Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing a amazing friend and awesome writer, Mari Carr. We both met on a private author loop, and when we were introduced, I had difficulty not releasing my inner fan girl all over her, lol. Over the course of the past year we have gotten to know each other better and I can safely say that her personality is just as great as her writing.
*Interview by Suzanne Rock*
Q) Why did you become a writer?
A) It was my 34th birthday and I was depressed as hell. Broke into tears several times throughout the day. Finally, my husband asked me what was wrong. I’m not sure why 34 was “that” age for me, but I simply told him I thought I’d have my house decorated and my book written by then. My husband, ever practical, just replied, “Then do it,” so I did! Wallpaper got ripped down and words started hitting the page. It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to write. It was that dream job that hovered just beyond reach. I was working a fulltime job (still am) and I have two young kids, but I had stories to tell, so I let the words flow. Haven’t looked back since then and 35 was a much happier birthday!
Q) What is your favorite part about writing?
A) Editing. I know there are other writers who will think that’s nuts, but I love tweaking and reworking/rewording a completed story to make it the best I possibly can. For me, that’s fun.
Q) Describe your typical writing day.
A) My typical writing days are Saturday and Sunday. I work five days a week, so that’s when the majority of my words are written. The cats wake me up around six, so I give in, get up and get started. On a good day, I can write around 3K words. On a great day, I write 6K. I usually fall somewhere in between there. I also need complete silence to write. Can’t work to music though if I get blocked, I’ll close document, fire up iTunes and play Hearts on the computer while I chew over my plot or character issues.
Q) What is your favorite genre to write? To read?
A) I read what I write. Love erotic romance. Discovered in nearly 10 years ago with Lora Leigh’s Men of August series. I was scandalized and enthralled! Lol. Haven’t stopped reading it since!
Q) Who are some authors that inspire you?
A) Lora Leigh started me in this genre, though it was Diana Gabaldon who actually inspired my first books, the June Girls. Two women whisked back in time to Regency England. Other authors who inspire me are Joey W. Hill, Erin Nicholas, Lila Dubois, Lexxie Couper and all my writing friends in IntlHeat (a writers blog I’ve been a part of for several years).
Q) Tell us about your new release. What makes it different from all of the other romance novels out there?
A) My latest release is part of Brenda Novak’s box set collections. She’s put together three box sets (erotic, mystery and sweet) and all the proceeds are going to diabetes research. I was thrilled to be included in the project and I’m hopeful the stories will raise a lot of money for this worth cause. The sets will be together from May 1 – June 30. My story, Waiting for You, will be on sale individually starting July 1.
My story is in the erotic collection (shocking, I know!). It’s actually kicking off a new series for me called Sparks in Texas that revolves around a close-knit family in…well…Texas. Waiting for You is about a man returning home from the Middle East where he’s served as part of the Marines. He’s happy to be home, but unable to shake the memories of the horrors he witnessed while overseas.
Q) What is it about the hero in your new release that really appeals to you?
A) Chas owns a big part of my soul because he is so tortured. He’s always been reliable, strong, a stand-up kind of guy, but when the memories become too much, he struggles to come to grips with something he can’t handle or control. It takes a lot for him to understand he’s suffering from PTSD and needs help.
Q) What is it about the heroine in your new release you think women will be able to identify with?
A) Sydney is a hard worker and practical. I think like most women who reach a certain age, she’s started to doubt her happy ending. And as always, you find what you’re looking for the minute you stop looking!
Q) Studies have shown that you can tell a lot about a woman by what’s in her purse. What’s in your purse at this moment?
A) Oh no! Do I really have to confess this? Actually it’s probably most of the norm—wallet, gum, aspirin, nail file, sunglasses. Two weirdest things at the moment are the toothbrush and underwear (don’t ask)!
Q) Do you listen to music while writing? What would be the perfect song to listen to while reading your new release?
A) I listen to music to unclog my brain, typically during those few minutes before I open a document (beating back the desire to procrastinate) and then during breaks. It definitely inspires me and I usually have a “soundtrack” of songs that influence a story. I listened to a lot of country music while I wrote this book. “Drink a Beer” by Luke Bryan comes to mind as one I played over and over as I tried to get into the mindset of a soldier who’s lost his two best friends during a gun fight. It certainly evoked the emotions I was seeking.
Q) Your house is burning and you can only take one thing with you. What is it?
A) Okay—I’m going to assume my family and pets are out because they’d be the absolute first thing I’d grab. But if we’re talking about objects…hmmmm…it’s a toss up between my phone and my computer. Everything I need to get through daily life is one of those two things!
Q) Any pets? What are their names? Do pets ever appear in your stories? Which ones?
A) Yes! It’s been YEARS since I’ve had animals in the house and I’ll confess I swore I never would again. Then, my daughter found a kitten. Sheldon wasn’t in the house five minutes before he owned me—hook, line and sinker. Six months later, my daughter struck again, bringing home the mangiest, skinniest, sickest cat you’ve ever seen. We believe Penny had been dropped along the highway and I truly feared she wouldn’t make it through the night. She did and she is the love of my life! Sweetest cat ever. Then…my son moved back home in September bringing a dog with him. Tux is a very dear, black lab/Shepherd mix—loyal and loving—adopted from the SPCA. So…the woman who swore she’d never have another pet has three animals in the house right now. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Waiting for You (part of Sweet Seduction)
How do you protect the woman you love…when the greatest danger is sleeping in her bed?
Sydney Sparks can’t remember a time when Chas wasn’t part of her life—from childhood playmates, to high-school sweethearts, to long-distance friends. Now, after twelve long years, Chas is leaving the Marines and coming home. Sydney’s thrilled to have him back on American soil, safe and sound, even if his return is doing funny things to her heart.
The second he stepped off the plane and locked gazes with Sydney, Chas refused to waste a minute more on their “just friends” status quo. Together again, it feels as if they were never apart, the love they’d shared as innocent teens now vastly more intense as adults—with a sexual hunger to match.
However, despite his newfound happiness, Chas can’t seem to shake the memories of his tours in the Middle East, of the firefights, the killing…the deaths of his friends. When the flashbacks grow stronger, Chas struggles to hide his increasing lack of control, terrified of losing everything he’d just regained—including Sydney.
Sweet Seduction buy links:
Writing a book was number one on Mari Carr’s bucket list and on her thirty-fourth birthday, she set out to see that goal achieved. Now her computer is jammed full of stories — novels, novellas, short stories and dead-ends. A New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller as well as winner of the Passionate Plume, Mari finds time for writing by squeezing it into the hours between 3 a.m. and daybreak when her family is asleep and the house is quiet.