What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* Carla Caruso was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only 'escaped' for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide's daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman's Day and Shop Til You Drop.
* These days, she plays mum to twin lads Alessio and Sebastian with hubby James. Visit www.carlacaruso.com.au.
Today Carla Caruso will be talking about how she handles balancing life and writing.
* Ah, the age-old dilemma! The work/life/writing balance. I know I’m not alone in struggling to find time to write. Many authors still hold down day jobs until their fiction-writing really takes off and earns them enough to cover the bills.
* My story? I am a work-at-home mum and write during the afternoon naps of my two-year-old twin boys. Their (simultaneous) naps usually last about two-and-a-half hours. My husband also works out of home as a freelance photographer, so sometimes, if he’s around, I can ask if he’ll – pretty please – look after the boys while I finish the scene I’m writing, which allows me to stretch out my time.
* I used to write at night as well, but my boys have recently taken to getting up at 5am – ! – and I’d wind up too cranky and tired the next day. So I’m winding down and going to bed earlier!
* Writing for just a few hours a day is a slower process, but I figure it’s not forever. Once the boys turn about three or four, they’ll be better at amusing themselves for longer periods…right? And, hey, they’ll only be little for a short time!
* I feel lucky to have the luxury to juggle parenting and writing this way. When my boys were newborns (and sleeping more during the day), I was still editing a non-profit organisation’s magazine part-time from home as well as writing fiction. But in the past year I’ve chosen to focus as much as possible on my fiction work, in between being a mum, and see where it takes me. After all, when else will I have the chance to give it a red-hot go?
* Writing makes me happy, and it’s addictive. Plus, I believe, if you want the words to flow, you have to write most days – every day if possible – to ‘keep your head’ in a story.
* I know another author who works full-time in a government job, then stays back in her office to work on her current manuscript for two hours until her husband comes to pick her up.
* I used to do something similar before I had kids. I’d work full-time as a freelance journalist during the day, then write my fiction stuff at night. You’ll always have to squeeze your writing around something else. It’s not realistic to be chained to your keyboard all day – and where would you find the inspiration if you were? :)
* Plus, at the end of the day, you’ve got to work at the pace and style that suits you. There’s no need to be a workhorse if it won’t make you happy. Writing should be fun.
* Good luck to those reading with your balancing act!
* She's joined her best friend, Nessie, on a health and wellness retreat at a mysterious old manor on the island, run by an astrology guru.
* Though Simona's sworn off men, she can't help being distracted by a darkly dangerous man with a scorpion tattoo - Denham Cobalt - who's also staying at the manor. Then strange things start to happen, including uncanny accidents and even a possible murder.
* It all culminates at a masquerade party on the night of a total lunar eclipse. Will Simona survive - with her heart intact?
* The noise had seemed to come more from the right side of the room, behind the wardrobe. Almost inside the wall. Which was ridiculous. She turned her head, peering into the darkness. 3:08 glowed in fluorescent green digits on the alarm clock radio.
* Grasping the covers under her chin, Simona lay still, waiting for more, her ears pricked. Three glow-in-the-dark star stickers shone down from the ceiling. She imagined a travelling mum sticking them there to soothe their child, remind them of home. Unfortunately Simona needed more than that to placate her.
* Aside from the occasional breathy snort from Nessie, though, silence reigned. Her friend had finally hit the pillow after kicking on to play pool with some backpacker. She had called Simona a stick-in-the-mud earth sign for leaving the pub early. Nessie always had a knack for making her feel dull.
* Simona strained her ears. Still nothing. Her writer’s imagination had obviously conjured up the footsteps. Pity, as she had found it hard to get to sleep in the first place. Phone in her possession again, she had been kept up, mulling over a three-star Goodreads review from a writers’ group pal. Yup, three measly stars. Friends were meant to give you five stars, or four at least to look realistic. It was an unofficial rule.
* But her supposed mate, who had hidden behind a code name (undone by the profile pic of her pet dog), hadn’t been so generous. She had written: I fell in love with the rugged hero and the unique story. The only shame was that some of the more intriguing plotlines weren’t further explored, sacrificed for the romance aspect of the book …
* Um, it was a romance novel, hence, the emphasis on that particular component. Really. Of course, any criticism only hurt because she feared it was true: she was her own worst critic.
* Then, just as Simona was drifting off, Nessie had crashed home, flicking on the lamp so that she could put on her so-called ‘lucid dreaming’ sleep mask. Another bizarre Nessie-style item. This one, she reckoned, helped encourage creative thinking. Though what Nessie needed it for, Simona didn’t know. Dreaming up more crazy holiday ideas? If anyone required it, it was Simona with her severe case of writer’s block.
* And now? Now she was imagining things that went bump in the night.
* Why oh why had she been fooled into believing going on holiday with a friend would be fun? It never was. She would have had more luck with inspiration striking at home. Where the internet was never far from her fingertips, and her thoughts weren’t clouded by no-good men.
* Willing sleep to come soon, Simona unearthed an arm from beneath the doona and stretched to tap the bedside table three times. For luck — in case she wasn’t crazy and someone really was lurking about. Touching wood was a vice of hers. Nessie would probably say it had something to do with her being an earth sign and needing to be close to Nature. Really it just meant she was a tad OCD. Besides, the footsteps she’d heard before probably were just in her head — a symbol of her fear of being walked out on again.
ANNOUNCEMENT! Carla Caruso will be awarding an eCopy of Starcrossed to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. So be sure to leave a comment AND use the Rafflecopter below. Also, visit the other tour stops for a greater chance of winning!
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