Interview with D.L. Carter, author of “Ridiculous”

Did you have a lot of differences with your editors in the beginning while you were still becoming used to getting your work edited?

I have the greatest admiration for the poor editors who had to deal with my work. I have learning problems and my gramma died when I was a child. My first book had to go through three editors. Each one passed through the book and removed another layer of errors.
for the most part all they told me about was grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. There was one phone call from an editor who complained that – in my elvish romance – she didn’t like that I used the word Underwear. She said it didn’t make sense in an elf would use the word underwear. After some discussion in which I declared that I was not going to create a glossary for my book just for one word and create a word just so I could say such and such word translated as underwear – we settled on the old fashioned term ‘underpinnings’.

How often do you go on book tours?

I am not yet so well known that I am invited on book tours. I do attend a great number of science fiction conventions doing panels and workshops. Sci fi conventions give me the opportunity to stay in the dealer’s room and promote my books to prospective buyers, and chat to random strangers, and that is fun.

Have you ever written a character with an actor in mind?

Sure, it makes it easier in some ways, especially when you are trying to find a voice for the character. In my super hero story, The Adventures of a Super Hero’s Insurance Adjuster, I wanted a middle-aged black woman to be both sides of good and evil witch, and chose Whoopie Goldberg. Even ten years after the book was finished I still want her to play the role in a movie. It is fun looking at the comments made by reviewers and seeing who has guessed my inspiration.

Had any of your literary teachers ever tell you growing up that you were going to become a published writer one day?

Sure. I dedicated a book to my high school English teacher. I was in special ed – don’t laugh – and she discovered that I was reading books that the other teachers judged as too advanced for someone as ‘challenged’ as I was alleged to be. I could read but couldn’t with correct grammar and spelling write out answers. When this teacher started reading my fiction she told me one day an understanding publisher would see the quality of my imagination and find me a good editor. Fortunately for me that has come true.

Some writers create a bubble around themselves until they’re finished with their project – how true is that in your case?

Life is what happens when when you are busy with other things. However, when I am working on a paranormal I stay away from movies and TV shows that might contaminate my fictional universe.

Do contemporary writers have the kind of animosity that competitors in showbiz seem to have?

What the heck does that mean? Really? I have been to writer’s conferences, sci fi conventions and several other gatherings of writers and they host craft classes helping everyone present improve their skills, to reach out to publishers and agents and increase their chances of a successful careers.

It is often said that in order to write something, you must believe in what you are writing. Do you agree with that?

Heck no. I write police procedurals – I’m not police. I write elvish romances – I’m not an elf.
I do research, read books, talk to experts and generally use my imagination. I write from the point of view of villains, sociopaths, the generally evil without being evil.
I can expound on philosophies that I do not share in order to make it clear to my readers the concept I am exploring. That is part of the story process. For the book to be worth reading their has to be black moments and grey moments in order to make happy ever after a stronger emotional reward.

Are you working on something new at the moment?

If I’m breathing I’m writing. Currently working on a regency series with a male character – Uncle Burnside – a retired naval captain who acts as matchmaker for a diverse collection of nieces.

When can the readers expect your next book in print?

Memorial day weekend book two of the Changing Magic series will be out in ebook and paperback.

Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?

Accidentally. I upgraded a computer to Windows Millieum edition and when the installation process suggested I defrag I hit okay. Big mistake. I completely fried the hard drive destroying several half finished books and one complete manuscript along with all my music, poetry and….. arrgggghghghghghghghg…. This was before the cloud. Before dropbox.

Which book would you want adapted for the silver screen?

A few of the books get reviews that suggest that a movie would be fun and I must agree. I would like to see Ridiculous as a costume drama and the superhero book if only to show the super world from the POV of those who clean up afterwards.

How did you celebrate the publishing of your first book?

The publisher called to tell me that my book had gone live on Amazon and she told me to let everyone I knew about the event. I turned to my boyfriend and said, “honey, my books gone live.” He said, “congrats.” At which point my publisher started lecturing me about social media presence etc. etc. I spent the rest of the evening creating a facebook page, planning a website and eating pizza.

Did the thought to give up writing ever occur to you?

No. The voices in my head are too insistent.

Which of your books took you the most time to write?

The first one. It took three years and was the first one I completed. The next took 10 months, then six. Ruined Forever took 9 weeks and is the shortest period of time from idea to finish.

People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

Excuse me, the cats litter tray needs cleaning and I have to do the laundry or I won’t have scrubs for work tonight.

Poets and writers in general, have a reputation of committing suicide; in your opinion, why is that the case?

Phooey, don’t be self serving and self obsessed and using being creative as an excuse. No. I have to say, within the range of normal humans, the many authors I have met are stable happy people. Helpful, kind, encouraging, as stable as a person who listens to the voices in their heads can be.
I once told a co-worker about the many story ideas bubbling up in my mind and she asked me how I managed to keep them all straight. I told her I didn’t do everything they suggested, just the fun stuff.

Have you ever written fan-fiction?

Sure. I started doing Star Trek (now called classic) and Dr Who stories in high school. It is good practice for learning the sound of different character voices, particular word choices. I consider that a good start for beginning (teen) writers. After a while my own characters and their adventures became more interesting to me.

Do you have a library at home?

I have a house to keep my books and toys inside out of the rain. I have a particular reference library for regency stories including medical text books and encyclopedias printed in the 1800’s.

If you were given a teaching opportunity, would you accept it?

All the time. At the Sci Fi conventions I attend I do character and plotting workshops about 4 times a year.