Stories have arcs. Characters have arcs. Writers have arcs. We write, we get better at our craft. We read, we get better at our craft. We interact with other writers and our readers, we get better at our craft. Whether you are a professional writer or just starting out. Hobby or career. We are all in this together. Welcome.

Contact: Elena Hartwell - elenahartwell@gmail.com and visit me on the web at www.elenahartwell.com

Bestselling Author Carew Papritz!

As the bestselling author of the 5-time award-winning inspirational book, “The Legacy Letters,” Carew Papritz thrives on the incurable combination of an undying curiosity and an adventurer’s heart. He truly lives his book’s central message to “live life to the fullest.”

He is still determined to be a Renaissance Man in an age that lauds the specialist.  The Huffington Post says Carew "intrigues and enlightens, charms and catalyzes change for every reader."  

Carew loves nothing better than a good laugh, a great scotch, and a classic read.  If he could write books while riding horses, climbing mountains, or skiing any powder snow—anywhere, then life would almost be perfect.  

Want to find out about Carew’s next adventure?  Or wild book signing?   Or TV show?  Or even next book?  Please check out his website at http://www.carewpapritz.com and sign up to receive  email updates, or just enjoy a moment with Carew and The Legacy Letters!  

To read a list of some of Carew's remarkable achievements and read a full description of
The Legacy Letters, click HERE!

Carew Papritz - Award Winning Author Interview Part II

Scroll Down For Part I

Tell us about the music that goes along with the book.
I’ve been writing music ever since I was seven when my father bought me my first guitar as he travelled through Mexico.  I took to that guitar like hugging a supernova.  It just consumed my life and I loved that. 

Years later, two supernovas collided, as they were supposed to, with the writing of the book and the music within it.  With the storyline of the father leaving behind both letters and songs for his children, the writing of the music along with the book was the most natural thing in the world to occur. 

But I have to tell you that as much as I love the writing in the book, sometimes I love the music more.  But music tends to do that to you—take over your life and consume you.  Which is not a bad thing, especially if it’s music AND books!

How did you come to create the "Whistle-Stop Book Tour?"
After the publishing of TheLegacy Letters, I realized I created something bigger than just a series of life letters ensconced with a storyline. I had really created something inspirational that people were using to inspire themselves in their own lives.  My audience taught me what my book was about, not only as an author but as a person, and that was to “live life to the fullest.”  Then I thought, let’s “walk the talk” and create one-of-a-kind book signings that exemplify this idea of “living of life to its fullest.”  And thus I created the following:

First-ever modern-day whistle-stop book tour along the entire East Coast

First-ever digital book signing by an independently-published author (and on horseback while riding up to Barnes & Noble)

First-ever book signing on top of an active volcano (Mt. St. Helens) and with a live radio show.

Signing books while river rafting and atop the Space Needle

The “Pop-Up book signing!

Signed books and sang with the Naked Cowboy in Times Square and outside The Today Show.
In just one year, I did over 100 book signings, over 50 radio, and numerous TV interviews.

What are you working on now?
Now I’m trying not to work so much but that’s really not working . . .  Okay, I’m doing more exciting first-ever book signings soon, so stay tuned.  I’m also working on the audio version of the book and the first draft of the screenplay.  We’re starting to get some attention from producers so I want to be prepared when that time arrives.  I love to do TV interviews but love doing radio more—you can sit around in your PJ’s, sip coffee, and do one interview right after the other.   So I try to do lots of radio around the country, which helps to keep the book continually in front of the public eye—which is the name of the modern marketing game.

Final words of wisdom
I was asked two questions the other day at an interview in which I wanted to answer them in some David Letterman/Stephen Colbert style.   But then I gave questions some thought (or so I thought) . . .

The first was, “What advice would you give to your younger self?”
I answered, “I wouldn’t give him advice.  I would give him a big pat on the back and even bigger thank you for staying true to himself for all these years.”

