Happy New Years! I’m delighted to welcome Hannah Carmack to Darcy’s Book Blog today to celebrate the upcoming release of Seven-Sided Spy!
Release date: January 15, 2018 | Publisher: NineStar Press
Goodreads blurb: In the midst of the cold war, the CIA’s finest and most fatal female agent, Diana Riley, vanishes. Kidnapped by the KGB and taken to the backcountry of North Carolina, she and her team of unsavory partners are forced to undergo illegal experimentation.
But, when the experiments leave them horribly deformed and unable to reenter society without someone crying monster, the previously glamorous and high-maintenance spies must escape KGB captivity and avoid recapture at the hands of Nikola, a ruthless KGB agent with an intense and well-justified grudge against her former flame.
Darcy’s Book Blog: What is the first book that made you cry?
Hannah Carmack: Oh my gosh, Six Months to Live by Lurlene McDaniel. I don’t know why cancer and illness books were so “on trend” when I was a kid, but there was TONS of them when I was going through elementary school and I read them like crazy.
DBB: What is your writing Kryptonite?
HC: Romance! I know that developing relationships is super important for a story, however, I tend to focus more on friendships and familial relationships. In the event that I have to write a couple, I really have to take the time to define their relationship, rather than autofill their interactions to “happy couple”
DBB: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
HC: I did! I come from a fairly conservative family, and I write fairly gruesome stuff. I was worried how my family would react when they read it, but so far so good!
DBB: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
HC: I tend to write standalone novels, but I do hope that when I have multiple pieces out they convey the same general feeling and themes of resilience, compassion, and so on.
DBB: What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
HC: I honestly can’t think of any. I tend to fall in love first and end up disappointed at a later time.
DBB: What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
HC: I recently heard some of the best advice: “There is nothing a writer can’t learn about the publishing and writing industry that they can’t get for free.”
I think that’s tired and true. Don’t pay to learn to write. Just write.
DBB: What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
HC: Book of Lost Things by John Connolly! I know it is appreciated, but I feel it should be appreciated more. It’s so freaking creative and the writing is lyrical and beautiful and it’s a stunning work with a lot of thought and time put into it. The book has such a strong re-read value as well.
DBB: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
HC: It really depends on the project. With Seven-Sided Spy being a historical it required tons of research. Every few paragraphs I’d be googling something to make sure it was invented before 1963, Kevlar, Teflon, radios. You name it, I probably googled it.
DBB: What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
HC: I think any limitation about writing characters that identify as a different gender and/or identity than myself comes from my lack of experience dealing with the societal expectations they face. I will never know what it was like to grow up with people expecting you to “be a man.” Just as I’ll never know what it was like to be genderfluid in the 1960’s.
DBB: What did you edit out of this book?
HC: Like 8 million incorrect POV switches! Hahaha. It’s crazy how much head-hopping the original draft had. We’ve got it narrowed down and precise now. I’m incredibly happy with how it turned out.
In terms of content, we only lost one flashback along the way. It was great to not lose too much of the original narrative.