As we come to the end of January, I would like to introduce Carrie Weston as our featured author. Another author who I connected with through the powers of Instagram and the World Indie Warriors members group, I think you will agree that her books sounds amazing!
A bit about the lady behind the wings. Carrie is a divorcee in her early 30s with a young son and crazy dog. She has completed an Open Study College, fiction writing level 3 course. Since she was a little girl, she dreamt of becoming a fully fledged authoress. Carrie loves to write fantasy fiction for young adults and hopes that the wings of her dreams will take flight with this, her debut novel: Xander Chase and the Unicorn Code.
Getting to Know You
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Well actually I am a hybrid author. I have wanted to write since I was a little girl, I have had poetry published in the past and I even sent off some novellas to publishers when I was in my teens. By college I didn’t have the necessary grades to go into writing alone and many people took the view then that writing wasn’t a career.
So I went to Tech college, studied catering, did a confectionary course and achieved my masters but fate decided it was the wrong path for me.
After suffering from a major illness, I was no longer able to pursue that career and so I turned back to what made me happy – writing. The first YA novel I wrote wasn’t accepted anywhere then, one day when I was feeling like I would achieve nothing, my son came to me and asked why there weren’t many books for boys that had unicorns, angels and fae. I said I didn’t know and that I would write him one (although it turned out to be a YA – just a bit old for him). This is the book that took off – my debut novel – Xander chase and the unicorn code.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
My pass times are spent with my family, hanging out and having fun. When I’m not doing that I can be caught reading or muttering to the characters in my head. I have a great fondness of collecting gem stones and rock minerals as I believe in their energy traits and find they help to inspire me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Escapism. I enjoy creating a world where anything is possible, where I set the rules and the limitations of reality do not exist. A place where one can find familiarities within my characters and come to see them as reliable friends that, like the books themselves, are always there. And, when you need them you can slip back into the comfort of their world and friendship whenever you pick up the book.
The Writing Process
What is your writing process?
I have come to find this question one of the more sluggish for the reader to sift through, as such I am going to keep it brief and punchy.
- Grab time, whether its before school, on a lunch break, in the bath, or when that pesky idea bugs you awake at night.
- Read, read and re-read. Not only your own work, but other books too, as this will help you to catch any errors or inconsistencies – a learning trick.
- Plenty of Diet coke and/or coffee.
- Write the bones of your story.
- Grab a pen and paper or laptop and write. (Yes, I’m more of a punster than a planner. I see myself as a Tweenie- and not the ones with fluffy orange hair)
- After that its write, read, review, adjust, read, rewrite, beta’s.
- I have two betas at the moment and an alpha beta (They read my work, write back or discuss what they don’t like, understand or love and I do a second draft for my alpha beta).
- After that it’s off to my editor
- Next, I send to my publishers and go with their flow from there (Editing, editing and editing).
How do you get inspired to write?
Other than my son, I just love all things different, spooky, undiscovered, and let my imagination run wild – once hyped up on coffee.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Never give up! Just try your best and keep writing. Writing courses help you to learn how to structure a story and show not tell but, above all, just believe in yourself and do what you love.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My favorite Traditionally published books are;
- Divine by mistake – P.C.Cast
- Alpha and Omega – Patricia Briggs
- Demonica series- Larissa Ione
- Twist – Gena Showalter
- Iron fae – Julie Kagawa
- Harry Potter- J.K.Rowling
My favorite Indie / hybrid + hybrid-Indie are;
- Into the flames- Angelina Kerner
- Back in time for a doughnut- David Hearne
- Door and other twisted tales- Catherine McCarthy
- Hagen’s Curse – James Emmi
- Fractures Soul – Laura Birzulis
All of these books are in no particular order and I love them all for very different reasons. You can see ‘back in time for a doughnut,’ ‘divine by mistake’ and ‘into the flames’ both center around some kind of time travel/ wormhole/ realm swap.
Whereas Larissa and Gena’s work are heavily accented with romance and more, they both revolve around dark and twisted realms full of demons, like the work of Indie writer Laura Birzulis.
Catherine accents more of a phycological thriller with her works, much like the twisted historical works by James Emmi are heavy in fantasy too.
Patricia Briggs is one of my all-time favorite’s and even has a copy of my book that I sent her via her lovely PA. I love the fantastical world she has created, like authors J.K.Rowling and Julie Kagawa, through a blend of urban fiction, paranormal, romantic, crime fiction, fantasy.
How do you discover the books you read?
First, I keep an eye out for what’s popular with the avid YA readers on places like Goodreads and Amazon. That usually gives me the most popular reads to check out. I also read a lot of Indie works so I just type in Indie, hybrid-Indie or hybrid authors on Amazon and check out as many as I can, as this helps other authors with reviews and me, by learning how others use voice and story structure to create their works.
What books are on your reading list this year?
I honestly have so many I think I should just show you a snap of my Kindle and my paperback book shelf.
Xander Chase and the Unicorn Code
Lilly Honey Star is a 15-year-old like no other; she is the sole survivor of a mass murder and is suspected of being the half-mad murderess. Detective Stacy has her doubts about Lilly’s guilt, and when a stranger starts asking bizarre questions, she—along with Lilly—is pulled into the core of the case, which is bigger and more dangerous than they could have ever imagined.Carrie Weston
Xander Chase, the angel of death and judiciary of spirits, is on the case. Desperate to make his father, Death himself, proud, Xander must unravel the perilous lies and deceit that’s spread through the realms of sinister creatures, before the murderer’s eye turns on him.
What inspired you to write Xander Chase and the Unicorn Code?
The Xander Chase series was inspired by my son, when he came to me asking for a book about unicorns, angels and mermaids that wasn’t -I think he put it- ‘fluffy’. When I couldn’t think of one to suggest I told him that I would write one for him.
Is there going to be a follow up to Xander Chase and the Unicorn Code?
Yes, book 2 of the Xander Chase series is out this year, and then there’s one more in the main part of the series. Then, hopefully, a few follow-on’s with different characters featured as the protagonist.