Continuing our series of bringing some really great authors, we are very lucky to this week welcome Caddy Rowland, the author of The Gastien Series into the Razberry Juice hot seat……..
Caddy, can you give us a little background Bio about yourself where you’re from, and when you got interested in writing, career to date etc?
I’m from the USA. I have always loved to read. Before I was even five, I had a stack of books that reached almost to the ceiling when my parents would build a tower of them for me. Books are such a special world! To me, they are much better than TV or a movie because you get to create how the characters and their surroundings look. It’s so much fun to get lost in a fictional world!
I began writing as a young teen-ager. Doesn’t every female teen-ager write bad poetry at some point? J Writing a novel was always on my “to do” list. I had started a couple but never followed through.
Then, three years ago, I found out I had breast cancer. Let me tell you, there is nothing like hearing you might not be around long to make you understand that all you have is now. If there is something you want to do, you had better do it. (By the way, I was lucky. The cancer was Stage 0 and it was taken out. My doctor says to plan on eventually dying of something other than breast cancer) I try to always remember, though, that all any of us have is “now”.
To date, I have five novels that are all part of The Gastien Series.
As a writer you created The Gastien Series of books, which is best described as a collection of Historical fiction novels, can you tell us a little bit about this collection and your inspirations behind it?
I’m not sure one genre best describes it, but Amazon only lets Indies pick two. The Gastien Series is a dramatic adult series that is both Family Saga and Historical Fiction. It is also Psychological Fiction and Literary Fiction, as it is very much a character study and a book about the struggle for power when powerless, abuse of power, class struggle, and more.
It presents a character that lives his life in a way that most of society frowns upon and asks the reader to open their mind a bit. I hope to get readers to understand that most situations are not black and white, but shades of grey. Perhaps they will walk away seeing that even if a lifestyle is not one they would embrace, the people who live that way have legitimate reasons for making the choices they make.
I like to write about society and people who don’t fit in, the effects that has on people, about people who dare to be different, or are in a dark place because they have no choice. I guess I write about the sublime joy and bitter tragedy of being human.
All authors have their own way of working; could you give our readers a brief outline of a day in the life of Caddy Rowland author and any methods you may use for writing?
No two days are alike, really. First of all, I spend a bit of the morning on social media, interviews, blog posts, etc. When it’s nice out, I write outside on my laptop.
I’m a total seat of the pants writer. Each Gastien book is over 100,000 words (most over 125,000). I just sat down, placed my hands on the keyboard and asked Gastien to tell me his story. Because I wanted it to be accurate historically, I would then look up the history of the era, see if what I had typed made sense for the time. The research took way more time than the writing.
The story begins in 19th century France. It is about a boy who wants to become an artist, but is a peasant farmer. The bohemian era of artists in Paris was at its heyday, and he wants to be part of that. Because I am also an artist, this era has great meaning and interest to me. I already knew quite a bit about it and the artists who were there. Most of our greatest painters were part of that scene at some point. But I still wanted to make sure I used appropriate terms (for example, trousers didn’t zip, they buttoned) for the times.
Yet, the artists were way ahead of the rest of society in terms of communication, art, etc. So I went ahead and allowed the dialog to be more modern to show that. At the same time, I use very few contractions, as the method of speaking would have been more formal.
Anyway, I don’t plan. I write down one word reminders for things I need to remember to tie in with future books in a series, but anyone looking at my paper would never think of them as notes. “Ring.” “Azure.” “Outdoors.” Those meant a whole lot for my writing, but mean nothing when others look at them. I believe you keep going without editing or looking back until the end. Until you have finished a book you have nothing to edit!
Following on from the question above, what are your tools of the trade some authors prefer to use the likes of Sigil and Calibre to format and convert their work can you list your preferred software that you work with?
