Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spotlight with Carol Ericson

Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving’s went well. I have Carol Ericson with me today. She is just delightful. Enjoy! ;-)

Tell us a little bit about your latest release A SILVERHILL CHRISTMAS.

A SILVERHILL CHRISTMAS is the last book of four books in the McClintock Brothers series (CIRCUMSTANTIAL MEMORIES, THE SHERIFF OF SILVERHILL, and THE McCLINTOCK PROPOSAL). The books are not connected and can be read out of order, but it’s kind of nice to see the bonds between the brothers build and grow. Rio McClintock is the hero in A SILVERHILL CHRISTMAS. He’s an illegitimate son and doesn’t know his three half brothers, but he’s like them in more ways than he can imagine (hot, loyal, protective and good with his…gun!). The story begins in Maui (one of my favorite places in the world) and winds up in Silverhill, Colorado where all the McClintock brothers ride to the rescue.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the third book of a new four-book series, Brothers in Arms. The first book, NAVY SEAL SECURITY is scheduled for a March 2011 release and the second book, MOUNTAIN RANGER RECON, follows in April 2011. This is a connected series with members of a former covert ops team, Prospero, looking for their leader, Jack Coburn, who has gone missing on a hostage negotiation job in Afghanistan. The first three books in the series begin and end with scenes involving Jack, and then Jack gets the fourth book. The third and fourth books will be out later in 2011.

What other titles do you have coming up for 2011?

(see above)

Where does your inspiration come from?

My ideas for the intrigues, mysteries, and crimes in my books come from stories in the real world, true crime books, and spy/adventure novels like Robert Ludlum and Brad Thor. I got the idea for my first Intrigue, THE STRANGER AND I, from a story in the newspaper about tunnels running between the U.S./Mexican border. My inspiration comes from all the great romances I’ve read over the years starting with my favorite romance author of all time, Victoria Holt. Getting lost in her books starting when I was 12 or 13, anxiously waiting for one of her new books to make it to the public library, and staying up all night to read it were the reasons I became a romance author. I still re-read her books and have collected most of them in first edition hard copy with the wonderful dust covers.

How long does it take you to write a manuscript?

Hmm, that’s a loaded question! Writing four books a year for Intrigue, I pretty much have to write a complete manuscript in three months. I can do it in less time, however, if I have to (that means if I’ve been fooling around doing other things and then look up and realize I have a deadline to meet).

How long was your road to publication?

My road to publication was a relatively short four years. I had wanted to write romance ever since I was 13 and had written several short pieces and some erotica for a free website. But from the time I got serious about getting published and started writing toward that goal and the time I sold, it was four years. I sold an erotic romance to Red Sage Publishing and my first Intrigue to Harlequin within a month of each other. I consider myself very lucky! In addition to my Intrigues, I have two novellas with Red Sage Secrets, Volumes 21 and 24, and four short stories at eRed Sage, all written as Mia Varano.

What steps did you take to make your dreams come true?

My husband actually took the first steps for me. I was complaining about my job as a technical writer (which I still have, by the way), and my husband suggested that I take out my 100-page gothic romance, start working on it, and get it published. He bought me a manuscript formatting book and a book of agents. I never did sell that gothic romance or the second gothic romance I wrote, but his encouragement pushed me to get serious about publication. I used the RWA contest circuit to get feedback on my writing, since I didn’t have any critique partners, and eventually sold through a contest. Now my husband never even reads my books!

Do you have any advice on writing, getting published, or finding an agent?

I don’t have an agent, so I’ll leave that advice to others! My advice on writing and getting published is to persevere and keep writing. I completed six manuscripts before I sold one, and those other five still have never seen the light of day! But with each one of those manuscripts, I was learning my craft and proving to myself that I could complete a book. None of those manuscripts was a wasted experience. I see so many writers who spend years on the same manuscript, trying to perfect it for this agent or that contest, afraid that if they put that manuscript aside it will have been “a waste of time.” If your manuscript has been rejected without a revision request, move on to the next manuscript. Use what you learned from your previous rejection to improve your next project. When you finish your next manuscript, submit it and get to work on your next manuscript. Once you sell, your editor is not going to give you 10 years to write your next book!

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

Ahh, giving a home to those characters, scenes, and snippets of dialogue that are constantly running through my head. I love seeing the story take shape on the page. I love it when I’ve been playing a scene in my head all day in the car or at work or at my kid’s soccer game, and then I get to sit at the computer and it all pours out.

