Interview with Demelza Carlton
What was your inspiration for See You In Hell?
Are you sure you want me to answer that? It started on a train ride that was far worse than anything you might encounter on the London Tube – said a commuter who didn’t even make it into the sardine tin of a train carriage. Now, I did manage to squeeze in…and so did a man carrying a briefcase with hard, sharp corners.
Why the precise description of a briefcase?
Well, for the identikit photo after the assault…
The train came to a sudden stop and then started again, so that we all came close to falling over like dominoes but managed to straighten up in time. My problems started when that briefcase went straight up my skirt and wedged between my cheeks. Oh yes, those cheeks.
My first response was to kill the case’s owner, but a quick glance at the man told me he was as weary as I was and that he was completely unaware of where his bag was…and if I told him, the hundred other commuters would know that I had a badly-behaved briefcase up my bum.
So…it was either endure the discomfort only I knew about…or feel equally uncomfortable, knowing a hundred other people (who I catch the train with every day) also knew I’d had a stranger’s luggage up my backside.
Ten painful minutes later, I left the train – walking very stiffly, admittedly – telling myself only an angel would be able to put up with this sort of Hell every day without screaming or killing someone.
So when I made it home…I wrote a short story about an angel, working in a corporate Hell. Further short stories followed…until, a year later, I decided to write it into a book. Or three.
As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?
The day I realised I had to publish Ocean’s Gift. I’d mentioned in passing to a friend that I’d written the book and he expressed a wish to read it. I honestly just thought he was being polite, but I (very nervously) gave him a copy. I never expected him to read it or speak of it again.
I wrote Ocean’s Gift, my first novel, in the space of three weeks, before deciding what I wanted to do with it. I figured it’d be worth a shot to try and publish it, but there was the question of how. Whether to try and find an agent, submit to traditional and small press publishers, go vanity publishing or take the enormous step and self-publish it.
So, evening came and my friend rang me, saying he’d started reading it soon after I gave it to him and he couldn’t stop. I think he read the whole book that day and he was full of compliments that I could write something he enjoyed so much. This is a guy who’ll send back a whole case of wine because he doesn’t like the taste of the first sip – and I was stunned to discover that I’d given him his preferred literary vintage on my first attempt.
That day made the decision for me – I HAD to publish Ocean’s Gift.
It took a further three months with beta readers and editors before I self-published the book, but it did happen.
Where do you get your best ideas?
In bed. Oh, hang on, that sounds really bad. At about 5 in the morning, when I’ve just woken up and can’t get back to sleep because an idea’s taken hold I just have to play with it…no, I think that sounds even worse. It’s true, though. My best ideas come in bed, in the shower, or during some form of heart-pumping exercise. I don’t think there’s any clean way I can say this.
Incidentally, I don’t write erotica.
What is a typical writing day like for you? How many hours do you write per week?
There’s no such thing as a typical writing day! For example, this week I allocated three full days to writing a new book and I’ve written less than five thousand words of the book (when I can usually write that in a day), but the amount of research I’ve done for it is huge. Classic motorcycles, 1920s shipwrecks and tales of real-life rescue and survival, coroner’s reports from the time…down to the newspaper articles and photos of a very real shipwreck in the Indian Ocean. Oddly enough, this particular disaster occurred over ninety years ago, in the same area where they’re currently searching for MH370.
Can you describe the feeling you get when you see your published book for the first time?
Thrilled, elated, proud…actually, I think it was the first time I saw the paperback proof for Ocean’s Gift. The ebook was cool, but it was absolutely something else to be able to hold a book with my name on the front…and my photographs on the cover, too, which made it even more remarkable.
What surprised me is that it doesn’t go away for future books, either. Every time I hold the first paperback copy of one of my books for the first time…it’s just as thrilling. I think my local parcel delivery guy thinks I have a crush on him, I’m always so happy to see him arrive with one of those Createspace boxes…
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
It’s a product and not a baby. It’s perfectly legal and acceptable to pimp it out, offer it for an insanely bargain price online and give it away to people. You won’t be up on child abuse charges for making your book available and accessible to people.
What is your greatest challenge when writing a book? Do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
When I get so involved in the story that it breaks my heart to write a particular scene. There’s one scene in See You in Hell that made me tear up every time and there’s a couple in the sequel, Mel Goes to Hell, that leave me absolutely bawling. Oh, and not just when I write them, either – even when I go back to proofread those scenes. I don’t give spoilers, so I’ll have to leave it a mystery as to which scenes those were.
As for tips on how to make the journey easier…keep a box of tissues handy on the desk, write those scenes when there’s plenty of time for your red, swollen eyes to shrink back to normal and listen to your characters.
Except if the character is Lucifer and he’s telling you it’s a good idea for him not to wear any pants for this scene. My advice is to tell him to go to Hell.
About The Book
A devilishly hot CEO. The angelic new office temp. A match made in Heaven or Hell?
Melody Angel takes a job as a temp at the HELL Corporation. Surrounded by eternal bureaucracy gone mad, demons who love making life miserable, and dying for a decent coffee, it may take a miracle for Mel’s mission to succeed. She must find out what evil plans Lucifer and his minions have in store and stop them, using any means necessary.
Adding trouble and temptation to Mel’s job is Luce Iblis, the damnably hot CEO, who has set his smouldering eyes on the new office angel and he’s determined to claim her, body and soul.
Can ultimate evil and angelic perfection escape a limbo of desire and find a paradise of their own?
A tiny taste of what’s in store
“Do you know how long you’ve made me wait?” Luce lifted his chin. “Close the door.”
Mel turned and kicked the door shut with the sole of one shoe. The click of it closing coincided with her eyes meeting Luce’s once more.
“Now strip and get your arse on the desk,” Luce instructed.
Mel stared at him. He couldn’t be serious, could he?
“Every other girl in this building knows how to do as she’s told. Do you know how many girls I’ve had on this desk? You should consider yourself lucky. The last one I had in here was so quick getting undressed that I managed to give her a full fifteen minutes of my time. At this rate, you’ll be lucky to have five.”
Mel became transfixed by the timber desktop. “Did you wipe it clean afterwards?”
“What?” Luce’s face reddened.
Mel Goes to Hell series
• Welcome to Hell – A Short Story (#1 in the series) – Free Purchase Links
•See You in Hell (#2)
•Mel Goes to Hell (#3) – to be released in July 2014
About The Author
Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish. She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.
Sensationalist spin? No – Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all.
Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.
The Ocean’s Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by her suspense thriller Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn’t leave her alone.