Sunday, February 2, 2014

Email Interview with Caroline Swart

Here is an email interview I did with Caroline Swart, author of Liquid Gold and Aspen and the Dream Walkers!!  Thank you Caroline!

1. Please tell us a little about where you are from.
I'm from a sleepy coastal town in South Africa called Port Elizabeth in South Africa. I travel between America and Africa regularly and have lived in Atlanta and New Jersey before.
2. When did you publish your first book?  What was the title of the book?
My first book, Liquid Gold, was published in 2010 and it's about two college students in Idaho who are in the cross hairs of a giant oil cartel because of a family-kept bio-fuel secret. The book has plenty of action and there's a budding romance between the two main characters.
3. What hobbies do you enjoy in your free time?
I was a professional singer many years ago, and still sing in a band at the occasional function or pub night. Being an avid reader, you can always catch me with my nose in an e-reader, and I've been known to dabble with a paint brush at times.
4. Would you tell us a little about your next book in the Dream Walker Series?
 The Dream Walkers consist of four clans, Power, Water, Fire and Wind, so there's a lot of scope for new characters and books in the series. I wanted to write about Ruby and Caden next. Ruby had a good reason for making Aspen jealous and Caden, the handsome blond Water Walker, knows just how to fire up her temper. His family is against clan-mixing so there's going to be a lot of conflict and romantic tension between the two of them. She is such a beautiful character and so firey that I couldn't resist giving her a story of her own. The book is called Ruby and the Fire Walkers. Of course the tale wouldn't be complete without a villain. Lord Andreas, the leader of the chancellors in Lanta, survived the attack on his castle and is looking for revenge. Unfortunately Ruby decides to follow Caden when he goes after his missing twin brother in Muda, just as Andreas is looking for someone to punish...

5. The idea of the Dream Walker series is very intriguing.  Where did your inspiration for this series come from?
My niece, Aspen Swart, asked for a young adult book and I created the world of Lanta with the main character being named after her. Most of the characters in my books are named after friends and family - it's a fun way of involving them in my work. I decided to write about nightmares because kids hate them and I could picture evil creatures feeding on the fear they generate. Lavendula is loosely based on REM (Rapid eye movement), which is the stage when your brain dreams and nightmares happen. REM typically lasts for ten minutes a few times during the night while you sleep. That's why Lavendula is shorter than Lemona. Imagining clans of warriors who fight the nightmares and save children from bad dreams was the next step and I wanted them to be on another plane or world to make the story more exciting. I keep picturing new towns, new super powers and incredible characters in my head, so hopefully the stories will get richer and more interesting as they evolve.
6. Have your life experiences had an impact on your writing?
Absolutely. I worked at a Drive-In late at night in a deserted ticket office when I was a teenager. Every night I wondered what was waiting for me outside of the office door while the sounds of the movies echoed around me. That inspired a host of stories in my head. Couple that with the thousands of novels that I've read and also with being involved in the music industry - which is a fantasy in itself - on stage, on television and in casinos, and you'll understand where I get my inspiration from.
7. How long have you been writing?
Since junior school. I would entertain my friends with self-penned, short novels and wanted to hug my English teacher when he said I should consider a career in writing.

8. What is your favorite quote?
If you don't have a dream, how are you going to make a dream come true? (Oscar Hammerstein)
If I could create my own quote it would be as follows:
Opportunity is like a wave. When it's cresting, don't wait - grab your surfboard and ride it.

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