| by Winter Lawrence |
Readers, just in case you didn’t already know, I’m here to tell you that writing is hard.
Don’t feel bad if you hadn’t realized that sooner. I mean, when I was younger, I thought that being an author was the greatest and easiest job in the world. All you have to do is tell stories all day, right? How hard can that be? Well, if you’ve ever given writing a whirl or if you’re a bona fide author, you know exactly what I mean. Creating characters, building worlds, and tying together plot points is a tough business—and exhausting to boot! And don’t even get me started on marketing—the stress of that alone is enough to make a girl want to switch to a different, systematic hobby—like Sudoku!
Hence, it goes without saying that I have a deep and profound respect for all writers. Hats off, you crafty, creative types! What you do is hard work but it’s worth it in the end! And it’s especially appreciated when you become a prolific author—fans love a great series, and as a writer, I know that there’s no better feeling than creating a deep, rich, complex universe with characters who people adore.
What spurred this all on, you ask? Well, I’m always getting to know authors and even though I’ve written a bunch of stuff, and I know a bunch of people who have written even more stuff, I’m always so impressed when I meet someone who has an amazing author platform, a ton of great reads, and is just an all-around awesome person. Take Caroline Peckham, for instance; she’s a bestselling young adult author with a seriously impressive portfolio and a super-sweet online presence. She’s also prolific. Her V and Wolf Games series currently has six books and a prequel! Talk about busy! So I reached out to Caroline and asked if she wouldn’t mind sparing some of her time with us for a quick interview. Here’s what she had to say…
(Q) Caroline, you’ve created quite the literary legacy! Can you share some of your secrets on balancing time between your writing and personal life?
(A) I don't have a social life. Ha-ha, okay, this is only a little true. Writing is a commitment. Especially independent publishing, as I have to do all of my own marketing. I also do my own covers, so that's time consuming too. But the thing is...I just absolutely love it. I think if you're considering doing this as a career, you have to feel that way. It has to be something that wakes you up at four in the morning because you can't wait to get started. I'm afraid sometimes your social life has to take a backseat. I'm not saying ditch your friends by any means! I see my friends regularly. But sometimes you have to put your writing first and miss the odd night out at the pub.
Another thing is, you have to be willing to learn about marketing and advertising (something I knew nothing about before I hit “publish” on my first book, and to be honest, I still don't have it down). The key is to listen to that voice inside you that says 'let's do this!' even when you get bad reviews or when you spend a hundred dollars on advertising that sells one book (been there). Or no books! You have to be so invested and have so much belief in your dream that you never, ever give up. If you don't feel that way about it...I suggest the Sudoku idea too, ha-ha!
(Q) As a young adult author, do you find that people always expect your books to be part of a series, and was that your original intent for the V and Wolf Games series?
(A) I originally planned for the V Games series to be a trilogy. I think it even still says that on Goodreads (e.g. this is book six in the V Games Trilogy *face-palm*). By book two, I knew it was going to be more than that. The side characters had their own stories to tell, which was what led to the Wolf Games and now the upcoming Hunter Trials too.
In general, I've always preferred reading books in a series so it was just natural for me to do that. My first series (The Rise of Isaac) is five books long and the V Games world is growing even larger than that. I don't write for the expectation of more books, these characters have grabbed me and won't let go. So it's up to them, I guess! If the excitement stopped in the writing process, then I wouldn't continue with the series. But so far, the ideas just don't stop flowing, so I can't see that happening any time soon.
(Q) One of the descriptions of the V Games mentions the coveted Hunger Games series. What other authors and books inspire you?
(A) I've always been really honest about the fact I came up with this story as a mash-up of The Hunger Games and vampires. But the second I had the idea I said to myself, “this has to be different, Caroline. The characters, even the games. It can't be like The Hunger Games.” So I set out to make sure it was really different, especially the characters. I love a challenge. And I think it paid off. I'll always get people comparing book one to The Hunger Games, but I think it's fair to say from book two onward, there's no real resemblance at all. Especially once you hit the Wolf Games series.
(Q) The V Games series is amazing, but it isn’t your only gem; you’ve also created another wondrous universe. Tell us about Oliver Knight and the magical seven worlds found in the Rise of Isaac series.
(A) Aww, my baby! That's what The Rise of Isaac series is to me. I think any of my fans who have read it can see the growth in my writing from book one through five. Book one took me three years to write and was my first ever book—I released it in 2015. It will never be as well written as my latest books, but I think it's such a cool way of looking back over how far I've come.
The story built in my mind over years of working at my previous job (a kennel for cats). It’s a YA fantasy following Oliver Knight on a quest through seven other worlds in an attempt to save his sister from a deadly curse. Each world is locked via a gateway that requires a deadly challenge to be undertaken to pass through it. Some are even televised—I guess I've always loved the game idea!
Oliver has a heavy task hanging over him and is all the more troubled when he finds out that a dark overlord is trying to stop him from saving his sister. There's a lot of angst and some quite dark moments, but in the end, I think the series really came to a great climax. I received so much positivity about the final installment and I was so grateful to everyone who stood by me for my first-ever book to the last in that series, which was only released this year!
(Q) Now that you’re a #1 Bestselling Author, what’s next on your agenda? Is there a new series on the horizon and possibly some audiobooks?
(A) I've got a wonderful girl doing the V Games audiobooks at the moment. I'm so excited about it; she has a great “Selena” voice. We're actually going to meet for drinks in London, which is amazing!
I have big plans for the future. I want to take my writing to the next level. The Vampire Games series is far from over—with The Hunter Trials about to launch and the Mer Games on the horizon too—but I've also quietly written the first in a new series (which is a big secret, but I'll let you in on it). It's called Darken the Night and is focused around a love story between a girl and a supernatural boy (he's a serious A-hole with lots of issues). It's very much a hate-to-love story. Plus, the house the book is set in hides a haunting secret that makes for some quite hair-raising moments along the way. That's all I can say for now, but watch out for that series launching early 2019!
(Q) Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
(A) I'm SUPER engaged with my fans because I LOVE them (and I let them know it, he-he!), so come along and join The V Team on Facebook here, where I share loads of snippets, plus I give out freebies and chat about the series. There's such an awesome group there, you'll fit right in. Plus, you can ask me any questions you’d like and I'll happily answer anything EXCEPT for what's in the west wing of the house in Darken the Night...that's something you'll have to wait to find out ;)
Thank you so much for the interview! I'm so grateful for the opportunity <3
Caroline, it was my absolute pleasure to have you, especially now that I know how incredibly busy you are—book covers, marketing, multiple spin-off series from an already amazing one, and a new book series in the making! Wow! Hats off for managing all of that, and please know that your fans appreciate all of your hard work. We can’t wait to learn more about the Darken the Night series, which sounds absolutely delicious!
Readers, the V Games will be free from Monday December 3rd until Friday December 7th. You can also snag a FREE copy of the prequel novella to the V Games Series by signing up for Caroline’s mailing list here. You’ll not only get a free book out of the deal, but Caroline will also send an occasional email keeping you up-to-date on all of her adventures.
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Caroline is a YA fantasy author who lives in not-so-sunny London.
Originally, she’s from Kent, the garden of England, though she often thinks of it as the puddle of England, since it never seems to stop raining. She’s also one of those shameless people who will wear flip flops at the slightest glimmer of sunshine.
Caroline is also very big into TV series and can often be found wide-eyed and shell-shocked at a sudden revelation in her latest Netflix series – her flat mate once discovered her post-Breaking Bad finale…it wasn’t pretty…