Saturday, 2 November 2013

Author Interview: Lilian Carmine

Today I'm joined on the blog by Lilian Carmine as part of her blog tour for her debut book The Lost Boys, a romance story with a difference, which I'll be reviewing later this weekend.

Lilian Carmine is a writer and freelance artist, living in Sau Paulo Brazil.  She is currently working on illustrated children’s books, animation, comic books, character design and creation, and digital painting – as well as the next book in her hugely popular Lost Boys series.

Can you tell us a little bit about The Lost Boys?
The Lost Boys is a book about a love that endures through time and death. But it is not only about the romance, the book also is about the power of true friendship, passion for music and a heroin that will always fight for those she loves. There are also a lot of supernatural things, magic spells, a super villain and an epic adventure of an amazing group of boys and one rocking girl.

Where did the inspiration come from to write a ghost love story?
I wanted to write a romance with a hint of the supernatural, and ghost stories were always very scary to me, so I wanted to write one where one of the characters would be a ghost, but a very lovely charming one that nobody would ever be scared of.

Which came first, the characters or the plot? 

The characters. I knew from day one that the story would have a ghost-boy, a heroin protagonist, and four amazing friends and band mates to accompany the couple in their journey.

Are you currently working on a new novel, if so are able to give us a hint as to what it is about?  

Yes, I am currently working on the edits of The Lost Girl, which is the second book of The Lost Boys Trilogy, and after that I will be working hard in the third book of the series, which is still a work in progress. After the Lost Boys trilogy is done, I have plans to write a new story with new characters, and it will have a lot of fantasy, magic and strange mysterious characters in it.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Writing and drawing have both been big loves in my life since as long as I can remember. Drawing has become my profession for the past ten years, but I have to be honest and say that writing makes me much more happy now than anything else in my life, and I hope I can earn enough from it to make a living and I hope to be able to keep doing it for many more years to come.

How long did it take to get your first book published?
I posted the story online as a free e-book at Wattpad in 2010, and after two years I have gathered over 33 million reads there. It is the most read story on there to date. In 2012 I got my publishing deal with Random House UK. It took a year to edit and work in final details of the story for the book to be published now in October 2013. Everything went by so fast, it feels like it was yesterday that I was posting my first chapter online.

Do you have a set daily writing routine?
I like to write more in the afternoons and all I really need is a big cup of coffee, my music on and some peace and quiet to write and I’m all set.

Have you ever had writer’s block?  
Usually people kind of hate me when I say this, but no, not really. My only problem is lack of time to write, to be honest. I have to juggle with my pay-the-bills job in illustration, and at the end of the day sometimes I get very tired. But I reserve end of work days to write no matter what happens. I wish I could make writing my primary day job and then I would have all the time, every day, all day long to write! But for now, I juggle.

Would you say that any of your characters are like you?  If so, which one(s)? 
Yes, all the lost boys have bits and pieces of me in them, a quirk here, a habit there, a belief, a flaw, a quality, a thought, there’s parts of me in every one of them, some are hidden, some are in plain sight, but I am sprinkled over the boys like fairy dust, to give them more life.  

Josh has the steadiness and control in chaotic situations that I have; Seth has his unashamed geeky side that I am very proud to have; Sam always tries to cheer up everybody around him and light up the mood, like me; Harry has his shyness when he meets new people; Joey’s stubbornness is very much like mine and then there’s my lovely Tristan, with his fear of big crowds. They are all inspired by real people though, so there are bits and pieces of those people in them as well.

If you could write another style of genre, what would it be and why?
I think it would be fantasy, or sci-fi. I really like those genres because you get to create so many worlds from scratch and create your own realities, races, creatures, characters, etc. It’s complete and utter freedom of creativity for a writer.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be? 

Don’t stand still, act on it. Don’t just have this amazing idea and do nothing about it, write that story down. Ideas that stay only in your head don’t become anything unless you put it out there, make that idea happen, take it out of your mind and into the paper. If you don’t act, a potential is just stored energy that’s not used for anything. So use it. Do it. 

And if you are going to write a story, finish it. Don’t start writing and abandon it in the middle.
Do it because you love to write and because you have a story to tell and you can’t get it out of your head and you need to pour it all out into the paper because otherwise it will drive you mad if stuck in your head.

Write. Do if for you, not for others. And you will be already in a good direction.

Being a writer appears to be such a solitary lifestyle, especially when you’re in the midst of writing, so do you consider the influence of social Media, Facebook and Twitter, a blessing or a hinderance? 
I love social media! I am very shy in person, so the interacting via the internet makes it much easier for me to talk to new people. I try to reply to messages as much as I can, on Facebook, Twitter, Wattpad, email, etc. It is absolutely NO hindrance at all for me. I love reading the messages the fans send me, it is the best part of my day! I have the most awesome Lost Boys Army in the world!

If you could invite any three authors, alive or dead, to a dinner party who would you choose and why? 
Mr John Ronald Reuel Tolkien Mr Terry Pratchett and Mr Michael Ende. Because they have written the most amazing books and I am a big fan of their work and it would be nice to chat with them... but let’s be real, I probably would just gawk in silent awe at them during all dinner. Yeah, I’m unbelievably socially awkward around famous people. There won’t be any talking in that dinner party, just poor me embarrassing the heck out of myself...

Do you prefer to read physical copies of books or e-books? 
I personally prefer e-books, because it’s easy to carry around and you can have hundreds and hundreds of them in the same little device, it’s utter bliss from a reader-addict. But I think it doesn’t really matter where you are reading the stories, what matter is that you are reading.

Are there any books you’ve read that you wish you’d written? 
A fairy tale like those of Hans Christian Anderson or the Grimm brothers, I would like to have written an epic fairy tale of my own.

What’s the last book you’ve read that has made you cry? 
It was Harry Potter, when Sirius Black died... Man, I bawled my eyes out at the end of that book...

When you’ve finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward? 
I don’t consider it a ‘reward’ per say. I got so sad when I finished the Lost Boys, it was like my best friends and adopted family were going away for some time after being with me every hour of every day. I even stalled a long time to finish the last chapter, because I didn’t want it to end and let them go. My husband usually buys me a treat, like my favourite strawberry pie, or something with chocolate when he senses I’m sad, so when I finish a story he’d have a treat ready for me. It’s not a reward, it’s more like something to console me, really.

Where would be your idyllic location for a writing retreat? 
It would be Madrid in Spain. I went there on my honeymoon and I have the best memories of it.

If you were going to be stuck on a desert island and could only take 3 books with you, which ones would you choose?

Any of Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch series, The Never Ending Story and The Hobbit. I could never get tired of reading those books over and over again!

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