MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR THERESE CARUANA
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is Therese Caruana and I am a Fantasy & Sci-Fi author.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
My debut book Symmetry started out as a diary not meant for publication. I knew I loved writing and making up stories but never had the self-confidence to even venture the thought of becoming a professional author. When self-publishing books took off in 2010 I started to consider that I too could try it out – as a hobby of course… I started to adjust my diary, which contained my teenaged thoughts about the ‘purpose of life’ into a story, but soon realized the entire work would need to start from a blank sheet. The story still debates what in life is happiness, what is important and what are simply material possessions or desires, but subtly woven into a quest adventure where The Creator of Mass battles the ideology out with The Creator of Mass’ grandson.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
As a girl I had a half an hour walk to school when I loved to imagine different stories to make the walk pass more quickly. I found the stories were influenced by Walt Disney classics, where I enjoyed heroic journeys either as a princess or a kick-ass heroine. I had quite a rough childhood and hence this was my way of escaping the everyday miseries into a world of my own. I suppose old habits die hard. To this day I enjoy the limitless boundaries that the fantasy and sci-fi genre offer.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
There was a lot of research going into this series botht the different installments would flow without continuity problems and also so that the plot would keep twisting and turning yet still end up with a grand ending, which would make the read worth while for the reader. I have researched the elements, the chakras, the angels and the sins. I also had to research about physics laws such as matter, particles, CERN, gravity, weak forces and super symmetry. There were also historic references to this book where I needed to know about William Shakespare’s sonnets, Merlin, Balinor, the Bible and Isaac Newton. As I needed locations on Earth that had experienced ‘supernatural’ activity I also ended up researching about Stonehenge, Mount Ararat, the pyramids in Giza, the Pillars of Hercules in Gibraltar and the wooden palace in Russia.
Can you tell me about your Series?
This book series is planned to be a heptology. The first four installments Symmetry, Chromosomica, Incipient Cipher and Evolution Contract are already published, the next installment Nexus of Kingdoms is written but still needs proofreading, and the two last installments are plotted out already. In the start of Symmetry you are introduced to Susy, who believes herself to be ill with amnesia, but in reality she is so much more. You will learn why she finds herself trapped in CERN with no recollection of her memory in Evolution Contract where we revisit the past for a brief moment. All of the scenes are a part of a grander master plan where Susy has a point to prove to Leo.
I hope this is a book where the reader will want to go back and read the story again once they find out the ending to see how all the threads lead to the end game and all the information was there right under your nose all along.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
That is a very hard question. I can tell you that I have three areas in the Series that I enjoyed writing the most, but which are mixed in the various installments. One is the triangle love drama between Susy, Noah and Tarus, the second being when a group is put together to quest through paths facing the 21 sins, and the third being Lucy and Nick’s story in the Gladiator arena.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Yes, once I started this book from scratch I had all the seven books in the series specked out before I started writing. In this way I had the opportunity to sprinkle several important small details along the way, which you will later learn had a greater importance.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Oh dear. When I started writing I was a full time Account Receivable Manager in a Bank, studying for my ACCA Qualification and had a small baby. I was then promoted to the Head of Finance and had another baby. I am now home on Maternity Leave writing when the baby has his naps and trying to squeeze in promotional events every now and again when he is playing, and before my older daughter returns back from school. Then I resume my writing or book reviewing service in the evenings when the children are in bed. I try to aim for 2000 words a day on weekdays, but it all depends how well my baby sleeps and how many chores there are to do in the house. I have a guest article with Nick Stephenson about being efficient if that would be of interest to the readers.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I am just planning for a one month long book tour on my website where I will slowly reveal the information about the books and I will be hosting giveaways and games. This is to celebrate my new book series release ‘The Last Wolf Fae’, in ‘The Wolf Fae Saga’. I will be entering this book into the Amazon StoryTeller competition so keep your fingers crossed for me.
