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Interview With Latina Author Caridad Pineiro
Although writing is a skill that can be learned, I believe that some people are born writers. Do you consider yourself a born writer?
I definitely consider myself a born writer. Or perhaps it might be better to say, a born storyteller. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had stories in my head, and finally, I started putting those stories down on paper. Meanwhile, I have always been reading and I think that reading has taught me the craft of writing.
As an author of dark paranormal novels, what do you find so fascinating about vampires? Why do you think vampire stories hold such a fascination for readers?
The darkness of the human soul is something that calls out to readers because they want to know what makes such dark characters click. In addition, there is a universal connection to the struggle between good and evil, and I think the paranormal, especially vampire novels, tap into that universal struggle. Vampires represent the darkest parts of our personality. Those dangerous things that call to us. The sensuality of the vampire kiss and the passion that comes from sharing yourself in such an intimate way. All of these things draw readers to the darkness in the stories.
Please tell us a little about your vampire novels and series.
I had just finished writing a string of contemporary romances and wanted to try my hand at something different. Definitely something that was completely different. I was tired of all the happily ever after and heroes who were all goodness and light. I decided to write a story where the heroes had pasts that showed them a harsh side of life that they still held inside. I also wanted to explore what would happen when a disgraced FBI agent meets an Old World protector – a vampire. DARKNESS CALLS was born out of that inspiration and initially, it was much more violent and didn’t have a happily ever after.
What other genres do you write in? Which is your favorite?
I also do straight romantic suspense and women’s fiction. I say straight romance suspense because my paranormal novels are actually paranormal suspense romance novels. I have to say that I enjoy romantic suspense the most because of the inherent danger and excitement these stories contain.
Describe a typical day in the life of Caridad Scordato.
I usually wake up around 5am to get ready for work. I still have a full-time job as a lawyer in Manhattan. By 6 a.m. I’m on a train to New York City, and during the train ride, I’m almost always at work on my laptop, writing a story. When I go to NYC, I go to my office. It’s a good way to clear your head and get ready for work. Since I’m an Intellectual Property attorney, I usually have a mess of paper on my desk that needs attention. At the end of the day, it’s a walk to the train station where I outline what I’ll be working on on the ride home. At night, I usually rest with my family, unless I have a pressing deadline or promotional materials to create. Weekends are when I do most of my writing, usually 3 or 4 hours on Saturday and Sunday.
Do you follow a disciplined writing plan? Do you set yourself a minimum amount of pages per day? In the week?
I definitely follow a disciplined writing schedule. I think you should do this if you want to be a published author as publishing houses aren’t just looking for a book – they want to know that you can deliver more than one work to them. I usually don’t go over the page count. I stick to traveling by train and if necessary writing at night as well as weekend writing to meet my deadlines.
What is the secret of such productivity? Or is it simply the deadlines of your multiple book contracts that keep you ahead?
The secret to productivity is persistence and support. The latter is essential as my family helps me in any way they can so that I can work on my writing. Sometimes it’s hard to balance work, writing and family, and I couldn’t do it without my family’s support. As for deadlines, I think being a lawyer drives me crazy to keep those deadlines. There are times when the editor’s demands require some deadlines to be moved, but in general, we’ve been able to stick to the schedules we’ve set for all the different novels.
Some writers listen to music or go for a walk when they feel particularly dry for ideas. Is there anything you do to spark your creativity?
I watch videos and listen to music. I think both of these help spark my creativity. Videos in particular are great, especially when it’s a really good movie or TV show. Analyzing story arcs and dialogue really helps inspire me when I’ve hit a block or need some inspiration.
How important are conferences and book signings to an author? Do you attend these regularly?
Networking is an important part of any business. I would highly recommend that authors, whether published or pre-published, go to conferences to meet not only other authors, but agents, editors, and readers. As for book signings, they can be a crapshoot sometimes. You can go from having a good crowd to no one coming whether the weather is good or bad, or it’s a holiday, etc. Stock signings, that is where you go into the store and sign books, seem to be paying off as booksellers like to offer signed books to their customers.
Did you find an agent for your first book or did you find a publisher yourself? Can you tell us a bit about the agent/publisher search process?
I sold my first ten books without an agent. I discovered that finding a good agent is almost as difficult as getting published, and that a bad agent was worse than no agent at all. The key to finding a good agent is to vet them thoroughly to make sure they are reputable. If an agent is part of AAR, this is a good sign as AAR has a code of ethics that agents must adhere to. Next, if you and the agent seem to hit it off, sit down and let the agent know what you want to do with your career. The agent should know what you want and expect and should also give you an idea of whether those goals are reasonable and, if so, how the agent plans to help you meet those goals. Finally, if an agent asks for money – run. No one should ask you for money. The agent should get her salary from the sales she makes for you.
What frustrates you most in the publishing world?
The hardest part is constantly hearing that editors are looking for “fresh” voices or ideas, as it often seems like they are unwilling to consider different ideas. I’m lucky that the publishers I’ve had have been open to different ideas. In particular, Leslie Wainger and Stacy Boyd at Harlequin were willing to take a chance on my various vampire novels, and I’m so grateful they did.
What are the most important points to keep in mind when writing a dark paranormal suspense?
Like the different sides you find in life, the yin and yang of things, you have to remember the balance when writing a dark novel. So for all the dark elements in my novels, I try to find the corresponding light to balance it. Why? Again, I think the appeal of the paranormal is that universal battle of good vs. evil, and I believe that paranormal writers fight that battle in their own unique ways in each novel.
From a technical point of view, what do you have to deal with the most when creating a novel?
The opening chapters are the hardest things for me. I really want to set the tone of the novel as well as the conflict of the characters. I think it’s important to do this in the first three chapters in order to draw readers into wanting to continue the story.
If you could recommend the greatest dark paranormal romance novel of all time, what would it be?
This is such a hard choice. There are so many wonderfully dark paranormal romance novels out there. If we’re talking about modern writers, I’d suggest starting with early Laurell Hamilton for stories that are dark and sexy. Kim Harrison is another favorite.
Do you have a website where readers can learn more about you and your work?
I actually have two websites! www.caridad.com is my general website where I have information about all my novels and also my blog. www.thecallingvampirenovels.com is the website for THE CALLING vampire novels and we’ve created a ton of new content and history for all the stories and characters in THE CALLING.
Would you like to share any of your upcoming projects with us?
BLOOD CALLS, May 2007, is the next installment of THE CALLING. Starting in December, THE CALLING will continue with a Christmas vampire novella titled FATE CALLS and after that, there will be three more novels in 2008/9. I will also have a romantic suspense, THE SECRET AGENT REBOUND in August 2007 and my wild women’s fiction, SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THE TIR MAN in September 2007.
Thank you, Caridad!
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