Carrie Cross is an avid reader who fell in love with books as a little girl after reading Goodnight Moon. She wrote her first “book” at age four: Blackie the Little Black Dog and the Flying Washing Machine. Carrie discovered her love of mysteries reading Nancy Drew books and The Happy Hollisters series, and after writing THE MYSTERY OF SHADOW HILLS, she continues to look for clues in unexpected places to this day.
Carrie Cross’s influences include Judy Blume, Deb Caletti, Sarah Dessen, and Lee Child. In addition to writing Skylar Robbins mysteries and reading, Carrie loves to cook, hike at the beach, go boating, and travel.
What inspires you to write?
When I was six years old, my parents decided we needed to buy a bigger house. We looked at a creepy two-story in Santa Monica Canyon, and I played hide-and-seek with the little girl who lived there. There were closets and secret hiding places with doors that opened into other rooms. Later, I wondered, “What if there was a clue hidden in one of those closets?” And the idea for the Skylar Robbins mystery series was born.
Tell us about your writing process.
I like to play, “What if?”
What if I explored a creepy old house and found it had a hidden floor? What would I find when I got there? What if I used an ultraviolet light in the attic and found a secret message written on the wall in invisible ink? What would it say? What if I discovered a tunnel hiding under some leaves in my backyard? Where would it lead? I put my main character in that type of situation and let my imagination go wild.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I let independent Skylar Robbins use her brains and her guts to tell me what she wants to do next. There’s always a mystery to solve, and she’s equipped with a detective kit and feisty confidence, so I follow her lead.
What advice would you give other writers?
Never give up! It’s hard to get an agent or a publisher, and even if you do, the author is responsible for most of her own promotion. So don’t give up! Self-publishing is a great alternative to traditional.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After many agent rejection letters, I got signed with Writers House, but they never sold my book. (This was an early draft of a different Skylar Robbins novel.) I used all the constructive criticism I got from my agent and those who rejected my book, and revised and revised. During this time I wrote The Mystery of Shadow Hills. I decided to try the self-publishing route and did that through CreateSpace. It was a great experience and I plan to publish my next book the same way.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I love to hold a book in my hands and am not a fan of e-readers, although I do own one. I think there will always be publishers and printed books, although more and more authors will probably choose to self-publish like I did.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
middle grade fiction, mystery
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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