 in Chicago” for example.  That gives me the big items that happened during that time.

M: Favourite book?
C:1984 by George Orwell.

M: What are you reading now?
C: I made a commitment to only read books by indie authors this year unless someone gives me a book.  I have found some real clunkers BUT I have also found some truly engrossing stories.  Right now I am reading The Invisible Hands-Part 1: Gambit by Andrew Ashling.

This new series has the same characters (plus new ones) as his The Invisible Chains series. I loved that series. He has a style that totally takes me into the story.  I have sobbed at times and laughed many others.  Be warned: his books are very graphic both sexually and in regard to violence.  He is a great storyteller and I will always read anything he writes. I would never have read these books had I not gotten to know him in a author forum, as I would have thought the genre of fantasy would not interest me, but they are fantastic. Think Game of Thrones, but with gay characters!

M: Do you have any advice for other writers?
C: 1. Just write it.  It seems overwhelming to write a book, but it isn’t.  Write an hour a day and don’t edit or read the previous work.  You will get stuck.  There is nothing to edit until you have a complete book, so keep going until the end.

2. Get an editor and a proof-reader.  Get some beta readers.  If – and only if – you have a command of grammar and spelling and have eye for detail you can edit and proof yourself.  This does NOT mean a read through.  This means weeks, and I mean weeks, of reading the whole thing several times, reading it out loud, reading it backwards (last paragraph forward to stay out of the story and just see errors).  This is not something to take lightly.  That is one fault that I see in many indie works.  More and more people are entering the indie arena and too many do not have edited work that is proofed.  By the same token, some people are too hard on indies.  I have seen a couple errors many times in books published by the Big 6.  In fact, some were glaring! A novel of 125,00 words can easily have a mistake or two.

3. Keep writing.  The marketing and other things you can learn.  Just get the book written. Written well.  Proofed well. Then you can worry about the other things.
M: How do you perceive the world of self publishing?
C: There is good and bad in it.  Like I mentioned above, there are people that release books that are poorly proofed and edited. Readers: One way to avoid those is read the sample Amazon provides. You get 10% of the book there.  Problems will show up in those pages. Check the reviews.  Do they have reviews from bloggers/reviewers? Also, buy some indie books that cost more than “free” or .99.  Come on, even $4.99 is less than a good beer or a movie ticket! Yes, some good books are made free to gain traction, but many are not so great. Sometimes you do get what you pay for.  Take a chance and buy a few $2.99, $3.99 and $4.99 indie books. 
The good? I did not even try to get traditionally published. It takes years, and cancer taught me that none of us are guaranteed years! I was self-employed for over twenty years because I liked calling my own shots.  Indie publishing just fits my style.  I like the freedom to write how I want to, what I want to (even if it is not vampires or zombies), and to price my books how I want to.  I like to pick the covers and I love the marketing.  It is nice being in control of my work. 
Would I take a contract if offered?  If it was fair to me, maybe. I don’t see many contracts that pay what one can make being indie.  If the chances of success were much greater with a publisher, maybe.  Again, that does not seem to be the case. Too few authors get anywhere traditionally.  I have to laugh when people say very few make money as an indie.  True enough.  They forget to mention that the same is true if you are traditionally published.  The odds are stacked against you there, too.
In short, if you write a good book, keep writing good books, have them edited and proofed well, and market, then going Indie is a wonderful opportunity. Amazon pays 70%. Other outlets play indies close to that. What more needs to be said? It is a gamble, but it is a gamble with reasonable odds. Go for it.
The only people badmouthing indies now are those who feel their livelihoods are threatened by us, and those who have downloaded “free” and .99 books without reading the sample to see if they are worth reading. The rest of the world knows that when they want to read something fresh and new they can buy an indie book, usually under $5.00.
 Buy links for Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream:
http://tinyurl.com/3ecu8ku For Kindle readers
http://tinyurl.com/3ue4a7h For NOOK readers (Part 1
 http://tinyurl.com/3luddg7  To order paperback (Part 1)
Gastien Fanpage: www.facebook.com/Gastien.Beauchamp
Author Blog (Writer of Fiction, Painter of Life & Energy: www.caddyrowlandblog.blogspot.com
Twitter: @caddyorpims
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