The second was, “For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?”
I answered, “I’m biased.  I like my football in the fall, my Scotch to come from Scotland, and my books to be made of paper.”

That’s all the wisdom I had left for that day . . .

Filmaker to Cowboy, Author to Award Winner

You've had an incredibly eclectic career. How has that impacted your writing?
I think I lived my life so that I could write The Legacy Letters.  It really is an autobiography disguised as fiction.  But the beauty of writing fiction is that you can bend time and space to make everything more dramatic.  Your first and foremost job as a writer is to keep your audience engaged and excited about where they’re going, and a mystery about where they will end up!  Thus my writing life is my real life.  And for me, that is the life I’ve always wanted to live.

The Legacy Letters has been recognized for both fiction and non-fiction, a literary "first" - were you surprised by the recognition in both categories? What had your expectations or intent been when publishing the book?
 I was stunned.  You write from the heart.  You write what excites you about life.  You write because you need to entertain, or to share your knowledge with others. You write because you are born a writer.  And as a writer, your job is to give your words to the world, and then the world gets to react, judge, love, or despise what you have written for them.  Like all writers, I wanted to be beloved and be a bestseller.  Fortunately for the type of book I have written, I’m getting slightly more beloved everyday—yet still working hard on the bestseller part. 

The Legacy Letters has won numerous awards and receives high praise for its inspirational messages. How has your philosophy of life changed throughout the success of this book? How has your life changed?
Strangely enough, because I’m busier than ever marketing the book, I’m more wary than ever of getting caught in my own modern day web of “I’m too busy,” which seems to be the mantra for our modern day way of living.  So my life consists of my pen, and the rest of it is for my family and being outdoors with them—hiking, biking, climbing, skiing, riding horses, sailing—as long as it’s outside, I’m happy.  The more successful I am, the more I covet being true to myself.

Check Back December 15 for Part II

Spotlight on Carla Kelly

Award-winning author Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. Carla is best known for her Regency Romances, those novels of manner and wit, made popular more than two centuries ago by Jane Austen. 

Carla has made certain types of Regencies her own, particularly novels and stories about people who are not lords and ladies. Many of them are hard-working and hard-fighting members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in the Channel Fleet, and the British Army on the Spanish Peninsula.
For more information on Carla, click on the photo above

The Interview -- Part II

Scroll Down To Read Part I

What is your writing process like? 

I try to write every day, usually in the afternoon, but I don’t beat myself up if I don’t have time on a particular day. When I begin a novel, I write a lengthy synopsis (usually 4-6 typed pages) and use that as my basis.  I also write a synopsis for each chapter, usually one page. I never write by the seat of my pants.

You've recently started writing novels around your own Mormon heritage. What prompted your interest in this area? How has your own personal connection impacted the writing?

I’ve always been interested in LDS church history, particularly that period right around the turn of the 20th century, when the church was well-established in the intermountain West, and beginning to reach out to a wider world. I would have written a Mormon novel sooner, but I was always under contract for Regencies, so that took precedence. In 2009, when we moved to Utah from North Dakota, I had a small window were nothing was promised to anyone. I finished an LDS-themed novel I had started years earlier, and it started me on another phase of my writerly journey.

What are you working on now?

I’m getting ready to start Book 4 in the Spanish Brand series. When that’s done, I’ll write a novel about those days in 1914-16, when the National Park Service was turning into reality, especially in relation to Yellowstone Park, which had been administered by the US Army. I’ll be combining so many “loves”: The National Park Service, the US Army, and Yellowstone Park.

Final Words of Wisdom

I have a mantra: “This isn’t Hamlet and you’re not Shakespeare.”  I don’t believe in writer’s block. When I feel some slowing down and frustration, I review my outlines and keep writing, being patient with myself until things are working again as I would like.  I can always ditch what isn’t good. I just keep going.

I urge writers not to waste time on reading badly written novels. Have confidence in yourself and know that you have a story to tell that no one else can improve upon. Most of all, have faith in the process and yourself.

