Interview with Eric Karell

How do you approach cover design?
I want my cover design to convey in a single image, the narrative of the book.It should also grab the attention of the viewer. Finally, I want a little shock value or something unexpected in the image.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Wow, that's a tough one. It's difficult to narrow down to five. There are so many types of books and so many reasons we read them. I love reading through "The Illustrated History of the Horror Film" because that genre is my passion and the stills in it, are remarkable. As for books that formed my personal philosophy and helped shaped my outlook on life, "The Red Pony" and "The Pearl" by John Steinbeck. They show that nothing in life is guaranteed and that wealth cannot necessarily buy security or happiness.
"Sacrifice" by John Farris is a modern masterpiece and incorporates everything I would like to be as a writer. He has incorporated a sense of terror in a small Southern town, creating a true American Gothic style of horror with the irrational versus the rational. There is humor, sex, a cross narrative structure that most authors could not pull off and a true sense of building tension.Plus a very believable twist ending and a sad, inevitable denouement. Perfect, in other words.
As for the last , I guess it would be a choice between a true classic like "Hamlet" or "Volpone" or a modern masterpiece like "The Old Man and the Sea" by Hemingway. "The Old Man and the Sea" works on so many levels-the inevitability of death, the purpose of one's life and efforts. When you put "Hamlet" up to that it's a tough competition , but "Hamlet" speaks to so many things of the human condition, it is well ahead of its time.
I suppose what binds all of these books together are that they show a general pessimistic view of humanity and life, in general. They also show , that despite fear, despair, loss, grief, betrayal, disappointment and horror, life does goes on.
What do you read for pleasure?
I am a eclectic reader. I greatly enjoyed the "Dragon Tattoo" series. I love military histories and biographies.Books about The Second World War and the Middle East conflict are frequently on my reading table. I read Rad Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Dean Koontz and Clive Barker. I find their artistry very relaxing.

I read some narrative entertainment non-fiction as well as sports literature,especially if it concerns ice hockey.

I read a fair amount of cookbooks, but that's not really pleasure, although I enjoy them.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Nook and a Kindle and use them equally.
Describe your desk
Do I have to?
I have a bed, perpendicular to my desk, which is very small. I have files that I keep papers for my various projects in, stacked on the bed.. As I look at my desk, I have two drinking glasses, my cell phone, a stack of mail, a letter opener, two pens, a set of small screwdrivers, a stack of small notepads for writing down random thoughts and a pair of sunglasses, all occupying it..
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in New York City and lived around the metropolitan area up until I was eighteen.
Living in New York was a gift that I didn't appreciate until I took my children back there a few years ago.
As far as it affecting my writing, it gave me an appreciation for ethnic diversity. Even in the suburbs after we moved from Manhattan, my friends were predominantly Italian, Jewish, Hungarian, Slavic and WASP. However , you were always aware of the other cultures around you.
So number one, the city itself is a character. It has its own skin, its own persona. When you write "New York City " on a page every reader's mind goes into overload. We all have our own visions of what NYC is, but I would bet 75% or more is the same, no matter who we are.
Number two, it gives you an inexhaustible roster of characters to use. New York is the financial, legal, culinary, entertainment, literary, business and some would say, criminal capital of the country. That's a big advantage.It's not like Los Angeles. You see celebrities walking their dogs, eating in restaurants, same as any of us. I once saw a United States Senator walking down the street ( this was a few years ago, of course) no Secret Service, just out for a walk. We said " Good morning Senator" and he greeted us back. We both kept walking as if it was no big thing. You can create characters, as opposed to stereotypes.
When did you first start writing?
I actually starting writing three years ago, but really got serious eight months ago.
It took me almost three years to squeeze out two books that I wasn't happy with. Then it took me thirty days to write a flawed, but still much improved project, that is now published.
My second novel took about four months to write, but it is twice as good as the first one.
Tell us the story behind your current title 'Mimi" and the new book you have coming out?
Well, they couldn't be more different. "Mimi" is based on a series on true events, with some radical plot plot differences thrown in as a way of making the story work a little easier. I call"Mimi" an example of hyper-realism. I don't want to put any spoilers in so I won't.
But I encountered the true story of a former Playmate of the Year who became a film actress, found true love and success and then in a few years, became addicted to drugs and lost almost everything. Then she got herself back together only to die in a tragic car accident at only twenty-nine. It broke my heart to read this.So I wrote a book where a character tries to redeem himself by saving her.
I concentrated on using this novel as a way to polish up a lot of writing skills. The main character was very sexual so I needed to write believable scenes of erotica. I stressed character development so the sex wouldn't overwhelm the narrative. So I also worked very hard on the dialogue for the same reason
Ultimately its a very touching story, so there is a lot of humor in it as well.

The new novel is called "The Devil's Sous Chef" and chronicles the friendship of two young chefs from their introduction at Culinary School to where their.. no spoilers here. I spent thirty years as an Executive Chef , so the cooking and restaurant scenes are very detailed. The reader will get a glimpse into the real world of Culinary Education, the restaurant business and a view of two very talented but very different chefs. One the character's is Daniel Allmen, a Master Pastry Chef and a goodhearted decent individual. The other is Jean Luc Roy, probably the first Quebecois character of note in any major novel. He is handsome, charming, ruthless and well, maybe that will give you a clue where the title comes from.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It was something I had always wanted to do. I have always written. School newspapers, college newspapers, professional newsletters, etc..
One day I just decided to get on with it. Plus I was sick of the crap I had to take as a chef.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's been fun to reach a whole new audience. The biggest trouble Indie authors have is getting exposure. We've all read some of the books on bestseller lists. Most of them deserve to be there. Others, frankly, are crap. The author relies on their fifteen minutes of fame, or is capitalizing on some grotesque trend/incident.

Smashwords levels out the playing field. Most new or indie authors will get the attention of an agent or publisher for about two minutes per submission. If they don't know you or know someone who knows you, ya have about as much chance as winning the lottery. Agents will honestly tell this to your face. It doesn't mean to give up. It means to market your book the best and cheapest way you can.

Smashwords is a great platform for that. I've been able to reach more buyers and sell more books in one month that I did on Amamzon.com in three.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Fulfilling a lifelong dream. Can you put a price tag on that?
Getting that idea from your brain, to down on paper, perfectly.
Creating a character that comes to life while your typing. A living breathing entity, that reacts, speaks, cries, kills and is perfectly believable.
To let the reader see in their mind's eye, a place that doesn't exist except in your imagination.
All of these things. There is no one single joy. It is a shared joy between writer and reader.
Published 2014-08-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Mimi
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 105,840. Language: English. Published: August 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult, Fiction » Erotica » Paranormal
"Mimi' is an erotic romance full of sex, humor, unforgettable characters and a sense of foreboding unlike any other book of its genre. Intentionally graphic, the story wants to bring the reader into the minds of the protagonists, to let them experience ecstasy, pain, loss and madness. More than erotica, the novel is really about the fine lines between love and obsession, nightmares and dreams.