Guest Author & A Giveaway: Carolyn Jewel

Hey guys! My apologies – we’re going to pretend this is totally on time, okay? :X As you see we have the wonderful Carolyn Jewel as our special author for March! Whee! She also chose an Author Interview (what’s with everyone picking them?! We’re going to need to come up with new and even better questions!) So without further ado, the questions. As usual, littered with covers. Which adorn awesome stories. You should read them.

1. What five dead authors would you invite to a dinner party if you could?
Assuming they would not be zombies or some other undead creature after my brains or my blood:

1. Kit Marlowe because I’d like to know if he was as hot as his pictures suggest. Also, does he know how he died? Was it espionage or something else?

2. Charlotte Bronte so I can tell her she was right and, hey, look, it’s WAY better now, even though it’s not perfect.

3. Erma Bombeck, because, damn, I miss her writing.

4. Oscar Wilde, because I would like for him to know it gets better. I’d also like for him to know how enduring his legacy has been.

5. Emily Dickenson. So many questions for her. So. Many.

2. Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions? Either for before you begin a book, while you’re writing it, or around the time the book is released?
Nope.

That’s such a boring answer. Let me make one up.

Why, yes! I do. How strange that you should ask me that. Before I write a word, I light three candles, one blue, one yellow, and one red. I let them burn for precisely 30 seconds and then pour the wax onto a sheet of paper and plot my day’s writing from the patterns in the wax. If any of the blobs are shaped like the planet Saturn, I have to run three times around the house and kill off any character whose name starts with S.
(Isn’t Carolyn such a great sport? ;D)

3. If you could be a super hero, what would your nemesis be named? Along those lines, what is the super power you would most like to have? And least like to have?
My nemesis would be named Pete the Pitiless. It’s such a lame nemesis name that he would be easily defeated. My superpower would be the power of negation. Whatever dread weapon a Criminal Mastermind attempted to use against me would be negated. My least favorite superpower would be the ability to read minds. That would be…awful. I do NOT want to know what people are thinking.

It reminds me of this book my son loved where there were talking cookies, and this one certain kind of cookie was always making inane comments followed by “Isn’t that interesting?” Like this, “Peanutbutter is made of 20% yak hair, isn’t that interesting?” Well, no, it’s not. I think the ability to read minds would be a lot like that.

4. What is your secret plan for world domination?
I signed an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) so all I can say is it involves cats, uncut diamonds, and telekinesis.

5. If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.
I would send kind spam. Spam that compliments. My spam would be like this:

Hello Fellow user of the Interwebs!
My name is E.S. Pam, and I think you have the prettiest eyes. Thinking about your eyes makes my day happier and I want to thank you for that. If you’d like another compliment, please wire me $5 (pay pal accepted!) and I will send you one compliment a day for the next ten days. Free of further charge.
Thank you, and hey, the color looks GREAT on you!

Love, E.S. Pam.

6. What’s the first type of alcohol you ever tried to drink? What is your current favorite alcoholic drink? (What about non-adult beverage?)
Wine. But I don’t drink so, sorry, no favorite drinks in that category. I do have a fondness for limeade, and I’m not just saying that. I love summer because that’s when Odwalla sells its limeade. Also, it’s when our local smoothie shop sells an amazing smoothie called Lime In The Coconut. Mmmm.

7. What do you think is the best commercial of all time?
Uh, oh. I also don’t watch TV.

8. What’s the most unique/strange silly skill your possess?
Oh, geez. I don’t have any unique skills. No strange ones I’m willing to confess to, either. However, I am somewhat ambidextrous and if I’m tired, I will sometimes start writing left handed and not realize it for a while. It’s kind of convenient, actually, to be able to write legibly with either hand. My right hand is dominant, but I do a lot left-handed. Sometimes I switch up just because.

9. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? What about at a conference?
Guys threw stuff at me in High School. It was awful. That was why, when I got to college, I thought the guys who were asking me out were playing a joke on me.  I looked one guy in the face after he asked me out and said, with complete sincerity and rather hurt feelings, “Right.”  I know how stupid that sounds now, but I truly believed that.

10. How do you feel about the dentist? And what about clowns?
I floss religiously. I love the dentist because I can nap and they say nice things about my dental hygiene. I have no issue with clowns. No really. None at all.

