Joining me on the couch today is fellow Aussie, Neven Carr, an author who writes mysteries. Thank you, Neven, for taking the time to chat to me. Please sit down, get comfortable and let’s begin.
About Neven Carr
Neven Carr began writing her first book at the age of ten. She never finished it. Short stories, poems and songs she completed with ease, but she never achieved the elusive novel.
Neven had some fantastic English teachers who continually encouraged her to explore the talent they believed she had. Again, she began many novels, again never completing them.
Ten years ago, she picked up her laptop and began writing. Since then she hasn’t stopped. She not only completed her first novel ‘Forgotten’ but also four more in the ‘Araneya Series’. Neven believes the timing was right; that perhaps she needed more life experience.
Neven is fortunate to live in what she terms is an author’s haven; a quaint fishing village on the east coast of Queensland, Australia. The sounds and smells of the nearby ocean, and of the surrounding natural wildlife, she finds soothing and inspiring.
What’s the name of your book?
Tell us a bit about your book
Every family holds a secret. How far would yours go to protect them?
Twenty-eight year old schoolteacher, Claudia Cabriati, has no memory of her life before the age of eight. This is not something she thought unusual, until a strangely familiar woman possessing knowledge of that life, is shot and killed in the grounds of Claudia’s home.
With her trust challenged by those she loves, Claudia turns to the mysterious and enigmatic Saul Reardon. Together they embark on a dangerous journey in search of answers.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
The names are very important. However, in saying that, my character’s names form in my head when I first wake up and from then on that is who they are. Strange, I know!!!
Give us an insight into your main character. What makes them unique?
Claudia Cabriati has grown into an anxious, vulnerable and extremely insecure person. Her family, have worsened her situation by their fierce over-protection.
Many female characters in today’s literature come across as strong characters and that is great. However, I didn’t want that with Claudia.
I want her to portray a real-life person who has undergone several past traumas.
I want her to despise the ‘helpless victim’ she had become and thus battle daily for her independence and inner strength – with a relative degree of success.
I want her to grow from that helplessness, begin discovering strengths and abilities she never knew she had. And in an effort to save her life and others, she has to do this.
I want her to continue this growth throughout the series.
Lastly, I want her to be a role model for others battling in similar ways so they know they CAN succeed also.
What makes her unique?
Her quirky behaviours.
Her hot, Italian temperament!
Most of all… her addiction to pink musk sticks.
As Claudia says, “Cheaper than happy pills!”
If you could choose ten words to describe your book, what would they be?
Fearful, watchful, distrusting, loving, funny, sad, scenic, twisting, shocking, developing.
Have you always liked to write?
ALWAYS! It is a stubborn and innate desire … an itch that needed scratching. Excuse the cliché. I soon found it to be an avenue to express my feelings, particularly during difficult times: ie adolescence.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Another well-worn cliché – Read, read, read every day! Write, write, write every day!
Develop a writing routine and stick with it.
Put some distance between the writing and editing process.
Accept criticisms as a positive – it took me a while but once I did, it became my strongest writing tool.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Any criticism positive or negative is a platform to grow and learn!
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Editing, re-editing and re-re-editing.
Of course, it is highly necessary but I find it so time-consuming and very laborious. I think I can now recite my book word by word. A slight exaggeration!
What are you working on now?
Polishing Book Two in the Araneya Series.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Claudia Cabriati is going back.
Back to Araneya.
A place where special relationships were nurtured, where chilling nightmares were born, a place that harbours a shocking secret about her.
A place of which she has no memory.
Not trusting corrupt politician and owner of Araneya, Senator Carlos Macey, or his twisted version of what happened to her there, Claudia decides to return to Araneya, in the slim hope that it will restore her lost memories.
Together, she and Saul Reardon, the man she is fast falling for, embark on a dangerous journey in the search for truth. With killers on their heels and Macey about to be released from custody, time is paramount.
Will Claudia finally remember?
More importantly …
… will she want to?
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I am a strong mystery/thriller/suspense buff. I enjoy solving puzzles, thus I love searching for clues that help me discover the true culprit. It drives my husband crazy when I have figured out ‘whodunnit’ well before the end of a movie. Thus, I enjoy writing in the same genre. When I get to a fork in my book, I ask myself what would the average reader expect? And then I go the OPPOSITE way.
Where did your love of books come from?
My mother read constantly and would recommend authors to me. She would pass over her Agatha Christie books to me – sometimes accidentally letting out ‘who did it’ before I finished the book. Grrr!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Not to change anything!
I feel writing replicates where you are in your life at the time. Hence, why I think I wrote more songs and poems during my younger years. I needed a quicker avenue to express all my pent up emotions. I believe that for me, I required more life experience before I began writing novels. This is not the case for everyone, of course.
Available formats: ebook