Author Rachel E. Carter of The Black Mage series was very kind to take the time to answer some questions I had for her!
What is it like having your books published?
Unreal. I’ve had these books as daydreams dancing around my head since middle school so every time I hear from a reader who loves them my seventh grade self does a little dance. I never imagined anyone would actually read my books. It’s the most nerve-wracking thing out there, to put your ideas in front of the world, but it’s also the most rewarding.
What was your inspiration for The Black Mage series?
So many things. In books I was always deeply inspired by female fighters (a la Tamora Pierce) in the medieval-fantasy world, so I knew I always wanted to write in that realm… except I wanted the fighting to be about mages. And I wanted to write in sarcastic first-person (a la my hero at the time, Meg Cabot). I liked the idea of magic school (because of Harry Potter?) and moody sorcerers (because I was always writing fanfic of Julian from LJ Smith’s The Forbidden Game as a sorcerer). Ultimately, I was listening to a certain song which shall not be named (for fear of spoilers) in seventh grade and I saw one of the big scenes for the final book in my series. It was an epic duel, so to speak, and the two mages I saw clearly shared a history that made it more difficult to fight. I started to think how did they get there? What circumstances put those two in this situation? Why is it so hard for them? >> I realized that I needed to know more, and work my way forward to that pivotal moment. I always knew where my characters would end up, but I needed to know how. I needed to understand why this moment was the moment I saw them. I needed to know who these two were… and so I started at the beginning. I started at the day they met.
Do you have a specific place where you like to write?
Anywhere that works. Sometimes it’s Starbucks (free internet and a place to plug in my laptop with endless caffeine!) but mostly it’s home. I wrote the first three books in The Black Mage on my couch or in bed, but I just bought a desktop and redecorated an extra room to make it my official “writing room” so I’m hoping I’ll be more productive in there now.
Did you always know you wanted to write?
Yea, but I could never finish any of my books (always stopped about halfway through) so I thought it was just a dream. I figured I’d have story ideas forever but no actual stories to show for it.
What roadblocks did you face?
Not being able to finish a book that was cleared up when I quit my full-time job to work part-time and write the other half. Nothing like the pressure of no money to get my act together.
Writer’s block every day. I’ve learned that cutting scenes is okay, and I will get past the block better if I plot chapters out individually.
Money. I gave up a car and a well-paying job to start. Now I’m writing full-time starting this March (2016). Money is always an issue when you are a writer, it’s unstable. But I’ve learned my happiness is more important than having stability or pricey things. You truly cannot put a price on self-fulfillment, and when I share my books with the world there is no better feeling.
Are you facing some of the same roadblocks now?
Constantly. I just deal with them one day at a time and am open to change.
Do you have any plans or ideas for upcoming books outside of The Black Mage?
Millions -here is my current WIP (works in planning) list: http://rachelecarter.com/future-books/ I have millions more but I can only write one book at a time.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Every person starts out different -not everyone can afford to write full-time from the beginning. But if you really want to write, make time for it. Most people have to give up something to write (free time, more $, etc) but if you are serious, you will find a way. There’s always a way. It’s a hard road in the beginning but I promise you, you won’t regret it.