I’m so excited for Carrie! She’s one of my agency siblings and I confess, I’m living vicariously, hoping for the day when my first novel will have a publisher! Woohoo! Here’s her latest blurb from her website and why I’m so stinkin’ excited about her book:
Terry Burns, of Hartline Literary Agency, offered Carrie’s debut novel, “The Superman Syndrome” to a number of publishers. The manuscript caused an immediate stir, with publishers requesting a full. After several weeks of auction between publishing giants Howard (Simon and Schuster) and Thomas Nelson, Carrie selected Thomas Nelson to bring this exciting mystery/thriller to the public.
Marji: What was your greatest challenge in writing this book and how did you work through it?
Carrie: Learning how to write! Like my art (especially watercolors,) the more certain details become habit, the more I could concentrate on the story. For example: duplication of words. Action verbs. Passive language. Tension on every page. Punctuation. In watercolors you’d need to watch for crawlbacks, blossoms, paint thickness, granulation. Practice, years of practice, is what it takes. In writing, I learned how to grow from criticism, that my first words weren’t written in stone, that there were more ways to say the same thing. And, of course, kill someone in the first chapter……..
Marji: Ha! LOVE that little tidbit. What was the inspiration for this story?
Carrie: An article I read about finding the skull of Joseph Smith. To a forensic artist, that’s just waaaay juicy.
Marji: Ooo! Sounds intriguing. What is your character needing, wanting, or searching for?
Carrie: Gwen has lost her forensic work, has a husband divorcing her (after first writing a scathing book about her,) a fourteen-year-old daughter acting out, and is recovering from breast cancer. She just wants life to be like it used to be.
Marji: Would your book make a good movie?
Carrie: Yes and YES! It would make a great movie.
Marji: What type of reader would be perfect for your book?
Carrie: Readers of early Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, Iris Johansen, and Brandilyn Collins will love this book. The main character is a forensic artist.
Marji: I know this isn’t your first book, but it is your first novel. How does this experience compare with that of your other books?
Carrie: This will be my sixth published book. The other books were how-to art books, each requiring about fifty drawings and about 150 step-by-step illustrations or photos. They each were about 20,000 words. I had to draw, photograph, lay out the pages, write chapter names, B heads, sidebars, callouts, step-by-step wording, label the art…you get my drift. The equipment ran close to $4000. That was HARD. A novel was frustrating, but fun.
Marji: Do you share any personality traits with your main character?
Carrie: Like Gwen, I’m a free-lance forensic artist, cancer survivor, and Great Pyrenees owner. I have a better sense of humor.
Marji: Ha, I’m beginning to see that for myself! LOL! What did you do to celebrate when you sold this book?
Carrie:Still waiting to take the Perettis out to dinner.
Marji: Perettis? You mean Frank Peretti who wrote This Present Darkness among others of my favorite novels from college?????
Carrie: Frank Peretti was my writing mentor for the past nine years. They are moving to a new home and very busy, but as soon as life settles down, we’ll be taking them to dinner as a celebration. Frank’s the one who encouraged me based on a short story I wrote.
Marji: SUPER COOL! You’ve certainly got an amazing mentor! What does your workday look like?
Carrie: No two days are the same. As an artist, forensic artist, law enforcement instructor, author, and president of the Great Pyrenees Club of America, life can get pretty crazy. I have a black spiral notebook where I make long lists of things to get done. I start the day putting the devil dog out and making sure a passing coyote, wolf, or cougar isn’t hungry for dog meat. (Did I mention that I live on my family’s 685 acre ranch in the mountains of North Idaho?)
Marji: Oh my gosh! That sounds amazing!
