Interview with Carmen Botman

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My mother tells me I wrote it when I was about six years old and it was about our dog. Apparently our German Shepherd seems to have been the protagonist in many of my initial stories.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't actually remember the first story I read, but I do remember my father reading me all the Hans Christian Anderson and Grimm fairy tales every night. The magic and fantasy had a profound effect on me, to the extent that I was actually convinced for many years that I could really do magic.
What is your writing process?
I usually try to plot something for each story I write - at the very least a basic outline. Then what usually happens is that, as soon as I start writing, the plot goes out the window and the characters tend to take on a life of their own. So in essence the 'plotting' exercise is mainly pointless, but it gives me comfort for some reason to keep on doing it in any case.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I literally fall asleep and wake up with story ideas and characters floating around in my head. I have a full-time job, so each day I get up and hope that the normal work day passes quickly so that I can home again and put down on paper (computer screen) what has been running around my mind the entire day.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I find many of the authors on Twitter and Facebook. If their 'hook' sounds interesting, I usually visit their web pages to found out a bit about them and their work. I also find ebooks through word of mouth and just by browsing the internet. I must say, though, authors with interesting web pages usually tilts me towards purchasing.
How do you approach cover design?
This is a fairly new area for me. I try not to be too literal when choosing a picture. I tend to worry more about fonts and positioning. So far I've made two covers on my own and in the process of doing my third and fourth. I haven't ventured out purchasing one as yet, although I have definitely not ruled that possibility out.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. The current series I am working on has a strong link to Table Mountain. My father is a avid hiker and he took me to climb it for the first time when I was only five years old. We went regularly thereafter and he told me all the myths that went along with it. Even now, living in another province, Table Mountain will always be a special place for me. Other than that, I don't think the place itself really influenced me, but rather the environment that I grew up in. Both my parents were always (and still are) very encouraging with regards to my writing.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Series, Douglas Adams:
-I can relate very much to the humour and style of the writing. I read this series for the first time when I was fourteen years old. I remember it being the very first set of books where I had to put the book aside just so that I could have a good laugh before carrying on again. I have since remained a loyal Douglas Adams fan. He was an absolute genius.

Jan Eyre, Charlotte Brontë:
-I am a sucker for strong female characters. Jan Eyre has a bit of everything in it and one is able to identify with the protagonist even today. The ideas, concepts, situations and feelings are still relevant. I would read this one over and over again.

Lès Miserables, Victor Hugo:
-I actually watched the stage version of this first. I was so hooked on it that I simply had to read the book. I'm glad I did because I loved it even more than the play. Victor Hugo was a master with words. The story itself is perfection.

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott:
-I have two younger sisters and we're very close. This story reminds me of the relationship we have and just leaves me feeling grateful.

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins:
-The concept for this story blew me away completely. It was so out there. It was one of those stories where I wished I had actually thought of the plot. Brilliantly written. I could not put this one down. This one challenges me as a writer to always think out of the box and not to be afraid to put my ideas out there, no matter what people may think.
Published 2014-03-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Icarus Curse: Part II
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,870. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: March 5, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Continue with Shiloh on her journey in this second instalment. Shiloh Reed carries the burden of mankind on her shoulders – literally. Having inherited her father’s notorious legacy in this dystopian world, Shiloh realises that she holds the only blueprints in existence that could potentially save the planet from the brink of extinction.
The Icarus Curse
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,000. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: April 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Shiloh Reed carries the burden of mankind on her shoulders – literally. Having inherited her father’s notorious legacy in this dystopian world, Shiloh realises that she holds the only blueprints in existence that could potentially save the planet from the brink of extinction. Does she have the courage to execute this? Who should she place her trust in?
Dahlias and Daisies
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,350. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: April 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
Having lived in a poor, gang-infested community on the Cape Flats her entire life, Carla Milton dreams of one day leaving this area. All she wants is a brand new beginning for her son and her soon-to-be husband. But her dingy past threatens to catch up with her and sabotage all her plans. Is it really possible to truly leave such a life behind?
STORM Volume I
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 68,660. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: April 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
STORM is an anthology of short stories around a common theme - a storm. Volume I is a mix of fantasy, science fiction and dystopian stories where people's lives are influenced by the occurrence of a storm, physical, moral or magical. Set in worlds apart from our own, authors of the Pretoria Writers' Group give life to characters who may not seem so far away from us after all.
STORM Volume II
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 43,060. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: April 25, 2014 by Linzé Brandon. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - multi-author, Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » Anthologies
STORM is an anthology of short stories around a common theme - a storm. Volume II is a mix of four contemporary stories where people's lives are influenced by the occurrence of a storm: physical, moral or imaginary. Set in a modern day setting, four authors of the Pretoria Writers' Group brings stories from real life, in sometimes difficult circumstances, to this anthology.
The Secret
Price: Free! Words: 4,070. Language: English. Published: January 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(4.00)
How far would you go to keep a secret? How many years of your life would you spend protecting something this dark? Marjory and Leonard have been doing just this for so many years that it has become second-nature to them. But the secret they've kept for so long is now doing more damage than ever.
The Perfect Stranger
Price: Free! Words: 3,640. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: December 4, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Thriller and Suspense
(4.00)
Jamie had been a sceptic about all things in life, that is until she meets Terry and she starts to fall for him almost immediately. She had finally met the perfect guy ... or had she?