Thursday, January 12, 2012

Interview with Carrie Salo, the author of The Sounding

Happy Thursday!

I am so happy to welcome Carrie Salo, the author of The Sounding, to my blog. She agreed to give an interview to Me and Reading. I am so happy that Carrie took time to answer to all my questions and that she gave thorough and long answers!

You can find y review of The Sounding by clicking here. It was a 5 star book!



Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a warm welcome to Carrie Salo!

The interview is divided into several sections. First section is about Carrie, second section is about her book, writing them, about characters etc, third part is about her favorites.


Part I

MR: Please describe yourself with few sentences. Who are you?


CS: My name is Carrie Salo, and I am the author of The Sounding. I consider myself to be a storyteller – a weaver of intriguing tales. As a storyteller, I like to keep my reader on the edge of their seat (or up all night), reveal unexpected plot twists, and completely take you away from your everyday through character development. I tend to heavily lean towards the supernatural thriller – which means, if you have read anything from me and you weren’t pretty scared, I didn’t do my job. When I write a story, I want everything – the plot, the characters, the settings, the writing and the research – to work together seamlessly. I never want the reader to see what’s going on “behind the curtain.” For me, it’s all about taking you away for some deep thrills.

MR: What inspired you to want to become writer?


CS: I wanted to be a writer pretty early on – in the second grade. My teacher gave me an extra credit assignment to write a short story. Being that it was near Halloween, I wrote a story about some children who get lost in a haunted wood. And that was it – I was hooked. I loved being able to imagine something incredible, something that made the world more exciting, and get credit for doing it!



MR: Who did you want to become when you were a kid? What did you dream about?


CS: I dreamed of being a writer. While the rest of the girls wanted ponies and ballerina lessons, I wanted notebooks to write in. My parents were very accommodating…

MR: What brought you to writing? When did the idea of writing your first book formed?


CS: I found the idea for The Sounding in a religious studies class I was taking at college. We were reading the Bible as if it were a piece of literature. We took it a part theme by theme, just as you would in any English class. And two themes kept coming up for me again and again, because they simply don’t go together: prophecy and free will. Many things that happen in the Bible are prophetic – they are fated. And yet, the Bible gives each of us the free will to make our own choices, sometimes, even at the expense of prophecy. Eve in the Garden of Eden, of course, is an easy example, but there are many others. So, when we came to the final prophecy and began discussing it, I couldn’t help but ask: what if we could change it or make it happen early with our own choices? And that’s what The Sounding is all about. Grounded in real history and real prophecy, it takes everyday events in today’s world and manipulates them to bring on the circumstances of the last prophecy in the book of Revelation. A band of characters joins together to protect the final prophecy, including one character with the holy ability to steal energy with a single touch. But, just as this guardian is sent by God to keep His plan in place, a dark and evil force sent by the devil himself is set on hunting them one by one and bringing the end of days upon us.

MR: What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have any hobbies?


CS: When I’m not writing, I am often reading! I also really like scary movies – anything that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I like to jog at night, swim, sail old sailboats, and I enjoy a good German or Upstate New York Riesling. I love to travel, and I am slowly making my way around the world with recent stops in France, Australia and China, and this month – the British Virgin Islands!

MR: What is the most difficult aspect of being a writer for you?


CS: So far, it has been time. I wrote The Sounding in the evenings after working a day job in advertising. That was hard – to come home from a day of professional writing, maybe head to the gym and have dinner, and then write. It meant very little downtime in my life for a while. And, it meant remaining committed even though it was slow. I did it for three years of researching and writing, and three more years of editing…Now that I am more focused on writing as a career, I am hoping things move faster and I can put stories out there quite a bit faster than that!
MR: If you wouldn’t be a writer, what would you be and do?


CS: Oddly, I would probably be a meteorologist if I had not become a writer. While at school as an English major, I did seriously stray once (only once!) and took some classes on meteorology. While I’m glad I ultimately chose writing, I am still nerdily fascinated with weather. My husband and I went storm chasing in 2010 and saw 14 tornados, including one F4!

