Joining us today is an International best-selling author, Carolyn Arnold. She has written a diverse collection of thirty books!
You possess an amazing talent and dare I say, determination, for writing so many books! How did you get interested in becoming an author?
My passion for writing was sparked when I was a teenager. I would vent my emotions into poems and then it became romance novellas. I even took it upon myself to write into Harlequin for their submission guidelines without my parents’ knowledge when I was probably about seventeen.
However, nothing was to come of my writing at that point. I felt overwhelmed by the specific requirements—a set length, the formatting of the margins and line spacing. I’m not even sure how long I wrote for after receiving word from Harlequin, but I was in the prime age of my life for change, and change it did.
In fact, writing disappeared from my life for about thirteen years. I got married, moved across the province, and had mostly forgotten about writing altogether. I still, however, thought it would be quite the accomplishment to write a novel. But until June 2006 this acknowledgment had only been paid lip service.
At that time, I was working for a large company and there were departmental changes on the horizon which would see my job and others in my department moving to Toronto area. Needless to say, we weren’t feeling too motivated to work.
A coworker, who I often shared lunches with emailed me toward the end of one work day and said “tell me a story.” Now, keep in mind I hadn’t spoken to her about writing or to anyone about it in any amount of seriousness for thirteen years. So what did I do?
I fired back a few paragraphs that came to me from the top of my head. She requested more and we went back and forth a few times, with me adding more to the story bit by bit. She finally told me that I needed to finish what I started. That became my first novel, which is sold under the title Life Sentence.
Finding a publisher in Canada is not easy and in fact, a very difficult market. What led you to Hibbert and Stiles Publishing Inc?
I self-published in May 2011 and l have met with a lot of success in this arena. In the summer of 2014, I quit my day job. By June 2015, I incorporated my own publishing company—Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.
Were there any challenges that you had to overcome to publish your books?
I never realized how much work went into getting a book ready for
publication until I was involved with doing just that. It’s a lot of long hours
and it takes dedication.
You have written four different series: Brandon Fisher FBI, Detective Madison Knight, McKinley Mysteries, and Mathew Connor Action Adventure.
Your first set of books was the Brandon Fisher FBI series which delves into the world of intense crime with the focus on capturing serial killers. This is such a dark and gritty topic, how did you come up with this idea?
Actually, my first series was centered around Detective Madison Knight. The first book in what is now the Brandon Fisher FBI series started out as a standalone novel with Eleven.
As for coming up with such dark and gritty topics, these ideas
just come to me. With Eleven, there’s
a house outside of the city I live in and it’s run down. One day driving by I
thought what if there were burial chambers beneath the ground. Only crime
authors think like this! Well, us and actual killers.
You have a new book in the Brandon Fisher FBI series, entitled Violated, which just released on April 28. What can we look forward to reading about in this one?
An FBI agent with the behavioral analysis unit is accused of murder and the rest of her team sets out to prove her innocence, but quickly realize they are on the hunt for a serial killer.This book might be crime fiction, but it touches on a current issue and it affects more people than we might realize. I can't disclose too much without giving away information on the killer so people will have to read the book.
I can say this book also carries a couple deeper messages.
One, the importance of living in the now without obsessing over the past. It shows what can happen when we give the past power over us.
Two, we all have the right to make choices without judgment from society, but unfortunately humans can be quick to judge. Violated is about being true to ourselves in spite of society’s approval or disapproval.
Your next series, Detective Madison Knight, features a female detective that has received outstanding testimonials from the law enforcement due to the accurate and detailed police procedures. Did you pull a Richard Castle and ride along with the police for a more in-depth look into the world of investigating crimes?
I’ve been blessed with having friends who either work—or who have worked—in law enforcement. They’ve been a tremendous help in making sure that I get my procedures correct. If I have questions about anything, I bounce it off them.
As for the ride-along, I had one recently and it was fit for a murder mystery author. There was a body and I spent hours in a room with it. Without disclosing any details about what had happened, let me say I got a front row seat to evidence collection, brainstorming, how everything doesn’t just hit at once, in fact it’s like a puzzle that fills in piece by piece. And when I say I was in the room with the body, I was right next to him if I wanted to be. Most times I was about six to eight feet back. I watched the coloring of the body change, observed how lividity darkened the longer we were there… Yeah, you get it.
I can also testify that in the moment, I was fine, even slipping into detective mode myself. But later in the evening when I was sharing my experience with my husband, the truth of the matter started to sink in. I had spent hours with a dead body. I felt icky and as that passed, I became a little weepy, saddened by the loss of the man.
That night, I had a hard time falling asleep and I dreamt about him, not in a scary way, but I was trying to figure out what had happened to him.
