It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for another debut author interview. Today I got to chat with Carly Drake, author of YA fantasy WORDS ONCE SPOKEN, which just released this month!
YA meets high fantasy in this lush series debut about a girl who never quite fit in – and the reason why…
Evelyn might not love the confines of her village life, but she takes her small freedoms where she can get them. But everything changes when her parents decide it’s time for her to wed. Suddenly she loses her tunic and breeches, her bow, her horse, and gains rigid gowns, restrictive manners, and carriage rides.
The best way to escape is through her dreams, but as they become more and more real, Evelyn begins to worry that she is losing her grasp on reality. It is only when she makes two new friends that the truth is revealed: she is destined for far, far more than even she could imagine.
Carly Drake loves books, but loving them was not enough — she has to write them too. As a reader and as an author, she gravitates toward period pieces and supernatural works, stories that offer the advantage of escape to a different time and set of rules. Mix a magical world with the drama of young adults discovering who they are, or in some cases what.
A former fashion design student, a Coast Guard wife, and eternal devotee of actors from across the Pond, Carly currently endures the heat of Texas with her husband, two children, and one giant puppy.
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration for your debut book?
I was getting ready for Halloween last year, and struggling to find a cool, inexpensive, non slutty costume, and then I realized. Hey, my hair is long enough to braid, I have a bow and arrow, and kick ass boots…I’ll be Katniss!! As I was gathering the pieces of the costume I started thinking more and more about other female characters who are bad ass with bows and arrows, and then Evelyn was born along with her story. (I’ve always wanted to do a fae story because it seems as if the vampires and werewolves have had their 5 minutes of fame, but the fae still haven’t—not really).
How did you come up with your title? Were there any you considered first?
The title was a struggle for me, and I’m not sure why. I started calling it The Huntress, then as I was submitting it I called it Deceitful Dreams, but marketing wasn’t too thrilled with the use of the word “dreams” so then we came up with Words Once Spoken, referencing the idea in the story that once certain words (ie, spells and curses) are spoken they can only be broken or changed by the person who spoke them.
What was the hardest part of writing this particular book?
The length. The book ended up being pretty short, and I really worried about it, but I didn’t feel as if there was any way to add to it without slowing the pace down too much or adding unnecessary details/scenes.
Is there anything that helps you get into the writing zone – music, for example?
Not being interrupted. I can listen to music, as long as it’s not something new (because then I’ll pay attention to that, instead of the writing). However, I really need a good stretch of time where I will not be interrupted (which can be hard to find!)
What is it about young adult fiction that draws you in as a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed reading it because I love reading about first loves and people discovering themselves. The teenage years are ripe for those self discovery moments.
Was there ever a time when you seriously considered giving up on your writing dream?
Writing was never a dream of mine to begin with. I’ve always loved books, but I never saw myself as a writer, so honestly this is all new, but very exciting for me.
Do you have any advice for writers trying to get published?
The hard truth that I am learning is that you should only be a writer because you love it and you can’t stand not to write. If you do it for any other reason you will be severely disappointed because the whole industry is too much of a crap shoot (the same can be said for most creative industries). Also, if you write because you love it, and don’t care about making oodles of money, it will show in your work.
Can you say anything about your next project/s?
I have written another book, unrelated to Words Once Spoken, that is currently being looked at by some agents. I am also working on another unrelated book, and when I am done with that then I will work on Words Once Spoken‘s sequel, Curses Once Spoken.