Monday, 1 September 2008

An interview with author, Sela Carsen

  • Sela Carsen is just your ordinary, average, everyday stay at home mom.
    Really. Ignore the two Monkey Children. And the disaster area she calls home. And the Darn-Near Perfect Husband who patiently puts up with the chaos. Did she mention the Boxer?
    If you see her talking to herself while she’s going down the produce aisle at the grocery store with her travel mug of coffee welded to her hand, well, doesn’t everyone do that?
    Fueled by the caffeine-induced jitters, she writes comic romances featuring smart, funny, mostly alive, occasionally dead (and undead), and not always entirely human characters. Her writing runs the gamut from paranormal to historical, and from sweet to steamy, with several rabbit trails in between.
    She currently resides in Dante’s Seventh Circle , also known as Midwestern Suburbia.

    Hello, Sela, would you like to share with us how you came up with the idea for your latest book?

Hi, Anthony, I started writing CAROLINA WOLF about five years ago when we were getting ready to leave England and return home to the US. My husband was in the US Air Force and we’d been fortunate enough to get a tour at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk. I loved it there, but our time was up. We were on our way to South Carolina for his last assignment before retirement. As we researched the area we were going to, I realized that there was a huge swamp nearby – a national park, actually. The Congaree National Park is North America’s largest old-growth floodplain forest.

I looked on the map again and realized that there was a small town that conjoined the area and started thinking.

Essentially, I started with the setting, then the characters came with it.

  • And what about planning? Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?

I’m a “pantser,” short for “I write by the seat of my pants.” I just start writing and see what happens. I’ve tried plotting a few times, but it’s never worked out. It sucks all the fun out of writing for me.

  • Some people like to know where they’re heading when they write. Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?

Well …. My husband once asked me that. I said, “Yes. They all end with ‘And they lived happily ever after.’” *gg*

  • So do you have a process for developing your characters?

No, I’m afraid not. Boy, I should never write a “how-to” book, eh? They develop on the page as I write. Sometimes they absolutely crack me up, sometimes I try to steer them down a road I think is the right one and they quit on me altogether. I always think that you can plan all you like, but you never really know what someone is going to do in any given situation until they’re actually in it. You can assume, but sometimes you’re wrong.

  • Sela, some people say that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?

I tend to write very “everyman” heroines and thus far, they’ve all been Southern. I am a Southern woman, I understand Southern women. Someone once told me that as a Northeasterner, she found it offensive when people called her “ma’am” or opened doors for her. I realized then that I couldn’t ever write an authentic character from that part of the country because I genuinely didn’t understand that attitude or its roots.

  • What’s your favorite part about this book?

Anthony, I love the way my heroine grows. At the beginning, she’s very ordinary. She even considers herself boring. Through the story, she comes into herself as a whole woman. It was a really fun theme to play with.

  • If you’re enjoying it, Sela, you’re definitely onto a winner. So would you like to give us a brief summary of the book?

Debra Henry is boring. And she’s okay with that. Really. It’s not as if the teensy amount of witchcraft she inherited is worth much. So what’s up with the werewolves that start crawling out of the woods, er, swamps? When one werewolf saves her from an outcast of his kind, she takes him home to patch him up, but healing him awakens the magic that sleeps in her blood. Suddenly, Debra’s not quite as boring as she thought.

Maddox Moreau likes being the BWIS – the Big Wolf In the Swamp. By day, he’s a wildlife management specialist at the Congaree National Park in South Carolina. By night, he enjoys howling it up with different women. At least until he meets the one woman who can share his soul. Rescuing her seals his fate, but only if he can also protect her from the rogue werewolf with a nasty stalker streak.

Unpredictable magic and rampant werewolves liven up the swamp in CAROLINA WOLF.

  • When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?

I wrote this one as a response to a call for submission. My publisher, Samhain, was looking for stories to put into an anthology called TICKLE MY FANTASY. They wanted all paranormal romantic comedies. I had written the first few scenes way back when, but never finished it. I realized I had the beginnings of the perfect story sitting in my hard drive and I just went from there.

  • So what struggles have you had on the road to being published?

I’ve always had the hardest time with promotion. It’s difficult for me to put myself out there and say “Buy my book!”

  • Tell me about it. I absolutely hate promotion, it’s just something we have to put up with though, I’m afraid. What about the best part about being published?

It’s just incredibly fun to hang out with authors. There’s a camaraderie there that is difficult to understand until you’ve had the experiences of contracts and covers and promotion. We still deal with all the things that all writers do: recalcitrant characters, building themes, getting the words down, but there’s a sense that there’s a concrete goal at the end. It’s almost a relief in some ways.

  • What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?

That they had fun. That they smiled. That there’s a core of strength in women that they alone can tap. And that they can enjoy the journey of finding that strength and finding love.

  • And do you have plans to write another book?

It’s already in the works. I’m writing a tie-in story to my first novella, NOT QUITE DEAD. One of the secondary characters really deserved his own happily ever after. After that, I want to get back to my sole historical and revise it, then I can finally start the novel I’ve been playing around with for a while.

  • Okay Sela, let’s get down to the plug. Where can readers find a copy of your book?

CAROLINA WOLF will be on sale through Bookstore and More in February 2009. In the meantime, you can find my other stories, NOT QUITE DEAD and HEART OF THE SEA at My Bookstore and More, as well as other e-book sellers. HEART OF THE SEA is also available in Kindle at

  • Do you have a website for readers to go to?

Absolutely! You can find me at I blog on a semi-regular basis, too, so click on the blog button

  • Sela Carsen, Thank you for sharing this moment with us. Good luck with the sales …. And promotion.
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1 comment:

Sela Carsen said...

Thank you for the interview, Anthony! I hope your readers find it interesting.