Please join me in welcoming the wonderful L. Carroll, author of the Lor Mandela series, to Songs and Stories! It has been so much fun reading her books and participating in the blog tour for her newest novel, 400 Days, so it is so cool that I got to ask her some questions and share her answers with you. :)
P.S. I am so sorry this is a day late, I really have no excuse except that I mixed up the days. Well, better late than never.
Could you describe 400 Days in 200 words or less?
I'll try...here goes...
When Audril, the heiress to the Lor Mandelan throne, sneaks away to Earth to save a dear friend, she finds that a power hungry tyrant from her own world has begun obliterating towns and cities to get her to turn herself over to him.
On Earth, she meets an eccentric old lady named Teedee Venilworth whose imaginary butler/fiancé holds the key to her success. But how can someone help if he doesn't exist? Could it be that creatures who dwell in shadow are not exclusive to Lor Mandela?
Four Hundred Days, is an action-packed whirlwind of intrigue and fantasy. Join the extraordinary characters from the first book, (both the good and the evil), as they traverse the haunted corridors of Alcatraz Penitentiary, travel via portal to an ancient castle on the cliff shores of Ireland, and meet a foreboding race of mystic warriors known as the Solom.
Soar on the back of a large horse-like creature to the Northern High Forests and discover that on the picturesque world of Lor Mandela, your friends can become foes, your enemies your allies, and just because someone dies, it doesn’t always mean that they’re dead.
What inspired you to write the Lor Mandela books? How did you come up with the title?
The series was inspired by a dream…I know it sounds cliché, but it's the truth! I had a dream where a lovely young woman was engaged in a huge battle -- and holding her own -- despite the fact that she was grossly outnumbered. Just as the battle took an ugly turn, she raised her sword in the air, shouted a cryptic chant, and everyone around her disappeared. The story just evolved from there….
As for the title, its origin is pretty unromantic…I just picked a couple of letters from the alphabet and made up words that started with them. I actually had three or four options, but Lor Mandela sounded the best and looked the best written out, so I went with it.
Do you plan out your plots or do you make them up as you go along?
Hmmm…I learned the hard way when I was writing "Destruction from Twins", that the story was a bit too complicated to not have at least a basic outline. So, when I started "Four Hundred Days", I made sure that I had the story planned out, but the plot took more than one unexpected turn as it progressed, so I guess I do a little of both!
What was the hardest scene to write from either book? The easiest? The most fun?
Without giving too much away, there's a chapter in "Four Hundred Days" where the bad guy meets with the President of the
. This chapter was probably the most difficult for me because of the amount of research that had to go into it to make it believable. United States
The easiest scene for me was probably the epilogue of "Destruction from Twins". I already had a very clear idea of what needed to take place in that chapter, and how the book needed to end. It just seemed to write itself!
The most fun chapter is the one called "The Math Nazi and the New Kid" in DFT. It introduces a new character named Holden Guarlo who is so much fun! He walks into his high school math class and absolutely torments the horrible teacher! He's the stereotypical surfer-dude, right down to the casual attire and laid back attitude. At one point, he says to the livid Math teacher, "Dude, two words. Day…spa!" I still chuckle whenever I read it.
What do you do when you get stuck?
Luckily, it doesn't happen too often, and I've noticed that it's typically a result of fatigue or lack of sleep. A nap usually helps, but if it doesn't, I'll force myself to at least write something…even if it's horrible! For some reason, when I start to tweak the awful lines I've managed to eek out, it seems to get the RIGHT words flowing again.
Are there any novels that have inspired you or that you just plain love?
There are a lot of 'em, but I really loved the Harry Potter books. I'm one of those nerds who enjoyed the books more than the movies, (even though the movies were really good). I also love pretty much anything Jane Austen, and I also am a huge fan of the "Anne" books by Lucy Maud Montgomery.
If you could borrow one of your character’s powers for a day, what would you do with it?
I'd like to have Ultara's ability to kill with invisible lightning bolts sent from my eyes. Don't worry, I doubt I'd ever use it, but can you imagine the respect…? (Buah ha,ha!)
If you could meet one of your characters in any situation you can imagine, where would you be and with whom?
There was this one time where this jerk of a guy got all up in my face over something that I had no control over. I'd love to have that happen again and have Lonoren, the Solom Warrior, materialize out of the corner behind me. All Solom are at least seven feet tall, and pitch black from head to toe. They have glowing orange eyes and thick, scrolling, ram's horns on either side of their heads. If that didn't shut the guy up, I'd zap him with my lightning bolts!
Are there any of your characters that you just want to smack upside the head sometimes?
I'm sure this will sound bizarre, since I created him and all, but I think Lortu, the Shadow Dweller, is a prime candidate for the head smack! You never know if he'd good or evil, and to be honest, sometimes even I wonder!
Is there any question that you wish someone would ask you but nobody has? If so, what is it and what is the answer?
Yep…I think it goes something like, "Can I buy half a million copies of each of your books?" And the answer would be, (after resuscitation), "Why yes…yes you can!"
Thank you so much for stopping by! (I totally agree with you about Lortu, by the way.) I hope you do have a fan wealthy enough to buy a million copies of your books someday. :)