Name Cara J Alexander
Where are you from Cannock, Staffordshire, England
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Cara is my pen name, kept away from my own “real me”. Merging the 2 for a moment, I had what used to be a High School education. In hindsight I never applied myself enough in those years, doing just enough to get by – at least that was what my reports said. I never felt that I had missed out by not going to a university, worked in a bank from the age of 17 and enjoyed most of it. Married with 2 daughters – although Cara is most definitely a single woman, very strong, feisty, ambitious etc. Of course Cara did have that full education and uses her knowledge to her advantage – she’s quite ruthless. Nothing like the real me.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I currently have 3 e-books on Amazon and have another 3 in various stages. I find it impossible to work on one continuously but can manage better by flitting from one to another. It’s almost as though an idea crops up for one story that may work in another.
Ideas / work in progress –
- My first attempt at a fantasy / science fiction novel. 6000 + words so far – I could introduce a little erotica into the story but then again, it may work equally well without.
- An 18th Century Highwayman who meets; falls in love with a young black lady rescued from the clutches of the slave trade from Senegal. Possibly erotic (some of it) but difficult to research so far.
- The story I started on first but never got off the ground. A Cara like young woman, dual personality, by day she buys / sells art by night she’s a cat burglar stealing some of the items she failed to buy at auctions etc. My first try was at 30000 words but I felt was going nowhere. I stripped it down, cut 75% of it and changed her character completely. She’s (Maria) much more interesting as a real baddy!!!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started as recently as 12 -18 months ago. Strangely, I had one of those nights where I couldn’t sleep, this story of Maria was going round and round and I felt that I should note it down. Having started and lost my way with it, I moved on to other stories and only recently went back to Maria. It was almost as if I owed it to her to complete her story.
Why? – Difficult, having worked for a bank, it felt as though I never needed an imagination. Only after leaving did I realise – yes, it’s still here and working.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I suppose once I had that first sale it made me think that I had written something for someone else to enjoy (hopefully). I’m still not sure that I could classify myself as a true writer to stand alongside the great and/or successful writers of the past and present. But I can only do my best, if people like my work they might buy it, if not – they won’t. Like others I’m a terrible critic, each time I read through my “work in progress” I change something. My brain tells me to leave it until the story is finished and then review it as a whole but I find that so hard to do. Maybe the answer to your question will come along when I hit a certain number of sales – who knows?
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’m going back to Maria, she was the inspiration. My dream, the lady who kept me awake for hours. Since then, the three stories have come from (1) an idea after a court case went wrong (2) a young lady having a clothing malfunction in a supermarket (3) a game of cards when my mind went into overdrive. Yes the 2nd and 3rd are my two attempts at erotica to date.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Not really, My first is written with 2 people being “first person” with the story being told in sections by both plus other sections being in “third person.” The two erotic stories are both first person but the three being worked on are third person. At this stage I’m not certain which I enjoy or find most rewarding.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
- Seven Plus Five Equals Murder – 12 on a jury, 7 initially went for a not guilty verdict, but head juror bribed etc 5 of them to change their minds. Cara’s father (ok that’s where my name came from) died in prison and she’s out for revenge. Just maths really.
- Susannah’s Close Encounter – Clothing malfunction leads to a chance meeting with a hunky doctor at the cheese counter which in turn leads to more intimate encounters.
- Queen of Hearts – a game of Spicy Strip Poker where the Queen of Hearts leads to… you’ll have to read to find out. It just felt an appropriate choice.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not in the slightest, I doubt that I’m brainy enough to hide messages in the text.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
They are all fiction but mixed with a little fact. A part of my characters is me or the me I might like to have been. The fantasy / sci-fi story is as realistic as any other – no-one knows what lies out there in deepest space, tens of millions of light years away and centuries into the future. Only time will tell.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not really, just imagination with a little me thrown in from time to time.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Quite oddly, I enjoy Sports and other biographies as much as anything else. I also loved the Thor Heyerdahl stories of Fatu Hive / Kon-tiki etc.
Fiona: What book are you reading now? Rebecca Branch – The Summer of 71. Rebecca and I became Facebook friends just a couple of months ago – I bought this story and love it. She has a fabulous way of describing everything in great detail while still maintaining my interest, focus and enjoyment.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
As just mentioned, Rebecca has certainly done just that. Her 2nd book Great Caesar’s Ghost is on my Kindle and due to be read next. There are currently 5 or 6 others still to be read – all from Facebook friends.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
We covered this one earlier.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
In my own name I have one friend in particular who has taken every book at the moment of release. With Cara, my FB friends have been great to date.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career? No – just as a hobby.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Make it even sexier maybe, other than that – no. I love the cover and the story.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It all stemmed from that night with no sleep, everything kicked off from that.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My Fantasy – “Contrastes and the Capture of Time.”
My Highwayman – “The Highwayman and the Princess”
I think Contrastes will stay but The Highwayman is not strong enough. I’m certain I will find something else in time, but there is no rush – yet.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find the story beginnings easy enough but never have a fixed plan in mind. I know where I want them to end but getting from one to the other is difficult. I think that was the problem with my Maria story. It meandered too much, and was too far away from the ending I perceived. It needed to be scrapped and restarted.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
At present I am loving Rebecca’s and not just because she has become a close friend. I have never been a great fiction reader and with bios and auto-bios being one-offs they are all so different and unique. Other than those Thor Heyerdahl.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No – Google Earth is great and the net in general can usually supply an answer.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Me – so far with the help of a friendly photographer friend at times. I enjoy that as much as writing.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Keeping myself on track and getting to the finish. I don’t give myself deadlines. I have no need to rush.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Some of the oddest things have been (1) The lunar cycle is not 28 days as I always believed but 29 ¼ or thereabouts. (2) China has 8 of 10 of the largest container ports in the world. (3) She sails hundreds of full container ships weekly but very few take anything back.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
One of my former bosses used the expression “JFDI” – Just effin do it. If you have that idea in your mind and imagination – have a go. We are all unique, everyone’s mind is different and so are our stories – do it.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Keep reading, keep buying your books – as small independent writers, we all need to encourage a sale or two, whether that be to earn a little or just to encourage us to write more.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I do – “South with Scott” my father’s book and I loved it. I still have it in my library – rather well worn these days but still there.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh – I have a really silly sense of humour and have difficulty taking many things seriously. Anything can set off a laugh.
Cry – things like child cruelty, life changing events as portrayed on TV. Heart wrenching stories will reduce me to a wreck.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Cher – she has always been a favourite, she exudes more sexuality than anyone else I can think of. I had the good fortune to see her show in Las Vegas a few years ago, she had the audience in the palm of her hands from the first second.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“Mind your feet please. That’s my head below.” No – seriously I’ve never given it any thought and would prefer to be cremated. I think. However, I’m sticking around for a while longer if you don’t mind.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Golf – 3 times a week. I can’t claim to be any good but it is good healthy fun – as long as you are winning of course.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Comedies, Detectives etc. The Poirot series was so well acted, costumes beautifully made and the storylines so good. Murder in Paradise is my current favourite set in the West Indies.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Foods – Spicy, Chinese / Thai / Indian plus chocolate of course and a variety of fruits.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Had I have been good enough – a golfer. I can dream anyhow,
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My blog is firstname.lastname@example.org although I don’t use it anywhere enough.