Rochelle Carlton shares her life with two almost adult children, a partner and numerous cats and dogs on a farm situated close to Auckland City, New Zealand.
Her interests include horses, fishing, historic and exotic vehicles, motor racing, travel, art, good wines, good friends and writing.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.
Who out of your characters would you most like to meet?
Joanne Kyle is one of the main characters in The Quilt, Unravelled. Her upbringing has been one of privilege although her family have been emotionally absent. Throughout the book she evolves, reassesses her priorities and proves herself capable of great sacrifice and true depth of friendship. We all need friends like Joanne.
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?
My life has very little routine and therefore I am often forced to fit my writing between various tasks and dilemma’s. This is the hardest part of combining a busy rural lifestyle with trying to dedicate energy to the novels I love to write.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Occasionally things do not flow or idea’s do not form. I think every writer, to some degree has experienced this frustration. Concentrating or attempting to force creativity is never productive. A good walk, a nice drive in the country or time with the animals is normally all the therapy that is needed.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Be realistic and self-disciplined. This is a solitary past time and it is definitely not an easy or romantic alternative to hard work. Be prepared to accept advice, realize no matter how much you love your work others may not, and accept that very few authors find financial security through their writing.
What are your current/future projects?
I am very excited about my new novel. I have grown attached to the characters and am enjoying their story. Stay posted for a 2015 release!
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I only write books that I would like to read. I love romance, but I do not like romance without substance. I like a story, a face behind the characters and believable people behind the drama. Family saga with all its complexities best describes my writing.
What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?
I do think there are problems within the industry and feel it will become more of an issue in the future. There are too many authors and too few readers. A huge pile of books reducing visibility for those that are new and unknown in the industry. I do not like to be critical if I am unable to suggest a solution. In this case there is not an easy answer. The self-published platform provides opportunity to aspiring authors that may otherwise not realise their dream,. and this can only a good thing. But without some form of quality control, it has been labelled by many as an inferior product. Quality control however would ruin the dynamics of independent writing and defeat the purpose of being an self published author. There is no easy answer that will guarantee a long, and lucrative future for independent authors.
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
I have chosen to be self published and I have used the Amazon and Createspace platform to produce my work.
Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?
It is hard to step away from a story that has been a large part of your life for many months. To divorce yourself and accept that the project is complete. I have uploaded an alternative cover, reduced the clutter, corrected some errors and updated the description. This is an easy process and one of the advantages of self publishing.
What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?
Promotion is a huge part of self-publishing. In fact writing the end realistically spells the beginning of another chapter. It is called promotion. It is not enough to sit back in the hope that someone will recognize your masterpiece. In fact for them to find it under the huge pile of other masterpieces is almost impossible. A self published author needs to be active, to blog, to have a webpage and to use Twitter. I have recently invested some money in advertising on selected sites. However, I feel newcomers need to be aware it is easy to spend money, and hard to recoup it through your sales. The best advice, is to get on with your next project!
If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?
I have exclusively used Amazon and am happy with this platform. It enjoys a large share of the market.
What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?
Family saga would probably best describe my writing. I like the complications and dynamics of the human personality. I also enjoy romance and like to incorporate this in my writing.
What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?
I always have a notebook and pen handy.
Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?
A book is finished when the story has been told. The Quilt, Unravelled was completed after approximately 140,000-00 words. Originally it was not destined to be a story of that length, but as it evolved the journey needed that amount of words. I personally think a novel should not be under 60,000.00 words.
How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?
I think writing has helped me grow as a person and I hope that my stories are thought-provoking to readers. The Quilt, Unravelled has content that is both emotive and may be relevant to many peoples lives.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
I believe the visual impact of the cover and title are the first introduction to the contents. If it is not attractive, if the eye does not go to the wrapping, the reader is unlikely to look at the product. The reader is spoilt for choice, and therefore cover design and professional presentation is imperative.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
Yes I think reviews can capture an individual reader’s unbiased experience of the book.
What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?
