- an urban fantasy author, psychology grad student, and lover of tacos
Readers! Let’s give a good hearty welcome to Carrow Brown!
Carrow Brown grew up in a military family and traveled the world absorbing everything she could (including whatever bad words she could find!) Her passion has always been to write stories to share with others that both entertain and provoke thought.
Carrow resides in sunny Arizona with her husband and German shepherds. In the little free time she has between writing The Ghost Walker Chronicles and her clinical psychology graduate work, Carrow can often be found sketching her characters into life and hiking in the wilderness with her husband and dogs.
She is easily bribed with tacos and the answer is always “yes” if you offer to show her pictures of your dogs.
Carrow, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
Dogs. All the dogs. I love dogs. I have only four because we don’t have room for more.
Puppies are pretty much the best.
What do you write and how did you get started?
I’ve been writing probably since high school.
My first writing memory actually came when I was in elementary school and we were given a writing assignment and I totally did horrible at it. And I remember how afraid and shameful I was about the poor quality of my work and it kind of put me off of writing and reading in general at the time. As I got older and I read a lot of books, I wanted to kind of dive into it again but didn’t feel I had the skillset at the time. But by the time I hit High School, I started writing for myself a lot more. That usually looked like fanfiction about 90% of the time but I also did creative writing exercises for English class. When I graduated from high school and went straight into the military, I didn’t pick up writing again until I was probably 25. I joined a couple of games online with other individuals who like to role-play their characters and I got back into writing that way.
When I turn 30 I kind of realized that one of the things I always wanted to do as a kid was ‘write a story’. So, I decided that this was the time, that I was going to be serious and actually write my book and get it out and if I publish one book before I died I was going to call it a victory.
Now, I’m kind of here with my one book out and a bunch more on the way and I feel pretty lucky. But I will say that it wasn’t all roses and sunshine. I have worked very hard to get where I am right now and I’m still always working very hard. I’m always looking to improve my writing and find better ways to hone my craft.
Know that you aren’t alone with getting established and then going back to your writing. Still. It is so hard! Congrats!
What do you like to read?
I will read pretty much anything but westerns. The reason I want to read just about anything is that every genre has something that makes it unique from everything else and I really appreciate that. By default you find me reading a lot of fantasy urban fantasy and romance. Urban fantasy and paranormal romance are my guilty pleasure to read for sure. Now and then I will also dive into a little bit of fanfiction but as I’ve gotten older truly hard for me to read fanfiction because a lot of people who write it don’t really proof what they’re writing, so it’s hard for me to see past that.
Ha! Your to-read pile sounds a lot like mine!
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Make likeable characters
Oh, this is a tough one. The one writing advice as commonly accepted by that I don’t fundamentally agree with is that you have to constantly make likable characters.
My entire book is actually based on the premise of making characters that a reader will like but are not likable. And my counter-statement to this advice is that you shouldn’t make likable characters you should make relatable characters. A character should be somebody that you can look like and identify with but not be likable. For example, one of the characters in my book that everybody really does love is Silence. Even though he’s a bloodthirsty sword that’s always pushing goes to do very questionable and horrible things, people end up enjoying him because he is funny and deep down he does have feelings and wants that people can identify with.
Such great advice. For unlikable, but lovable characters in the mainstream, I usually point to IronMan. I would HATE to date him or have to work with him. But, as a character? He’s pretty well-loved.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
Set the scene
You need to set the scene.
I have a really hard time reading books with seeing when it’s not set. I have encountered individuals who will write the intro piece to whatever it is that they’re doing and I don’t know where I am who I am or what is going on. A lot of people think that this adds mystery and questions to the writing but I’m honestly very frustrated. I’m not saying somebody needs to come in and bash me over the head with these things but it would be nice to have a gradual introduction to this world that the story is taking place in. Starting off with some kind of rambling or a Falafel discussion by the author to the reader honestly is just antagonistic to me and I’m not here for it. So set the damn scene.
That makes perfect sense. The whole, in-media-res thing is often taken WAY too far.
Then again, I only care moderately about what a place looks like, so authors who stop for a page and a half to describe the room and every character, without interweaving any dialogue or action are kinda my pet-peeve. But, I know I’m plot and stakes focused and try to remember to cater a little to those of you out there with movies running in your head when you read.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
Queen of Swords in silence is my baby book. It is the first book — my debut book, my heart, my blood, my everything book. I’ve gone through a lot of hardship to get this book out into the world so it’s always going to have a special place in my heart. It’s being relaunched on the 23rd for Kindle with the other formats coming up very soon.
A banished Valkyrie stripped of her place among the gods,
Mythics vanishing left and right along with ancient relics,
A sword thirsty for blood and drenched in madness,
and now the roof has a leak—where’s the vodka?
A literal man-eater, Ghost was born . . . damaged.
Where do you go when your own creator discards you?
The world is bleak, but Ghost couldn’t care less about others woes. She has her own to contend with. A castaway, stripped of her valkyrie title, and enslaved for centuries due to her deformity…how’s that for a sob story?
Her love life and bank account are equally empty, her best friend is a bloodthirsty sword, and the roof has a leak . . . but Ghost’s duties ensure very few days are dull. Doing her master’s bidding has some benefits: global travel, meeting interesting people, stealing their priceless artifacts, and doing a little murder if needed. She could be tasked to oversee treasure or execute a magi who foolishly stepped out of line.
But the shadows in Ghost’s world are shifting. When Mythics disappears under strange circumstances, Ghost finds herself in a lethal game of supernatural politics. The Gods seek ancient relics that could prove the ticket to Ghost’s acceptance, but how far will she go to take her place within the pantheon? The stakes are high when one mistake could open a hole into Chaos . . .
Outside of that, you can find some of my Faye Black work. That is, my guilty self-pleasure venture into romance and anything that involves romance. In 2020, I’m actually focusing on getting more of the stories for Faye Black out just because those are stories that actually make me feel good when I write them. I want to get them out into the world and into people’s hands.
I am an #authortuber, but the only other bit I would throw out there is that I do a podcast with Tamara Woods who is a cozy mystery author. We have a podcast called Authortube News where we basically go through the latest articles and newsworthy items that affect our lives as writers and authors and share them with the rest of the writing an author community. So feel free to go and check that out, thank you.