Lynn Carthage is the author of Haunted, the first book in the Arnaud Legacy gothic mystery series. Having read the book (review is here), I am pleased to have had the chance to interview Lynn about it, about her series and any plans she has for the future regarding her writing career.
I hope you will enjoy reading the interview.
What was your inspiration for starting the Arnaud Legacy trilogy?
I had a nightmare. The scene where Phoebe comes across the little stone cottage in the woods and climbs up to its roof? That was straight from the dream. When I woke up, I wrote it down and began building other scenes and characters around it until it became a first draft.
Yes, I’m excited that Phoebe will continue to be a vital part of the remaining books of the trilogy, although she will no longer narrate. Book 2 will be told by Miles, and Book 3 by Eleanor.
I have a special fondness for Phoebe because she reminds me of myself in some ways: feeling shunted to the side (I was the youngest of four daughters, so I know we all have to share “face time” with our parents), feeling unsure of herself. But Phoebe is a very strong swimmer, whereas I think I spent about five years as a “tadpole” (the lowest level in my municipal pool’s swimming lesson hierarchy).
How would you personally classify Haunted? Do you consider it a young adult Gothic mystery/thriller? A YA paranormal/fantasy? Something in between?
That’s an interesting question! Young adult author Michelle Gagnon called it a “neo-Gothic thriller” in her blurb and I’ve kind of adopted that. I know that it’s categorized under “New Teen Fantasy and Adventure” at Barnes & Noble, which is not where I expected to find it (in fact, I didn’t even bother to look there, and the bookstore employee very kindly guided me straight to it after I asked). I think paranormal fits, as does mystery.
This business of categorizing books is pretty tricky. You want people browsing in the bookstore to come across it, so it’s important to be shelved where people’s interests lie.
The second and third book will have the titles Betrayed and Avenged. Have you already started working on book 2 and if yes, do you have an approximate date of publication?
Betrayed is already written and turned in to the publisher, Kensington Books. It will launch next February (2016). In the next few months, I’ll create a detailed outline for Avenged and turn it in to my editor. Avenged will launch Feb. 2017—which seems so far awayyyyyy. I already know what will happen in Avenged, but in a very vague way.
I now need to focus on turning those overall plot arc ideas into actual scenes. Creating a trilogy is something I’ve never done before. I was inspired (and awed) by seeing the notes surfacing on Facebook of how J.K. Rowling planned out the Harry Potter series. She knew so much from Day 1. It’s worth googling if you haven’t seen those before: they are serious, hard-core spreadsheets for each character’s history and actions.
Which are some of your favorite authors at the moment?
In the Y.A. world, I’ve been enjoying Danielle Paige (whose latest in the Dorothy saga releases March 31), Michelle Gagnon, and Alison McMahan. Danielle writes a revised, darker version of the Wizard of Oz story, which totally captivated me—and many others; her first novel in this series was a New York Times bestseller.
Michelle writes incredibly-plotted hacking, conspiracy, abduction books—I know her in real life, and she’s so super nice. It’s hard to believe she can think from, for instance, the point of view of a serial killer. Yet she does it, and chillingly so. Alison writes historical fiction, and The Saffron Crocus is a wonderful book set in medieval Venice about a girl who wants to sing although that world is reserved for castrati boys. Throw in some murder and intrigue, and you’re off on a fantastic voyage.
I read voraciously (does that go without saying?) I love Zumba class and walks in nature. I don’t watch much TV but I’m hooked on Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Something that they can take away and use in their own writing process?
Yes! My friend talks about the A/C Ratio—pardon my French, but that stands for “Ass to Chair Ratio.” Writers write, and that generally involves sitting down. The more time your ass spends in the chair, the more your novel takes shape.
Anyone can come up with an awesome plot, but people who can keep chugging at page 200 when others run out of steam…those people are the real deal. So find time to write. Carve out a particular time, whether it’s 20 minutes a day, or a particular Tuesday when you have two hours to spend with your book—whatever works for your schedule. Just make sure it’s frequent and that you stick to it.
Thank you so much Lynn Carthage for this great interview, it was a pleasure to meet you and I’m already looking forward to reading the second book in the Arnaud Legacy trilogy.
You can read more about Lynn at her website where she has further links to her FB and Twitter pages where you can connect with with the author.