Interview with Carolyn Crane! Author of the Disillusionist Trilogy

Interview with Carolyn Crane

I am so excited!!  The author of one of my favorite urban fantasy series is here at Badass! Please help me give a warm welcome to author Carolyn Crane :insert clapping smiley here people!: Her latest release is Head Rush and just released at the end of 2011. We are currently do a giveaway of Mind Games (the first in the trilogy).  Please signup for the giveaway

ReginaWelcome Carolyn! We’re very excited to have you here with us at Badass Book Reviews to talk about your trilogy – The Disillusionists. I really like how you take the mundane and the annoying and transform these into – well interesting and funny, for example, Justine’s hypochondriac concerns, Shelby’s pessimism, and Otto’s beret!  In a way it is similar to how Justine transforms her fears into a super power. One of the things that stands out for me in your books, is the humor.  And I have noticed that your blog posts and your tweets tend to have a fun style of humor.  Was writing the humor and the wit into Justine’s character a natural extension of yourself?

Carolyn:  Hey, thanks for the kind words, and for inviting me over!! Well, if you knew me, you would not see me as a specifically funny person, even though I enjoy laughing and fooling around. I think the book is funnier than I am because I had a while to sit around and think of precise observations and comments. In a way, I don’t always set out to be funny, but I find that when you look at something really closely, humor just naturally comes from that precision of observation.

ReginaDo you have any ideas for future books or series?

CarolynOh, yes! I have this morbid thought sometimes that I will die before I write them all. On the near horizon, I’m working on a spy-themed paranormal romance series – it’s my very quirky project. And also, I’m working on a fun, light urban fantasy adventure series that takes place in Northern Wisconsin—very Fargo-Gothic.

Regina: These sound so interesting!  Okay, I am a Midwestern girl and I vacation in Northern Wisconsin so I absolutely love the idea of an urban fantasy adventure series taking place there!  The setting is perfect.  I have a feeling you can do a “fun, light urban fantasy adventure series” very well.

One of the things I liked so much about this series is how you wrote the male characters.  There was some idealism and some fantasy elements to the men in your books, but they had flaws, they made mistakes and they had weaknesses.  In effect, they were real men. When you read books with romance in them, what are you looking for in a male lead?

CarolynI love that you ask me a reader question. What’s funny is that I often enjoy reading about male leads of the type I don’t typically write—like, the damaged, bellowing super-alpha types like Zsadist or really any Kresley Cole lead from Immortals After Dark. I love those fantastical sorts of leads. I also love the smart, only-slightly-dark heroes of the kind you find in historicals by writers like Meredith Duran or Joanna Bourne—especially the spies—I’m such a sucker for spies! And for the very dark spy heroes, as written by Anne Stuart in that Ice Series. Oh, how I love a dark spy.

Regina:  I have such a weakness for those types of male characters too.  But I love when there is shining goodness in them too and I think Packard definitely had that.

So … Otto, I do not want to give anything away for future readers of your series – what do you like about Otto?  Before your answer, I have to say, I really liked Otto.  Without saying too much, he is one of my favorite characters, but I know I am in the minority.  But even with those fans of yours who could not stand Otto, he inspires a very strong reaction.

SEMI-SPOILER for Head Rush follows so Badass has hidden Carolyn’s response:

Hey people? This is a spoiler--Fair Warning!

Regina:  I love to run as well.  I liked how you incorporated an enjoyment of exercising in to Justine’s personality!

Okay, we should talk about the triangle – – meaning the love triangle.  Love triangles tend to get a negative response from readers of urban fantasy right now, but really, love triangles also get quite a bit of attention probably because they create so much tension.  I really think you have the best written love triangle I have ever read.  One reason I found the triangle that you created interesting and not just angst inspiring, is because there doesn’t seem to be posturing or territory marking by the men.   Another reason, is that Justine really seems to be trying to make the best choice for herself; she doesn’t purposely leave the other guy hanging.  Why do you think readers responded positively to the love triangle in this series?

CarolynThanks so much for saying that!! I came up loving the Anita Blake series, which has a blazing love triangle, especially in books 1-7 or so, and I was surprised to slowly realize others didn’t enjoy triangles of that sort. (I like them!) I’m glad you see mine as an exception. I mean, I don’t know if people actually responded to mine more positively than others – if they did, I don’t know why.

It’s interesting what you say about the posturing—I had never thought about that—I guess Packard and Otto aren’t specifically battling each other or being possessive. And Justine really is trying to make the best choice—you make a good point. In a way, I see her as evolving as a person, and the stronger and more true to her best self she becomes, the more clarity she gets in her romantic choices. One guy works better for Justine when she’s weak, the other works better with her when she’s strong and true. In a way, my love triangle was part of the character arc.

Regina: Hmm, that makes sense and I am not sure why I did not see that before.  I too am a fan of the Anita Blake books (although I stopped after Obsidian Butterfly …….)