MR: Who or what is your Muse?


CS: I actually do not have a Muse (I’m sure my husband just read that with some dismay!). That’s one of the things, actually, that has always helped me feel like I was a writer through and through. It is never dependent on a mood or a person or even a frame of mind for me. Writing is something that is always there. The words come no matter my age, place, occupation, or even the people I surround myself with. It’s more apart of me than anything else I can introduce.

MR: Did you ever experience writer’s block when the writing process just wasn’t moving ahead?


CS: Hopefully I won’t jinx myself here, but no, I have never experienced writer’s block. My writing process is pretty fluid. No outlines or character sketches. I just sit and imagine the next part of the book. I think that freedom helps me always find my way. There is never a box to work within, just a line to get from where I currently am in the story to the end. And if that line gets pretty windy, twisted and turned, that’s ok. Editing will take care of it later.

Part II

Let’s talk about books!

MR: What went through your mind when the first book you wrote was published?


CS: Actually, this is a funny story, and no one in any interview has asked me this question yet! When I first found out 23 House was going to take me on, I was still working full time as an advertising copywriter and account manager. I was at work when I got “the e-mail” – 23 House wanted to publish The Sounding. I didn’t think I should break the news to my boss right away, so that meant I couldn’t tell anyone. But I had to do something! I ran outside and gave a few screams to the outside of the building. Then, I had to compose myself and go inside for a client meeting, as if everything was normal. And not just any client meeting. Our client that day was Carefree Pantiliners. I have no idea what we talked about in that meeting. Here I was – I had just found out that I was going to be a published author – and I was seriously trying to talk about underwear freshness.

MR: How do you write? Do you sketch a plot first, create characters first and then starting to write?


CS: For me, it’s all free form. No sketches, no outlines, no characters. I find I write stories the way I read them: it’s a process of discovery. This does mean I have to rewrite when I get to the end sometimes. But, I just have an idea in my head of the plot – and I do know the end before I start. I’ll do a bit of research about general things (time period, place). After that, I just explore and find my way there. One of my favorite authors, Toni Morrison has a quote: “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” For me, that’s what writing a book is like. It’s a story I am so excited to READ about, but since no one has put it out there yet, I get in there and do it.

MR: What do you think is the most important thing while writing?


CS: For me, the most important thing is never crushing an idea. This often means I’m a bit secretive about plot themes and characters at first. I find people – even the best meaning people – are quick to condemn an idea or a plot element before they see it executed (and SO MUCH goes into that execution – this is writing after all). So, it is very important to me to keep every new idea close to me until it has a chance to find its way in the manuscript. At that point, all opinions are wanted and I believe in some tough love editing. But, no killing the idea until it is PROVEN it won’t work in the pages themselves.

MR: Where did you get the idea for your book The Sounding from? How was the book born?



CS: I found the idea for The Sounding in a religious studies class I was taking at college. We were reading the Bible as if it were a piece of literature. We took it a part theme by theme, just as you would in any English class. And two themes kept coming up for me again and again, because they simply don’t go together: prophecy and free will. Many things that happen in the Bible are prophetic – they are fated. And yet, the Bible gives each of us the free will to make our own choices, sometimes, even at the expense of prophecy. Eve in the Garden of Eden, of course, is an easy example, but there are many others. So, when we came to the final prophecy and began discussing it, I couldn’t help but ask: what if we could change it or make it happen early with our own choices? And that’s what The Sounding is all about. Grounded in real history and real prophecy, it takes everyday events in today’s world and manipulates them to bring on the circumstances of the last prophecy in the book of Revelation. A band of characters joins together to protect the final prophecy, including one character with the holy ability to steal energy with a single touch. But, just as this guardian is sent by God to keep His plan in place, a dark and evil force sent by the devil himself is set on hunting them one by one and bringing the end of days upon us.

MR: Why did you want to write about religion and about the Book of Revelation?


