Thursday 28 January 2016

Q&A with Carys Jones, author of Sunkissed

Hi, Carys! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books?

Hi Sophie, thanks so much for having me on your blog. So about me… I live in Shropshire with my husband, my one eyed guinea pig Roger and my beloved dog, Rollo. When I’m not writing I’m either glued to a box set on Netflix or walking Rollo around the woods behind my house.

My books can be quite varied, some are contemporary adult thrillers and others are YA fantasy but they all share the same themes of characters going on a journey of self-discovery and having to overcome some great obstacle. What’s important to me within a book is the element of escapism. When I’m reading I want to fall in to the pages and leave reality behind for a while and it’s that level of escapism which I try and bring to my own work.

What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I’m working on Plastic Princess, which is to be the third and final book in my upcoming Princess Trilogy. The first book, Paper Princess is being released towards the end of this year by Accent Press. The Princess Trilogy is a sweet, coming of age tale about a little girl called Tilly who really doesn’t want to have to grow up. I’ve really enjoyed writing it as Tilly’s character is very close to my heart and I’ve based a lot of her struggles on my own awkward teen years.

Your latest release, Sunkissed, is self-published. How much would you recommend the self-publishing route, and what have you found to be the biggest differences in being self-published rather than traditionally published?

Sunkissed is the first time I’ve dipped my toe in the self-publishing waters. It’s been quite liberating to have total control over everything from the price to the cover design. That said, it is a little scary going it alone. There’s no one holding my hand and promising me it will all be okay!

Can you sum up Sunkissed in five words?

How far can love go? ; )

Did you do anything to celebrate publication?

No, I didn’t. On release days I tend to be alone, except for Rollo, and busy working away on another project. I also find it quite tense releasing a book in to the wild as I’m forever worrying what people will think of it.

The reviews I’ve read for Sunkissed all want a sequel. Is there a plan for more?

There is definitely a plan for more. I always aimed to do three books in the series, with Sunburnt being the sequel and Sunstroke the final instalment. It’s something I’ll be looking to do in the future, maybe later this year depending on my other writing commitments.

What is it about reading and writing that you love? Could you imagine your life without it?

I fell in love with writing just after I fell in love with reading. What appeals to me most is that chance for magic. When you start a new story you never know where you’re going to go and I love that. I remember being sat in an airport lounge waiting on a delayed flight and not caring because the book I was reading was so good. I was sat crying in a room full of strangers as I read a sad part but it didn’t matter, because that’s the spell books put us under. I was transported away from the airport to within the pages of my book. And that’s awesome!

I really don’t think I could imagine my life without books. They are such a huge part of who I am and what makes me tick. I’m always either reading or writing.

How much of the story do you know before writing it? Are you a detailed planner?

I’m a very detailed planner. I always know every element of a story before I even start it. I find this helps keep me on track and also to maintain the pace. I rely on a lot of notes that are always haphazardly strewn around my laptop and probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone else.

The books I’ve read from you so far have been a mixture of genres from crime, YA, fantasy… Do you have a preferred genre to write in?

I think I most enjoy writing YA mainly because it is the most liberated of all the genres. YA readers tend to be voracious and also open to anything you throw at them, whereas a crime book needs certain elements to adhere to the genre, which can be more restrictive. I also mainly read YA.

I have to ask you this because I’m a huge fan of the series – will there ever be another Avalon book? (Please say yes!)

The next book in the series, Fifth to Remember, is all planned out. I just need to get my bum down and actually write it and sadly other writing projects have been screaming for my attention that bit louder over the past year. But I will definitely return to Avalon at some point. As will Aiden ; )


What’s been your favourite moment of your writing career so far?

For me the best parts are always when people reach out to say they enjoyed one of my books. It’s honestly the best feeling in the world, especially since writing is such a solitary pursuit. I create something all alone in my pink study in a bit of a vacuum and up until it’s published it feels like the characters and the world I’ve created exist only in my head. So when someone says they’ve enjoyed a book of mine it feels awesome. Because that’s why I write, to entertain others and give them the kind of escapist, magical experience that drew me to books in the first place.

Cruel question, but if you had to pick a favourite of your books, which one would you pick?

Ooh! Yes, very cruel! Lol. I know that my Dad’s favourite book of mine is Dare to Dream, and my Mum’s is Sunkissed. I’m always most invested in whichever book is the most recently released, or finished but I actually don’t think I could ever pick a favourite as they are all a part of me and mean something special for different reasons.

But if I had to pick then it would probably be Sunkissed because I had so much fun writing it and kind of feel like it’s a bit of an underdog compared to my other books, and I always root for the underdog!

If you could live in the life of a book character for 24 hours, who would you be and what would you get up to?

Good question!! Growing up one of my favourite books was Little House on the Prairie as I was always intrigued by how far removed the world within the book was to my own. There must have been something really exciting, and also scary, about journeying across America with the intention of being some of the first settlers. I’d like to spend twenty four hours in that world, just to experience it and see if it all was as exotically wonderful as my eight year old self thought it was!

If you could co-write a book with another author, who would you want that author to be?

Holly Black. I love her style and really enjoyed The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. She seems like someone who’d have a familiar outlook to me and I think we’d have a lot of fun creating something together.


Carys' latest book, Sunkissed, was published January 15. Find it on Amazon here.

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