Monday, April 13, 2015

Interview: Empathy by Carolyn Wren

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

I wrote my first book in 2009 with no background in writing and no clue what I was doing.  
That story was a romantic suspense novella called Diplomat’s Daughter and it went on to win the 2012 RWA novella of the year.  I figured I must be doing something right, so I just kept on going.

What inspired you to write this book?

I enjoy expanding my writing horizons. Empathy is my first full length novel featuring multiple characters and intercepting plotlines.  After writing seven contemporary romantic suspense novels, I decided to give myself a bit of a challenge.  

Please tell us about your latest release.

Empathy is the first book in a Murder Mystery Urban Fantasy called Emotional Chains.  It features three families who have the ability to feel emotions as a physical sense.

Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

That’s a very good question.  Mainly I try to visualize a character and imagine someone calling their name.  In this book we have Oliver Lord who is very quiet and introspective.  He needed a solid almost old fashioned name, nothing too flashy.  Zoe Daniels is an artist, a sculptor, so her name needed to be slightly more unusual, something that hint at as artistic temperament. 

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

Oliver holds all of his thoughts and feelings inside, but deep down he’s very passionate.  Introducing his character traits to the reader at the same time the heroine found them out was quite a challenge.  

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

Meredith Baron was wonderful to write.  I wanted someone who embraced her empathic abilities and had no qualms or guilt about using them.  Writing a character who is so free, so strong willed and so stubborn was great fun, especially when I gave her an equally stubborn hero to butt heads with.

Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

My characters take over my fingers.  I have no idea what they’re going to do or say until the words appear on the page.  Sometimes I think they are in charge and I’m just the interpreter.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

The empaths can inhabit the dream world so I wanted to do a love scene with a difference. 
 The result is very interesting.

What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?

There’s a scene in my Romantic Series, The Protectors where a diminutive female covert operative is trying to free a hostage who was chained in a room.  She had to climb up his body to reach the chains above his head.  I made my husband kneel on the floor to make sure my written actions were accurate.  Thank goodness no one saw us.

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

There will be some recap in Perception, the sequel to Empathy, so as not to alienate new readers, but the books will have more impact if read as a series.

Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?

As much as I would love to be a striking, tall redhead with empathic abilities like Meredith Baron, I’m afraid all my characters are pure fiction.  I do relate to Zoe Daniels who is very tactile and needs to offer comfort to her friends with hugs…I’m a hugger too.  

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Sometimes I wish I did suffer from writers block.  My inner muse is an insomniac who thinks 3am is the ideal time to create that perfect chapter.  The only time I got brain fade was in the middle of last summer.  Western Australia has scorching summers and my air conditioner needed fixing. It was tricky trying to be creative when it was 100 degrees outside and about 90 degrees in my office.  

Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?

Now I want to think up something really exotic or unusual, but my sole writing quirk consists of not listening to music when I write.  I tend to sing along which is bad for my productivity.

Do you write in different genres? 

My debut published series was Contemporary Romantic Fiction, which is something I’ve always enjoyed reading.  But it wasn’t long before my love of everything Paranormal started to take over my writing.  I even ventured into the fun world of erotica with a holiday story about a plucky heroine and two regency ghosts living in a quaint English cottage. 

Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?

Not at all.  I don’t even think about a specific genre when I start a story. It’s only when I’ve finished that I have to sit back and wonder how to label it.   

When did you consider yourself a writer?

When I finished my very first story I remember thinking, wow, did I just do that? When I won my first writing trophy I wondered if maybe this wasn’t some sort of surreal dream.  But, when I held my first publishing contract in my hand, that’s when I began to think of myself as an actual writer.

What are your guilty pleasures in life?

Eating chocolate for breakfast.  Binge watching dvds of Star Trek and Buffy.  Standing in the rain, even when people look at me like I’m crazy.  And buying shoes.  I have a real weakness for shoes.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
I love field archery. It’s like a more interesting version of golf. A long walk followed by firing an arrow into a distant target.  

What was the last amazing book you read?

JR Wards Brotherhood of the Black Dagger books always grab me and hold me captive until the very last page.  I just re-read the last two books in the series because the next one has just been released.

Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?

Curled up in the corner of my comfy sofa with a cup of tea and a bar of chocolate.  

What can readers expect next from you?

Perception, the next book in the Emotional Chains series is due out in August so I’m working hard on polishing the manuscript at the moment.  After that, I have an outline for a brand new Contemporary Romantic Suspense series, and also another paranormal series.  Maybe I’ll flip a coin to see what comes first, or maybe I’ll try to do them all at once. 

Where can readers find you on the web?

My web page is  and I love to chat to readers.  

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

“Please just stop. Don’t come any closer.” Her back hit the wall of a kiosk. There was nowhere else she could go. One breath, one brick. Control slipped further, racing away from her battered, desperate mind. A third person touched their face, gasping at the blood on their fingers.

“Stop, stop.” Kira’s words dissolved into sobs, and the fragile brick wall surrounding her abilities shattered into a thousand pieces.

Emotional Chains
Book 1
Carolyn Wren

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Publisher:  Secret Cravings Publishing

Date of Publication: 23rd March 2015

ISBN:  978-1-63105-537-9

Number of pages:  229
Word Count: 74,918

Cover Artist:  Dawne Dominique

Book Description: 

What if you could sense the emotions of everyone around you?  What if you fell in love with someone you’d never even met?

