Today I have been lucky enough to score an interview with the fabulous author of Heart Search: Lost, Carlie. M.A. Cullen (apparently no relation to Edward, but I have my doubts, since she really seems to know her genre!) Here's what she had to say:
CC: G’day Rachel, thank you so much for having me here today. I’m so excited to be in Oz!
RT: You're very welcome Carlie! First off, can you tell me a little about your book?
CC: It’s about a young couple, Remy and Joshua, who are on the verge of getting married when he ups and disappears after hurting her physically just two days before the wedding. Remy is understandable distraught, but after taking advice from her twin, decides to set off to find him.
She embarks on a long, lonely journey which is full of emotion and tests her mettle in more ways than one. When weird things begin to happen to her, she even begins to doubt her sanity.
In the meantime, Joshua has become immortal and finds his maker. He learns not only how vampires feed, but that he has gifts above and beyond the norm. He has his own battles as he tries to forget Remy and becomes embroiled in coven politics, endangering his new life.
Their parallel journeys have connections running through the story and there’s a killer ending.
RT: What inspired you to write this novel?
CC: I’ve written since I was a child and I’d had this idea floating around in my head for a while. I began making notes and then Remy and Joshua popped into my head, almost fully formed and demanded I tell their story their way. Who was I to refuse? Once I began writing it, they took over and nine months later the first draft was finished.
RT: Heart Search is quite a personal journey for Remy, did any of this come from your own personal experiences?
CC: Well, as far as I know, none of my ex’s have been bitten and become immortal! [Chuckles] *RT: Once again, I seriously think she's related ;-P* I’ve also never set off on a journey like Remy did. However, I think all writers take something from past experiences and put it into their writing, no matter how insignificant. Like virtually every other woman on the planet, I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak over the years and I did draw on some of that for the emotional scenes with Remy. I think when writing something of that nature, it’s good to reflect back on the way one reacts as it makes it more realistic. I have had a personal journey of my own to find myself in the past few years and it does take a certain amount of inner strength. I’d like to think some of that rubbed off on Remy.
RT: Recently I interviewed an author about Fifty Shades and why women seem to love stories that involve bad boys. In this instance, the bad boys are vampires, why do you think we love them so much?
CC: Hmmm. I think it’s a combination of things actually. Vampires are generally portrayed as being handsome and charismatic, despite their blood-thirsty natures, and the immortality issue is attractive. So many people dread getting old and dying and as vampires almost never die, staying young and beautiful forever, it’s the same type of thing as finding the fabled ‘Fountain of Youth’. Also, I think women sometimes fantasise about having a bad boy as it’s so atypical to their real natures; the danger and excitement which surrounds them is attractive.
RT: Can you give us any hints about Remy and Joshua's journey in the next novel?
CC: Uh-oh! Now you’re pushing your luck, Rachel! [Laughs] What can I tell you that won’t give too much away? Remy’s heartache isn’t over by a long shot yet you come to see the real fighter in her emerge – much more so than in book one. Joshua still has battles to fight and not just in his coven. There’s a twist early in the book that shakes both Remy and Joshua’s worlds enormously, but for different reasons. The coven leader has a new lady on his arm and the sins of the past are revisited. That’s all I’m going to say.
RT: Rats! I was hoping to get a scoop there. Okay, so how many books are planned for this series?
CC: Three in total at the moment. However, the way Remy and Joshua take me over when I’m writing, who knows what they have planned?
RT: I agree, characters certainly have a way of getting under your skin and ruling the show sometimes ;-P So there turns out to be more than three books, I can CERTAINLY live with that! Speaking of books, do you have any other novels in the pipe works?
CC: Um, yes I do. I’m sketching out some ideas for a fantasy one featuring the lovely lady I use as my avatar. She gives me a great deal of inspiration so I’ve decided she needs her own book or two. I have a working title and a rough theme, but in this one I’ve got some serious world-building to plan and magic systems to work out. I’m excited by the prospect, but will do little more than make notes as I think of things until I’m done with Heart Search. I’m not the sort of writer who can have several projects on the go at once – I prefer to concentrate on one project at a time.
RT: I agree, creating worlds takes time, one at a time for me too please. I am in AWE at the authors who can drop one world and pick up half way through in another one though. So, how did you start writing?
CC: I started writing for my own amusement as a kid. I had to learn to amuse myself as I grew up as an only child with parents who both worked. I loved reading, especially fairy tales and began writing my own before I reached double digits. I’ve never really looked back since.
RT: Who inspires you (Literary or otherwise)?
CC: How long have we got? [Chuckles] My late parents inspire me – losing them taught me that life is too short to be unhappy and to follow my dreams while I can. My daughter is also a great inspiration; she is so supportive of my writing and brings such joy to my life.
Outside of them, I’m inspired by ‘my family’ at Myrddin Publishing, the late Princess Diana, J K Rowling and a whole host of other authors whose books have enriched my life.
RT: And, finally, just for fun...If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and why?
CC: Oh this is a hard one! Why are the fun questions so damn difficult? There are too many awesome choices! [Laughs] Ok-ay, I think I’ll go with the ability to teleport. It would be beyond cool to just be able to decide to go somewhere, like a beach in the Caribbean when it’s freezing cold and chucking it down with rain at home, or to pop in on my family in the US or Canada or even those in the UK in the blink of an eye, or visit places I’ve always wanted to go, but never been able to afford. But I’d have to be able to take my daughter with me – and my laptop! :)
RT: Ooooh, teleporting sure does sound like a LOT of fun! Thanks so much for popping in and saying hello. I know your schedule is completely crazy this month, so I really do appreciate it!
CC: I’ve had a bonza time here with you today, Rachel. Thank you so much for having me. Now did you say something about a barbeque??
RT: *Chucks another shrimp on the barbie for Carlie*
Now, I think I have an idea what that twist may be in book 2, but why don't you head on over to Amazon.com and pick up your copy of Heart Search: Lost and once you've finished reading it, stop back here and let me know what you think the twist is!