I asked. He answered. D.B. Carter is here to give the people what they want...the answers to these great questions! From what he thinks makes a good story to the challenges he's come across and how he's overcome them. Follow D.B Carter on Twitter and Facebook for more.
So, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your author journey?
I’ve written for as long as I can remember. An early memory is standing at a chair, using it as a table when I was writing a story for my grandmother – I'm sure the story was not impressive, but it gives you the general idea of how young I was when I started. I doubt I was more than four years old. My parents were artists and encouraged all forms of creativity. I also had a wonderful and supportive English teacher at school; he always read anything I wrote and gave me honest feedback and advice.
Once I left school, I didn’t share my writing with anyone for a long time. My wife was the first person who read any piece I’d written. It took until I was in my late 40’s and had lost several close friends and family that I realised I wanted to write and no longer had “all the time in the world”. Then, the story for my first novel, “The Cherries”, formed in my mind and I couldn’t stop writing.
What book are you currently promoting? Tell us about it.
I’m presently promoting two works. I released my second novel at the end of 2019, “The Wild Roses” and a short novella in February this year, called “Ups and Downs”.
“The Wild Roses” is set in small-town England during the 1980s. It’s a drama with a dash of mystery and some romantic threads woven in. Three friends in their mid-to-late teens, Sharon, Pip and Gavin, find their lives and relationships torn apart after one of them has a chance meeting. It’s about betrayal, obsession and anger, but also about friendship, forgiveness and the light of hope.
“Ups and Downs” is a short contemporary romantic novella set in London. Carol is a successful self-made businesswoman whose company faces a disaster. It turns out there is only one person who can help – the man she she’d wronged years before. It’s a light-hearted romance, but it has some serious topics and even an unexpected twist or two.
What advice can you give other author's out there?
Don’t be afraid to try new things and new ideas. Share your work with people and take constructive criticism on board. That said, stick to your principles and don’t be afraid to find your own voice and style.
What do you think makes a good story?
I like believable characters and for their actions to be reasoned (even if I as the reader wouldn’t do the same thing). I enjoy stories which take us on a journey of development – some of my favourite novels, such as “Jane Eyre”, “Far from the Madding Crowd”, “Little Dorrit” and “Brideshead Revisited”, span many years and see the characters grow and change along with the story.
What are your interests outside of writing?
I still enjoy drawing and painting – especially cartoons. I collect books, as well as antiquarian maps and prints. As well as fiction, I enjoy reading non-fiction and I’m interested in most things, including science, mathematics, art, biography, and economics. Art history is a particular interest, and I have several bookshelves devoted to the subject – I'm fascinated by the history of printing, from early woodcuts, to copper and steel engravings.
I read Computer Science at university and later spent some time in research, specialising in AI and Machine Learning. I still enjoy programming (I started when I was a young lad back in the late 70s/early 80s) and I like to tinker with project ideas.
My guilty pleasure is a cryptic crossword. I do at least one every day – I find it keeps the mind active and helps me forget the worries of the world for a little while.
What challenge have you come across whilst writing, and how did you overcome it?
I find writing itself to be a challenge at times – just bringing myself to put pen to paper (or more accurately finger to keyboard) can require a great psychological effort. It’s finding that bridge from what’s in my mind to the written word – it can be exhausting.
However, my biggest challenge was (and remains) self-confidence. I come up with an idea, I’m enthusiastic, I write it down and edit it. But then, just as I’m finishing, the doubts creep in and I ask myself why anyone would ever want to read it – if it wasn’t for family and friends being kind and supportive beta readers, I don’t know if I’d ever have summoned the courage to contact a publisher.
If you could tell your young writing self anything, what would it be?
To keep what you write, however bad you think it is. In time you’ll want to go back and see your old ideas again; learn from your mistakes but draw from the unbridled imagination of youth. I deeply regret throwing out most of my old work.