Oliver Lord belongs to one of three special families, empaths who feel emotions as a physical sense.  Quiet and reserved, and accustomed to keeping his abilities hidden, Oliver is drawn inexorably to a woman he’s never met.  The woman who made his brother’s last year of life so happy.   

When Zoe Daniels, talented sculptor, loses her fiancĂ© before their wedding, she can’t imagine finding love again, until she meets Jasper’s unknown brother, a man so different, yet so achingly familiar to the man she adored. What is Oliver’s secret, and why is he so determined to keep her at arm’s length?

A violent kidnapping and murder forces the empaths from the shadows to seek justice for one of their own.  Oliver turns to Zoe, needing her comfort and love. Can she accept him for who he is?

Oliver and two powerful empathic friends need to track down the kidnappers before they strike again, but how do you solve a murder, when your only clue is emotion?

Available at  Secret Cravings   ARe   Amazon   BN

Excerpt 2

She sighed and leaned forward. “I’m about to tell you something. I would appreciate it if you’d listen with an open mind, because it’s going to shock you.”
Mike mirrored her position, leaning his elbows on the table. “Very little shocks me these days, Miss Baron.”
“I prefer Meredith, or Merri.”
He inclined his head in acknowledgement. “If you have information on this case, I need to hear it.”
She fiddled with the spoon from her chocolate. The first non-confident move he’d seen her make. “I think Freddy may have been killed because of abilities he had.”
“Freddy was empathic. He could feel emotions as a physical sense.”
Mike sagged, fighting a keen sense of disappointment and a growing anger. He thought they were on to something, but no. She was one of those loopy new-age nut jobs—a very beautiful new-age nut job.
“You don’t believe me.”
Mike shoved his coffee cup aside. “No, I don’t believe you, and if you’ve finished wasting my time, I have real work to do.”
“Wait,” she said as he stood.
“I’m a busy man, Miss Baron.”
“What happened in the alley?”
Mike hesitated with his palms flat on the table. “Nothing.”
“Liar. You had a panic attack.”
“Fine. I had a panic attack. I work ninety hours a week on a good week. I don’t eat or sleep properly, and I see a lot of terrible things. Sometimes the stress gets to me, okay?”
“I did it.”
“Bull dust.”
“This would be so much easier if you just believed me, but I see I’m going to have to prove it.”
“Prove what?” A rush of pure erotic heat raced through Mike’s body and headed straight between his legs. He sat down with a thud as those same limbs turned into wet noodles.
She leaned further across the table. “It’s funny, isn’t it, how we accept some emotions as a normal part of our daily life? Fear, pain, worry, anger, anxiety, guilt? We put them down as a standard occurrence caused by traffic jams, a suspicious person in our peripheral vision, a horrendous story on the evening news. You know what I mean, all sorts of things. But, sexual excitement? Desire? Lust? Arousal? Those we can’t explain away quite so easily, can we, detective?”
Her voice was a husky edged blade running over his skin. Heat. His whole body was a mass of pulsing aroused heat. Mike fought the almost uncontrollable urge to jerk his hips forward and sink into soft firm flesh. I’m having sex. Jesus, I feel like I’m having sex. All of the sensations were there. A series of highly carnal scenarios ran though his mind like a movie. Supple limbs wrapping around his, warm silky skin rubbing against him, moist lips panting with hot breath, fanning his face. His erection pressed against his zipper, and even that was unreasonably erotic. Mike was lost in a sensual storm, held captive by luminous blue eyes. The pressure built in his lower back, culminating in a blast of sensation, a tightening of his groin. Christ, I’m going to come.
Meredith broke eye contact, relaxed back in her chair, and picked up her hot chocolate.
Mikes impending orgasm, and all the associated sensations, vanished. He slumped against the table, heaving in great lungful’s of air. “Jesus Christ!”
“Nope. Just me.”
He gaped at her, his fingers curled into claws against the solid wood, and heart beating in double time. “What are you?”
The look she gave him was a mixture of exasperation and annoyance. “I’m not a what. I’m an empath. What do you say? Are you willing to listen to me now?”
“Yes,” he said, through a clenched jaw.

“Good.” She slid a gilt edged business card toward him, before standing and hitching a leather bag on her shoulder. “My place at eight tonight, address is on the card. Be prepared to listen. Oh, and Stone, drink your coffee. You look like you need it.”

About the Author:

Carolyn Wren is the award winning author of a seven part romantic suspense series called, The Protectors. Having spent her working life as a book-keeper and finance officer for international companies, she discovered a passion for fiction writing in 2009. Assuming it was some sort of mid-life crisis, she kept it a secret for six months. In an impulsive move, she entered The Emerald, a prestigious writing contest for unpublished authors run by the Romance Writers of Australia. Much to her utter shock, she won it. This was followed shortly after by a finalist placing in the International Daphne Du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

Carolyn received a seven book contract with Secret Cravings Publishing in 2011.  Her debut published work Diplomat’s Daughter won the RWA ‘Ella’ award for novella of the year.

To date, The Protectors series has received four award nominations, resulting in two trophies.

Carolyn’s other works include a very naughty ghost erotic novella Ghosts of Grace Cottage that she wrote during a stormy winter day.  Her new series, the murder mystery urban fantasy Emotional Chains is her latest obsession.

She writes full time now, enjoys every minute of it, and loves hearing from readers.

1 comment:

carde said...

Thank you for hosting me and my book today. Carolyn Wren