Interview with J. Carter Merwin
author of ‘The Tales of Earden’ novels, a romance/fantasy/adventure series available in book form and on Kindle from Amazon
How would you describe yourself as an author?
Absolutely selfish! Although I hide it well, I would rather be writing than doing anything else, especially not doing anything for anyone, chores, commitments, meetings, visits…I’d rather be by myself immersed in the world I’ve created, amongst my friends. In fact, now that I think of it, when I was a small child I had 5 imaginary friends. I was an only child and spent a good deal of my time alone. My friends were ghosts and they lived in the closets of our home in Rochester, N.Y. I only remember the names of two of them, “Skinny and Fatty”. Actually, there are ghosts in my world of Earden, albeit much more sophisticated ghosts.
What compels you to write?
Something drives me to create, some spark, I don’t know. If I weren’t writing, I’d be painting. That’s what I went to school for, but really, when I think about it, I’ve been shifting on and off for years between the brush and the pen.
How do characters occur to you?
They just come around the corner at me as I’m writing about a situation or an event. The name comes first and then the quirks of his or her personality. I like character flaws, obsessions, these are the things that make us human and get us into trouble. Perfect people don’t interest me.
Do you have a favorite character?
At the moment my favorite character is a drunken slut of a princess you get to meet in the third novel, The Guardian and the King which I hope will be available this Christmas season. Jermaine is a piece of work, stubborn, spoiled and addicted to cherry wine. She causes no end of trouble for her parents and the man trapped into marrying her.
Why this genre/ time period?
I have always been a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, Sir Walter Scott, Dumas and was fascinated by anything medieval when I was young. In college I was in a group of painters called the “Post Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood”.
How do you do your research?
It depends, mostly on the internet if it’s something I know nothing about, which is an amazing place. For my first book, ‘The Swan and Arrow’ I learned more than I ever wanted to know about knife-fighting and for the second ‘The fledgling’ I spent a lot of time on falconry websites. For the human condition, I rely on my own experiences.
What do you find most challenging?
Getting the action, the fight scenes or the sex scenes described correctly so that the reader can see, and sense everything that is going on. What the characters are experiencing, that’s what’s important to me.
What do you find most rewarding?
Just having someone say they ‘liked’ my book. I’m really immensely grateful to my family and friends, they’ve all been so supportive and encouraging.