About C.J. Carella:
C.J. Carella grew up in South America and bounced around assorted parts of the US. He has written over twenty roleplaying books for such companies as Palladium Books, Steve Jackson Games and Eden Studios. He is now moving into fiction with his new series of superhero/alternate history novels, the New Olympus Saga, beginning with Armageddon Girl.
While not writing, C.J. spends his time in assorted geeky hobbies, including reading, movies and gaming (computer and tabletop). He dwells in West Haven, CT.
What inspires you to write?
For me writing starts with ideas, mostly “what-ifs.” What if the superheroes from the Golden Age of Comics and pulp fiction had been real? What if alien monsters from another dimension started popping up in today’s world? And many others. Once I’m working, the next stage of inspiration revolves around the characters: through their eyes I can explore the ideas while they deal with their own personal issues along the way.
Tell us about your writing process.
I usually start with a basic idea of the plot of the book, but it’s been my experience that both plot and characters develop best if left to move along organically. i usually end up letting the action evolve naturally rather than try to force an outline onto the story. And often a character I thought was going to go one way ends up turning into a very different person by the time the book is over.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I mostly listen. Once I get into a character’s head, it’s much easier to understand her/his choices and dialog. I create the situation and try to let the characters make decisions based on what kind of person they are.
What advice would you give other writers?
This isn’t an easy path. if you do it for the money, I suggest doing anything else: a minimum wage job is more likely to produce profit than writing. If you do it because you can’t avoid writing, then keep at it. Keep working, keep improving, and keep putting your stuff out there. There have never been so many ways to reach your audience; study the market and figure out the best way for you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I worked in the gaming industry (and wrote over twenty published books) for a long time. When I decided to go into fiction, I tried the traditional method of submitting a work to a “mainstream” publisher. What finally convinced me to switch was time: after the first rejection (which took almost five months), I realized I’d have to spend years waiting for responses, without any guarantees those responses would be positive. So I decided to self-publish, and a year and five books later, I feel I made the right choice. I’m connecting with my audience and making some money doing it. At this point, I’d say, if you’re young and don’t mind spending 3-5 years looking for an agent/publisher, then go for the traditional publishing route. Otherwise, look into self-publishing.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think traditional publishing isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future, but it’s not going to be the same as before. E-books are going to keep transforming the ways people read and purchase books, and those companies that learn to adapt will do well; those that don’t will lose market share and likely will disappear. Self-publishing has gone from vanity press to a viable choice for a lot of people, but the fact remains that there are many, many writers are there, so success remains the province of a minority, although a larger one than it was when only a handful of gatekeepers decided what books made it to the audience. I think we live in exciting times.
What do you use?: Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Science fiction, fantasy, horror, paranormal, superheroes
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print