Today I have author Carissa Ann Lynch on my blog. She is the author of the best selling ‘Have You Seen This Girl?’.
What made you start writing? Was it always your ambition to become a published author? Why was this?
My love for writing started with my love for books. For the record, I spend WAY more time reading than writing. I take a book with me everywhere I go. In fact, I often joke with people that there’s a greater chance of me leaving my driver’s license at home than leaving my book at home. I carry whatever I’m reading from room to room, and I read every free chance I get.
When I was young, I enjoyed writing silly poems, songs, and some short stories. But I never really wanted to write a novel.
My first book was a total fluke. It was late at night and I’d just finished the book I was reading. I couldn’t fall asleep or decide on a new book to read, so I got this crazy idea – to write my own book. I thought it would be easy but it wasn’t. But I kept going and going because I had to see how my own story would end.
I never planned on submitting it to publishers, but my sister pushed me to do it. When I got my first publishing contract, I don’t think anyone was more shocked than me. I thought they’d sent the email to the wrong person. The day my first book released was one of the best days of my life, so I made it a mission to keep writing so I could experience that awesome feeling of holding my book in my hand again and again.
The thing about writing is it’s a lot like reading, only I get to decide what happens next and control the outcome of the book.
Your stories concentrate on young adults and have a dark theme, what made you want to write these stories?
I have a degree in psychology and I’ve always been fascinated with the darker areas of the human mind and personality. I like to write about anti-heroes and villains, and address serious real-life fears. Fear is a strong emotion and for me, it’s the easiest one to write about. Writing about what scares me comes naturally to me.
Life lessons or pure entertainment, which of these characterises your stories?
Both. Almost all of my books focus on social problems or psychological issues that are important to me. In the Flocksdale Files, I addressed serious topics such as human trafficking, drug addiction, sexual violence, and post-traumatic stress. But some of my other books, like Cheerleading Can Be Murder, are lighter in content and more for entertainment value. I rarely plan on a “lesson”, but by the end of the book I’ve usually tried to make one.
Can you describe your writing process if you have one?
I usually set a daily word count goal and I try to follow it until the book is complete. I don’t take off weekends or holidays; I keep going until it is done. But once done, I often take a month off to read, plot future book ideas, and relax my brain. I know some people say you should write every day, but I don’t. I need time to just read and get prepped for the next writing binge. When I write, I do it compulsively and it can be mentally exhausting. I often exceed my writing goals and it’s not uncommon for me to miss an entire night’s sleep while I’m writing.
You are the author of the successful ‘Flocksdale Files’ series. What was the inspiration behind these books?
There are so many things that inspired me to write the Flocksdale Files. Drug addiction is an important issue to me – personally and professionally. I live in an area where drugs and HIV are an epidemic. So, Wendi’s character was born out of my desire to portray an accurate portrait of someone struggling with heroin addiction. I didn’t care if her character was pretty or nice, or what people thought of her. I wanted her to be raw and real, and bear her soul for all to see.
But I also wanted to address other serious topics, such as sexual violence and trafficking. I’ll be honest – when that series started, Wendi Wise took over the reins and controlled that story. That series was the most emotionally exhausting and emotionally satisfying series I’ve ever written.
‘Cheerleading can be Murder’ is your latest release. Can you tell us a little about this book and will there be other books in the series?
Cheerleading Can Be Murder is the first book in a three-book series called Horror High. It’s about eleven girls who are vying for six spots on the Varsity cheer squad. As though getting on the squad and dealing with every day high school drama isn’t hard enough, there’s a sociopath on the loose in Harrow Hill. He (or she) is determined to take out the cheerleaders, one by one.
The second book in the series is called Cutting Up the Competition and it just released! Book three is called Killer Moves and I just finished writing it. It will be out soon as soon editing is complete.
I like to put books in a series out as quickly as possible because I know, as a reader, how bad it stinks when I have to wait for the next one to come out LOL.
Your stories are full of mystery, suspense and thrills, is this genre you like to read? Do you have a favourite author?
I enjoy reading all genres. From cheesy romance to hardcore sci-fi…you name it, I’ll read it. But mystery and horror are my favorite genres. I have so many favorite authors but if I had to choose one it would be Chuck Palahniuk. I adore his edgy, minimalist style and the shocking way he lays out a story. I think I’ve read “Fight Club” at least fifteen times.
Do you invest time in your social media presence? If so, why is this important for an author?
Yes, I absolutely do. I’ve had to work for everything I’ve had in my life and I think writing should be no different. If I want to be a successful writer, then I have to put forth the effort to get my name out there. Since I’m still fairly new on the writing scene, I have to get out there and meet readers and establish my platform. There are so many books out there; I want to make sure people see mine. We live in a virtual world now and readers want to be able to interact with authors and know what’s going on in their lives. I have an amazing street team – Flocksdale’s Finest.
Where do you like to write? Why is this place good for writing?
My favorite writing spot is outside on my back porch on a semi-sunny day. But my kids don’t always allow me to write in one place. I write on my laptop and I carry it from room to room. It’s not the ideal way to write, but it’s the way I have to do it at this time. And most of the time, I do my best writing late at night while the rest of the world is asleep.
Here’s a pic of my laptop out on the back porch. In case you’re wondering, that IS duct tape on the sides of it. I love my laptop and I just can’t bear to give it up for a new one yet.
What’s next for Carissa Ann Lynch?
I have so many books coming out this year, so get ready! Cutting Up the Competition (Horror High Book #2) just came out. Killer Moves (Horror High Book #3) will be out soon. I also have a ghost suspense novel, Searching for Sullivan, scheduled to release in a few months. And an anthology I wrote for charity called “13” comes out October 4th.
I’m currently working on another series about a cult.
Getting on the cheerleading squad is hard enough without a psycho on the loose…
For Harrow High freshman Dakota Densford, life should be easy. All she has to worry about is talking to cute boys and remembering her locker combination. But when cheerleading tryouts draw near, she learns the cards are stacked against her—spots on the varsity team are limited. Dakota faces her competition head-on, but when her life is threatened, that takes the competition to a whole new level.
High school is never easy, and freshman year is off to a rough start…
Between Dakota’s uniform being ripped up and masked vandals trashing another girl’s house, everyone is suspect. To complicate matters further, Dakota has a thing for Andy McGraw, but she finds him locking lips with another girl.
The harassment continues, and when Dakota finds suspicious flyers inside her best friend’s locker, she doesn’t know what to think. The principal’s unfeeling, overachiever daughter, Brittani Barlow, will do anything to secure her place on the team. But Dakota’s neighbor, on the other hand, definitely fits the profile of a sociopath.
Cheerleading has become a game of life or death.
Besides my family, my greatest love in life is books. Reading them, writing them, holding them, smelling them…well, you get the idea. I’ve always loved to read, and some of my earliest childhood memories are me, tucked away in my room, lost in a good book. I received a five dollar allowance each week, and I always — always — spent it on books. My love affair with writing started early, but it mostly involved journaling and writing silly poems. Several years ago, I didn’t have a book to read so I decided on a whim to write my own story, something I’d like to read. It turned out to be harder than I thought, but from that point on I was hooked. My first and second books were released by Sarah Book Publishing: This Is Not About Love and Grayson’s Ridge. I’m a total genre-hopper. Basically, I like to write what I like to read: a little bit of everything! I reside in Floyds Knobs, Indiana with my husband, three children, and massive collection of books. I have a degree in psychology and worked as a counselor.