Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, it is my pleasure today to welcome D. B. Carter, author of “The Cherries.” He responds to questions on book promotion, and his latest novel, “The Wild Roses“.
1. What is a typical writing day like for you?
I normally start early. Straight after breakfast, I spend some time checking social media and answering messages. Then I read through my writing from the previous day, cringing at all my mistakes and the multitude of typos. Then it’s down to writing for a couple of hours. Typically, I go for a walk in the late morning (often to the supermarket) and then I’ll write some more until lunchtime. That’s when the USA starts waking up, so I generally spend time chatting and answering messages, before I resume writing.
If my family are home and available, we will spend the evening together, but if not, I’m back on my keyboard. Writing is when I am happiest, and it’s not unusual for me to start at 8am and continue until well past midnight.
2. What is/are the book/s by your bedside at the moment?
Immediately by my bed is a Times Cryptic Crosswords collection – I’m an addict – and The Oxford Book of English Verse, because I love poetry.
I’m presently reading “Finding Magdalena” by Shannon Condon, and “Mistletoe and Mayhem” by Veronica Cline Barton, but I sometimes find it hard to read books when I’m working on one of my own, so my To Be Read pile is getting huge.
3. Do you plot your novels or are you a pantser?
A little of both. I always start with a firm plan of what I’m going to do, but I’m happy to change things as the story and characters develop.
4. Which aspect of writing do you find the most difficult? What is the easiest? Why?
I find writing violence and cruelty very difficult, because I come to know my characters and they mean a great deal to me – sometimes I’ve been deeply affected by a passage I write and have to take a break.
I don’t know about easy, but I enjoy writing dialogue. I like listening to people talk and I think I have an ear for writing it. Even as a child, I’d spend ages listening to adults chatting to each other. People’s life stories always interest me.
5. When editing your novels, what are the points you keep in mind?
When writing, I sometimes over-explain and can be long-winded, so the main point during editing is keeping the flow and style of the words, while removing unnecessary passages.
However, sometimes extra details add something to the reading experience, so it’s a delicate balancing act.
6. How do you work on promoting your books?
I think many writers would agree that promotion is one of the hardest parts of being an author. I’m a very private person, so I’d much rather be writing. Social media is very important for writers, but it’s extremely time consuming.
- I’m on Facebook and I’ve recently started Instagram, but I mainly use Twitter, and I recommend people start there. Seek out #WritingCommunity – it’s full of supportive people who are on a similar journey. Join in and interact with others – of course you should tweet about your books regularly, but the interaction will help you grow your presence, plus you get to meet nice people and often have a fun time. If you do join, tweet me and say hi.
- Facebook is also an excellent platform, and its posts less ephemeral than Tweets. They also have a comprehensive marketing and advertising platform, which allows you to run campaigns on Facebook and Instagram at the same time, with a single post or ad. However, it’s easy to get carried away and overspend. Marketing is an iterative process of creating a campaign, running it, analysing the results and tweaking your criteria accordingly. It’s not a silver bullet, and it’s easy to throw good money after bad.
- With all social media, having good graphics to use with your posts is essential. You can pay a professional designer, but I’d also recommend getting to understand sites like BookBrush or Canva which allow you to design good looking images yourself.
- I also recommend a professionally managed book blog tour. It’s a great way to get blog features of your work, and to raise your social media profile. There are some wonderful bloggers on twitter – just interacting with people may get you an invitation, but most bloggers have twitter home pages that say if they’re open for reviews and how to go about contacting them.
7. Where and when did The Wild Roses begin?
My first novel, “The Cherries”, dealt with some serious topics while retaining an idyllic and romantic feel. That was published in early 2019 and I started work on a second novel at about the same time. This time, I wanted to write something a little darker and gritty (for want of a better term), but which still retained a lining of hope. The 80s was my era, and I wanted to reflect some of the social changes we’ve seen (bad and good) since then, so I set the book in that decade. I had an overall plot in mind, but it was when I created the characters that everything fell into place.
To answer the question as literally as possible, The Wild Roses began at my desk in my home about a year ago, or maybe it was in 1984.
8. In The Wild Roses, which character did you find the most difficult to write, and why?
With three complex main characters, and several significant secondary ones, I have to say I found them all quite demanding to write. However, much as Pip is my favourite, Sharon was the one hardest to develop – to give her a character which made her decisions believable, while maintaining (I hope) a degree of sympathy for her, was difficult. I’d also like to give a special mention to Oscar the dachshund, who I struggled to write but adored every second.
9. Why should a reader pick up the The Wild Roses? Could you name a writer or two whose fans might enjoy this book?
If you like stories that take you on a journey, through events and places you might not expect from the first page, while maintaining realistic characters, then I hope you might enjoy The Wild Roses. It covers some difficult topics, but I hope in a respectful and ultimately positive manner. Some of my favourite books are Jane Eyre, Far from the Madding Crowd, and Little Dorrit, and I believe they influenced my style. I know people who like Catherine Cookson and Rosamunde Pilcher have enjoyed my books, but I think it has very broad appeal.
Bio: D. B. Carter lives with his family in rural Devon, England. The son of two artists, he grew up in a world of creativity, studying painting techniques under his parents’ tutelage. In his 20s, he took a degree in Computer Science, and followed up with research in AI and Machine Learning. He went on to run his own business for twenty years. A lifelong bibliophile, he is firmly of the opinion that there is no such thing as too many books, only insufficient shelf space.
If you’re an author, how do you work on book promotion? As a reader, what kind of book promotion influences you to buy a book?
Go to the site to see the other participants. In this group we writers share tips, self-doubt, insecurities, and of course, discuss the act of writing. If you’re a writer and a blogger, go join rightaway!
My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is making its way into the world.
It is available in India here.
Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.