It's Author Thursday! Today The Cover Contessa, along with Never Too Old for Y.A. books group from Goodreads, welcome author Cora Carmack for an interview!
Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible-- a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.
Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.
Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel. Expected publication date: June 4, 2013
Let's hear what Cora had to say!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?From a really, really young age. I’m not sure exactly when, but I do know when I graduated Kindergarten, my gifted and talented teacher had us write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. She gave us those slips of paper later when we graduated high school.Mine said that I wanted to be a writer. (Granted, it also said I wanted to be a ballerina, actor, teacher, archaeologist, the President of the United States, and have 200 children, but never get married and live in my parents’ backyard. Clearly, my imagination was wild even back then).
How long does it take you to write a book?Oh, man, it varies A LOT. The first book I ever wrote was a YA fantasy (which is rotting away in a trunk), and it took me almost three years from conception to finish. After that, I started several more YA Fantasies (just like my childhood self, I can’t seem to choose one thing and go with it). About 8 months into writing one of those, I was stuck and needed a break. So, I wrote the first chapter of LOSING IT. It was fun and freeing, so I kept writing. Three weeks later I had a first draft. I just finished a first draft of another book in about 5 weeks. Every book is different for me.
What do you think makes a great story?I love the way you phrased that question because I think great stories and good books can be two different things. I think great stories are books that strike a personal cord within a reader. That means what is great for me might not be great for anyone else. To me, a great story is one that moves you. It can move you to tears or to laughter or to action. The point is that it changes you in some small way.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?I wish it were more organized, but I’m a bit of a binge writer. I’ll write all day for several days in a row, and then not write for a day or two. But even when I’m not writing, it’s on my mind. I jot things down constantly.
How do you balance family and writing?Poorly. . Luckily, I’m young and single, so there are no neglected children in my house. But I do tend to disappear for days on end, and my friends and family will text or call to see if I’m still alive.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?From all over the place, sometimes the inspiration just pops into my head, or it might come from something I see or have experienced. When I’m actually writing the book, I do a lot of research.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?The most surprising thing was writing them. There’s this point in the middle of every book when I start to think that I’m crazy and have no business writing a book. Everything in me tells me that it won’t work, that I should put it aside and write a different book or find a different career, but then I push through. Each time I finish a book, I’m still left a little in shock that I managed it.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?I’ve completed three manuscripts. And I have about 4 WIPs that vary from 50 pages written to 250 pages.
Are your characters based on anyone you know?Not usually, but some characters will have one aspect of their personality that is similar to me or to someone I know. It’s never the full character, just a small piece.
Do you have a favorite place you love to write?I don’t. I write just about anywhere. Strangely enough, I tend to write a lot of my books while traveling.
How hard is it to get published?It’s incredibly hard, but it’s worth it. I started seriously pursuing writing in 2008. It’s 2013 now. I, of course, went about it in an unconventional way. I self-published LOSING IT because I knew other New Adult books had done well with that method. Now, a few months later, my book is about to make it’s way into bookstores. Traditionally, publishing moves nowhere near that fast. Even if I had sold my book to a publisher originally, instead of doing it on my own, I would likely be waiting another year to get to this point.
What do your family and friends think about your books?My friends are ecstatic. A few days ago, they dubbed themselves my official fan club, called ! So much of LOSING IT was a celebration of what my college years meant to me, and my friends, of course, are a big part of that.My family is extremely supportive as well. My oldest sister and my mother both proof-read the novel for me before I published it. My father isn’t allowed to read the books, but he’s really happy for me too. .
What do you like to do when you are not writing?Oh, gosh, a little bit of everything. I love theatre, music, movies, painting, just about anything artistic. I like to get out and have adventures. I especially love to travel (which is why Kelsey’s companion novel is about her adventures backpacking overseas). But I also like to stay at home and relax.
Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they?Stay determined.Work at it constantly. Take classes, go to conferences, read craft books.Write what you love, so that it won’t feel like work.Read insatiably.Live passionately, so that you’ll have something to write about.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?I think I already answered this question, but to recap I wanted to be a…..
What are your favorite books and which authors inspire you?Well, I owe all my interest in writing to J.K. Rowling. I always liked reading as a child, but Harry Potter took it from a hobby to a lifestyle. I also adore all things John Green.I also really love The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, The Book Thief by Markus , and North of Beautiful by Justin Chen Headley.
For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published?The number one thing you have to do is do your research. There is so much information on the Internet available for free. There are so many quality books on both writing and publishing. As much as writing is about love, it’s also about business. If I wasn’t constantly researching the publishing market (and a member of Publisher’s Marketplace), I might not have ever known that self-publishing was a really smart option for my particular kind of book.
What are you working on now?Well, I’m working on edits for Cade’s companion novel, which you all should be hearing more about VERY soon. I’m just starting Kelsey’s companion novel. I’ve also started an unrelated New Adult romance that may give LOSING IT a run for its money in the humor department.
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.
Cora's Blog: http://coracarmack.blogspot.com
Cora's Twitter: CoraCarmack
Cora's Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6535659.Cora_Carmack
Thanks so much for stopping by to chat with us today, Cora! It was great having you here!