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Into the Mind of an Author: Carly Compass

Tell us a little bit about yourself, anything you’d like your readers to know:
My name is Carly Compass and I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your time and attention for this interview. I have been married for thirty years and have four beautiful adult children whom I think of everyday. I think it is far easier to be a mother to young children then to adults, for whom you have no control. I have two Main Coon mutts, meaning they are not pure bred, that I adore. I love gardening and have about 20 tropical plants that I have been nurturing for 20+ years. I have a ten-gallon fish tank with two angelfish. I basically raise them for the pet shop. I purchased my first set ten years ago. When they get too big for the tank I trade them in for smaller fish every couple of years. I haven’t lost one yet! I was diagnosed with Systemic Sclerosis 18 years ago and would like to raise awareness for the disease as it is likely hereditary. Lastly, and I have saved the best for last. I am planning to self publish my debut novel, Electric this fall! I am in the final stages of editing and looking into formatting it myself as well as making the cover. I have been developing my writer’s platform for the last six months in the hope that I will have a following by the time Electric is published.

What made you decide to become an author?
I have always been a writer and I love telling stories. I was just too busy living life while the kids were young and now that they are grown, I have some free time to expound upon what I have learned. I have actually written this novel three times from different perspectives using different narrative modes of first person, third person, finally landing on limited omniscient to weave my web and tell my tale.

Who are your favorite authors, and how have they influenced your writing?
Virginia Woolf and Toni Morrison for their innovative writing style. Margret Atwood for the imaginative way that she exposes societal ills. Stephen King for getting me to believe that a car could be haunted in Christine. Just about everything Dan Brown writes for his page turning ability and his extensive research. I love Chuck Palahniuk for his gutsy and original voice, Dean Kootz for his descriptive talents, Clive Cussler and Mike Wells for their ability to spin a yarn that is believable and fast paced. I really appreciate Stieg Larsson for his realistic view of the way women are viewed in his country in his trilogy, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest and The Girl Who Played with Fire. You can see his desire for change in every page. It took courage and a true understanding of the damage that our current worldview has on women.

Where can we find you online?
I am in the sixth week of my blog that I created and have linked it to all the various social media that I can think of, in the hopes of gaining followers. I still need to develop my Linkedin profile; you can find and connect with me on all the sites below:

Tell us about your book!
Electric is about every woman rolled up into one. It is about every woman who has ever been a victim of sexual abuse as a child or an adult and the many facets of that experience. I tried to cover a lot of issues that I see prevalent in our society, so it is about every woman that has suffered from illness or lack of compassion or understanding from their family and friends. It is about, every woman who has felt inadequate and insecure. It is about every woman who is a people pleaser. About a woman who wants nothing more than to be happy and live a nice quiet life where things just keep getting in the way. It is a stalker story, filled with suspense and a little down home charm that turns out to be anything but charming. My protagonist Gina Parrot is like every woman who desires to have a family. She has a narrow vision for her dream of having that little piece of Americana. She wants a good life for her children and she creates it with all the trimmings, but in the chaotic pace that she has set for herself something is about to give. She created the life she never experienced as a child with the home in the suburbs surrounded by a white picket fence, healthy children that are in little league, ballet, Indian Guides and Princess, that go to church on Sunday. She is so wound up in their lives and everything that goes with it, that she misses the forest for the trees. She is all about family and in her effort to live the American dream the antagonist, Mikhail Vladimir, who will stop at nothing to have her, outwits her. Soon her past, and factions outside of her imaginings start to intercede until her life spins out of control. It is my hope that in telling this story, women all over the world will be able to relate to her, see themselves in her and perhaps learn something from her too.

Everyone has their idiosyncrasies, what’s yours?
I have a strong desire to help people and wish only the best for everyone, and yet many of my personal relationships do not reflect the desired outcome. I can be a very naïve idealist. I am also an empathetic person, with a very sensitive soul so I have to be careful and guard against emotional overload.

What’s your favorite book turned movie and why?
I always prefer the book to the movie, but most recently the Hobbit and the whole Lord of the Rings Trilogy are my favorites. It has gotten to the point that now when picturing the characters I only see the actors and not my original imagining of them. The special effects are outstanding, especially in 3D. Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermor Del Toro did a fantastic job of sticking to the books on these movies.

What’s your favorite genre to read?
I love to read, thrillers, historical fiction, and romance. I love Fiction, but it has to be real: something I can relate to and the storyline has to reach a logical conclusion. Then of course I enjoy fantasy or paranormal for the escape they offer, and I also enjoy horror or suspense thrillers.

Which do you do more, read or write, and why?
I definitely read more than I write because I am always learning. I don’t want to ever stop learning. The more I learn, the more I learn what I don’t know. The more I learn, the more I grow and the more I grow, the more I have to share with my readers.

What is your writing process like, and what’s your favorite part of it?
When I get started, hours pass. When you enjoy what you are doing the time flies! I merely have to sit down at the computer and it starts. Unfortunately, the writer’s platform has taken a lot more time then I originally anticipated, but I think I have finally found the formula that will work for me, to allow me to do both successfully.

Has your work been featured anywhere?
I have had a few poems and one short story published in literary magazines. I’m working on downloading a few of my short stories on Watt Pad to give my readers a sample of my fiction, before Electric hits Amazon.

What are you working on now?
I am in the final edit of my novel Electric and the blog on my website keeps me very busy too. I am working on a cover for my short story on Watt Pad. I still need to learn how to format my novel for download on Amazon. I also have to learn how to create a cover for the novel. I have the picture in my mind. I just have to stage it.

What's next for you?
I see a sequel, depending on how well Electric is received by my readers. I already have a collection of short stories and poetry that could fill a book and of course there are millions of stories always running around in my head. I also have to look into creating a street team and figure out what kind of give-a-ways to have at my cover and book release parties. I’m thinking a lot of amazon gift cards since I have yet to acquire bling.

Where do you see yourself in five years--in a literary sense?
Hopefully, I will have five books published. I have never been to a writer’s convention. I keep reading author’s posts on Face Book. I am looking forward to attending those as well. It is actually a good practice to picture yourself where you want to be. I can see myself wearing a red suit with a short bob at my book signing, I think there is an assistant in the background and is that a publicist motioning for me to wrap it up? It is indeed. Oh, the busy life of a successful author…you have to believe it, if you want to achieve it. Next stop Europe and a world book signing tour where I will get to meet the many friends I have made online!

What’s the best advice you have for an aspiring author?
Read, read, read and then make an outline before you write. Organization is key to success. Work efficiently to produce more. Find a good editor. I have come across books that even when the author has hired a professional editor, need work. I find William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style a must read for every writer. The book is invaluable for the grammatical aspects of writing and eliminating unnecessary words so that your semantics and syntax are strong and vibrant.

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