11. What’s the best admonishment your mom ever gave you, or that you’ve ever given a kid? e.g. if you make that face it’ll freeze like that. or… if you walk from the kitchen to the table w/ a fork in your mouth you’ll stab yourself through the throat and die.
Years ago, my mom said, “The only reason people complain about Madonna is that she’s a woman.”  And she was right, I realized. Her comment made me think about the way women are portrayed and treated in the media, as well as examine a few of my own internalized beliefs at that time.

And that thing about the fork, Lime, are you kidding me? That only happens if you run with the fork in your mouth.

12. What was your first job? Your most interesting one?
My first job was as a janitor in a Catholic Church. I am not Catholic but the Church was an equal opportunity employer for non-religious jobs. There were always TONS of peanut shells in the balcony and the day after Palm Sunday was the worst because people with nervous hands shredded their palm fronds. Those things were hard to sweep up. To this day I puzzle over the carefully concealed picture I found in the room where the priests prepare for the sacrament. It was in a handmade, asymmetrical paper envelope smaller than one’s palm and it contained a much and oft folded picture of lady parts. It was also carefully hidden, but I was a very thorough duster. I suppose it may have been surrendered by a conflicted parishioner. Or something.

13. Describe your perfect day.
Sleep late, wake up refreshed, perfect shower temperature followed by the perfect cup of coffee. Then, after I win twenty million dollars, I get lots of writing done in time to go on a fun outing with my son. Also, I eat delicious chocolate that has no calories. Then I meet Arjun Rampal and I don’t make a fool of myself AND he agrees to be on the cover of my next book.

14. Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because Arjun Rampal is on the other side. Doh.

15. Tell us two truths and a lie. (The catch is you have to tell us which is what at some point.)
My day job is in tech, and I am usually the only woman doing in-the-trenches tech stuff. I once had a job where one of the programmers refused to do any work that came from a woman so whenever I needed him to do something, I would either send the email to one of my male colleagues to send as if the request were acutally from him, or I’d send the email and we’d take bets about how long it would take him to jump up and curse. (We had low cubes.) On the other hand, there’s fun to be had in tech. A third party vendor told us a certain functionality we needed in their application was not possible, but they would be happy to send us a quote for the customization. That really cheesed me off because it was an obvious thing to offer and the lack of that feature was causing serious, serious production errors. I downloaded a hex-editor and with a little help from one of the other programmers (I’m a DBA not a programmer) located the code we needed to change and then made the update. He showed me now to recompile and voila. All done. And it worked perfectly. When the quote came–for $50,000–we declined. Seriously. We updated their code in about 20 mintues. $50K FFS.
(I’m saving the truth for later – I want you guys to guess it :D )

One lucky commenter wins 3 of Carolyn’s books – so go on. Ask her any crazy question, or something about her books. She writes hot historicals, and also paranormals. As for the fan letter contest? That winner gets a good prize too. :)

43 thoughts on “Guest Author & A Giveaway: Carolyn Jewel

  1. I don’t have any crazy questions. But I’ll say with all squee, write faster, pls :) If I win, I’d like a copy of Thrale and Lucy’s book, when it’s pubbed.

    • Ack! I only just now realized the interview posted. So sorry for the tardy reply!

      It takes me 4-5 months to go from start to a completed draft I can send to a Beta reader. Tack on another 4-6 weeks to revise and send to my editor, revise, and send to my copyeditor. Once the MS is in other hands I can start the next book, so there’s some overlap and interruption as I set aside the Work-In-Progress for revisions of some sort.

  2. I’m tempted to guess about the 2 truths and a lie question. Did you really located the code and made the change from a hex-editor? And $50,000 for a quote? I can understand the one guy not wanting to do work given by a lady but you could be lying…
    Anyways, my question is if you plan on doing another anthology with Courtney Milan and Sherry Thomas?

    • No comment yet on the 2 truths and a lie. Heh.

      Courtney, Sherry, and I don’t have any current plans for another anthology, but it would be pretty awesome if you ask me. They’re such amazing writers!

