First time author finds her groove.

I’ve only just met J. Carson Black and I find her story interesting. I hope you do as well, please welcome, J. Carson Black.

1986

What makes you think you can write a book?

I’d bet a few folks have heard that one. Fortunately, I didn’t. Not from my husband, not from my parents, not from my friends. Maybe this was because I’d written all my life, even though my plan was to become an opera singer.

It didn’t take long to realize I would never be happy singing opera. For one thing, I’m not happy in big cities, cold weather, lots of travel, and—worst of all–I suffered from stage fright. I could push through it, but no matter what I tried, I knew early on it would never get better. I could hide my fear, but what kind of life was that?

When I was young I read a lot of books and even wrote a book in longhand. So when I realized I’d never be a working opera singer, I thought: why not write a book? Why not get serious about it?

Since I love Stephen King and Peter Straub and was inspired deeply by the Ray Bradbury’s brilliant novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes (EVERYONE should read that one), I decided to write horror.

And I had the perfect setting. Bisbee, Arizona, a mining town in southern Arizona, bristles with mining shacks stacked cheek-to-jowl on hills, and the streets wind around the steep mountains like a Snakes & Ladders game.

And I had a story, too. About love lost, and mining magnates, wealth, and power. And a ghost of a woman murdered back in the late thirties.

My protagonist, Chelsea McCord, finds a dusty juteboard camera from the early twentieth century, and discovers that the old camera has unusual properties—it takes pictures of the past.

And–the camera smells like death.  What she sees through the camera’s eye becomes the premise of this story.

In 1986, on the road to the old copper mining town, my husband and I found “the murder house” where the young woman in Darkscope (then titled Dark Country) would die.

The Murder House was set back on the road, a falling-down, deserted ranch house. We took photos and notes, and then it was on to Bisbee.

The buildings on Bisbee’s Main Street were (and are) the same as they were back in the earliest part of the Twentieth Century. These days there are new bars and fancy restaurants and art galleries up and down that street, but they’re housed in the same old buildings.

Hence, Chelsea’s view into the past.
And she saw things. Bad things. Very bad things.

51wftpe26l2016 – Seventeen books later:

Fast-forward to this year. My husband and I headed back to Bisbee on another research trip. We hadn’t been there in years. We drove back home on that same road. As it turned out, the “Murder House” had become a Bureau of Land Management Visitors Center—it cleaned up nice! I mentioned my book to the woman who manned the counter, but she had no idea what I was talking about. (Sad.) But the other woman in the store knew it, had read it, and had read my other book set in Bisbee as well. In fact, she said, the bookstore there in town sells the old paperbacks for fifty bucks a pop!

Hearing that made my day. She told me how much she loved my Laura Cardinal thriller, DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, and recounted how a cop’s daughter, imprisoned by a dangerous man in a motor home, managed to lay a path for her rescuers by pulling out strands of her hair and leaving them everywhere she could.

Since DARKSCOPE debuted, I have written sixteen additional books: horror, suspense, historical romance, police procedurals and thrillers.

To win an autographed copy of DARKSCOPE, tell me what you’re most afraid of?

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26 thoughts on “First time author finds her groove.”

    • Addie, that has happened to me – many times. Sometimes I have to cajole myself. If you strive, you very often fail, and the triumph is getting past that and taking it on again. I have to tell you, I’ve been writing since 1986, could NOT sell my first book until 1990, and it did not earn out very well. And then there were years of writing without selling. Or selling for peanuts and getting kicked back out again. I had to comfort myself with the act of writing instead of picturing being published, and just tried to find joy in that. In the doing. And you know what? I’m STILL afraid of failure. Did my last book do as well as the last one? And on and on and on. The only thing I had was myself and my ability to write, so I strived for the perfect best each time, and I did see improvement–baby steps!!! I discovered that comparing myself – to others, to a high point earlier in my career, to ANYTHING, just screwed me up more. But of course, now and then, I still do it! 🙁

  1. I am afraid of failure. I am sure that is what everyone is afraid of as well. Also, being alone when I die.

  2. I’m afraid of success. Crazy, right? 😀 I have a heck of a time not sabotaging myself when I get close to achieving a goal. I may have to go see a professional to find out why I do that to myself, but I have a feeling it’ll circle around to my mother. (Thank you, Freud.). 😀

  3. One thing scared me horribly when I was a teenager. I was walking home after hanging out with my friends, and an old car – I mean a SCARY old rusted car – pulled off behind me. I started running into the desert, toward a subdivision at the desert’s edge. I got there and started walking up one of the streets, and the car turned onto the street behind me. It was a nightmare – no one was outside, and I was afraid to run up to a house for fear they wouldn’t answer the door. I ran from one street to the other, this car from HELL chasing me, and got to my friend’s street. Thank God she and her mother were outside watering the plants.

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