I am hoping for a great turnout with a lot of fun.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Yes, normally, at least for the protagonist. For example; Susy (spelling intentional) is an abbreviation of Supersymmetry. I normally research the meaning of names so that the character’s personality is reflected by the meaning of their name, but not always. I have hundreds of characters in my ‘Character Folio’, and it would take a long time to apply the same research to all.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I have a nice recipe collection, which I have been wanting to publish. I have always wanted to have a recipe book with my favorite recipes that are good for everyday use featured in a 365-day setup, just because it would be useful for the family as a planner. I am slowly putting it together, but I’m not sure if I will ever publish it.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
As I like long stories of epic nature I find it hard to remember all the small details that need to join up since I constantly become interrupted with daily life activities. I find myself sometimes writing the same thing in different places, which I have to adjust on my first read-through.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I love when people make trailers of their books. It’s lovely to see how the author would portray their world and characters. I have made one for Symmetry and one for Chromosomica, but they are only text and music, limited by my movie making skills.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
The fact that I keep learning new things is a great accomplishment. When I first started out in 2014 I had neither literary qualifications nor media or marketing knowledge. I am constantly observing what other authors do, what software they use and how they promote their books. I have now managed to publish five books with at least four more coming this year. I’m satisfied with how my newsletter mailing list has grown and I have established a good relationship with my editor Sally Dixon (https://dixons2000.wixsite.com/writeaid) and my two Book Cover designers Erika Elemefors (http://tmcaruana.com/?page_id=1919) and Tiziana Frederica Ruiu. All of them I would be happy to recommend. Although, I will say that I will let out a big sigh of relief when my Science Series has published its seventh book.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
There are a lot of things I love about being an author. First and foremost I love to make up new creations and think out the plots, the character building and the world building. I love talking to my lovely readers and my great author friends. When you have worked hours on creating a story and you get good feedback about the work makes me very happy.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I am planning on returning to work in September, but hope I will be able to keep up my writing as a hobby. I think I need both aspects in my life as work provides social stimulation in a small place such as the Rock of Gibraltar. If I would have won any awards and be able to publish many more books that would be a personal target. I definitely want to have completed the Science Series and the Prophesies Sorcerer Series, and who knows, maybe I will write two more books in the Arakzeon City Series as well. Then I hope of course that my daughter will have inherited my love for creating and continues with her book series Penelope. Perhaps her drawings will become more elaborate than the current five-year-old doodles.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes, I remembered I had an assignment in school when I was younger where we had to hand in a ten-page story and mine came to forty-four pages. I was shy back then and asked if the teacher wouldn’t make a fuss about it in class, yet he did. I have never turned so crimson. It didn’t put me off writing though.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I have actually recorded ten YouTube episodes giving advice to people who are thinking about becoming authors. I am just putting together a few pages for a reader magnet to accompany it before I make them publically available. When it comes to the writing part, the author should stay true to what they enjoy reading and creating. Inspiration comes to those who are having fun. Don’t take too much notice of critics on your first work, as the first one is only the start of what you can achieve when you have had more practice. When it comes to the business side I would advise that the new writer would have at least a few books ready in their portfolio before deciding to publish their first work. It is hard to compete in the sales algorithms and to find space to be seen. The authors who can publish with one or two month intervals have proven to do better. Plus the fees for setting up a business aren’t peanuts and thereby you would have saved a buck or two if you wait to publish as it is likely you won’t sell much with only one book on the shelf and the next one nowhere to be seen on the horizon.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I am a qualified accountant with an international MBA and hence I will be working in the finance sector whether or not I write books. I enjoy all aspects of life and I find that the life outside being an author adds to the inspiration and depths of the stories. To be out in the world and keeping up with what is going on keeps your story fresh and relevant.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I take on board any feedback the readers give me and try to work my best at correcting any errors or improving my writing style as I develop. Personal development is key both professionally and personally. Everyone has the right to their own opinion and there will be as many opinions as there are people in the world. Although, if someone has been unkind in any way I probably have an extra coffee and chocolate – Toblerone if things are really bad, that’s my favorite.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
My least favorite part is that I never get enough time to write as much as I would have wanted to. I also find the research for international awards, publishers who accept unsolicited submissions and looking for agents to send query letters to, tedious. I can spend hours searching without much result. I have stopped doing that now for a while and am concentrating on posting on social media.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
I have a few pieces at work-in-progress stage. Below I have added three sections.
DrakElla will be a Criminal Fantasy about a half-vampire/half-witch detective with a bad-ass attitude. This novella will be free when purchasing the Prophecy of Magic box set. Visit this website for all details.
I hid my eyes behind the ‘Bad Boys’ sunglasses, shot Commander Procter a saluting finger with my pretend ‘Banger’ and headed down the corridor of the Supernatural Congress Unit’s headquarters. Case noted. A drunken girl gone missing, a ransom note and a very unhappy Mayor. Not good for elections, the government nor the Supernatural Congress Unit.
“Oh, and Ella,” Procter coughed, which made me turn round, placing my hands as a punctuation at my hips. “Jacqueline is reporting on this case. You know what this means. I don’t want any bad press!”
