MM: Today, I have the distinct pleasure of having award winning author, Carolina Valdez. Thank you for joining us today.
MM: So tell me, how long have you been writing?
Carolina: Thanks for this opportunity, MM. Most writers enjoy talking about writing, and I’m no exception. I fell in love with my third grade teacher because she gave me blank sheets of paper and let me make up stories. As an adult I won writing contests, but I was married and had had my first child before I sent something out cold to a magazine and they purchased and published it.
MM: What is your favorite subgenre to write?
Carolina: I enjoy the freedom of creating paranormals, especially dark fantasy. However, my February and September releases are contemporaries.
MM: Is there one that you haven’t tried that you see yourself doing in the future?
Carolina: Nothing comes to mind, but you never know what may pop up that I’ll go for. In my wildest dreams I’d never have pictured myself writing explicit sex stories, especially male-male.
MM: I recently visited New Orleans for vacation and had many stories in mind when I departed. Your book, Night Train to New Orleans. Was it inspired by a trip there?
Carolina: Haven’t been there. I just think it’s a fascinating town rich in multicultural history. It’s probably the most unique city in the United States, and I’d love to visit.
MM: I’m of the opinion that erotica doesn’t have to be real all the time to make a good story, what are your thoughts?
Carolina: Let me clarify that I don’t read or write what I consider erotica. I write erotic romance - love stories, centered on male/male relationships set in interesting locales with happy-ever-after endings.
If fiction was completely real it would be non-fiction, wouldn’t it? When the husband of an author friend of mine read one of her stories and said, “Honey, men can’t get it up this often in one night,” she replied, “Lover, this is fiction. Romantic fiction.”
It’s up to the writer to make the unreal believable to readers. However, if you’re writing historicals, romance readers demand the history be accurate. Make a mistake and they may toss your book and never buy from you again. It’s why I quit writing historicals. This is less true in the mystery/suspense/thriller genre. Those authors tell me their editors don’t know much history or care that much about it being accurate. It’s up to the authors.
MM: For a seasoned author such as yourself, do you feel it wise for new authors to write from many genres? Why or why not?
Carolina: That’s difficult advice to give. Some new writers immediately find their genre niche, but I’d sold fiction and non-fiction to religious, nursing and children’s magazines as well as to newspapers before selling my first romantic suspense. I discovered I could write explicit sex only when I entered an Amber Quill Press erotic short story contest. I’ve had two murder mystery short stories published, but I pretty much stick now to erotic male/male romance.
MM: Who are the authors that you look up to?
Carolina: Those with characters to die for, a turn of phrase I wouldn’t have thought of, a style different from my own, a way of looking at the world unlike mine, and surprising twists or turns to their story.
Amber Quill Press has some remarkable writers - M.L. Rhodes, Christiane France, Janet Quinn, K.C. Kendricks, Rick R. Reed, Lynn Lorenz and Dierdre O’Dare, among others. I also read many New York published authors in the mystery/suspense and romance genres.
MM: What are you working on now?
Carolina: I’ve just begun my September release - OLD STONES AND NEW WINE – a contemporary set in Provence, France. UNMASKED, my May 1 contemporary release, is set in Venice, but I’m expanding my research on that city to tackle NIGHT TRAIN TO VENICE, the third dark fantasy in the Night Train series.
MM: When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
Carolina: Pretty much fictional, although a larger-than-life cardboard man in a mall Levi’s ad was so sexy he inspired one of my heroes.
MM: As an M/M writer, do you feel that the trend is changing where it is becoming more mainstream?
Carolina: I have no idea. I ignore trends because they blow in and drift out. I write the story that comes to me, one I hope readers will enjoy.
MM: Would you consider this a positive or negative?
Carolina: A good story is a good story, no matter the trend.
MM: Do you feel that M/M authors are slighted by the big conferences and or organizations, like RWA? Do you see this changing?
Carolina: I’ve never been to an RWA or RT conference and no longer find a need to attend another mystery convention. I understand and respect those who find the subgenre I write distasteful, but I’m secure in my choice. I will say that changes in publishing have forced RWA to change attitudes toward e-publishing in general. That’s a welcome thing.
MM: As a fellow fem in the genre, what is your stance on the difference between male and female gay writers?
Carolina: I suspect that if there is a difference in our approach to our stories, it has little to do with gender or sexual orientation.
MM: I read a blog about M/M writer’s losing their imagination because they are writing the same subjects repeatedly, what are your thoughts? http://www.reviewsbyjessewave.com/?p=42883
Carolina: That’s an esoteric question and in my opinion has little to do with the real world. Publishers catch on real quick to what readers will buy. You think that doesn’t translate down to their authors? You bet it does.
Since there are no new plots in the world, every writer, no matter the genre, could be said to be writing the same subjects repeatedly. Twilight, by Stephanie Meyers, is Romeo and Juliette/West Side Story/The Martins and the McCoys all over again.
Frankly, I can’t worry about my imagination or creating a “memorable” M/M story. If I did, the story would be forced and readers would recognize it.
MM: What is it about M/M that pleasures you to write it?
Carolina: I tried it because I wondered if I could, and I really like men so I enjoy writing about them. However, royalties on my first male-male were ten times more than my last male/female erotic romance. Need I say more?
MM: I notice that your book are only with Amber Quill. What is the advantage to staying with one publisher as opposed to being with multiple “houses?”
Carolina: Actually, I’ve been published by more than one house, but I’m so happy with how I’m treated at Amber Quill Press that I have no desire to submit anywhere else. I’m not interested in being picked up by a big publisher.
As to why authors submit to more than one house, here are some reasons: They think sales will increase if they’re with several publishers; they’re unhappy with the current house; they’ve been invited to submit elsewhere, which is flattering; they have a story with a certain theme and genre their present house doesn’t publish; they’re aware that many e-publishers have filed for bankruptcy, and don’t want to risk having all their work with one e-publisher.
MM: Thank you for taking the time to spend with us today Carolina and continued success on your work.
Carolina: Readers, be sure to read MM’s guest spot on my blog today at http://www.carolina-valdez.blogspot.com Many thanks to MM for this chance to share my thoughts in response to such good questions.
My Web site is http://www.carolinavaldez.com
In From The Cold http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/InFromCold.html
Night Train To New Orleans
Blurb and Excerpt from In From the Cold