  3. I agree with GrowlyCub especially historical romance which I love reading best. Who wants to watch tv when there are books to read :p

  4. Hi Carolyn,
    I’m guessing the programmer who refused to do any work that came from a woman is the lie, but I could be wrong, I know there are some strange men out there. :D
    I loved the interview and I love it when you make up an answer so it sounds better than the boring truth. :D

  5. Hello Carolyn,
    Have always wondered how you came up with the idea for “My Immortals Novels” Love this series and can’t wait for “My Darkest Passion”

    • Hey, Lisa! Thanks! Back in 2006/7 when I started mulling over the idea, demons were just about always the bad guys in paranormals. In my Crimson City book, you can see me playing with the idea that demons might not be the bad guy all the time. I got a lot of email about Lath, the demon in that book who is bad but not entirely bad. I also got a lot of reactions to a scene my editor asked to have significantly toned down. I posted my unedited version on my website as a deleted scene (one of the few I’ve written and deleted that I would ever consider showing to anyone!). I called that scene “Possession Sex” and there was, again, strong reaction in both directions.

      So, I knew the things I was playing with were fraught with context and possible controversy, and the risks, for good or bad, were ones I was willing to take and own up to. I put a lot of those ideas in the My Immortals series: Demons who are not all good, but not all bad, either, as well as the idea of “what if there’s someone else looking through the eyes of the person you’re making love to?”

  6. What a fun interview! :) Thanks Limecello & Carolyn!! I love both your paranormals & historicals, you’re such a lovely writer.

    But my question is a tad bit on the boring side :) What made you choose DBA?

    (Hmmm.. if I have to guess what’s a lie- I’d say the $50k quote.. but I’m totally expecting to be wrong! )

    • Well. I did not specifically choose DBA. Like a lot of people who end up doing this, you back into it. In my case, I was a Poli Sci major in undergrad school and I ended up working at a law firm where no one was taking care of the computers… I said I’d take a look as they were breaking down and it turned out I was good at fixing them. I ended up managing the firm’s computers and then their network, and setting up Access databases (which I may or may not have used to run the office football pool.) My next job was as a data analyst at a bio tech firm where I ended up volunteering to set up the intranet site for the forensics department in addition to working with the db team — so I leaned html and css in addition, plus a little Cold Fusion. And THEN I went to a company where I did web development and it was obvious we couldn’t continue to hard code the site and once we (very quickly) outgrew Access as the back end (because, really, you can’t do that, you just can’t) but that was my proof of concept and it was only then that the company put up the resources… and THEN I got moved to the database team where I learned SQL Server. A REAL database system. And the rest was DBA history. I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of really smart people.

      Well, that was probably more than anyone wanted to know.

  7. After reading this interview I have decided that you are a strangely interesting person! Of course, tech people are a little strange. (It’s OK – I gave birth to one of them.) I have a soft place in my heart for DBAs. I particularly enjoy your historicals, by the way. I always look forward to the next one. Happy writing and thanks for the giveaway.

  8. Love the way your writing flows, it’s so easy to get caught up in!! Your books are the bestest ever! :) I think my question would be when did you discover you could have another career with writing and what inspired you? :) my guess…hmmm…surely you’re not named, “Only-Women-In-Trenches”?? ;) Really looking forward to ‘Harsh’s’ story, drool, lol. <3

    • Thank you!!! Have I told you lately that you are my favorite?

      I published my first novel when I was 27, and I was inspired by a book I greatly disliked. But, you know, I always wanted to write. Always. It just took me a while to figure out that if I was ever going to move from “want to” to “did” I’d have to sit down and, er, write something. And it was that book I didn’t like that gave me a mental framework to figure out what I would write. A book like that one! Only way better! In other words, that book spurred me to think about what I liked and wanted in a book — because that one was everything I didn’t want and like, and from there, I had a plan rather than just a want.

      My writing career hasn’t been all smooth sailing, and there was a time when I thought I’d never publish again. I think it’s not so much that I knew I could have a career, but that I got to a place where I knew that even if I never sold another book, I’d still write. In which case, I might as well continue trying to sell. Which I eventually did.

      Harsh’s story should be ready shortly. I expect it back from my editor fairly soon.

  9. Carolyn,
    Thank you so much for this cool interview. I needed a good laugh today….yucky snow (again) and 4 whiny kids at home, and one crabby hubby home from work made for a yucky Friday, but you made me laugh. Hmm…the only question I would have for you is: How long does it take– from beginning to end–to write one of your books? Thanks again for making me smile today! :)

  10. Sandy, thanks! I hope you have a more relaxing weekend than your Friday.

    It takes me 4-5 months to have a complete draft I’d dare show anyone. Then another month at some point to revise, but by then, I’m well into the next project.

  11. I love the comment that you’re “strangely interesting” – if she only knew! I keep thinking of the laminated chapter………love all you do, girl!