I kept my cool on the inside and only gave a slight nod to state I knew how to handle her, although my entire insides screamed ‘Oh Nooo!’ I would need to make another visit to Kamasaky’s martial arts studio to blow off steam before heading to Piper’s for lots of wine. I carried on walking down the corridor with tall steps that made my butt wiggle, the heels click menacingly against the floor and with my hand flicking back my long blonde hair, all to state how in control I was.
The Necromancer of the North is my contribution to the Prophecy of Magic box set that is live for Pre-Order and will go live for purchase on 15th of October.
The Necromancer From the North
You are a hard woman to find.”
I gazed up at my pretentious demi-god father, as I sat with my feet dangling off a cliff edge of Mount Cerious.
I wish he would just leave me alone!
“Only when I don’t want to be found,” I snapped.
“Zora, my daughter, every child turned twenty-one must attend…”
“The rite of familiar ritual or there won’t be another blood moon in ten years. Yes I know. You have mentioned it a few times.”
Child! I can’t believe he still calls me a child. It really made my blood boil.
“You aren’t just one of those necromancers, you are a daughter of gods. You, above all, are expected to be there. Do you know the chant?”
A child of gods. Mum is a god, you are only a demi-god.
I made an agitated grunt and then recited the chant to show him that I knew it. “Familiar I call upon you to rise from the spirits and guide me. Manifest in me, follow my body and allow my eye to see your true identity.”
He lifted a content smile on his neatly groomed face with his silver-fox hairs perfectly aligned next to each other.
“Good,” he said and gave a proud smile.
Symmetry is my debut novel that is free when people subscribe to my newsletter. http://eepurl.com/c8wydn. I have chosen two extracts from when Susy first meets Tarus.
He grabbed hold of my hand when he had clearly understood that I was both amazed and confused by a stranger with such hostile body language, yet with a preserved beauty that made the Earth stand still. Again his grip affirmed that he had taken my hand many times before. The steady grip wasn’t too hard to be a forced grip or too soft to be the shyness of strangers who had just met. His hand was hot, near to scorching. My reflexes took control to retract my hand, which released me from his grip. He looked angrily at me as he went around the car to the driver’s side. “How do you want it? Are you in or out?”
He approached me with his majestic body, where even a quick peek would clearly catch sight of the eight-pack on his sandy toned skin. He stood close enough for me to smell his cologne, arousing my senses. I closed my eyes to inhale his scent held my breath, not because I wanted to, but because I wasn’t sure I could control myself otherwise. I felt his hot hand against mine when he took the glass holder for the tea-light and our eyes met. I had forgotten his beautiful emerald eyes. Without breaking his gaze, he wrapped his fingers over the wick and at the same moment a flame arose from nowhere. It wasn’t normal, it wasn’t human. Who was he?
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I love reading and have lots of favorite books and authors. I run a book reviewer page where I list all my reads. http://tmcaruana.com/?page_id=1193.
Authors that have impressed me recently are P.E. Younglibby who has written a Novisode (Episode but in book form) called The Mute Prince – Jaglandor, which I thought was really good. I also love to read Lexi. C Foss’s Immortal Curse series. My most favorite book so far was Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. I thought that was a good epic fantasy. Many have recommended Robin Hobb so I think there is where I’ll venture next.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
The first male character that I created and who was supposed to be the ultimate desire in the universe was Tarus – Susy’s desired man in Symmetry. I don’t think any other character has even caught up with him in the slightest. I think he is and will forever be the love of my life!
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I enjoy writing and I am quite a fast typist so it doesn’t make me feel exhausted, but if I do a writing marathon creating more than 15 pages in one day I feel dizzy afterwards. When you snap out of your fictional world it can be confusing to catch up with the real one.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
This one is easy. Coffee and chocolate, mixed with peace and quiet. Films or epic fantasy books are also inspiring.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
At the moment I am involved in an anthology box set called The Prophecy of Magic, where we are 34 contributing authors. We all support each other and help inspire with writing and promotional ideas. The help I have received from them is priceless. We hope to reach the USA Today Best Seller list so if anyone wants to help us reach our goal they can see the details by following the links below.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
As I have had a lot going on in my life; hardship, fighting with studies internationally and facing the culture differences of living abroad I always thought an autobiography would be interesting to write. Perhaps one day I will consider it seriously. Maybe I would name it something like ‘Success @ 32’ as that is when I felt I had reached where I wanted to be, or ‘Birds fly and snakes slither’ to illustrate the differences in life and how they can be interpreted.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Social Media links:
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️