Monday, October 22, 2018

Sword and Sorceress 33 Author Interviews: Margaret L. Carter

Enter a wondrous universe…the latest volume of Sword and Sorceress, featuring stories from new and seasoned authors. Herein you will find tales of fantasy with strong female characters, with some version of either martial skill or magic. Not all the protagonists will be human, and sometimes the magic will take highly original forms, but the emotional satisfaction in each story and in the anthology as a whole, remains true to the original vision. The release date will be November 2, 2018.

Deborah J. Ross: Tell us a little about yourself.  How did you come to be a writer?
Margaret L. Carter: Reading Dracula at the age of twelve lured me into classic horror, then fantasy and “soft” science fiction. Especially in the horror genre, I read everything I could find, mainly in the public library, because I didn’t have much money for books at that age. I started writing to get more of the kinds of stories I wanted to read. I particularly wanted fiction sympathetic to or from the viewpoint of the “monster.” Those stories were hard to find in the 1960s, so I created my own. My first publications, in my early twenties, were a pair of horror anthologies I edited, Curse of the Undead and Demon Lovers and Strange Seductions (which go to show how much easier it was to break into mass market paperback at that time than it is now). Soon afterward, I wrote a book on vampirism in literature, which was released by an obscure small press, the first non-subsidy publisher I could find to accept it, not a good experience overall. My first professional fiction sale was a story in a Marion Zimmer Bradley anthology, Free Amazons of Darkover!

DJR: What inspired your story in Sword and Sorceress 33?
MLC: Having started my career as an aspiring horror writer, I’ve always enjoyed a well-done ghost story, and I didn’t remember having seen many ghost stories in the Sword and Sorceress anthologies. I wanted to write something with a light, humorous tone, though, not truly scary. Since I love libraries and books, the library of a magical university immediately struck me as an appropriate setting. And having spent many years in graduate school myself, I found it plausible to create a character so absorbed in research that she could lose track of more than just time.

DJR: How does your writing process work?
MLC: I outline extensively, because the first-draft process is slow and difficult for me. Without having the work planned in advance, I would get bogged down in the middle and probably quit in discouragement.  Even for a short story, I at least jot down a one- or two-sentence summary of each scene before writing.

DJR: What have you written recently? What lies ahead?
MLC: Writers Exchange E-Publishing is in the process of re-releasing many of my previously published fantasy, horror, and paranormal romance novels, including the four-book “Wild Sorceress” series coauthored with my husband, and, more recently, a vampire romance, Passion in the Blood. I’ve sold Yokai Magic, a new light paranormal romance novella inspired by Japanese folklore, to the Wild Rose Press. A humorous story, “Therapy for a Vampire,” is forthcoming in the small press zine Night to Dawn.

DJR: What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
MLC: Read a lot, both within and outside your chosen genre. Write on a regular basis (although specific recommendations such as “write every day” or “produce a fixed number of words per day” should be adjusted to the habits and needs of each individual). Also, I’d endorse one of Robert Heinlein’s classic “rules”: Finish what you write. (Some excellent writers don’t reached that point even after years of work on a single project.) Seek the help of a critique partner or writers’ group. Never give up.
Margaret L. Carter  and her husband, a retired naval officer, live in Maryland and have four sons, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a St. Bernard, and two cats. Please visit her website, Carter's Crypt:

Reading Dracula at the age of twelve ignited Margaret L. Carter's interest in a wide range of speculative fiction and inspired her to become a writer. Vampires, however, have always remained close to her heart. Her work on vampirism in literature includes Dracula: The Vampire and the Critics, The Vampire in Literature: A Critical Bibliography, and Different Blood: The Vampire As Alien. She holds a PhD in English, and her dissertation contained a chapter on Dracula. In fiction, she has written horror, fantasy, and paranormal romance. Recent publications include Crimson Dreams(vampire romance), Demon’s Fall(paranormal romance novella), Heart’s Desires and Dark Embraces(story collection, fantasy and paranormal romance), and Legacy of Magic (sword and sorcery, in collaboration with her husband, Leslie Roy Carter). A humorous paranormal romance novella, "Yokai Magic," drawing upon Japanese folklore, is forthcoming. Margaret has had stories in previous Sword and Sorceress and Darkover anthologies.She and her husband, a retired naval officer, live in Maryland and have four sons, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a St. Bernard, and two cats. Please visit her website, Carter's Crypt:

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