Maidens, we are extremely happy to have here today a favorite UTC author, Carolyn Crane. Her Disillusionist series is a must read for UF lovers. The heroine, Justine, was Suzanne's favorite heroine of 2011! Now lets meet the fabulous author behind the amazing books!
I have a boiler engineer’s license
It’s actually expired now, but I carry it around anyway because it’s hilarious, because I am the most non-mechanical person you would ever meet. My husband and I used to own a condo in this ancient building, and the city law said one resident had to have a license to operate this giant old steam boiler we’d all have to pay all this money to a company. So my oboist neighbor girl and I studied really hard and took the test. Neither of us were mechanically inclined, but we got an enormous amount of humor mileage out of terms like “draining the tri-cock.” And we both passed the test. I don’t know how I ever got this license - I can barely understand how a boiler works. It’s good that there were never any emergencies that required a boiler engineer there.
In the disillusionists, the character who is my stand-in is Cubby
I think most writers, in their work, have a character who is kind of them. I think lots of people might imagine it’s Justine for me, but really, I’m Cubby. I have a charmed life, I am optimistic, I see the sunny side of everything. Badness shocks me. I’m a bit oblivious and careful.
The first drafts of the Disillusionists were entirely handwritten - all three books
I used to write really slowly, and I was fussy about my pens, and would have specific music. And then I would type the stuff in and print out the pages and revise by hand. I can’t believe I got the books done as fast as I did. I’ll still write by hand if something requires deep thought, but today I write onto the computer. Once unthinkable to me!!
I write super smutty stuff under a pen name that was secret until last week
I love writing hot, so I got the idea to do a fun side project where I make up a secret pen name (Annika Martin) and write the most dirty stuff I could think of. But keep it mostly secret because I worried about putting off Carolyn Crane readers, and what my family and freelance clients would say, etc. I’m not this thrillingly bold person. Anyway it got too weird and stupidly wink-wink to keep it a secret, so now I’m just being out with it, which is a big thing for me. It will be a problem with some people in my life, but I’m glad it went this way. I think it’s a good exercise for a worrywart like me to let the chips fall where they may. Like my reckless character Simon always says!
Seriously, every bit of my life is ruled by cats. My husband and I make them really elaborate foods, like tonight they ate a mixture of raw bison, raw chicken, sweet potato and pureed veggies. And after dinner every night, my husband and I a lot of times sit for a few minutes and talk about how cute the cats are. We are TOTAL dorks. Also, can you tell we don’t have kids?
Now that the Disillusionist series has ended what are your plans? Do we have another series to look forward to?
Yes! Actually two.
Spy Paranormal Romance book #1: MR. REAL: This is the series of my heart - I prolly shouldn’t go around saying that in case people hate it, but it is. The first book is entitled Mr. Real. I’m self publishing it. It’s weird and hot and wild.
Dark Forest: My UF adventure series, more of a traditional UF. It’s on the humorous and sexier side, and takes place in northern Wisconsin. Kind of a rural gothic book where even the deer heads on the walls of the rustic supper club look vaguely vampiric. Contains one of my favorite heroes I ever wrote. It’ll be bit more until that’s out.
Describe the Disillusionist series in 3 words!
Plotty, psychological, quirky.
What drew you do writing Urban Fantasy, has any author in particular inspired you?
Laurell K. Hamilton inspired me. I just remember reading her Anita Blake series and feeling so breathlessly excited about it. I loved the magic, and the mystery, and the men. It just seemed to contain everything I wanted in a book.
Urban fantasy seems full of possibilities to me.
What I loved about your Disillusionist trilogy was that everyone was painted in shades of grey, no one seemed to entirely be a "good" or "bad" guy, especially Otto and Packard, how hard was this to write, especially with how the trilogy ended?
Oh thanks!! That is something that is so important to me and it means a lot that you’d point it out. One of my idols, F. Scott Fitzgerald, once said that [huge paraphrase here] an author should be able to argue both sides of an issue or dilemma in a book, or else it’s boring. That’s an idea I take to heart. And really, I get a little bored when I read a book where the hero is only bad and the heroine is only good. And as a writer, that bores me, too. So, to answer your question, letting things be a bit gray makes my job more fun and interesting.
But really, the whole bit with [my bad guy], and the way the trilogy ended, I felt deeply mournful about him. [my bad guy] is such a tragic figure to me. It was important to me to allow him at least a bit of redemption there at the end.
What inspired Midcity and the Disillusionist series, was it something you had on your mind, or something that you carefully planned?
A lot of ideas start with “what if” scenarios, and mine sure did. I had just read a super depressing book, and it made me feel bad. Disillusioned with life. I thought, if I had an enemy, I would give them this book as a gift, so that they could feel as disillusioned as I did. And then I thought, what if there were people who actually did that? Psychologically attacked people? What it if was a hit squad? When I got that hook, I was reading Laurell K. Hamilton at the time, and I thought, this could be urban fantasy plot.
Justine had a bad case of hypochondria, and her friends all have their own issues. Did you have to do any research in to those neurosis to help write your characters?
No! LOL. It’s all just imagining. I went through a time of being freaked out about my health - not like Justine, but enough to be able to imagine how debilitating it would be to have the extreme version of that. Or, to be extremely angry, extremely paranoid. I think we all contain enough of those things - and know enough people - to fill in the blanks.
If you had to chose a couple from a different series for Packard and Justine to go on a double date, which couple would you chose and what would they do?
Hah! Great question. Well, I love Clay and Elena from Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. It might be nice for them to go to a country house for a weekend. I think Packard and Clay would get along well, as would Justine and Elena. Clay and Elena could run around while Packard and Justine lounged. Then they could make sumptuous dinners together.
If you were a member of the Disillusionist gang, what neurosis would you use to zing people?
Snort. I have this thing where, as soon as I leave the house, I think I might have left the stove on, or that I might have forgotten to lock the door and I have to go back and look. Sometimes twice! I suppose that’s a touch of OCD. But, that would really mess up a criminal, don’t you think? To zing them with it?
Do you have your own personal Gumby? If you do, what position would he be in right now?
I have no Gumby! I mean to get one. Though, actually my cat would destroy it. But, he’d be…middling. I have to go exercising soon and totally don’t want to.
I’m a writer living in Minneapolis with my husband and two daring cats. I work a day job as a freelance advertising writer, and have for years. I’ve also waited tables at a surprising number of Minneapolis restaurants and bars (though not as many, incidentally, as my writer husband has). I’ve also been a shop clerk and a plastics factory worker, which I was dismal at (think I Love Lucy).
Also, I can relate almost any life experience to one or another Star Trek episodes, and if you invite me to your party, your cheese plate will be in grave danger. During rare moments when I’m not at my computer, I can be found reading in bed, running, helping animals, or eating Mexican food.
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