  12. Carolyn,
    You sound like a very interesting person. I’ve not had the pleasure of reading any of your books, yet, though I have a number of them on my to-buy/read list.

  13. I wish I could think of a really crazy question. I should ask my son. He is mowing the backyard in the pouring rain right this minute.

    Such a fun post & as for the two truths and a lie. I’m so gullible I’ll believe anything you tell me.

    • Mary: I would like to know why your son is doing that. And your post is stamped 2:08AM. What the heck time zone are you in? But what a wonderful son, to be mowing the lawn for you.

  14. I am in awe of your totally fun, snarky answers. I’m not very funny, especially on the spot such in an interview, so I totally appreciate it when others are. And I love your books!! No questions for you, just praise. Thank you for what you do!

  15. First I would like to say I Love your historical’s Carolyn. I have heard that most authors have little or no say in their cover design, but thankfully that is starting to change, How much of your input or ideas, are considered, during the cover process?

    • Joytoread: Thank you!!!

      I’ve often been asked for cover ideas, and I submit ideas and other covers I like and my ideas are uniformly terrible and/or inappropriate. I’m sure in the various art departments the graphic artists mock rotten ideas. “omg, did you see THIS?” Cover art is, well, an art, but it’s an art that’s closely tied to marketing.

      So, for my traditionally pubbed books, the few times I’ve seen a cover far enough in advance to matter, I have been able to write in an explanation or reference that really melds with the text. I have, for example, been able to explain away (sort of) historically inaccurate covers; covers, by the way, that did their job in terms of visual impact.

      I’ve been been able to ask for tweaks to covers and had those requests accommodated. I’ve never had a cover I hated, so I don’t know what might have happened in that case. Other authors have had very different experiences which is why I think it’s important for authors to see covers well in advance. But I also don’t think (most) authors are well enough connected to covers and sales. There’s a tension there; between what suits the content and what will sell books. Sadly, I’ve seen book covers that are beyond horrible and it baffles me how such covers ever get out of marketing.

      For my self-published stuff, I work with an artist who also does covers for NY and I think I’ve got her trained now to tell me when I make a dumb suggestion. Because, yeah, sometimes I need the expert to tell me my idea just doesn’t work.

    • Well, I guess I’d have to have a stunt-actress-double such that someone who looks exactly like me but who can act would do all the parts that require acting. In that case, I would be totally on board with that. I’d want Arjun Rampal to be my co-star, naturally.

  16. I have some of your novels sitting in mount TBR. I keep meaning to start them but I just can’t figure out where to begin. Could you recommend which one of your series to start with? I am the type of reader that likes to start with book 1 in a series. I get hives if I read out of order ;)

    • Mathlady68: Always happy to help with a TBR emergency! If you have the anthology Midnight Scandals, then my novella in that is a pretty good introduction to my historical work. Otherwise, both Scandal and Indiscreet are stand alones, as is (sort of) Lord Ruin — I say sort of because I am working on the first of the sequels to Lord Ruin now. There’s Not Wicked Enough and Not Proper Enough, which are a lighter in tone historical, you’d want to start with NWE. So, if you like angsty historicals, those others will be pretty representative. If you like lighter, then the other two. I suppose there’s also The Spare, which is stand alone — a bit gothick-y in tone.

      For my paranormals, if you don’t want to read out of order, you’ll need to start with My Wicked Enemy, but I think you might have trouble finding it, unless you already have that one, of course.

      Happy reading!

  17. Carolyn Jewel!!!! *Fangirling* I love what you do, lady!
    Honestly, you’re one of my favorite authors. I’m always so excited when there’s a new release out from you.

  18. Wow, I didn’t know you wrote historicals too. I guess I just crawled out from under a rock. I really enjoy your books, I bought My Wicked Enemy at the grocery store, so glad I did.

  19. I loved your books My wicked Enemy and My Forbidden Desire there were given to me while I was in the hospital getting my daily treatment for blood cancer. I would love to get a signed copy of them from you. I’m a really big fan. I love your choice in supernatural power negation, I never thought of that as a superpower, wish I had that power now. I have read some of your historical novels as well too, there were great as well. My question for is where do you get your source of inspiration for your books?

    • Dear Felicia: Thanks for the comment and the kind words. Please feel free to email me at carolyn AT carolynjewel DOT com with your mailing address.

      Inspiration comes from anything and everything and unexpected things. Also sometimes from sitting about thinking about stuff. That sounds like such a lame answer, but it’s the truth.

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