Interview with C. E. Coutant

When did you first start writing?
I wrote my first book in 2nd grade with my then best friend Katie Clouse. We weren't too great then, but I've been hooked ever since.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in upstate New York, right in between Lake George and Saratoga. I'm actually still growing up there, since I'm a teenager. The area doesn't really influence my writing too much, but often my setting is based as far away from here as possible because I dream of traveling the world. Occasionally though, I'll slip in little bits, like the greenery and the feel of the area.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My friend asked me to write a story for him and it actually followed closely to a plot line I was toying around with, so it really just worked out perfectly.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I've never published a book before. I have an essay in a book, but I didn't get paid for it, I freely gave it to them. I also entered a piece into an online magazine, but again, there was no payment. This is the first time I've received payment, reviews, and publicity all from one site.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love being able to slip into that other world. It's almost like reading a book; you just get carried away to a great new place. I also really love knowing that people like what I write, that they actually like it and aren't just saying that so they don't hurt my feelings.
What do your fans mean to you?
EVERYTHING!!!! My friends have always been so supportive, they have been from the very start. Now that my fan base is spreading, I just want to thank every single one of them, friend or stranger, and give them the biggest hug. I wouldn't be here without my fans.
What are you working on next?
It's a secret... Shh!! But I'll give you a hint. Instead of a short story, this one will be a whole lot longer. I mean, the length of an actual novel, not just a novella.
Who are your favorite authors?
J. K. Rowling, Cassandra Clare, Ally Carter, Amanda Hocking, and so many others
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Umm, my alarm... no not really, just messing with you. I always get my story ideas off of dreams/nightmares, so I can't wait to wake up and write them down, but I also just want to prove to myself that yeah, I can do this. I can be a successful author. I can be a successful TEENAGE author. That's what makes me get out of bed... that and my alarm clock and school.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to kayak, spend time with my friends, and of course read stories. I also really like working on my family's genealogy. I have one side traced back to the 1750s and another to 1505.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually price, actually. I'm a teenager, I don't have money to spend whenever I want. So, I read a lot of undiscovered authors who have their ebooks priced as free or 99 cents.
How do you approach cover design?
I sketch whatever first comes to mind, then I mess around with images on my computer. Next comes taking my own pictures and then combining it all together before placing the title and author name in the design. I try to get the computer design as close as possible to the original sketch and occasionally I even keep the sketch as the cover.
Describe your desk
Messy. Cluttered. Chaotic. With my fat cat, Cindy, in the corner. She likes to be a part of things.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I prefer my old Kindle actually. I updated to the Kindle Fire a few years ago and have had a lot of issues with it, but when I had just a simple Kindle, it was perfect.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I felt like I needed to just write down my dreams I was having each night. One day my friend found them and told me about how I should find an inexpensive way to get the stories out to the communities, and so I did.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Barely. It was called the Twin Detectives, and I co-wrote it with my then best friend Katie. We used our real names for the main characters and they solved every little mystery they could, whether it was at home, in the classroom,on the way to the bus stop, etc. In all honesty, it was pretty lame but my writing has definitely improved since writing that in 2nd grade.
What is your writing process?
I have a dream/nightmare and write down every little bit that I remember. Then I focus on character development and setting before actually focusing really hard on the plot. As I work on the plot, I'll also begin the cover design with hand drawn sketches, but as I get further into the plot, I'll switch to the computer designing of the cover. By the time the story is finished, the cover is usually done, so then I just move into editing and review mode.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I've been reading for as long as I can remember, so no, I don't remember which story it was. I feel like it was a fairy-tale or something, because I remember a princess, kind of like Cinderella that acted like Mulan (pulling out my inner Disney self here), that just did absolutely everything she could to get in trouble but always owned up to it. I'd like to think I follow that... to an extent. I admit I will be the first to blame my brother if I finish off the bag of chips or something,but if it's worse than that I'm usually pretty good at accepting my own mistakes.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I don't have favorite books; I have favorite authors. But I don't think I could choose just five... Lauren Kate is definitely one of my top favorites, and Sarah Dessen is pretty good, too. I just really like their writing style, how they develop their characters, and how realistic their characters are... yes I know the supernatural world isn't real, but Lauren Kate does a really good job of making her characters relate-able like, that's what I mean.
What do you read for pleasure?
Pretty much anything I can get my hands on, though I do lean toward young adult realistic fiction and young adult supernatural fiction. Mermaids, werewolves, shadowhunters, vampires, witches, throw them right at me, but I also want my normal girls and guys, too.
Why do you write?
Because I can, that's why! Well, that and because I'd like to think I'm good at it. I find joy in writing, and I'm good at it, so why not?
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Honestly, Facebook draws in a lot of my customers. I post not only on my page, but other pages that involve reading, writing, books, etc. I've gotten a lot of return from that, and it didn't cost me any money, just simply a bit of my time.
Published 2015-12-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Central Park Secrets
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,770. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
What happens when you stray from your normal routine? You discover a secret, or in Miranda's case, the secret of 2 people. Wandering in the woods of Central Park, she comes across the notes of two lovers, who she sets out to find more about, and with the help of Jonah, a boy the same age as her, she finds more than she thought she'd find, such as the two lovers themselves, aged yet still in love.