Born in 1983 in Quito, Ecuador, S.M. Carrière has lived in five countries around the world including Ecuador, Gabon and The Philippines. Her family moved to Australia from The Philippines shortly after the commencement of hostilities there in 1989.
She worked full time as an Office Junior at a law firm in Brisbane, Queensland before moving to Canada in 2001. In 2002 she began her academic career beginning in Criminology, but switching to Directed Interdisciplinary Studies (focusing on Prehistoric Anthropology and Archaeology) after her first year. She graduated with a B.A. Hon from Carleton University in 2007.
Are you not fascinated yet? She’s also an artist, drawing and painting as her schedule allows and she trains Kung Fu and Kickboxing as well as Equestrian Archery. Holy skills, Batman!
I met S.M. Carrière many moons ago on Goodreads, and I’m ecstatic that she let me penetrate her brain. So let’s get to it.
Renee: I firmly believe that every author has a character she’s secretly in love with, whether it’s one of your own, or one created by another author. Give us a name, and tell us what makes him/her so fantastic?
Sonia: Sparhawk. This man was the protagonist of David Eddings’ Elenium series. I fell in love with him right away. An older knight in exile who was in love with the young queen he once protected, Sparhawk was not your typical knightly knight. Oh yes, he ascribed to a lofty moral code, but this man was not pretty, and he wasn’t beneath petty tricks and the occasional fist fight. He had a large scar on his face, and a broken nose that was never set correctly. And he had a viciously tempered roan mount. They’re the best kinds of mounts. Sigh. I will never not love Sparhawk.
**I too love a viciously tempered mount…**
Purple prose is kind of annoying. All those heaving bosoms, moist caves, and gloriously pulsating love clubs can overwhelm a reader. Some authors can add purple and create a pretty cool effect, or they use it to add a bit of humor. Describe your favorite food in a purple way.
The skin sizzles with heat, filling the room with a heady scent that sets the mouth watering. It is perfect – hot to the touch and a delicious, juicy pink inside. Anticipation fills the air as the soft pink interior is exposed and her mouth moves near. She can taste it already. That taste is strong, bestial. It sets the pulse racing as her perfectly painted red lips part allowing the wondrous, meaty morsel between them and into the soft warmth of her mouth. She flicks her tongue against it, worried she might burn. Oh, the taste! Unable to hold back, she opens her lips wider. Her mouth fills with with an explosion of meaty juice as she bites down on… roast lamb.
Ugh! I’m not much good at purple. I tried.
**It’s more lilac than purple, but good effort. J **
Fantasy is a vast genre, so authors have a lot of inspiration for stories and characters. My personal favorites are gods and (yes, I’ll admit it) vampires. I could never write about werewolves and be perfectly happy, because I just don’t get the allure. If you were told you could never write about one type of character again (under penalty of torture, dismemberment and then death), which one would you throw off the cliff?
Vampires. I’m just so sick of them, throwing them off a cliff would actually be mightily satisfying – most especially if there is a pit of stakes waiting for them after their short flight. It’s ironic because I’m part way through writing a vampire story myself. I’m currently very displeased with my brain.
**B-but Eric and Lestat and all the awesome! Sniff.**
This one is easy: What author would you most like to spend time with (for whatever reason and no you don’t have to share the reason) and what would you ask him/her?
This one is NOT easy! There are so many! I only get one? Alright… I’m a bit of a Steven Erikson fan-girl. Seriously. I push his books onto everyone I meet. I’d like to sit down and chat about everything and anything with this guy. There are two reasons, really. The first is that he’s a brilliant fantasy author. I’m not being hyperbolic. He really is brilliant. The second is because he also happens to be a professor of Anthropology and Archaeology – two of the most intensely interesting subjects I studied in University. No doubt we’d end up chatting about that mostly.
**We shall ignore that you didn’t technically answer the question.**
Writing routines are recommended by the “experts.” I have some things I always do before and while writing that help me focus. For example, there must be coffee and an ugly housecoat involved. Music is also important. What’s the most important (or strangest) part of your writing routine?
I write to music, especially modern full orchestral composers like Two Steps From Hell or Thomas Bergersen. That music is epic. Truly. It’s like listening to the score of an epic fantasy/science fiction film/video game that hasn’t yet been filmed. The most recent completed novel was written entirely to the music that a Mexican singer-songwriter I discovered via YouTube. Her stage name is Malukah, and I highly recommend you check her out. She is exceptionally talented.
Music puts me into the groove. If the music sets the right mood, I can, and have been known to, write all day and forget the fact that I need to eat. Or sleep.
