Interview with S.M. Carrière

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't really remember the very first story I ever wrote. I was always writing, it seems. I do remember the first story I grew serious about. It don't remember much about it, only that the protagonist was a red-headed girl who had a matching sage green bath towel/wash cloth set. It was probably awful, if I'm honest with myself. I was perhaps fourteen-years-old when I was writing this story.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
This is another one where I cannot remember the exact first story I ever read.
I remember loving a book when I was very young called 'Lickity Split' ... or 'The Adventure of Lickity Split'. Something along those lines. It was an illustrated poem about a young dinosaur who got lost. I can still recite the opening lines:
Lickity Split went walking one day,
When he took a left turn and went the wrong way.
My parents had a library with an entire wall of books; most of them speculative fiction. It is probably the main reason why I write it now. I remember being utterly enthralled by Frank Herbert's 'Dune' as well as Piers Anthony's 'Xanth' series. From there I fell in love with David Eddings' 'Elenium' series, and well, the rest are all falling dominoes.
I've always loved reading. I'm really very good at suspending my disbelief. While this makes me a terrible editor, it makes for fantastic reading. I'm easily transported to other worlds, and get deeply emotionally invested in the characters very quickly... if the writing is good!
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm all over the speculative fiction. I adore science fiction and fantasy (and horror to a lesser extent). There are few genres I tend to steer clear of. I'm not big on romance novels, for example, but have found a romance writer who writes brilliant romance that is actually fresh and interesting.
The nerd in me feels compelled to tell you that I read a lot of non-fiction as well, particularly pertaining to prehistoric anthropology and archaeology. Myth, religion and folklore are also on my non-fiction reading list.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is easily the same as the greatest joy of reading. Because I rarely plan out my books (I'm what they call a 'pantser'), I'm discovering the characters, exploring the world and being shocked by the events as I'm writing just the same as if I was reading the book for the first time.
I like the editing and formatting much less...
What motivated you to become an indie author?
To be honest, I kind of just fell into it. An acquaintence of mine had started up his own ebook portal and kept begging me to contribute something. I cobbled together 'The Dying God & Other Stories' for him and fell in love with the whole process - even the terribly frustrating parts.
I dove in without any experience, but having researched the option thoroughly. I knew that chances of success were extremely slim, and that becoming a best selling author who could make a living wage from her writing was not the norm. My results have been typical, but going in with open eyes hasn't made it a shock for me.
I continue to publish independently because I absolutely love it. I suppose that even if one person really loves a story of mine, it was all worth it.
What is your writing process?
I'm a pantser. I usually require nothing more than the manner in which the tale ends, and the protagonist. They both usually arrive in my brain at about the same time. Once they're there, I just start writing. Writing is as much a discovery process for me as reading is (except I know how the story ends, I suppose).
How do you approach cover design?
I don't, really. I'm so terribly technologically inept that any design software more complicated than 'Paint' scares me away. I've found a cover designer whom I love (shout out to Laura Miller of An Author's Art) and have contracted her for all my book cover needs thus far.
It's well worth the cost. There is no way I could achieve what she has managed.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are really everything.
The process of writing is a complete joy. Fans make the product of that process another, incredibly humbling and gratifying, joy
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I'm going to be terribly cliche here:
My writing.
Sometimes the world can be a terribly dark, scary and depressing place. Writing is my escape, my release and my therapy. I am never as happy as when I am sitting at my computer, typing out a story.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to sleep. A lot.
I also am fairly active with martial arts (Kung Fu and San Shou), training four nights a week most of the time. Sometimes, if I have the money and the time, I pull out my bow, jump on a horse, and shoot targets at a canter. I don't do that nearly as much as I would like, however!
Describe your desk
Not going to lie, it's a total mess. I spend upwards of eight hours a day at this desk. There are stack of paper, small scraps of paper with notes all over them. A mug for the copious amounts of coffee I drink, a cup for my water, and a bottle or two of vitamins I take. I wish I was one of those perfect people with ultra-tidy desks. Alas, I am not.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I did a lot of moving around when I was very young. This meant making new friends and leaving them behind a lot. When we settled in Australia, where I spent the majority of my growing up, I was well acquainted with loss and loneliness. It didn't help that I was shy and withdrawn. Looking over what I write, much of it has to do with dealing with loneliness and feeling out of place, even if indirectly.

