Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Interview: STORM Author Carmen Botman

1. What inspired you to write your stories for the STORM anthology?

The Icarus Curse was inspired by my genuine interest in how we as human beings are destroying our planet. The changing of the seasons is an actual tangible example that we’re all currently experiencing. I also watch a lot of Doomsday Preppers.

Dahlias and Daisies: I think the release of a notorious gangster not too long ago, and the escalating gang violence in certain communities is what led me to write this story. The story is not far-fetched and although completely fictional, I’m sure there would be people out there that would relate.
2. Tell us what your stories are all about.
The Icarus Curse is about Shiloh Reed, the protagonist in the story, who discovers, after the earth has been virtually destroyed, that she inadvertently holds the key to the restoration of the planet. The fate of humanity rests on her shoulders alone.
Dahlias and Daisies is a story about survival, both physical and emotional, about rising up against the odds and living the life you are meant to live, no matter where you’re from or what you’ve been through. Both my stories have strong, female protagonists in them. Girl power!
3. What excited you about taking part in the STORM anthology?
I have never belonged to a writing group before this. I had known for a long time that this is what I want to do with my life and having the support of the group, it just made the task a lot less daunting and seem much more ‘do-able.’ I thought the theme itself was fantastic and I am always up for a challenge. The fact that my name will be on an actual book as a contributing author is still unbelievable.
4. What is your next project about and when can we expect it to be published?
I am working on a YA fantasy/adventure series called The Ternion Series. Book one, The Kindling, is complete and at present I am still deciding how to go about getting it ‘out there,’ in the great big world. It is a full-length novel and I am about two-thirds of the way with the second book. So, watch this space.
5. What is your biggest challenge in writing?
My biggest challenge is my strange mixture of overconfidence and self-doubt – simultaneously. I’m sure many other writers feel this way as well. I get an idea and think it’s absolutely brilliant; that it will take the world by storm (excuse the pun) and then halfway through or at the end, I’ll look at it and wonder what the heck I was thinking! And then I have flashes of my manuscript being rejected and retreat until another brilliant idea hits me and I start the process all over again.
6. How do you deal with this challenge?
I’m still working on it. Basically I pep talk myself into manuscript submissions and tell myself upfront that they’ll probably say no, so that when it happens I don’t feel too bad about it. But I just read an article by Jeff Goins recently about this exact thing – apparently I’m doing it all wrong! Lol. So, let’s just say it’s (I’m) still a work in progress.
7. What advice would you offer to other authors having to deal with this same challenge?
Just go for it. Develop a thick skin. Trust me, feeling totally confused about your status as an author or even getting rejected by publishing houses is MUCH better than not even trying at all. You will seriously regret not trying, so if this is what you really want to do, then suck it up and do it.
8. Please explain to my readers your writing process and how you manage your life to accommodate your writing.
All stories start with an idea. If I have the basis for a story, I ask myself ‘what if’ questions about the characters and the scenes in my head. I always try and plot something out in the beginning, even if it’s only an outline, and then I completely disregard these as the story unfolds. I generally allow the characters to take me where they need to go. I work full-time, so I spend at least 9-10 hours out of the house every day. I do the cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing, etc. as well. My husband is currently working and studying, so there are many balls to keep in the air, but lo and behold, I manage. See my blog post about this very question. 
You can find all Carmen's books on Smashwords