The McKinley Mysteries is a fun and lively series that follows the adventures of Sean and Sara who were former homicide detectives from Albany and own a private investigation firm. No matter where they go, death seems to follow them. Romance, comedy and murder seems like a natural leap forward, what inspired you to do this series?
I was inspired by the old television show Hart to Hart. It also completed the spectrum of the mystery genre. I had the dark (Brandon Fisher FBI), the middle of the road (Madison Knight) and the McKinley Mysteries allow me to offer something lighthearted while still having a murder investigation.
Who designed the covers for the McKinley Mysteries? They are so playful and sinfully delicious!
I’m spoiled because my graphic designer is my husband. J With a lot of my covers, I come up with a concept and he makes them presentable! LOL
It was a real treat to discover that the Matthew Connor Adventure series incorporates Toronto, Ontario. In fact, it also features a famous building that I visit on a regular basis: the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). I nearly squealed when I saw that. Do any of your other books feature Toronto?
You visit regularly? Lucky girl. I’ve been once and enjoyed the day. It’s actually the spot my sister and I picked for being reunited. There’s a long story in there, but let’s just say I’m so happy to have her back in my life again. She’s one of my best friends.
Do you live in Toronto, Ontario? Is this what inspired you to include it in your latest book?
I have lived close to Toronto all my life, and when I want a last-minute getaway I tend to gravitate to TO. I love the theatre, the restaurants, and just the luxury feel of the big city. There’s something exciting and lively about the place.
Following the adventures of Matthew Conner, an archaeologist, is quite a departure from the crime novels you have written, is this based on anyone that you know?
It is a departure…somewhat. I plan to write all these novels geared toward the mystery reader. I intend to place a modern twist on the action-adventure genre. Instead of these books starting off at some distant point in the past with characters who never factor in again, I start in the present day and keep the pace moving forward.
Will you be switching your focus to the Matthew Conner series or continue to write more books in the other series as well?
Oh, I can’t leave my police procedurals or my McKinleys! I’ll be writing in all four.
Writing so many books, particularly several different series, has got to be a time consuming job. How many hours a day do you write?
I typically schedule my releases at the start of the year so I know when I have to write a book, edit it, send it off to a professional, etc. etc. well in advance. When I’m writing a book, I know that I need to write x number of words a day to meet the deadline attached to that story.
I’m also not afraid of shifting things if I find I’ve overbooked myself. Stress is a killer for creativity.
Since your books feature detectives, did you get an opportunity to hold a gun or practice any shooting?
Yes! I went to a gun range a few months ago and fired a Glock, an AR-15, and a Remington shotgun. The Glock has a lot of backfire. I loved the AR-15, and I only fired one round with the shotgun. It has a large kickback. Even with the instructor bracing my shoulder, it was pushed backward.
I also got to fire simunition at the
gun range at the police station in my city.
After writing dark and intense scenes, do you find that you need to take a break?
I can’t say I’ve ever found that they greatly affect me. I guess it’s because I can somewhat detach. This isn’t to say my heart isn’t racing in the moment or the stomach isn’t fluttering or churning.
I would imagine that you would be interested in watching crime shows such as Castle for a little bit of cheeky fun or CSI for the more in-depth investigations. Do you have any favourite shows?
I love NCIS, NCIS New Orleans, Law & Order SVU, Chicago Fire, Hawaii 5-O, Madam Secretary, Shades of Blue, Third Rock from the Sun, Grace & Frankie, Border Security, and Mystery Diners.
Even though your books are fiction, have you ever had anything strange happen to you in real life?
Strange things happen in life all the time but if an author includes them in a book, their editor is bound to point it out and say it’s contrived or convenient. That’s when you tell them, wait a minute, this actually happened to me last week… LOL
As for an actual thing to share… A memory hit the other week. I have thin fingernails so when they get long they are easy to bend. I remember one time at church, my younger sister was playing with one, bent it back, and it broke. She freaked and started laughing. How do you keep quiet when something like that happens? We should have been paying attention…
Are you an avid reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I am always reading something…usually more than one thing. I always have one to three non-fiction books on the go and one fiction. Currently for non-fiction, it’s Principles of Success by Jack Canfield, You Were Born Rich by Bob Proctor, and Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Marilee G. Adams and Marshall Goldsmith. For fiction, I’m reading Stolen by Daniel Palmer.
Do you have any words of advice for new authors?
Keep writing and stay focused on your goals. Don’t allow others to persuade you from your dreams.
Any last words or inspirational messages that you would like to leave with us?Be entertained. Live inspired. And never accept anything less than awesome into your life.
For more information, please visit Carolyn's official website at: http://carolynarnold.net/
She's on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolyn.arnold.564
Chat with her on Twitter: @Carolyn_Arnold
Posted by jennifer gibson. Posted In : May 2016