Being exposed to so many different cultures and ways of life as I was in my very young years has helped me to imagine different cultures and ways of being in the fantasy realms. It has been a boon for realising fantastical peoples in fantastical places and making them seem plausible and relatable. There is enough reality there, I think, for the fantastical to seem truthful.
What's the story behind your latest book?
This is a story I resisted writing the entire time I was writing it. I was so terribly sick of vampires and vampire stories that I just did not want to put another one out into the world.

My brain, however, had other ideas. If I wanted to stop thinking about this story, I had to get it out onto paper. And you know, I really enjoy the end result. Human is a great story (in my humble opinion).

Of course, I only came to that conclusion when I had finished the final round of edits...

I do hope others enjoy it too.
What are you working on next?
I am currently editing a fantasy adventure book that had a lot of hands in forming the story. It was a project I started that I had set up like a democratic choose your own adventure - readers of my blog would get to vote on an action at the end of each section of story. That action would begin the next section. This book, now called Sky Road Walker, will be sold in the hopes of raising money for a local Ottawa charity.

I'm also writing a historical fiction piece about the two daughters of Boudicca, the great British queen who challenged Rome and very nearly won. She was defeated on the field, however, and either died of her wounds or poisoned herself to be spared from the ignobility of being paraded around Rome as a trophy of war (as happened to Vercingetorix, the Gaulish Chieftain who defied Rome), depending on which source you believe. She had two daughters and no source details their fates. I'm speculating about their continued involvement in the battle for British independence against Rome.
Who are your favorite authors?
I really only have one favourite at the moment: Steven Erikson, author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. The man is a brilliant writer.

I mean, other writers are really good, but none have managed to draw me in and make me forget aught else but their expertly crafted tales the way he does.
Published 2015-07-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Human
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 107,260. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
Things spiral quickly out of control as Aleksandar, Prince of House Svetoslav, is drawn into a cat and mouse game with a deranged kidnapper targeting those closest to him. Betrayal draws Aleksandar and Detective Brody together in a frantic battle to save Alexandar's human lover and the city from a true monster.
The Winter Wolf
Series: The Seraphimé Saga, Volume 2. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 103,510. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
War has come. The desert has invaded. And within Seraphimé a great, primal power begins to awaken.
The Summer Bird
Series: The Seraphimé Saga, Volume 1. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 95,710. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
After a devastating raid by the slavers of the eastern Ottalan Empire that cripples her clan, killing the chieftain and his wife, Seraphimé, princess of the Osprey Clan, is left for dead in the snows of her homeland, the Sierran Tundra. Aided by an ancient god, she must make peace with her fate to save the land and the people she loves.
The Dying God: A Short Story
Series: The Dying God. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,620. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
An ancient being takes in a lost street girl, and sets in motion the restoration of the rightful rulers of the land.
River Woman
Series: The Dying God. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,110. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
A tribe of cave dwellers take in a strange young woman who came from the cold waters of the river.
The Taming of Man II
Series: The Dying God. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,620. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Haughty lords of false cave try to claim a girl who runs with the wild and mighty Lord of Horses.
The Taming of Man I
Series: The Dying God. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,430. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
A mighty Black Hound adopts a young boy, orphaned by the same volcanic eruption that killed her entire pack.
Mr. Campbell
Series: The Dying God. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,830. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
A frustrated writer discovers an undersea world he falls in love with.
Imp
Series: The Dying God. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,410. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
An orphan hovering on the edge of abandonment discovers a strange little creature living in her amethyst pendant.
Lady of Shadow
Series: The Dying God. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,080. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
A nobleman's daughter becomes a slave in a strange land. Earning the title of 'lioness' she must learn to be strong in order to gain her freedom.
The Undying
Series: The Dying God. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,100. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
A young woman learns what happens when the brave die.
Diary of a Veteran
Series: The Dying God. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,710. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
In worn-torn Europe, a young soldier stumbles into a world he never thought possible.
Her Father's Eyes
Series: The Dying God. Price: Free! Words: 3,770. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(2.50)
A young girl is given a mysterious key and unlocks her forgotten heritage.
Ethan Cadfael: The Battle Prince
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 77,030. Language: English. Published: October 4, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
When a young warrior-queen stumbles into the ho-hum capital city of Canada, all hell breaks loose.
The Dying God & Other Stories
Series: The Dying God. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 47,290. Language: English. Published: June 2, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
(5.00)
The Dying God & Other Stories is a collection of short stories and poems inspired by faerie tales and folklore from the imagination of S.M. Carrière. Influenced by the bitter-sweet traditions of The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, as well as Medieval Irish and Welsh tales, The Dying God is sure to delight dreamers of all ages!