I stumbled across Greg when I found a Google alert in my mailbox. Now, most of them end up as dead ends. I had no idea that I shared names with a cage fighter and film critic and brain surgeon...however, Greg has a blog where he reads a book for a half hour a day and then blogs about it. He picked up Dead: The Ugly Beginning. A short time later, it led me to Catie Rhodes. That has been one of my favorite parts of having my book out there...all the groovy people I have encountered. Without further delay, please lend your eyes to Greg Carrico.
What has led you to writing?
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first “real” book I read. Afterwards, I couldn’t get my hands on enough books, especially fantasy. I loved the idea that my favourite, treasured stories were once just a “what if” question, or a line of text scrawled on a piece of paper, like this:
“IN A HOLE IN THE GROUND, there lived a hobbit.”
I still get goose bumps reading that simple, elegant, and world-changing line of text. My big brother was a talented artist from the time he picked up his first crayon. Lacking his talent for expression, I made up stories.
I’ve been writing ever since; sometimes for grades, sometimes for money, but nearly always for the joy of hammering words together until they make sense--even if only to me.
Has your experience thus far been all you expected?
Not at all. After I wrote my first novel, I expected agents, publishers, and at least a third of Hollywood to batter down my door and beg for the privilege of basking in the warm glow of my divine words. I was fairly certain that within a year of sending out my first query letter, I’d be nasty-rich. I knew the odds were against me, but come on! Have you read Eragon?
Fate was kind, however, because my first novel was awful. It was horrible, unsalvageable, painful-to-read, crap that made the aforementioned novel shine brighter than the naked interrogation lamp in my sound-proofed basement. What? Where else do you think I should record my voice-overs? Sheesh!
The biggest surprise was that writers don’t get to just sit and write all day. I’m my own agent, cover artist, publicist, editor, and publisher, and I’m much harder to work for than any of my previous bosses.
I also didn’t expect to find so many people nice people in a profession that supposedly runs a close 2nd to neurosurgery in matters of ego. We indies are a very friendly and helpful bunch of folks.
Poor editing seems to be a big issue in the Indie scene. As an editor, what is your take on the subject?
First, I should clarify that I’m an only editor in the sense that all writers are editors. I’ve been a word-nerd and a secret agent for the Grammar Police since middle school, but I admit that there is much more to being an editor than knowing what to do with commas.
Poor editing among indies is a big issue in itself, but it is also a just a cog in the sputtering engine of self-imposed problems we indies face. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. Too many of us don’t think of writing as a business. For those who don’t, it won’t be one. There is no excuse for putting out poorly edited work. Hire an editor. If you can’t afford one, go to one of the millions of books, websites, blogs, magazines, or village criers with tips and techniques on self-editing. Meanwhile, stick all of your five dollar bills in a shoebox, and don’t spend them until you have enough to hire an editor.
The writing community can be its own worst enemy at times. What are some of the problems (if any) that you see today?
Gosh. I love MY writing community. But there are plenty problems in our little corner of the world. Here are a few of the more annoying and dangerous habits and qualities I’ve noticed:
· Rabid self-promotion. It’s annoying.
· Underhanded tactics. These are dangerous:
o sock-puppet reviews (reviews made with phoney accounts)
o dishonest hurtful reviews of “competitors”
o dishonest helpful reviews and critiques of friends
· The foolish war between Tradi and Indie publishing is a time waster
· New writers’ naiveté about the new publishing market has us competing to Give our Books Away! We glut the market with freebies and undervalue our product.
The social media is…
…A contradiction. …an essential waste of time. …a vitally important communication tool mostly used for sharing inconsequential kitten photos. …something I need to do more with and spend less time on.
Share some information about your work with us:
I love villains. I don’t celebrate them, or promote being one, but I feel a real sense of accomplishment when readers care about what happens to my bad guys. Even if they don’t want him to win or succeed, I want them to enjoy him as a character. I want them to want to see him again.
My most recent project, which appears in the Tales from the Mist anthology, is no different. The POV character, Giles, is a real rat, in every sense of the word, yet my beta readers all love him. In the first scene, he contemplates harming or even killing his own children just to punish his wife for an imagined slight. Even so, readers still wanted him succeed in his plans. Mission accomplished!
What is one question you are sick of being asked—not in interviews, but by individuals who know you write?
