I've had author Carey Parrish answer questions on my site previously in a group of other authors, but today we’re getting to know him a little better on his own…about the novels he has out, what’s coming up, and what makes him tick! J
So I love to start with this question: When did writing become such a part of your life?
At an early age. I started reading "adult" books when I was around 10. I guess you could say I got tired of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Beezus and Ramona! So I began reading books my mom got from her book club, and they opened up the whole world to me. By the time I was a teenager I was trying my own hand at writing. I entered a local writing contest two years running and won the first year and received Honorable Mention the second.
Winning those awards early on! Good for you. What different routes did you try as far as publishing (traditional/Indie/Self)?
I've gone all three routes but the two I find the most satisfying are Indie and Self Publishing. I like feeling in control of my writing and with traditional publishers you have to give up a lot of that.
You’ve had quite a background in writing from interviews for websites to novels – can you tell us a little about that time?
Back in 2006 I began a web magazine called Web Digest Weekly. I had been involved with a few writers groups on the web and I knew so many talented authors who had very few avenues open to them to get their work out to the world. Web Digest Weekly began as just that; a means of helping friends. I didn't expect it to become such a success. Before I knew it I was getting requests to interview everyone from Survivor/Big Brother/The Amazing Race winners and contestants to actors, singers, other writers. The whole thing grew so quickly. I went from a small website with four pages to a BIG venture with 10 pages in no time flat. At one point WDW was getting over 100,000 hits per month. I did WDW until early 2010 when it finally just became too much to keep up a weekly publication. My own writing career had started gaining steam and I was involved in other things as well. I still miss doing Web Digest Weekly but I can't imagine trying to undertake a project of that scope again! All this came about after I lost my grandmother and I had to figure out what to do with my life. I remembered my youthful dream of becoming a writer and I started involving myself with people who shared my goals. I was very fortunate to have friends like Susaye Greene of The Supremes and bestselling author Barry Eisler, people who know a thing or two about making dreams come true, there to guide me on my journey.
What an awesome entrepreneurial spirit! I’ve read two of your books and love your ‘English drawing room’ sensibility in them. Share with the readers a little about those.
My novels Marengo and its sequel Big Business are set in London. I've been to England and I absolutely loved the place. I feel that I must have been British in another life! I like creating characters that readers can care about and who they feel they can get to know. I experienced this as a child reading Victoria Holt, Agatha Christie, Sidney Sheldon, Phyllis A. Whitney, and so on. I also like laying a foundation for my plots that isn't very complicated but which grows into something akin to that. My characters are human and they're as three dimensional as a book allows. By creating intimate settings peopled with those who are interesting, I can go anywhere and do anything with them.
What is next for Carey? Tell us about books, release dates, any gossip you want to share!
I have two projects I'm hard at work on at the present. One is a period piece set in a fictional Georgia town during the Depression called Blackberry Winter. It's about a small community almost torn apart by the rivalry of two of its most prominent citizens, as seen through the eyes of a young journalism student home on spring break. It's as humorous as it is serious. The other is a gay themed thriller set in present day Los Angeles with the working title Mr. Wrong. I may publish this one under a pen name. I'm also outlining the third installment in my Number 56 Kensington Street series; its working title is The Art of Appreciation. I hope to have the first two projects I mentioned out by the end of the year.
You mention writing the gay themed book as a pen name. Can you tell me why you would do that?
I'd have to say because this book is so different from my other projects that I feel it deserves its own identity. Also, some of my favorite authors published their most successful works under pen names and the idea has a certain allure for me. We all have secret fantasies of being someone completely different from who we are; a pen name is a fantastic means of being someone else, if only for others.
We see it from so many big name authors now that split up those personalities. J There are other changes too with some of those authors taking over their own books and publishing themselves. What are your views on the ever changing publishing world?
I think those of us who are writing now are experiencing a boon in our industry. Thanks to the internet there are so many avenues open to writers who want to share their work and I am for each and every one of them. I believe the traditional publishing industry is experiencing a revolution in the way they do business because no longer are literary agents, stuffy editors, or even mainstream publishing houses necessary. It's an exciting time and I am thrilled to be a part of it.
How do you handle marketing?
Like most of us, I despise marketing. It's a necessary evil. I am lucky because I have a group of friends who are also writers who will not only give me plenty of attention but who will also be honest with me about my work. The local media here is also very kind and supportive of me. Other than that, when I have something to promote, I hit the trail and knock on as many e-doors as I can. I've discovered most folks are very kind and will give you their time if you're talented. And I enjoy doing book signings too.
So what does Carey like to do outside of books and writing?
I enjoy reading, walking, traveling, chatting with friends, and spending time my family. I'm a good cook and I like trying out new recipes. I'm also something of a health nut so I pay a lot of attention to my physical body. I'm a devout Buddhist as well. I practice Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism and I chant two hours a day every day. Buddhism along with Transcendental Meditation keeps me sane and grounded and spiritually strong. If I'd had these tools ten years ago I could have avoided a lot of depression. I'm all about being the best "me" I can be. Or as Oprah says, living my best life.
So many things there I didn’t know about you! Thanks for sharing them. Any new travel plans in the future?
I'd really like to get back out to Southern California and visit some dear friends out there. Also, I'd love to get back to New York and see my "tribe" there too. (Wink, wink.) My mom is facing some serious health problems right now and when she overcomes them we're talking about taking a road trip through the US to see some sights we've always dreamed of seeing. I hope I can accomplish all this.
We’ll definitely keep your mom in our thoughts (I know it is something you and I have talked about off-line as both of our moms were going through health issues.)
Lastly – tell us where people can find you on the internet?
I really appreciate Carey taking the time to talk to me. Look him up! Follow him on twitter, read his books and follow his blog. You’ll be glad to add this southern gentleman to your list of friends!