If the arrangement restricts the reviewer from giving an honest, written opinion it is inappropriate and serves no purpose whatsoever. It is counterproductive to the industry and potentially misleading to the reading public. I feel it is only acceptable if the reviewer is allowed the ability to write without prejudice.
Do you believe there are competitors or general readers out to sabotage authors with bad reviews and what are your experiences with this?
I personally have not experienced this. However I believe there are people who consider pulling others down the ladder will enable them to climb higher. This is not restricted to this industry. It happens in all walks of life, all sports and most professions.
With self publishing being so easy these days, do you believe there is an over abundance of books out there and how do you sort through all the hype or copycats?
I believe this is a very real problem in the self-publishing industry. I think the theory itself is sound, and the idea of anyone being able to publish their work is providing opportunity that may otherwise not exist. However, there is a very real problem, and with the increase in books available self- publishing is becoming increasingly hard for newcomers.
What is your biggest fear about having a book published?
It is natural to be afraid of rejection. To be told the characters and plot that you have lovingly created is substandard. Take heart, the next person reviewing may have the opposite opinion. Books are as individual as the people reading them.
What is the intended audience for you book?
Several men have read my book and enjoyed it. However I feel it is more a women’s fiction novel.
Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?
I enjoy blogging, however time restrictions and limited technical knowledge restrict my posts.
What makes a good story, why?
I like a story that leaves me thinking. That touches me after the last page has been turned. It needs to be complete and not leave me wondering. It also needs to be more than candyfloss, sweet on the tongue and gone in a second.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
The names are important and I choose them to suit the characters. The names give me a tangible entity to relate to when writing.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes I do read my reviews. After all a reader has taken the time and felt compelled to write it. I consider the points raised and if valid try to learn from them. However I do not respond to them. As long as the content is constructive no review can not be considered bad.
What is the easiest/hardest scene for you to write, why? (Love, action, fight, death, racy, controversial, etc…)
For me the more racy interactions are awkward. My novels are adult, and while I can create the scene through my words, more explicit details can easily be sourced in another genre.
Have you ever had a book idea or characters come to you in a dream? What did you do about it afterwards?
Yes and if an idea or character does come to me in a dream I write it down. This is normally the only way I can continue to rest.
Do you have any characters you would like to introduce in other books or a combination of characters from multiple books you would like to write about in one book?
The Quilt, Unravelled tells several stories. That of the two main characters, the dynamics of a complicated friendship and the story of a family, their violence, their need for closure and the development of their farm. The story could easily be expanded to form a satisfying series.
Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?
To create fictional characters I feel at least to some degree, they must resemble the people that have touched or influenced your life. Relating to your characters makes your writing believable.
What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
The most important thing for a writer to possess is the ability to transport a reader to another place and time. To paint a picture with their words that can be seen and experienced by the reader.
What are your thoughts about eBooks vs. print books?
I like to hold a real book in my hands, to turn the pages and to place it on my shelf when finished so that I can revisit it in the future. However, eBooks are convenient, easy to travel with and easy to store. They both have advantages but are secondary to the story.
Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?
It is a combination of things. I like writing, I like transporting myself in to the lives of my characters. I love the creativity and the satisfaction it provides.
Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?
My main challenge is finding the time to write when I feel creative and am not distracted by my “real” life.
Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?
I proofread and edit my own work. I also have several friends in the industry that go through the manuscript prior to publishing.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing?
Self publishing allows flexibility and control of your work.
Do you have a subject/genre you would never write about, why?
I would not convincingly write erotica. It would leave me feeling as if I was running naked in a crowded street, and that would be unpleasant for both the reader and the author!
What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?
I have a story to tell and each is a journey for my characters. Writing is a solitary past time and the motivation has to come from within.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
The journey, colourful characters and the lovely country I live in.
Do you design your own cover? If not who does, why?
I am privileged to call a talented art director my friend. Clare has designed my covers and each time her work has been exceptional.
What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?
Definitely proofing my work. The story has been told, I know the characters and by that stage I have already over looked the errors at least once. Going back to the beginning is time consuming and demoralising but also incredibly important.