It’s a toss-up between people who ask how I come up with stuff to write about, and others who think I should write about their ideas. The second group always make the very generous offer of “giving” me their Pulitzer Prize winning idea. All they want in return for their idea, is half of what I earn from writing, editing, creating cover art, publishing, promoting, and otherwise transforming it into a book. For the record: I love hearing about new ideas, but ideas aren’t the hard part of writing. I have ideas for my next sixty-six thousand forty-two stories. That should keep me busy until mid-November, at least.
How will you deal with negative reviews?
I’ve been pretty fortunate with reviews so far (knocking on wood). I honestly welcome every review that comes my way. The way I see it, once an author publishes a book, it belongs to the people who buy and read it. Since I don’t often get the pleasure of reading and explaining my work to readers, it has to stand on its own. Every reader’s interpretation of my work is valid. They can love or hate it, as they will. I hope they love it, of course, but I’ll never begrudge a reader his honest opinion.
How much reading do you get in, and can a writer excel at his or her craft if they do not read?
I see it as part of the job to stay abreast of what’s going in my business. That means reading books in my genres, authors’ blogs, and books on craft, marketing, and business. Of course, the primary job of a writer is
Blogging, tweeting, um…, uuum…, Oh! Writing! Did I win?
Share some editing wisdom with the writing community.
I’m certainly not the right person to dish out wisdom on Anything, but here’s my favourite editing technique:
Step 1: Print.
Step 2: Read aloud.
Step 3: Mark with red pen.
Step 4: Make corrections.
Repeat until you only see black and white.
I go through a lot of steps in my editing process, but if I could only do one thing, this would be it. I also record what I read aloud. Listening to the playback is a great way to find stiff dialogue.
What other projects are you currently working on?
I’m rapidly approaching The End on the first draft of my post-apocalyptic novel Children of the Plague, which is set in the world of my short story, Killing Tiffany Hudson. My next couple of projects are already partially complete. One is a collection of short Faerie stories. Dark ones, of course. The other is a collection of fantasy stories that will precede a fantasy novel set in the same world. Here’s a temporary working cover, though I do an amazing artist doing some original art for it. Yes, the artist is my big brother.
Oops! That’s the cover of Apocalypstick, my Best-Selling, 4.8 Stars book that begins the story of Children of the Plague.
Let me try again:
There’s a sample chapter on my website.
What is one thing about you that would surprise the readers who do not know you personally?
I have a very good looking twin brother, and I am excessively humble. Oops, that’s two. Let’s just go with humble.
If you could team up with any Indie author, (no fair if I let you choose from one of the big names), who would you choose, and what would be the subject matter of the book?
Picture this: Three stories of Edwardian historical romance of such poetic beauty, Jane Austin’s ghost would weep! Brought to you by the Avatars of Romance, TW Brown, Ian Woodhead, and Greg Carrico.
On second thought…
Is there anyone you’d like to give a mention?
My wife, Amy. Always. I get to do this job, because she works very hard in tiny, damp, dark, and usually loud places, for people who spit on her, and are not shy about saying they hate her. Well, not her, specifically. They love Amy, but they hate her as her villainous alter-ego, “The Dentist.” Thanks, Doc. (Yes, she makes me call her Doctor.) ;-)
My friend and colleague, Rhonda Hopkins deserves a shout-out, too. She is the “man behind the curtain,” and the motive power of our Tales from the Mist anthology. She’s a truly gifted writer, as you’ll see in her story, The Consuming. Most indies know her as a genuine ‘pay-it-forward’ kind of person, and an all-around amazing gal. She’s destined for great things, so keep an eye on her!
What is the most misunderstood thing about being an editor versus being a writer?
I’m forced to be an editor because I choose to be a writer. One cannot exist without the other. A lot of people, writers included, don’t understand that there is artistry in editing. A great editor doesn’t just find the broken bits of grammar and awkwardly placed commas. He must have a thorough understanding of his author’s genre, and style if he is to find the things that don’t belong, and suggest edits that improve the story.
What is in your “to be read” pile right now?
Here’s a screen shot of my GoodReads.com tbr. I don’t always follow it, but it’s pretty close. This is just the first few of a few dozen.
Greg Carrico writes horror and science fiction. He loves writing bad guys that readers will care about, even as they despise them. When not creating new worlds and plotting their destruction, he advocates for animal welfare, adopting rescue dogs, and asks slower drivers to stay in the right lane.
Visit with Greg at his blog, on Facebook, and Twitter. Do your part to make the world a safer place by buying Greg's books and keeping him behind his desk, instead of behind the wheel.
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