Recently I sat down with Caryn Larrinaga (obviously I mean I sat down at my desk in Australia while she sat at hers on a different continent) and asked her some fun writing-related questions.
Caryn has just published a paranormal cozy mystery called ‘Donn’s Hill’ (which I got to read before all of you – MWAHAHAHAHA, the perks of being an author and getting early copies). It’s a great book and you should definitely check it out if you’re a mystery fan – especially if you like ghosts in your stories. I had a great time with this interview and I think you guys will too. 😀 Now, onward! Read! Enjoy!
What does a day of writing look like for you?
On a good day, if I’m in the drafting stage of a project and have a decent idea of where the plot is supposed to go, I’ll sit down after work and write about 1,000-2,000 words. I try to write complete scenes, and if I’m stuck on something, I’ll move on to the next scene. Then, if I’m feeling really driven or inspired, I’ll write more just before bed. I’ve found that when I’m just a little bit sleepy, I’m less critical of my writing and it’s easier to just get words on the page instead of constantly editing myself.
I read once that it’s better to stop writing while you’ve still got something “in the tank” so that when you start back up again the next day, it’s easier to get moving… but I just can’t do it! If something is in my brain, I have to get it down as quickly as possible, or else I lose it.
Clare: Hahaha, I’m exactly the same! Sometimes I’ll just have a flash of inspiration and know where the whole scene is going to go, so I’ll just write down a bunch of keywords and half sentences. Then I have to go through and try to flesh out the scene as fast as I can before I forget what the hell I was talking about.
What’s your writing snack/drink of choice?
Haha, how’d you know I can’t write on an empty stomach? 😉 I love writing with a nice, hot mug of tea. It used to consistently be whatever chai teabags were handy, but my husband bought me a single-cup loose leaf infuser for Christmas and I went kind of crazy at Teavana buying fancy blends. So lately I’ve been trying lots of new things like jasmine/green tea combos and pretending I’m brewing little potions. (Mad cackling.)
I wish I had a nice, healthy answer for snacks… something like “freshly cut veggie sticks” or some kind of vitamin-rich superfood. I certainly don’t devour half a bag of Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream or All-Dressed chips during a really productive writing sprint. No, sir.
Clare: Tea is absolutely essential to a good writing day. It would not surprise me at all to discover that it really does have magical properties. Also, you must teach me your ways – how can you stop at just half a bag of chips? Wait, no, you don’t do that… Of course… Well, next up:
Where do you get your ideas?
Most of them come from little games of “What if” that I play with my husband. We’ll talk about absurd possibilities, like, “What if Gandalf never left Middle Earth, so now he’s just bored out of his mind riding the bus to work and wishing there were dragons to slay?” (Actual conversation on the way home from the grocery store today.) We’ll build on some weird idea, breaking away on tangents, and then an angle will strike me as something I could write a story about. Sometimes I’ll actually start writing that story (and statistically never finish the project), but most of those ideas end up as little writing prompts in the Notes app on my phone.
Clare: Argh, my phone and laptop are so full of notes that published they’d probably be enough for ten novels!
Where do you write?
Right now, as I’m answering these questions, I’m sitting on a little blue couch in a room of my house that I call “the lounge.” It’s a warm room with lots of windows, caramel-colored hardwood flooring, and two big bookshelves. This is where I do most of my writing, with my laptop on my lap and a pillow stuffed behind my back.
It’s my favorite place to write because the room has a great energy, and because I don’t use the room for working on anything else. My day job isn’t allowed in here. It’s a space just for being creative and letting my imagination run free.
Yes! I am a proud cat-lady, and love my animals so much that I ended up writing one them into Donn’s Hill. Right after I started writing the first draft, our sweet little Tortie girl Striker was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. She was 20 years old, and we’d rescued her as a kitten when I was just 11. She moved out of the house with me when I got married, and was my constant companion. Losing her was devastating. I journaled a lot to cope with my grief, which evolved into Striker becoming a part of the story. It ended up being a vastly different book than the one I had originally imagined, but all in good ways, and her presence in the story helped drive me to finish a novel for the first time in my life.
We now have three handsome tabby boys (one gray, and two orange twins), who were all rescues. We also have another Tortie girl that we took in when Striker was still with us, thinking that Striker would enjoy having another cat around to groom. No such luck; Striker was only ever interested in cleaning us, to the point where she’d raise welts on our skin.
Tell us about your new book!
Donn’s Hill is a cozy paranormal mystery. It was inspired by an encounter my mother had with a poltergeist when I was a baby, and some spooky things that happened to a friend of mine years later. I imagined a town that had such a strong spiritual energy that it would be a magnet for spirits and psychics alike, and this became the setting for a story about loss, new beginnings, and the power of friendship in all its many forms. And murder, of course. 🙂
You can get ‘Donn’s Hill’ on Amazon.
Check out Caryn’s website.
About the book:
After returning home from her father’s funeral to find her boyfriend in bed with another woman, Mackenzie Clair is looking for a fresh start. She thinks she’ll find it in her favorite childhood vacation spot, but returning to Donn’s Hill awakens more than nostalgia. Mac regains a lost psychic ability to talk to the dead, and the poltergeist haunting her apartment is desperate to make her use that gift to find his killer.
Aided by her new roommate—a spirited Tortoiseshell cat named Striker—and the ghost-hunting crew of the nationally televised show Soul Searchers, Mac struggles to learn how to use her powers. But she’d better get a handle on them fast, because someone in town is hiding a deadly secret. If Mac can’t somehow divine the truth, Donn’s Hill will never be the same.
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