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Ever wonder what it's like to be in that moment between struggling artist and published author? Read on and find out.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Interview with Donald J Carey - Part II

Randy: What is your favorite part of Bumpy Landings?

Donald: Wow, favorite? Hmm... At the risk of sounding like a narcissistic fanboy, I like everything.

I have a rather dry sense of humor, and that really carries through in the narrative voice and some of the characters. I think that understated humor--and the fact that readers seem to actually get it--is one of my favorite elements.

When it comes to actual scenes, I guess I'd have to say the part where Jordan and Kehau fly to the
Big Island. Each time I read through the manuscript, I got excited when that part came around. There is a lot of emotional tension there, and I think it works well.

Randy: What was the most difficult portion of Bumpy Landings for you to write?

Donald: I'd say the opihi scene was probably one of the hardest to write. It's a somewhat unconventional love scene, and finding the correct balance of physical/environmental/emotional energy was tricky enough, and then to put it into words was a real challenge. It took quite a few drafts to get it to the point it is in the book, and I'm very happy with it.

Another thing that made that scene tough was the decision to change the way Kehau gives
Jordan the opihi. I really like the original, but decided to tone it down for readers who might have thought it a bit too much.

Randy: You recently mentioned a review of Bumpy Landings on Twitter that was somewhat mixed. If you don’t mind my asking, what goes through your mind when you read something like that?

Donald: First, I wonder why everyone can't be as smart as the people who gave Bumpy Landings 5 stars and declared it the best book ever. No, just kidding.

I'll admit, I eagerly take in the praise, while the criticism stings just a bit. I like my book, and I think it's great. But I know it isn't perfect, and I want to grow and improve as a writer, and so I look at the less positive parts of the review as an opportunity to learn.

The worse the review, the greater my determination to really do well on the next book.

Randy: Do you have any advice regarding mixed reviews that you could pass on to up and coming authors?

Donald: Bumpy Landings went through a lot of beta readers, so I have a pretty good idea what the strengths and weaknesses are. I also know that opinions vary from person to person, and not everyone will like what I've written.

So when I read a bit of criticism, I first disregard anything that is opinion. "I don't much care for this kind of book." Okay, fine--not everyone does.

Next, I look to see if the complaint matches what others are saying. If it does, I file it away as a verified issue that needs to be improved in the next book.

If it's something that goes contrary to the bulk of the feedback I've already received, and contrary to what I feel myself, then I give it a little less weight. For example: "One-dimensional, emotionally superficial characters" vs "The characters feel amazingly real" and "Carey’s vivid characters". I think I did the characters well, but still, I'll be extra careful in the next book.

And that's pretty much how I handle a negative review. Also, chocolate and/or ice cream help, too.

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. The funny thing about answers is that they often lead to more questions. If anyone else has some questions of their own they can send them in to me and I’ll see if I can’t convince you to answer another batch.

And just in case talking with Donald got you interested in paper airplanes you can check out this site for 10 designs you can make at home.

Or if Hawaiian chocolate is more your thing here is a site for you.

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