CS: Though it is a supernatural thriller, I wanted to ground The Sounding in as much history and realism as I could – I think that makes it far more chilling. Thus, I really did my research in religion and particularly, the Book of Revelation. Most people still believe in God, and almost as many believe in the devil. Writing about something suspenseful that people still believe in today heightens that suspense. Besides taking a Biblical studies class, I read dozens of books on Catholicism, Judaism and Israeli History. The Sounding, I feel, is truly a book about both good and evil. So, my research had to include both sides. I read the Bible and its counter – The Apocrypha (those books that were once a part of the Bible but were eventually banned/discounted). I read through books that catalogued the angels, as well as demons. I discovered spells reportedly spoken by Moses. I read of demons that would supposedly appear if I so much as whispered their name (I did not…). I even traveled to the Vatican where I gained access to the underground catacombs that the Church is built right on top of. I tried to immerse myself in as much history as I could in order to bring it to life in my pages.

MR: Which character do you love most in The Sounding? Which character in your book can you mostly relate to and why?


CS: My favorite character is Elise: an unlikely savior in the novel. In some ways, she’s just a normal 20 year-old woman. Athletic, pretty (though not beautiful), strong, a bit too serious and a bit too closed. She’s a redhead who wears pink. She works at a pub to put herself through school. She doesn’t have a roommate. But, she has an incredible secret. She can steal energy. From anyone. She simply needs to touch them – anywhere their skin is exposed – and can take from them all that she needs to make herself unbelievably powerful. Those who know about her gift believe she is sent by God to guard the prophecy and keep their order in tact. But Elise herself isn’t so sure. She has a dark past and her ability tempts her with its power. She’s a bit of an invincible character, which made her incredibly interesting to write for. She has no fear, other than of what she can become. It was such a freeing role to write for.

That said, I think the most relatable character in the novel is Father Chris. Though a priest, he has a hard time fully believing in his faith. He struggles, I think, much the same way many of us do as we try to determine if there is something higher than ourselves. The questions he asks will hit home with a lot of readers, I believe.

MR: If you should say with two sentences why people should read The Sounding what would it be?


CS: You should read The Sounding if you want to get pulled away into a good story. It is for anyone who wants to leave the everyday for just a little bit and reimagine the world.

MR: What has been the best winter read for you this winter? Why?


CS: I am in the middle of reading the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe, and I think that is my favorite winter read so far. Poe creates suspense in such a different way than we do today. Rather than horrific violence, Poe slowly builds tension, almost like a buzzing in your ear, until you are so uncomfortable in a situation that you can’t wait for it to break. It is an entirely different way of writing a thriller, and I am learning a lot as I read.

MR: I must ask you about new book to be published. What will it be about? Anything you can tell us already?


CS: I am in the early stages of research for a second novel. It will be another supernatural thriller, but different characters, places and plot premise than The Sounding. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you are looking for a clue as to what I am working on next, check out the last few pages of The Sounding. At the end, a book is mentioned. And that is the name of my next book.

Part III – Favorites

Who is your favorite author? Stephen King – the MASTER storyteller
What is your favorite book or series? The Shining
What is your favorite book blog you follow? I always get really into the Amazon Breakthrough Author award blogs each winter. Although you cannot submit published novels to the contest (which leaves me a voyeur, rather than a participant), it is such a great place to see NEW ideas. NEW authors. Stuff you literally can’t get on a shelf and stories that haven’t even been reviewed yet. It’s just writing and storytelling before the commercial element comes in.
What is your favorite song? Maggie May by Rod Stewart
What is your favorite season? Summer
What is your favorite food? Lobster
What is your favorite car? Any Lamborghini will do
What is your favorite color? Purple
What is your favorite movie? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
What is your favorite time of the day? Late afternoon as it fades to evening
What is your favorite weather? It’s a tie between summer sunshine and a good thunderstorm


Thank you so much for the interview, Carrie! Looking very much forward to the next book!

Happy reading!

2 comments:

  1. That was an interesting interview and I love learning how authors come up with the premise for their books.

    Thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete

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