Today it is my great pleasure to introduce you to Carol McPhee.
Carol lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, with Karl, her husband of forty-five years. With their four children grown and flown, there is time to enjoy researching locations that will give authenticity to her novels. As soon as she finishes one story, another is burning in the back of her mind, its characters prodding her to let them out.
Hi, Carol! Thanks for joining us today.
You’re a multi-published author. Have you found that your life has changed since you sold your first book?
Yes, I don’t recall receiving such wide-spread admiration before. (And don’t I eat that up!!) Also I spend a great deal more time on things other than actual writing. Promotion is time-consuming, as is learning new techniques and critiquing other works so their writers will critique mine.
What is your writing routine?
I start my day at 4am answering emails from other writers and doing fresh writing on whatever story is my work in progress.
Where did you get the idea for Alaskan Magic?
I had been on two cruises to Alaska and loved the wildness of the state. When we decided to go again, I knew I had to begin a story that could evolve with our trip. I also wanted to use older characters to add additional texture to the rich setting.
Do you see yourself in Amanda Bennington? In what way?
Oh, yes. Amanda’s penchant for facing a challenge with whatever is at her disposal is definitely me.
How about Retreat to Danger? Where did that idea come from? Do you know?
I live in a coastal province of Canada and therefore the sea has a strong influence on me. It was natural to want to do a story with a marine setting. I think the idea of the story itself came from my two favorite movies…Man Without A Face and The Perfect Storm.
What kind of research did you do for Retreat to Danger?
The setting is Maine so I traveled the scenic route 1 along the coast to pick up the atmosphere and setting details. I visited wharves to study the types of fishing boats used and googled information on lobster fishing.
Now we come to Undercover Trouble. Did you interview members of motorcycle gangs to add realism to the story?
I interviewed a couple of motorcycle gang members, two prison guards, a local police officer and a Mountie. I like to have my facts realistic.
What is your advice for people wanting to write suspense?
Be thorough in your research, concentrate on creating tension through settings as well as through relationships and don’t make the ending predictable.
How do you blend the suspense and the romance?
I blend it with great care to not let one overpower the other.
Do you have a book idea that haunts you but you just can’t seem to make it work?
I have an idea for an historical romance but I’m not sure I can work a full length novel that will hold my interest that long, let alone a reader’s but time will tell. I need to do more research before I commit to it.
What kind of advice would you give a new writer?
I would recommend two things…persist with your dream and write something everyday. These have worked for me.
What are you working on next?
I’m working on another suspense. The wife of a famous artist is found dead at the base of his studio. Because the husband shows no sign of grief and has only a flimsy alibi, a detective suspects foul play. He sends a novie psychologist into the household to see if she can find any grounds for his hunch. Unforeseen circumstances interfere with her investigation in surprising ways. This may be my last suspense for a while. Suspense is harder to write than a straight romance because each plot point must be kept track of and eventually come to a satisfying conclusion for the reader.
After forty-five years of marriage, your husband must be your biggest fan. Has it always been that way and in what ways does he support you?
He has always been supportive–first by teaching me to use the computer to simplify my work load, taking me wherever I need to go to do research, bookkeeping, proofreading, helping me set up at craft fairs and just generally being helpful wherever he can.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers about yourself or your work?
I love developing characters to the point where they take off on their own in a completely new direction than what I might have expected. From then on, each day when I sit at the computer, I have no idea what is going to happen and am fully entertained as I hope the reader will be.
I belong to two wonderful critique groups. One has been there for me from the start of my publishing ventures six years ago and I’ve benefited from their help tremendously. Several of them are men and surprisingly, they have provided terrific insight, though they profess to not like romance stories. The two women in the group have sharp eyes for keeping me on track. The other group is made up of women fiction writers who each in their talented way get into the nuts and bolts of the romance aspect itself. I would never submit a manuscript without going through a critique group to catch problems obvious to objective minds.
Thanks, Carol for joining us!
It’s been a pleasure, Nancy.
Mauri Ripley believes she and her son will be safe on Maine’s isolated coast. With the danger left behind, she can rekindle Sam’s spirit and work on her historical romance novel. The bull-headed next door neighbor confirms her retreat is not as safety zone she had hoped
The Harley-Davison revs up as it passes in the night. Jen Murray’s cabin walls shudder. She needs a clear mind to deal with the tragedy that forced her into hiding. Her need for peace calls for confrontation.
Mitch Waverley’s undercover mission heads for success when the gang he’s been infiltrating for months calls upon him to eliminate a social worker. He is flabbergasted to learn his target is the red-headed witch living next door.
Fifty-something socialite Amanda Bennington finds herself at an unbelievable fork in the road. Freshly divorced and bitter as hell, she can now add homeless to her life’s description.
You can find out more about these books and others by Carol at her site.