**Makes note of Malukah**
You find yourself stranded in a dark alley at night. Doesn’t matter how you got there, because it’s too late. You’re there. Shit’s happening. Focus! Okay, you have to make a decision. There is no escape. If you don’t decide, one of your loved ones gets it bad. Okay? We’re clear? Good. So, you’re confronted by a werewolf, a zombie, a demon, and a vampire. The only way out is to let one of these bad boys (or girls) turn you. Which do you choose? Why?
Let’s see. Werewolves change every full moon. With the exception of modern story developments, they don’t really have any say in the matter, and will attack pretty much anyone without hesitation. I’m too much of a control freak to find that appealing.
Zombies are cool, but mindless. I value my brains too much to opt for that.
Demon sounds like fun. They’re powerful, often extremely sexy and sexual. But then, demons can also be summoned and bound into slavish servitude….
After much deliberation, I’ll have to go with vampire (even though I just said that I’m sick to death of them). There is something to be said about the sexual allure of vampires – and they can kick arse. Also, I quite like the fact that they generally aren’t bound like demons. In fact, they can quasi-hypnotise humans to be their slavish thralls. So yeah… vampire is sounding more and more appealing. Crap.
**Because vampires are awesome.**
Justin Timberlake, Forrest Gump, Lady Gaga and the Mad Hatter walk into a bar. What happens next?
They all fall to the ground slightly concussed and very confused as to why there is a random bar there, and how none of them saw it before walking right into it.
Writers are often labeled as weird, crazy or slightly strange, but we all know that’s not true. Still, it’s hard not to have some eccentricities when you spend so much time in your head. What’s one strange fact about yourself that readers might find a little crazy or odd?
Readers may not find this odd, but I’m sure people I pass by on the street do… I tend to act out scenes to myself as they come into my head. I’ll be doing my thing, muttering both sides of a fictional conversation to myself as the imaginary scene plays out in my mind. It’s become so reflexive that I find it incredibly difficult to control, and will just randomly start mumbling in odd public places… on my walks to and from work… on the bus… in the grocery store…
I’m sure to the outside eye I look completely unstable! I’m truly not. *twitch* *twitch*
**You mean that’s not normal?**
When I create a character, I usually have a notebook where I jot down details about his or her personality and appearance. For example, when I was working on Thanatos, god of Death, I had things like “socially retarded” and “tall, dark and delicious” (yes, seriously) jotted in my notes. Imagine yourself as a character you’ve created. How would you write your description? Would you be a hero or a villain?
I’m fairly certain that were I a fictional character I would probably the smart-arse tough gal who continually plays second fiddle to the actual hero of the story. I wouldn’t be a hero so much as someone who helps the hero along… grudgingly.
I’d also probably lie about my build just a bit because, well, it’s fiction. I can be any shape I want, damn it! And my eyes would be green instead of the weird muddy brownish hazel they are now. I’ve always loved green eyes.
**But those secondary characters are often the BEST characters. So there’s that.**
A strange man walks into your house. (It might happen) He’s wearing a wedding dress, which is covered in dirt and a mystery material that looks kind of like snot, but it’s blue, and he’s carrying a shovel with a bloody handle. What happens next?
Actually – true story – a strange man did walk into my house once. He was very drunk, and obviously in the wrong place. After a brief, confusing standoff, he turned around and left, kicking the tyre of my flatmate’s car on the way. It was very odd. To this day I still have no idea who he was looking for. But that’s not the question!
If the man you described walked into my house, my first response would be to grab my bow (I have a 43lb traditional recurve bow. I’ve named her Eilir. It’s Welsh. It means butterfly) and demand to know what he wants.
I’m generally not very trusting.
**I want a bow.**
What genre do you prefer to write? Why? Is it different from the genre you enjoy reading?
I tend to write fantasy. It’s not really a preference, it’s just what comes out. I have written a sci fi though, and also an urban fantasy, and I’m currently writing a paranormal story.
Speculative Fiction is something a read a great deal of and the non-fiction I read just lends itself so well to that particular kind of fiction (I read an awful lot about prehistoric anthropology, archaeology, myth and folklore. Non-fiction in these areas are excellent sources of new and interesting information for my imagination to twist).
There. I hope that was at least mildly entertaining. Thanks for sending me these. I really had to stop and think!
You were extremely entertaining! I love having you on The Edge. The rest of you can find S.M. Carrière on her blog, where she has a very cool “Your Very Own Adventure” project going on. She’s also on Facebook and Twitter. Her books (look at the haunting covers below) are available here.
One thought on “The Old In and Out: Penetrating the Writer Brain: S.M. Carrière”
Thanks again for the interview. T’was fun!