Today my special guest is Carlie M A Cullen who is launching her first book, Lost in the Heart Search trilogy. I’m excited to have her on my blog today. Check out our interview below.
The Heart Search trilogy is fantasy/paranormal romance. Book one: Lost is about a young couple, Remy and Joshua, who are on the verge of getting married. Joshua gets bitten and when his lovemaking leaves Remy with bruises and scratches, he can’t cope with what he’s done and leaves her.
Remy is understandable distraught and after getting support and advice from her twin, sets off on a long, lonely journey to find him. It’s a voyage of self-discovery for her as she finds inner strength and fortitude, but when strange things begin to happen, she questions her sanity.
Joshua finds his maker and settles into life as an immortal, discovering he has some awesome gifts in addition to enhanced senses, strength and speed. He feeds from humans without remorse, but is haunted by his love for Remy. He unwittingly becomes embroiled in coven politics which threaten his new existence.
But fate doesn’t discriminate between mortals and immortals and there are shocks in store for both of them. The book ends on a real cliffhanger.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I grew up as an only child and as my parents both worked full-time, I often had to make my own entertainment. I loved to read, but didn’t have an endless supply of books so I began making up my own stories. I loved the tales of Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm, and wrote my first fairytale before the age of ten. I’ve written in one form or another ever since.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’d been writing short stories and flash fictions, but had always wanted to see if I could write something long enough to make a book out of. One day this idea was gifted to me by my Muse. I took a few days to think about how I would write the story when Remy and Joshua, my MC’s, marched fully formed into my head and began pestering me to tell their story. It was then I knew this wasn’t going to be short. I began to write and my characters just took over.
At the time, I was being bombarded with negativity and attacks on my abilities and self-esteem by someone who had vowed to support me. It got so bad I began to doubt myself and my writing suffered as a result. However, my wonderful daughter, who had been reading the story every time I put my laptop down, had fallen in love with it and kept pestering me to write the next scene/chapter. She helped me regain my ‘mojo’ and was my inspiration to see it through to the end. I owe her so much.
Who designed the covers?
Nicole Antonia Carson designed the cover for book one. She seemed to grasp what I wanted early in the process and the first design she came up with became the cover I picked (although she gave me about ten to choose from). I’m getting her to design the rest of the covers in this series too.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are two really. One is, sometimes you have to be prepared to dig deep inside to make yourself stronger and more able to cope with the traumas life throws at you. The other is that true love is worth fighting for.
What motivates you to write?
Waking up each day and knowing I can write is a great motivator, especially as I love the whole process of writing. I love the escapism, getting to know my characters and crafting stories to give others enjoyment. Writing is also cathartic in a lot of ways; I find myself pouring unresolved tensions and emotions into my work which aids in bringing my characters to life whilst helping me deal with things life throws at me.
Did you learn anything from writing your book? If so, what was it?
Yes, I learnt a couple of things actually. One was the importance of having my manuscript professionally edited. Even an editor can’t pick up on all their own mistakes; they, like any other writer, see how their work is supposed to read, but not how it actually does.
Secondly, it taught me patience. When I finished the first draft of Heart Search: Lost, I didn’t realise how long the editing and beta reading process was going to take. I was excited and wanted to see my book up for sale, but at the same time, I wanted it to be as perfect as possible. In the beginning I wasn’t prepared for it to take as long as it did! At least I’m more prepared now for book two.
What are your current projects?
At the moment, I’m very close to finishing the first draft of book two in the Heart Search series and then I’ll start writing book three while my wonderful editor begins the polishing process. Book two, which has the working title of Heart Search: Found, picks up where the first book ends and continues the story of Remy and Joshua. There are more surprises in store for them both and not all of them good.
I also have an idea for a fantasy book featuring the lovely lady I use as my avatar on social media and I’m beginning to make notes when something new pops into my head. I have some serious world building to do, unique creatures to design and magic systems to create before I can begin to write it though.
