What prompted you to write paranormal romances?
Actually, I was writing paranormal romance before there was a genre. Years ago, in the early 90s, I wrote three full-length Regency romances that included characters from Greek mythology. This was well before Sherrilyn Kenyon’s famous Dark Hunter Series. Of course, I wasn’t thinking ‘paranormal’ back then, I just thought it was a cool, fun idea to include Psyche and her gorgeous husband Eros in a few books, as well as Artemis. Then around the mid-nineties, my editor at Kensington asked me to write a Regency novella featuring vampires. That was a total blast!
As for switching from sweet Regencies to the spicy paranormal genre, I would have to say that Sherrilyn’s work really inspired me, especially since she’d used Greek mythology and I could totally relate to that. I also fell in love with the work of several authors and began my own feeding frenzy, devouring book after book. I became insatiable. Then at some point I just knew I had to write my own series based on some super hunky warrior vampires, sporting extraordinary wings, and battling an enemy in a very complex world of ascending dimensions.
Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
First-of-all, I make it a practice to stay far away from that which is paranormal in our world: ghosts, demons, etc.
But I once dreamed that a friend of mine, who engaged the paranormal world on a daily basis–as in seeing dead people–came to me in said dream and told me not to sleep in a certain room at the very haunted Grand Hotel in Jerome, Arizona. Since I’m basically a chicken, I heeded her advice. No way was I going to tempt fate to find out what awaited me in that room! Frankly, having a dream like that is as paranormal as I ever want to get!
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release?
I have two upcoming releases that I’d love to share with you. Burning Skies is the second novel in my Guardians of Ascension series and will be available beginning April 26th. This book chronicles Warrior Marcus as he gets caught in a wild bit of vampire mate-bonding and hunts down the seductress of his dreams, Havily Morgan. Burning Skies follows the first release of this series, Ascension, which hit the shelves December 28th, 2010, so basically we’re off and running.
Now, here’s a really exciting development. I just completed a novella called Brink of Eternity, based on the same series. This is a fully-formed romance, which will be available as a digital release at various outlets like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, etc., for $.99. I don’t have a release date yet, although I expect it to come to market either by the end of April or the first of May. As soon as I have the release date, I’ll put this on my website: http://www.carisroane.com.
Do you plot your stories out or do you just start writing?
Honestly, I do both. I wish I could do one or the other, but I can never just start writing nor can I just plot. I do a little plotting, get stuck, then do a little writing, then back to plotting, then back and forth until one day, what do you know, I have a complete novel. I should add, though, that when I say ‘plotting’ I also mean a lot of character work as well. So you might say that I plot, I write, I work on the characters, then plot, then write, then work on the characters, and so forth. Sometimes, I’ll even throw in theme and setting to jumpstart the muse.
What was the funniest thing you learned about your hero/heroine from writing
In Burning Skies, the funniest thing to me about writing Marcus, my hunky vampire hero, was that he was so absurdly possessive of Havily, more even than Kerrick, the hero of Ascension. Of course, I loved that about him!
Which of your characters is most like you and which is least like you?
Let me answer the question this way: the character I wish I was most like is Endelle. She’s my profane, irreverent, snarky leader of Second Earth, totally unfit for the job, but doing it anyway because that’s the job she’s been given to do. She is completely fashion-challenged, as in she wears animal skins and snake-skins and feathers, and always a pair of black stilettos. But I love that she just doesn’t take anything from anybody. She’s absolutely fearless. If anyone ever said to me, “You’re just like Endelle”, I would of course be appalled, but at the same time secretly pleased.
Can you describe your office or where you normally write?
I have two places where I write. When I’m doing strictly plot or character development, I sit in a recliner in my living room, which is one of the most peaceful places in my house. But when I’m writing, as in composing a scene, I have a non-internet computer in a dark corner of my bedroom. I have a 22” monitor so that I can have several files open at once. I have an iPad at my fingertips, which is connected to the internet and which I use strictly for research. I sit in a chair I bought at Pier One Imports that has a really thick comfortable seat and I have a separate sliding table that my keyboard sits on and which I pull up over my lap when I’m ready to dig in. The arrangement is super comfortable which allows me to write longer because I don’t suffer any kind of back strain. I don’t really have much else in my writing space, except my book covers because they inspire me. St. Martin’s has done a fantastic job with the covers for my Guardians of Ascension series.
Which came first the plot or the characters?
As with the plotting/writing conundrum, I really do keep moving back and forth from one to the other because more often than not, something a character will do will then determine the direction the plot takes and wouldn’t you know it, the plot sometimes demands that a character possess a certain attribute or character flaw. I suppose you could say that it’s a truly organic process, always growing out of one thing, then another, and so on.
Have you ever gotten stuck while writing a scene or chapter? How did you
Getting stuck, in my opinion, describes the writing process from beginning to end. I can think I finally have a book well-plotted, then realize I haven’t considered this or that plot element at a given point, and, voila, stuck! So, the way I see it, writing is all about learning a bunch of skills for getting over the humps, all the humps.
So, how do I do it? Good old-fashioned determination, for one. Sometimes, you just have to plow through the issue despite a mounting sense you’ll never overcome. I’m amazed, for instance, that if I just keep pushing through whatever has hung up my story, eventually, all good things come.
As for specific techniques for getting unstuck, my current favorite while I’m writing, is that the moment I reach a point in a scene when I’m ‘stuck’, I’ll play a quick game of solitaire. More often than not, right afterward I can move forward with whatever issue was giving me trouble. Sometimes, a nap helps. Sometimes, a problem won’t be resolved without a good night’s sleep. But as I said before, sometimes just pushing through will yield a world of good.
Well, anyone who’s ever gotten THE CALL, that moment when an editor wants to buy your book, will understand this…but I think the wackiest thing that ever happened to me was getting my first contract. You work and work, you slave over every word, you get your rejections, you take all the expressed doubt from your family you can handle and some you can’t, you listen to your critique group yawn at what you’ve written or take you task over a comma, a period, or a quotation mark, then one day, someone actually wants to publish your book. I mean, that’s just wacky!
What words of wisdom can you offer other aspiring writers?
I’m a firm believer that getting where you want to go in the publishing industry, whether print, digital, self-published or New York published, or all of the above, is one hundred percent a matter of grit and determination and dare I say it, stubbornness in the face of adversity. If you’ve got perseverance, my friend, you can get where you want to go. Just dig in and do it! You can do it, you can do it, you can, you can!!!
Thanks for visiting Caris!
Caris Roane has published over fifty Regency romance novels and novellas under the pen name, Valerie King. In 2005, Romantic Times gave her a Career Achievement award in Regency Romance. Having had a long-time love affair with vampires, Caris tackled the paranormal genre, building a world based on ascending dimensional earths. The first novel of the series, Ascension, was released December 28, 2010. Burning Skies, the second book in the series, hits the shelves in May of 2011. And the third novel, Wings of Fire, is a September release.
Caris lives in Buckeye, Arizona with her two cats, Sebastien and Gizzy.