The Interview -- Part I

You write exceptionally accurate historical novels, due in part to your interest and background in scholarly research into the past. Do you usually start from having an idea for a story, then locate the era? Or do you want to write in a specific time period, then find the story? (Or do they arrive together?) Tell us a little about your process for determining the right historical "place" for your work.

I usually have a historical event in mind, and then I figure out how to create a story using those events. I’ve written a number of books about the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, and then to subdivide that further, about surgeons in the Royal Navy. Like all good historical fiction novelists, I never want to waste all that painstaking research by only writing one book on the subject. I have a fine library on the Royal Navy and on surgical practices of the late 18th, early 19th centuries. I’ll by darned use that research several times. I also have a highly competitive nature, one that challenges me to tease out historical facts from obscure events and make them interesting.

It’s certainly my natural interest in a topic that fuels my story ideas. My Spanish Brand series has come out of a real fondness for Southwest border history that I can trace back to my undergraduate college years. In fact, I came across the idea of writing about a juez de campo (brand inspector) from a footnote – and a cryptic one at that – in a textbook. Then the writer in me immediately started thinking of where would be the most dangerous place in all of North America for a brand inspector with a ranch of his own to live. The answer of course, was ComancherĂ­a, that area where the Comanches ruled in New Mexico and West Texas for 250+ years. So then there must be Comanches, and so on, and that is how a story begins.

You have held an array of different jobs, from professor to park ranger. How has your work life informed and impacted your writing life? 

I suspect my life as a writer has always been tied in with my employment. Working as a ranger at some interesting historic sites has deepened my love for and interest in the tumultuous history of our nation. I learned to treat history with great respect, and present it in such a way that visitors will leave the site with a deeper appreciation of their own. That’s all I try to do when I write.  Everything I do, almost down to grocery lists (well maybe not), impacts the writerly me. Historians are trained to be observers; so should novelists be. An understanding of human nature is essential to be a good historian and a good novelist. Working as a journalist taught me to avoid purple prose and strive for simplicity. Contract research honed some skills where I still need work. Medical writing for a hospital and a hospice made me a danger to myself!

You have been published through different publishers, and have published a remarkable 34 novels! How has your experience differed from publisher to publisher? What advice do you have for new authors starting out as they look for a home for their work?

Hard questions! Some publishers “get it,” and others don’t. I enjoyed writing for Signet, where I began my writing career, after a series of short stories that I shopped around myself. Problem was, I became typecast as a writer of Regencies only, which was never my major interest. Oh, it wasn’t a bad thing, but I’ve had to work hard to prove to some publishers that there is far more to me than just Regencies. Some publishers are convinced that their way in the only way, and their titles, however inane, are the only ones. Happily, I am now writing for two publishers who have told me, “We will take anything you write.” Music to my ears, yes, but underneath, I know they want more Regencies… And I oblige, but not for every novel.

My novel due out in November, Doing No Harm, is a Regency, but a Regency done my way. (FACT: I almost never read historical romance, so no writers have every influenced me that way. I go my own way. Let others follow, if they wish.) I’ve become well-known as a writer of Regencies about ordinary people. Two reasons for that: I know a lot of ordinary people, and I am far too skeptical historically to imagine an England cluttered with so many lords and ladies. In Doing No Harm, my hero is a surgeon in the Royal Navy up through the ranks, recently retired, who yearns for a medical practice in a quiet country town where nothing ever happens. Well, hardly anything. The larger picture is a look at the atrocity of the Highland Clearances in Scotland.

I’m wandering here. Sorry. My advice to new authors is to read good books, and read about novels set in places and times that interest them. When a new novelist can identify with a particular publishing house that seems to suit, he or she should write the manuscript, then write a fabulous query letter and see what happens. An agent is helpful in this process.

I would resist the urge to self-publish. That hardly ever turns out really well, and all the nuts and bolts with publishing take away time from writing, and time from improving one’s craft. I try to learn from every book I write.
Check Back Nov 15th for Part II