This week I sit down with Steven J. Carroll, author of In the Window Room.
1. Please tell us about yourself.
My name is Steven J Carroll. I'm predominantly a Middle-Grade author as far as content goes, but my writing style tends to be a little "wordy", so I like to think of myself as both a Middle-Grade and YA author. I live in Southern California, and I've authored three novels, thus far: Two science-fiction fantasy novels written for the series which I'm calling The Histories of Earth, and one southern crime fiction set in 1940's Arkansas, called The Road to Jericho.
2. What's the name of your newest or latest book and what's it about?
My latest book is called, A Prince of Earth. It is set about fifty years after the first book in the series, and is twice as long and, I think, twice as intense as the first book. The basic plot revolves around a boy, Timothy Hayfield, who is in the beginning of the story forced to stay with his grandmother in Mayfield, England for the summer. And while there, he discovers that his grandmother had been keeping amazing secrets hidden from the family, which in turn sends him on a daring adventure. This is decidedly my most exciting novel to date, and a very good read, if you happen to like Middle-Grade fantasy books.
3. Is this book part of a series or standalone?
A Prince of Earth is book 2 in The Histories of Earth series.
4. How long have you been writing?
I've been a recording songwriter since 2003 (search Steve Carroll on iTunes), and an author since 2011.
5. From where or whom do you draw inspiration?
I think that depends on which book I'm writing: For The Histories of Earth series my inspiration is drawn in a large part from writers like - Jewels Verne, H.G. Wells, and C.S. Lewis. And for The Road to Jericho, my inspiration mostly came from Mark Twain.
6. What advice would you give new or aspiring writers?
Writing is hard, but it's fun if you make it so.
You have to write everyday, or try to.
You have to take a lot of criticism, even if you're a decent author, because someone will always dislike you.
Half written books are not worth anything. Unedited books are not finished books.
Write what you love, or what you feel like you must write about.
And... don't always be "the writer" to your friends, just because people know you personally and may like you, that doesn't mean they will like your writing. And very often you'll find that most of your friends won't read period, it may have nothing to do with you or your book, maybe they just aren't readers, and you won't magically make them all readers, just because you've finished a book. Try not to let that bother you. Everyone is different, not everyone will love what you love.
7. Who do you see as your ideal reader?
I recently received a review from an eleven year old girl. She said that she enjoyed my book, and would recommend it to other eleven year olds. But then again I've had great reviews from women and men over fifty. So I would say that my ideal reader would be anyone who appreciates imaginative children's stories, and who also is not driven away by long sentences.
8. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a planner or outliner?
No, I usually I don't plan my novels out. And I find that to be very freeing and helpful for spontaneous storytelling. However, sometimes after penning the first few chapter I can see the general arc of the story, and I will have a basic idea of how it might end... but I try not to keep that "in stone", in case something better comes up.
Also, I think I have to add that I first literally write out all of my novel in a writing journal, before I type them into the computer. Very often, I find that this helps me to run at least two drafts in my head first, before I put it into any concrete form, and this seems to make for better writing, at least for me.
9. Are you a "write every day of the week" sort of writer or do you take days off?
I'll very often take Sundays, or the weekend off. This helps to preserve my marriage, and also I think that the principle of a Sabbath has been lost on our modern culture, and people would be much better off if they learned to rest every now and then.
10. What are your thoughts on writers paying for reviews as John Locke is reported to have done?
I'm sure writers and publishing houses have been paying for reviews for decades, and this is probably not a new thing, or something we can ever really stop.
11. Some book reviewers won't accept independently authored books for review. What are your thoughts on that? Are they missing out?
I would say that most reviews should only accept independent books for review. Traditionally published books will all get reviews for their books, and they will likely be well reviewed and recommended, but independent books don't have the same push behind them. So, yes, I believe they are missing out.
12. Some people feel indie authored books are of lesser quality than those that go through the traditional publishers. Do you agree with them? If so, how can independent authors raise the bar and remove this stigmatism?
Independently authored books suffer from a "lack of eyes". Most indie authors go at it alone, but I feel they should at least hire a basic proof reader to be safe, and this will automatically raise their quality. Also, indie authors need to hire professional designers, and this is a must. Just doing those two things should make an indie book and a traditional book basically indistinguishable from one another.
And Amazon is the great equalizer. If an indie book is well written and has good design, then no one will ever question its validity. All shelf space on Amazon is exactly the same, if it sells, it gets pushed higher, so whether it's indie or traditional it doesn't matter.
13. Assuming you have an active blog, point readers to a post of which you're especially proud or think will be of particular interest to them.
5 Disney Rules for Children's Literature
14. Which retailers or others sites can readers find your work at?
Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com
15. Where can readers find out more about you?
Steven J Carroll is the author of The Histories of Earth series and The Road to Jericho. For ten years, he has been an indie songwriter.
In 2011, after being inspired by fellow SoCal author Toby Hoff, Steven J Carroll began to write a book of his own. Which became In the Window Room (Book 1 of The Histories of Earth), a novel about the adventures of young troublemaker, and the fantastic journey she finds in a mysterious old house.
His second novel, The Road to Jericho, is a southern Americana crime story, about a boy and his dog in 1940's Arkansas.
The sequel to In the Window Room, called A Prince of Earth, is on sale now.
Steven currently lives in Southern California with his wife, Breanna.