I really enjoyed this trilogy because of Justine. She is likable and I found myself rooting for her all the time.  I wanted to go rollerblading with her, hang out with her – she was just a real person (with super powers!).  Where did you get your inspiration for her?

CarolynI’m so glad you liked her! Like all characters, she’s a mishmash of people I know and bits of myself. Even Otto and Packard andShelby have bits of me in them. And she also contains my projections on other people. For example, I don’t rollerblade or know rollerbladers, but I thought, this girl would.

Regina: You place a lot of responsibility on Packard, or I should say Packard places a lot of responsibility on himself.  He is in charge of this group of people who are rejected by society.  Does his willingness to take charge and guide everyone define him?

Carolyn:  This is a very interesting question that I had to think about. He is a very natural and gifted leader, I definitely had that in mind. And he has this crazy psychological insight into everyone, and he goes from using it in a manipulative and slightly dark way to using it…well, at the end he’s not butterflies and sunshine, as Shelby would say, but less dark. So in a way, it defines him and also his journey. You know who I had in mind a bit for him, in a vague way? It’s that bar owner inCasablanca – Rick – who was always just out for himself, and at the end of the movie, he had to stand up and take a side.

Regina: There are some very sexy love scenes in these books.  Do you find the scenes difficult to write? Or are they similar to writing any other scenes?

CarolynAt first, I found them so hard to write! It was sort of my fear to be too corny and I’d work them over and over. But I’m getting more used to them. They aren’t like other scenes to me, just because they are so heightened, and so many different things need to be happening—the basic choreography, the characters, the plot needs to be developing within them. Now I worry that I’m getting repetitive in them. Sex is soprivate. As a writer, I can never see firsthand the way different sorts of people have sex—I don’t have access to that the way I have access to how various people play tennis or argue or whatever.

Regina: Haha!  How true, that is an aspect of human life generally hidden from other people, which makes it even harder to write about I would imagine.

If you could cast your novel for a movie – I think this series would be a great movie – which actors would portray your main characters?

Carolyn:  I would go with somebody like Felicia Day or a younger Sandra Bullock for Justine. I think about Daniel Craig as Packard, and my Otto model has always been young Raul Julia. For Shelby, I always had Inara from Firefly in mind, physically. (Morena Baccarin). Do you have casting thoughts?

Erika: I can’t think of anyone. Seriously. Raul Julia, Carolyn? I just can’t see him as Otto. But, I can’t find anyone else either. I’ll defer to your judgement.

Regina:  I gotta admit that I don’t watch too many movies these days (4 kids + full time job + obsessive reading habit = no tv or movie time), so I will defer to you Carolyn.   I kind of pictured Otto as a young Benicio del Toro.  I think Dustin Hoffman would be hilairous at Justine’s dad.  I can see him in the hazmat suit! Maybe our readers could post who they think would be good for Justine, Simon, Shelby and Packard?

Regina: What is your favorite drink?

Carolyn:  I love drinking water. I also drink Earl Grey tea, and if we’re talking alcoholic beverages, red wine or champagne. (Is it possible you were a cocktail waitress? I used to be, and I still draw conclusions about people based on what they drink!)

Erika: As boring as this sounds, I love seltzer. My favorite is pomegranate or cherry pomegranate. I don’t drink alcohol.

ReginaThat is very funny you ask that Carolyn, because I did used to be a cocktail waitress – years ago and in a former life.  So I did mean alcoholic beverages, but then after I asked I felt guilty for assuming you drank alcohol!  So red wine and champagne .. hmmm .. very interesting.  *smiles*  And Erika, I love me some Pelligrino with lime that can be a special treat too …. okay …

Regina: What is your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?

CarolynEat something, preferably cheesy, and watch TV.

And, I haven’t forgotten: you asked me to comment on the character of Gumby! I originally put Gumby on Justine’s dashboard because I felt she’d be proud of being able to buy her first car and would want to personalize it. Also, I felt like it made her more real, like the kind of quirky girl who would have funny little toys around. Then I started having her pose Gumby and stuff, and I just got a kick out of using him. I think it’s sort of like a TV show where you have a walk on part for somebody, and you enjoy the character so much that you keep writing them bigger parts. I kept expanding Gumby’s part. Oh, and here, I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but there is a secret Gumby hidden on the Head Rush cover:

Hey, thank you so much for having me over to your blog. And happy 500 followers, too!

Regina:  Carolyn thank you so much for the time you took to meet with me and answer our questions!  We have been so excited to review your books, share Mind Games through our giveaway (link here for you readers you haven’t yet signed up!) and to talk you about your work.  I look forward to your future stories and books!

You can check our reviews to Carolyn’s books: Mind Games, Double Cross and Head Rush.  Carolyn blogs here and has her author website here.  Thanks for joining us and don’t forget to signup for our giveaway of Mind Games here!

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