Author Interview: D.L. Carter

Author D. L. Carter has been called crazy, restless optimist, pessimist, lazy, a crank with delusional invisible friends who have the greatest, dangerous ideas. She is also an excellent science fiction and fantasy author. Please welcome “D” to No Wasted Ink.

D. L. Carter (Dee Leana, call me ‘D’) was decanted from her incubation pod in the outback of Australia many decades ago. This terrifying event was closely followed by shrieks of “There, there it goes. Hit it with a brick!”

These valiant attempts to correct the existence of D.L. were, unfortunately, unsuccessful, and she now resides in New Jersey, in a box with her toys, two human beings, and a variable number of cats.

From the preceding you can assume that I don’t take bios, or many things, seriously. I am a professionally silly person and weirdo. The late great Sir Terry Prachett, in his Witches series, described some people as lying sideways across the tracks on which the human race was run and that describes me down to the ground.

When and why did you begin writing?

When – very, very young. Mother reports that she would read me a story and when it was over I would demand to know “what happens next?” When she explained that the book was over I would tell her the further adventures of those characters. Later, preschool, I would walk around the back garden talking to myself, telling stories. I think this means I have always been writing.

The why? Mostly because I do want to know what happened next, what happened before and why the heck the chicken crossed the road?

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Um. Always. One of my English teachers praised my dialogue back in 8th grade (I don’t know what that translates to in US years) and I have always had a little notebook (paper in pre-computer years) in my bag to continue the adventures of whoever had my attention at the time. My published career started in Star Trek fan fic and I regarded myself as a successful writer when I started getting letters from people who had read my short stories in various fanzines. If I could make people think and feel then obviously my writing was working.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

The second book in the “Changing Magic” series. In the first book I looked at the issues that would arise in a society dependent upon magic when the magic users had a fertility problem. In the second book I look at what happens when the magic goes away because of a severe failure of the weather spells.

What inspired you to write this book?

Having personally lived through a flood where all the usual facilities disappeared – power, clean water, flush toilets, the person who refilled the sweets machine – I could empathize with the suffering of magic users and those dependent upon them.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m in it for the laughs.

I am a great admirer of the late great amazing George Carlin and Terry Prachett. From George I learned that you need to use more words to create humor. You have to build a cadence, a rhythm, an avalanche of words to render your audience breathless with admiration and laughter. I have not achieved their brilliance, but it is a personal ambition to be funny.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

In a conversation with my publisher. I gave her the first in this series which had the interesting but unsellable title of “The Use and Complexity of Sex Magic”. It was intended to be a stand-alone book but publisher (Corvallis Press) requested (demanded) a trilogy. I said since I was introducing new forms of magic into this fictional world I would call the series “Changing Magic” and the first became The Use, the second The Complications. The third will be The Consequences.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Message? Um. OK.

There are very few personal problems that cannot be solved by a suitable application of high explosives.

Wait! No.

Suitable application of Reasonable Intelligent Heroines.

When reading novels I get really short-tempered when the heroines are twits. I can’t stand it. I do believe in the historical record that tells us that women are self-rescuing princesses. We don’t have to wait for a prince or a soldier or whatever to come solve the problems. In my house, I am the one with the power tools and the screwdriver set. I assemble the furniture. I got the mortgage. Why do we let our fiction tell us that we have to be passive?

The old Germanic fairy tales include the Princess with the Iron Shoes where a woman wears out the soles of seven pairs of iron shoes trying to find her lost husband.

Message – let’s go out and save the universe.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Flood, yes. Sex Magic, no.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Issac Asimov – wrote about everything and anything, proving that you don’t have to stick to one genre. There are some publishers and agents who say you have to build up a readership that you cannot confuse. Choose one area and stay with it and only with great trepidation do you challenge the readers to go with you into another area. Myself, I like to jump around – a lot.

Agatha Christie – writer and pharmacist. The medical profession is no deterrent to a successful writing career.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I have mentors. Dr. Charles Pellegrino (DUST, Her Name: Titanic, Flying to Valhalla) is an old friend. From him, I learned how to research and how to stubbornly ignore negative reviews. He does non-fiction and fiction so he encouraged me to play in as many different genres that made me happy.

Leigh Michaels – (The Birthday Scandal) I met through Gotham Writers’ group – classes you can take online. I took a couple of classes with her, and one of the greatest days of my life was the end of a set of classes when she asked to see the rest of the book that I had presented. I said I couldn’t afford her editing fee. She said, “No, I actually wanted to know what happened next. I want to read the book for my own pleasure.” Oh, wow! I had caught a reader’s attention! And that reader was a published author. ::Blush::

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Cover illustrator works for Corvallis. All I said was that I wanted a building that looked like it was drowning.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

OK. My brother-in-law who is a professional movie critic (votes on the academy awards, etc., and has a blog with one million hits) directed my attention to 9 Indispensable Ingredients That Are Always Present in Every Hit Film, written by Tom Laughlin, the writer of the famous Billy Jack movie series.

Book blurb: After the most exhaustive research and analysis of box office grosses of films through the 1990’s, Tom Laughlin has discovered 9 indispensable ingredients that must be present in every film, book, TV show or play in order for it to be a commercial success. These ingredients are ALWAYS present in the hits, and ALWAYS absent in the failures.

After reading this book I have made a point to go through my book plots and make sure I have these ingredients. There has to be a legitimate villain, a believable Hero and Heroine. A ticking clock, a sword of Damocles, etc., etc. I believe this book has helped me make well-rounded worlds and adventures.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Write your book.
Finish book.
Submit book for publication and move on to next book.
Don’t stop.
Refine your craft.
Having a pile of books in your computer doesn’t help. You have to put it out there.

DL Carter
New Jersey, USA


Complications of Changing Magic