Carrie: And coffee…coffee…coffee. Then the computer: checking how bad the emails have stacked up, followed by Bible reading. I might fill orders (for on-line purchases of my books and tapes,) enroll students in one of many law enforcement classes, process credit cards, put together books and supplies for a class, ship everything, write new classes, make flight, car, and hotel reservations. We do classes every other week to every two weeks during the peak season: Feb.-Nov. Right now we’re working on classes in Madison, WI, Springfield, IL, Aspen, CO, Colorado Springs, CO, New Jersey, Carmel, CA, Calgary, Alberta, Olympia, WA, and Mount Pleasant, SC. If class work isn’t pressing, I work on art work-mostly watercolors. I currently have five commissions including an 8’ x 10’ acrylic. Forensic work might be a courtroom illustration on a wrongful death case, a composite for a rape, or consulting with a student on a cold case homicide drawing. The dog-type projects might be working on the GPCA Judges Education slide show, selecting photos for the new AKC book, or just the general needs of my own five dogs (dog shows, vets, etc.) Of course, I’m writing for several hours somewhere in the day. Keeping up the houses and grounds. Finally, if someone wants a speaking program, I’m setting that up. I know. Long answer. That’s what I’ve done in the past two weeks…….
Marji: Wow and I thought Volleyball season was tough! Where do you get your ideas from?
Carrie: Ha. See above! My own cases.
Marji: Where do you write?
Carrie: Near a plug in. In the living room, waiting for the flight, on the airplane, in my motel room, anywhere.
Marji: What people and animals share your house?
Carrie: I have one colored bull terrier, Tassie Devil, and four Great Pyrenees. Seven feral cats.
Marji: Lovely dog! When you need to relax, where do you go?
Carrie: I don’t. I work usually six days a week for 10 hours a day or more. I walk my one Pyrenees for exercise for both of us.
Marji: What is your most glaring fault?
Carrie: I’m fat. You’d think with all that I’d be skinny, but noooooooo.
Marji: Well with all you do, you certainly have plenty of energy! Would you rather have tacos, pizza, fried chicken, or a salad?
Carrie: Are you kidding? Remember, I’m fat. All of the above……
Marji: Ha! Maybe I should have rearranged or at least rephrased that question! LOL! You’re a great sport, Carrie, and I’m so glad you stopped by on your journey to having a published novel!
Here’s a little about Carrie, and by the way, she’s NOT fat! I don’t care what she says! 🙂
Carrie Stuart Parks is an award-winning fine artist and internationally known forensic artist. Along with her husband, Rick, she travels across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement as well as civilian participants. She has won numerous awards for career excellence. Carrie is a popular platform speaker, presenting a variety of topics from crime to creativity.
2013/May at 5:14 pm
Great interview, Carrie and Marji. Carrie, I learned so much more about than in all these months at the crit group!
2013/May at 6:03 pm
What a great person to crit with, Carol! Almost as cool as having Frank Peretti as a mentor – WOW!
2013/May at 5:11 pm
What an accomplished woman you are, Carrie! Your dogs are gorgeous and your study of the rose is wonderful. Congratulations on your big new contract. Blessings,
2013/May at 6:04 pm
Thanks so much for stopping by Kathy!
2013/May at 2:43 pm
A great interview, Marji! I’d love to meet Carrie someday (and her writing mentor FP).
2013/May at 3:02 pm
I’d love to do that myself! Hopefully someday! And I’m stinkin’ excited about her novel! Will keep you updated on news of that!
2013/May at 11:22 am
I was lucky to study under Carrie and Rick around the year 1991. As a young police officer who majored in art in college my department felt I was qualified to become a composite artist for the department. The skills they taught me allowed me to do composite art, not just for my department, but surrounding ones as well. While I don’t do this as much anymore, those same skills have carried over into my personal art and helped me become a better portrait artist. No longer a police officer, but still proud to say that I am a trained composite artist taught by the best!
Kelly Sullivan Joyner
2013/May at 3:01 pm
I just find the whole concept so intriguing! And I’m especially happy to get to know Carrie and about her special talents. I swear she sounds like Wonder Woman with all she can do! LOL! Thanks for stopping by, Kelly!