Carolyn Denman is a writer with a passion for introducing young adults to the intriguing world of speculative fiction. Living on a small farm just outside Melbourne – and likely to remain there happily until the human race is permitted back into the Garden of Eden – she holds a Bachelor of Science degree and currently works part time for a finance company. She has completed five novels and numerous short stories and is currently working on a science-fiction romance series.
What drew you to write about the Garden of Eden as the focus of your fantasy series?
My niece once mentioned in passing that in her university literature class they were studying the earliest written stories, including The Odyssey, the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Garden of Eden. She was the only person in the class who had heard of Eden. It made me realise that there is a whole generation of people who might hear the story of the Garden with fresh, unbiased views. The beauty of its spirituality unburdened by the formality that often weighs down institutionalised religion – now that was something worth exploring.
Are any of your characters or settings based on your own life experiences?
Many of the most fun times of my life have been when I was messing around with my family on our small farm. My settings are a mixture of where I’ve grown up and where I’ve always dreamed of living. My heart is in rural Australia. By a river somewhere. Surrounded by gritty, funny, and kind characters.
What is your biggest motivation for writing?
If I’m honest, romance. I love those moments that make my heart go all sappy. I’m always chasing that one sentence that makes a reader’s heart jump. And, I’ll admit, I’m somewhat fond of the sexy bits. Even the clean ones.
How many books have you written?
I’ve published the four books in the Sentinels series, and drafted a couple of others.
What advice would you give a young writer trying to get published?
Everyone says to read widely. I agree. Read good books as well as bad ones. Read books that will never get published and figure out why. Become your own worst critic, but also seek out encouragement from others and accept that too. Edit someone else’s work – you’ll learn a lot. And spend some money on a manuscript assessment.
What inspires you when you hit writer’s block?
A combination of things. Firstly, I make certain I’m sleeping well and long, and giving myself plenty of time to wake up. My brain is most creative before I open my eyes each morning.
Secondly, ensuring I have time to just think without doing. Going for a walk, or even driving, listening to music, giving myself space and time to be creative.
Lastly, pushing through it. Sometimes I just need to make sure I ‘show up’ to the writing table and see what happens.
Describe your writing style in three words.
Frivolous. Optimistic. Chocolatey.
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