What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading The Infinity Bridge by Ross M Kitson. It’s a YA steampunk adventure. I’m really enjoying it; it has a great mix of androids, modern day and Victorian technology, alternate realities and quirky,atypical heroes all wrapped up in an exciting tale.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes, quite a few actually and they’re all Indie authors. I loved Connie J Jasperson’s Tower of Bones; Joan Hazel’s The Last Guardian; Johanna Garth’s Losing Beauty; Alison DeLuca’s Crown Phoenix series; Ross M Kitson’s Darkness Rising series; M G Wells’sLightMaster: Number 13; Shaun Allan’s Sin and Rachel Tsoumbakos’s The Ring of Lost Souls. Each of them have very different styles, but they all weave fantastic stories you can totally immerse yourself in and I didn’t want to stop reading any of them. That, to me, is the sign of a good book – when you just have to read one more page and then one more, and another. . .
What’s your favorite line from any movie or song? Can you quote it for us?
My favorite movie line came from the original version of The Italian Job starring Michael Caine. It’s, “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” This same line was also used in the first of the St Trinians’ remakes, but even though it sounded cute coming from an eleven-year-old, it didn’t have the same impact as the original for me!
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I can’t share anything from book two until it’s been edited at least once (lol), but here’s an excerpt from Heart Search: Lost.
“I am the most senior member of this coven after Samir and you will recognize my superiority,” Farrell’s voice thundered through the room, causing the light fittings to quiver. Erika and Jasna cringed into their chairs, not in fright but disbelief. Erika was in agony as the emotions assaulted her body in blows, but Farrell was too far gone to even think about his partner.
“The hell I will,” Joshua retorted, his tone causing a blizzard of air to blast through the room. His hands balled into fists so tight his bones jutted through his skin.
Farrell’s expression contorted once more, rearranging his features into that of a deranged psychopath. Erika cried out as the torture assailed her in waves and Jasna put her arms around her friend’s shoulders to try to comfort her. Farrell was completely oblivious. With a shriek of pure rage, his hands moved faster than a cobra’s strike to encircle Joshua’s throat.
Joshua reacted instinctively. He knew Farrell had the strength to literally rip his head off and it would be the end of him. One hand streaked up to grab Farrell’s throat while the other grabbed one of Farrell’s wrists and gripped it in a crushing vice, a guttural growl ripping from his throat. Joshua brought his knee upwards connecting with the area between Farrell’s legs then used the same leg to swipe at Farrell’s ankles, sweeping his legs from under him. Farrell snarled like a savage wolf as both men fell on the floor in a tangled heap, neither willing to let the other have the advantage.
Farrell was the first to recover, using his strength to maneuver himself on top of Joshua he released the free hand from around Joshua’s throat and punched him in the face. Joshua roared, not in pain but in fury. He pushed against the floor with his feet, leaving a divot in the wood and dislodged Farrell who fell onto his side.
The two men wrestled for several minutes, both snarling and growling as they tried to gain advantage over the other. Joshua eventually gained the upper hand, positioned himself over Farrell and pinned him against the floor in an effort to restrain him. Farrell struggled like a madman, roaring and snapping. A whimper from across the room distracted Joshua’s focus; Farrell was quick to seize the opportunity and in the blink of an eye, had Joshua prone under him once more. He thumped Joshua in the face again and as he brought his arm back to repeat the blow, a new and unexpected voice ripped through the room.
About Carlie M A Cullen
Carlie M A Cullen was born in London. She grew up in Hertfordshire where she first discovered her love of books and writing. She has been an administrator and marketer all her working life and is also a professional teacher of Ballroom and Latin American dancing.
Carlie has always written in some form or another, but Heart Search: Lost is her first novel. This was launched 8th October 2012 through Myrddin Publishing Group and work has started on book two: Heart Search: Found. She writes mainly in the Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genres for YA, New Adult and Adult.
Carlie is also a professional editor.
Carlie also holds the reins of a writing group called Writebulb. Their first anthology, The Other Way Is Essex, was published September 2012 under Myrddin Publishing Group. Carlie currently lives in Essex, UK with her daughter.