How long have you been writing?
Seems as though I’ve been writing all my life if you count school things. I was editor of my high school magazine and wrote short stories and very bad poetry! My first experience with actually getting paid for writing began when I was nineteen and was hired as an assistant advertising manager for a local fuel company.
What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?
Two motivations. #1. I enjoy doing it. #2. I like getting paid to do it.
The beginning: I knew in the seventh grade that I wanted to be in the advertising business and planned my future accordingly. I wanted to be either a copy writer or an artist. Turns out I’m a much better writer than I am an artist.
Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day for you?
I’m a morning person, so I like to work as soon as I have my first cup of coffee. I try to write 500 words before noon, then stop and do housework, errands, maybe go to lunch, then come back to the computer and do 500 more. 1000 words a day is always my goal.
What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?
I’ve been fortunate to have had more than one book published. The first one was a middle grade book, Sand Castle Summer, published by Willowisp Press way back in 1988. I’m sure the first thing I did was call my husband, Dan and tell him the good news. My first mystery book was Caught Dead Handed published by Kensington in 2014 and that was a super exciting day!
What was the publishing process like? How long did it take?
The actual process from the time I deliver the finished manuscript until the book is released takes about a year. That was true of both the middle grade books and the mystery series. First the editor goes over the manuscript and makes suggestions like clarification of certain points and maybe asks for another scene or sometimes asks that it be shortened. After that the copy editor makes corrections in punctuation, spelling etc. and sometimes even makes suggestions about the story.
Are you currently working on anything new?
Yes. I’m working now on Book#9 in my Witch City Mystery series for Kensington. My contract calls for two books a year.
If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?
I’ve done several other things besides writing. I’ve been a floral designer, a collectibles show producer, a salesperson in a store, a cartographer, a substitute teacher–even a commercial fisherman!
What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?
I wish with all my heart I’d taken a typing class somewhere along the line. I still have to look at the keys!
What is your favorite book, genre, or author?
My favorite book is The Chronicles of Narnia by C. E. Lewis. Favorite writer is Sue Grafton. Favorite genre is and always has been mysteries.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read lots and lots of current books in your chosen genre. You’ll learn a lot about how to put your book together, how to pace the action, and what editors/agents are looking for. It also helps if you can join a critique group so that you can get some opinions while your work is in progress. I attend a critique group every Saturday morning and the help I receive there is extremely valuable.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Yes. If this was easy everybody would do it. Also, to quote Shay Mitchell, “Visualize. Have Faith. Then work your butt off.”
About Carol J. Perry
Carol J. Perry is the author of the Witch City Mystery series, (Kensington.) She was born in that magical witch city—Salem Massachusetts–on Halloween Eve! Carol’s writing background includes ad copy, non-fiction magazine articles (many on travel, more on antiques and collectibles) and several middle grade books. Her first Witch City mystery, Caught Dead Handed, appeared in 2014, followed by six more—the newest, Bells, Spells and Murders released September 25, 2018. Carol lives in Florida with husband Dan, one black Lab and one spoiled cat.