What is the hardest part about your job?

Not having the luxury of time. I still work full time and I have two active boys that have lots of homework and play lots of sports. I would love to wake up in the morning, get the kids off to school, and sit down and write. Instead, I wake up in the morning, get the kids off to school, and sit down at my computer and work at my other job for eight hours. Then I have to squeeze in my writing at night between kids’ homework and studying and on weekends between kids’ sporting activities.

If you had to pick a favorite character that you have created or one that you wish you had created who would it be and why?

One my favorite characters I created is Justin Vidal, the hero in THE STRANGER AND I. His name is Justin because he’s all about justice and doing the right thing as a covert op for a shadow agency within the CIA. He’s closed down and suspicious. He just wants to do his job without getting involved. His childhood with a violent, alcoholic father and an enabling mother has hardened him and caused him to erect a barrier around his heart—until he meets the sweet, do-gooder, trusting heroine Lila Monroe. I love how she wheedles her way into his life and heart.

Now pick a character that you wished you had created from one of your favorite stories.

Oh, that’s a hard one. Of course, I love Lizzie Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, but one of my favorite characters is Lily Bart from Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth. (Hmm, they both have the initials L.B., never noticed that before!) Lily is such a complex and finely drawn character. She can save herself by just reaching out for what’s offered, but that action compromises her morals. I find myself urging her in the book, “just do the wrong thing, just do the wrong thing.” Alas, the book is not a romance and doesn’t have a happy ending for Lily or Selden. Sigh. Can I also add that I love Georgette Heyer’s heroines and wish I had created every one of them?

Carol, I am so glad that you joined us today at Micole Writes Romance. Thank you for all of the information as well as inspiration. I wish you many sales. Where can we find out more about you and your books?

Thanks for inviting me, Micole. Please visit me at You can also find me blogging occasionally at the eHarlequin Intrigue Authors blog.

See you next week friends.




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Sandy said...

Wholesale Coach obviously didn't read the blog. How irritating.

Carol, you and Carla Cassidy have something in common, you both write fast and you're great authors.

Great questions, Micole.

Carol Ericson said...

LOL, Sandy. Funny, I just heard a story about some online Coach retailer and the stuff was totally bogus! So buyer beware.

Back on topic, thanks for dropping by - I love being compared to writers I admire!

Carol Ericson said...

Yikes, and I should probably update my picture to reflect my current cover. THIS beautiful cover is for The McClintock Proposal, my Sept. release.

Amy Atwell said...

Hey Carol--I knew you were a Victoria Holt fan, but didn't know you also loved Austen and Wharton. No wonder you testing the waters with some Gothic romances! I thought Justin was fabulous in The Stranger and I. Actually, he was sorta Gothic in that Lila had a hard time learning what he was thinking.

Funny, I don't remember a single Chanel handbag in any of your books...

Jill James said...

Carol, so sorry the gothic romance didn't get published. Victoria Holt was my favorite when I started reading romance.

Carol Ericson said...

Amy, I took a UCLA Extension class on Wharton. I even liked Scorcese's adaptation of The Age of Innocence. And you know I got Justin Vidal's last name from Georgette Heyer - Devil's Cub.

Carol Ericson said...

Jill, if you're really interested I have The Bard's Secret and Penhallow Castle (my two Victorian gothics) ready to ship out - LOL. Actually, I keep thinking I could make those two books available online using Smashwords or something - I think the hardcore VH fan would like them!

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Carol, I believe this is the first interview of yours I've ever read. It's so nice to learn new things about you. And, of course, I love your books. :-)

My grandma used to read Victoria Holt and had a bunch of her books in her bottom dresser drawer when I was a kid. I have no idea if they're still there (she passed 10 years ago), I'm going to have to check next time I'm down in Illinois.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Nice to read about your journey, Carol! I've enjoyed every single one of your intrigues so far and really look forward to the next ones. :)

Carol Ericson said...

Thanks, Donna. Really? You learned new things about me? Oh yes, you must check out VH. By today's standards she's slow and sometimes the heroine doesn't meet the "real" hero, the one for her HEA, until half-way through the book! Ah, but it's a delicious journey.

Carol Ericson said...

You're sweet, Stacey! Thanks for dropping by and maybe you can even get a Coach bag out of it...