I keep it very simple. I use Word. I am quite good at Word, so it doesn’t give me any problems when it comes to formatting. The one thing I can’t do is convert to an epub for the I-tunes, so I will use Sigil to do that going forward, perhaps. Someone else did my first five to epub for I-tunes. I sent it in email and five minutes later it was back. I’ll learn how he did that for this next series.
That’s all I use. I find if you use Word properly, the upload goes smoothly on all sites.
Caddy, how much involvement do you have in your books creation once you have finished the writing part, such as editing, cover design or publicity?
I have some great beta-readers.
The covers are done by Robin Ludwig Design. I have input as to want I want and find the stock photos. She does a fabulous job.
Like most indies, I do my own publicity.
What are some of your favourite writers and books?
1984 by George Orwell is my all time favorite.
My favourite past author is John Steinbeck. I also like Sidney Sheldon, Harold Robbins, Toni Morrison.
My favorite current author is actually another indie, Andrew Ashling. He writes epic gay fantasy. I don’t usually read fantasy, nor am I into swords. But here I am, a 57 year-old married straight woman who is completely in love with a seventeen-year-old, gay, sword wielding male named Anaxantis! Ha! No, truly, his books are wonderful. No one, and I mean no one, tells a story better than Andrew. I love, love, love his work. I’m dying for the next book in the series!
Like all things we as humans are our own worst judges, how do you judge success as a writer? And do you set your self any goals or achievements?
Well, just getting a book published was a success. Trust me, I’m very right brained. The formatting drove me nuts the first time, especially for paperback. Emails from readers telling me how much they love my work mean the world to me. There is nothing quite like that feeling.
I hope to eventually make a modest living from my work.
Authors, like any artist, are always trying to produce that masterpiece what books or projects are you currently working on?
I am working on a new series. It is a four book story of revenge. A teenage girl, named Phoenix, leaves an abusive home and gets trafficked for prostitution. She promises herself she will take down the man who “owns” her and the worst men who frequent the place. The series working name is “There Was a House Saga”. The four books will be “House of Pleasure”, “House of Pain”, “House of Trickery” and “House of Shame”.
The first one should be out sometime September 2013. These will be shorter, more along the line of most novels, about 60,000 words.
One question we hope to ask all authors is what advice would you give on anyone starting out on the self publishing?
Understand that writing is only a small part of what you will be doing.
Hire an editor. Seriously. Too many indies don’t and don’t have the editing skills needed.
It isn’t a race. It takes time, unless you are very, very lucky. Some genres sell better than others. If you write for the love of writing itself, pick a popular one. Me, I write only stories I am compelled to tell. Unfortunately, they aren’t erotica (although my stories have graphic sex in them), romance, mystery, or paranormal. Those sell better. However, what sells changes over time.
The Gastien Series by Caddy Rowland
When young Gastien Beauchamp flees the farm for Paris, the late nineteenth century bohemian era is in full swing. Color has always called to him, beseeching him to capture it on canvas and show people a new way of seeing things. His father belittled his dream of being an artist and tried to beat him into giving it up. The dream wouldn’t die, but Gastien would have had he not left.
He also yearns to become a great lover. After the years of anguish he has endured at the hand of his father, it would be heaven to feel pleasure instead of pain.
However, the city of Paris has a ruthless agenda. Unless a man has money and connections, Paris unfeelingly crushes dreams and destroys souls. With neither of the required assets, Gastien faces living in alleys, digging in trash bins for food, and sleeping where a man is often killed for his threadbare blanket.
Left with nothing but his dreams, Gastien clings to the hope that the impossible is possible. He pushes on, regardless of the cost.
Adult fiction for men and women over age 18
Buy links for Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream:
HERE For NOOK readers (Part 1)
HERE For Kobo readers (Part 1)
HERE To order paperback (Part 1)
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Gastien Fanpage: www.facebook.com/Gastien.Beauchamp
Author Blog: www.caddyrowlandblog.blogspot.com
Author Email: email@example.com
Additional books in the Gastien Series: