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Carly Anne West is a freelance writer with an MFA in English and Writing from Mills College. She lives with her husband and son in Seattle, Washington. Visit her at carlyannewest.com and follow her on Twitter: @CarlyAnneWest1.
1. What is your favorite color? Yellow (it looks horrible on me, but I can't help myself from wearing it). I also love green. And blue. May I have three favorites?
2. Favorite food? Nachos
3. Favorite movie of all time? Too hard! I can't possibly. But I'm a huge Guillermo del Toro fan. I've loved every movie of his that I've seen. He has this way of blending fantasy, horror and tragedy that I find absolutely intoxicating.
4. Favorite song? Impossible! Even harder than the movie question. I can't even pick a favorite band or artist. I love almost every kind of music, and I basically love any musician who loves what they do and challenges me to do what I do better. I'm a massive Paul Simon fan. I will say one of my very favorites is "The Obvious Child." I also think Simon & Garfunkel's "The Only Living Boy in New York" is one of the saddest, most beautiful songs ever written.
5. Favorite book of all time? Seriously, am I the only one who can't choose a favorite anything? I've never really been a favorite kind of gal now that I think about it (the favorite food category clearly the exception here ... I feel strongly about nachos). The favorite book question is truly an impossible request. I feel the same way about writers and their works as I do about musicians and their songs, but threefold. I have hundreds of favorites at least. I'll offer a handful of favorite authors, but in no way is this representative of a complete list: Fyodor Dostoevski, Charlotte Bronte, Bernard Malamud, Michael Chabon, Lorrie Moore, Mary Karr, John Green, Stephen King. I could go on forever and ever.
All about Writing
1. How did your interest in writing originate?
I have written stories for as long as I can remember, but I first started taking it seriously as a possible career prospect when I thought I wanted to be a filmmaker. I quickly realized I enjoyed the story-building that originated with the words, so I ventured into some screenwriting classes. Screenplays are never supposed to have long scene descriptions or setting context. I think when I was in school, they tried to limit those descriptions to five lines (which in a screenplay's wide margins is probably only 20 words or so). Any description beyond that essentially means you as the screenwriter are stepping on the toes of the director, the set decorator, etc. My descriptions were running between 10-20 lines. After turning in my first screenplay, my teacher returned it with a note in the margins: "Why don't you just write a novel? That seems to be what you want to do anyway." I think I got a C on the actual screenplay. I got accepted into an MFA program for creative writing a few years after that.
2. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Well, that depends entirely upon how close I am to my deadline. Writers are notorious procrastinators. I don't like that I embody this stereotype, but here I am. There's a lot of pacing around, chewing of cuticles, twisting of hair, and far too much caffeine. I can't write too close to bedtime. That's basically my only rule. If I do that, I'll never get to sleep, and if I finally do drift off, I'll only have insane, unhelpful dreams about what I'm writing. So I have to cut myself off by 7:00 p.m. at the latest.
3. Do you work with outline or just write?
An outline generally makes its way into the process, but often not until the middle of the book's gestation. I can't start with an outline, and I can't write chronologically. My life would be a million times easier if I could, but it never works out for me. If I try, the writing reads exactly the way I've written it - like I'm not exactly happy about writing that scene in that moment. So when I try to outline too soon, I often lose the passion or fire I had about writing a particular scene or character. I also need to know my characters really well before I can start thinking about plot and outlining. I need to know what a story is really about, and only the characters can tell me that.
4. What was the hardest part in writing your book? The easiest?
I'll start with the easiest because, well, it's the easiest! When I was writing THE MURMURINGS, I had a relatively easy time finishing the first draft, which was a departure from the other novel I'd written at the time, which took forever to get out of my head and onto the page. The hardest part, though, was everything that came after that first draft. Lots of revision, lots of time spent really understanding each of the characters' struggles. Dealing with death and loss is an incredibly difficult space in which to write, too. At least it is for me. And that's what the characters were dealing with in THE MURMURINGS. I'm working in that space for my next book as well, and there's nothing easy about feeling that pain in your characters. My hope is that I can convey it with the depth the characters demand.
5. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love movies. They don't even have to be that great. I just love them, and I love the whole movie-going experience. I also love to read (of course), and hang out with my husband and our son. We have little weekend routines that aren't spectacularly original, but we have fun, and I really cherish that time.
Finish the sentence
1. The difference between fiction and reality is all in your mind.
2. Research is what I'm doing when I'm procrastinating.
3. I can write better when I have about sixteen ounces of fully leaded coffee surging through my veins.
4. Sleep is an excellent way to float on a pink cloud and chat it up with my cat (what, you've never had that talking-to-your-cat-while-flying dream?)
5. A room without a book is _______. (Well look at that. I don't even have to fill in the empty space. A room without a book IS an empty space!)
Title: The Murmuring
Genre/s: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date Released: March 5, 2013
Buy: Amazon | Barnes&Nobles | Book Depo
Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.
As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not….
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