Fantasy writer, E.M. LaBonte, interviewed me about Voodoo Butterfly and my words of wisdom for aspiring writers. This is the interview, which was originally published on her blog:
About Your Current Work
BRoP: Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?
CF: Voodoo Butterfly is about a woman who unexpectedly inherits a New Orleans voodoo shop. Along with the shop, she inherits the power to change evil people good. The only problem? She knows nothing about voodoo or her secret power.
It's available on Amazon as an ebook and will be available as a print book in 2015.
BRoP: Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?
CF: When I considered writing this book, I did some research about fiction which focused on the world of New Orleans voodoo. There really wasn't a whole lot out there, so it's something new for paranormal readers. Also, my main character's power is unique. She has the power to change evil people good. At first, I thought it was kind of a boring power, but the more I thought about it, I realized that it is actually the ultimate power.
BRoP: What was the hardest part of writing this book?
CP: Making time for it. I'm very committed to my family, so when I realized that writing was making me edgy around my kids, I knew it was time to put it away for the day.
BRoP: Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
CP: When I was writing the book I was struggling with being a new mom and that struggle reached "dark night of the soul" status. I was trying to figure out my life purpose and had to quit my teaching job because I was overwhelmed, so I felt like I lost a big piece of my identity. Sophie goes through a similar crisis in Voodoo Butterfly, where she's trying to choose between a safe (but boring) life or an enchanted, fulfilling life (which also happens to be dangerous and complicated).
BRoP: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?
CP: I don't know that I could have done anything different. In the midst of writing the novel, our family moved twice, my son and I had surgeries, my husband took a new job, and we had a baby. So life was carrying on. My hope is to be able to feel comfortable churning out a book a year. I think as my kids grow, that will become more realistic.
BRoP: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
CP: I wish my readers a life full of "Love, purpose, and the paranormal."
Section #5: Words of Wisdom
BRoP: Tell us about your route to success –how did you land your agent/publisher?
CP: It was a five year process, so a lesson in perseverance for sure. In October 2009, I began writing Voodoo Butterfly. Over the next few years, I submitted full and partial manuscripts at the request of about a dozen agents and editors who worked in the NYC publishing world. In 2013, I submitted the manuscript to a few Romance Writers of America chapter contests. It was a finalist in the Northwest Houston RWA Lone Star Competition and one of the judges, the owner of Soul Mate Publishing, offered me a contract. Coming full circle, Voodoo Butterfly made its debut in October 2014 (exactly five years after I began).
BRoP: What are the most important elements of good writing?
CP: Connecting with your audience emotionally is at the heart of good writing. Stephen King scares the hell out of readers, Nicholas Sparks seduces readers with his love stories, J.K. Rowling puts us under her spell. Writers play with your emotions and we readers love it!
BRoP: What tools are must-haves for writers?
CP: I read many books about the craft of writing by famous authors like Stephen King and Annie Dillard. Every one of those authors said that the most important thing is to write every day. And I've come to believe that if you're committed to a daily writing practice, you can make it.
BRoP: Do you have any advice for other writers?
CP: You must, must, MUST choose an author brand and target audience. Many beginning writers, myself included, want to write a book that "appeals to everybody." However, Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, and J.K. Rowling each have very specific ways of writing (brand) and appeal to a certain kind of reader (target audience).
BRoP: What are your current / future project(s)?
CP: I've begun work on book 2 in the Voodoo Butterfly series.
BRoP: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
CP: I love connecting with people, so feel free to friend me on Facebook or email me through my website's contact form. If you want to find out when the next book in the Voodoo Butterfly series comes out, sign up for my email newsletter.