Maybe you can learned about writing skills, I still believe that some people were born to write. Do you think you are a born writter?
I definitely consider myself a born writer. Or maybe it might be better to say, a born storyteller. As long as I can remember, I had stories in my head and eventually, I started putting those stories down on paper. In the meantime, I was always reading and I think that reading taught me about the craft of writing.
As an author of dark paranormal novels, what is it about vampires that you find so fascinating? Why do you think vampire stories exert such allure over readers?
The darkness of the human spirit is something that calls to readers because they want to know what makes such dark characters click. In addition, there is a universal connection to the fight between good and evil and I think paranormals, especially vampire novels, touch upon that universal battle. Vampires represent the darkest parts of our personalities. Those dangerous things that call to us. The sensuality of the vampire’s kiss and the passion that comes from sharing yourself in such an intimate way. All of these things attract readers to the darkness in the stories.
Please tell us a bit 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 darkly different. I was tired of the whole Happily-Ever-After and heroes that were all goodness and light. I decided to write a story where the heroes had pasts that had showed them a harsh aspect of life that they still carried within them. I also wanted to explore what would happen when a kick-ass female FBI Agent met a protective Old World gentleman – a vampire. DARKNESS CALLS was born out of that inspiration and originally, it was much more violent and didn’t have a happily-ever-after.
In what other genres do you write? Which one is your favourite?
I also do straight romantic suspense and women’s fiction. I say straight romantic suspense because my paranormal novels are actually paranormal romantic suspense novels. I would have to say that I do love romantic suspense the most because of the inherent danger and excitement those stories contain.
Describe to us a regular day in Caridad Scordato’s life.
I’m usually up around 5 a.m. in the morning 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 get to NYC, I walk to my office. It’s a nice way to clear my head and get ready for work. Since I’m an Intellectual Property lawyer, I usually have a mess of paper on my desk that requires attention. At the end of the day, it’s a walk back to the train station where I plot out what I will work on during the trip home. At night, I usually relax with my family unless I’ve got a pressing deadline or promo materials to create. Weekends are when I do the bulk of my writing, normally 3 or 4 hours on Saturday and Sunday.
Do you follow a disciplined writing schedule? Do you set yourself a minimum amount of pages per day? Per week?
I definitely follow a disciplined writing schedule. I think you have to do that if you want to be a published author since publishing houses aren’t looking for just one book – they want to know you can deliver more than one work to them. I don’t normally go by the number of pages. I stick to the train ride and if necessary, night time writing as well as weekend writing in order to meet the deadlines I have.
What is the secret to such productivity? Or is it simply the deadlines on your multiple book contracts what keeps you on the edge?
The secret to the productivity is perseverance and support. The latter is key since my family helps me out in whatever ways they can so I can work on my writing. It’s tough sometimes to balance work, writing and family and I couldn’t do it without the support of my family. As for deadlines, I guess being a lawyer makes me uber-crazy about keeping those deadlines. There are times when editor requests require moving some deadlines around, but in general, we’ve been able to keep to the schedules we’ve set for all the various 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 find that both of those help spark my creativity. Videos in particular are great, especially when it’s a really good movie or television show. Analyzing the story arcs and dialogue really help to inspire me when I’ve hit a block or need some inspiration.
How important are conferences and book signings for an author? Do you regularly take part in these?
Networking is an important part of any business. I would highly recommend to all authors, whether published or pre-published, to go to conferences to meet not only other authors, but agents, editors and readers. As for book signings, they can be a crap shoot at times. You could go from having a good crowd to having no one come by if the weather is good or bad, or it’s a holiday, etc. Stock signings, namely where you go from on store to the other and sign the books, seem to yield results as booksellers love signed books to offer to their patrons.
Did you find an agent for your first book or you found a publisher on your own? Can you tell us a bit about the agent/publisher searching process?
I sold my first ten books without an agent. I found that getting a good agent is almost as hard as getting published and that a bad agent was worse than no agent at all. The key to finding a good agent is to check them out thoroughly to make sure they are reputable. If an agent is part of AAR, that’s a good sign as AAR has a code of ethics to which the agents have to adhere. 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 needs to know what you want and expect and should also provide 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 up front. The agent should take her pay from the sales she makes for you.
What frustrates you the most about the publishing world?
The hardest part is hearing over and over that editors are looking for “fresh” voices or ideas since oftentimes it seems as if they are unwilling to consider ideas that are different. I am lucky that the publishers that I’ve had have been receptive to different ideas. In particular, Leslie Wainger and Stacy Boyd at Harlequin were willing to take a risk on my different vampire novels and I’m very grateful that they did.
What are the most important points to keep in mind when writing dark paranormal suspense?
Much like the different sides you find in life, the yin and yang of things, you need to remember balance when writing a dark novel. So, for all the dark elements in my novels, I try to find the corresponding light to balance that. Why? Again, I think the appeal of paranormals is that universal good versus evil battle and I believe that paranormal writers fight that battle in their own unique ways in each novel.
Technically speaking, what do you have to struggle the most when crafting a novel?
The opening chapters are the hardest things for me. I really want to establish the tone of the novel as well as the conflict of the characters. I think it’s important to do that in the first three chapters in order to draw the readers into wanting to continue the story.
If you could recommend the greatest dark paranormal romance novel of all time, what would it be?
That’s such a tough choice. There are so many wonderfully dark paranormal romance novels out there. If we’re talking about modern writers, I would 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 may learn more about you and your works?
I actually have two websites! www.caridad.com is my general website where I have information on all my novels and my blog as well. www.thecallingvampirenovels.com is the website for THE CALLING vampire novels and we’ve created a tone of new content and history on all the stories and characters in THE CALLING.
Would you like to share with us any of your future projects?
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 other novels in 2008/9. I’ll also have a romantic suspense, SECRET AGENT REUNION in August 2007 and my edgy women’s fiction, SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THEIR MAN in September 2007.
Thank you, Caridad!
Mayra Calvani is the National Latino Books Examiner for Examiner.com. Visit her at http://www.examiner.com/x-6309-Latino-Books-Examiner