Cara is the first author in our special Little Gems feature Blog Bite. With three Little Gems Anthologies on her writing resume now, who better to ask for her tips and her inspiration when it comes to writing a winning short story….
So firstly, Cara, tell us about writing short stories …
It may sound obvious but the trick to writing a short story is to keep it, well, short. Every word counts and has to pull more than its weight. My first drafts are usually way too long, then it’s a case of refining, cutting, slashing… it can be heartbreaking to see your perfectly formed turns of phrase in the recycle bin, but it’s the only way.
Like most writers, inspiration can come from anywhere. The scene at the end of THE REAL ME where Mark shows Jules around his home came to me when I was sitting in the garden, sipping coffee in the sunshine. It was so peaceful, such a haven from the hustle and bustle of the city – one of those pure moments when you could relax and really be yourself. What if your life was lived so much in the public eye that you had to fight for those moments? The rest of the story grew from there.
What else can we learn about you Cara?
Three words to describe me… Away. With. The. Fairies. Sorry, that’s four. Intuitive, considered, gentle
At home I cook… nothing! My gorgeous man takes care of all that. I’m the washer-upperer.
My worst habit is… I’m really pretty untidy, and have an amazing ability to ignore mess.
It’s a bit daggy but I love… Most Haunted. I can spend hours watching it – of course it’s all research!
My first job was… I must have been about 15 when I worked in a peanut factory. My job was to sort through huge bags of peanuts to make sure there weren’t any cashews in there by mistake. Truly adding value!
My day job is… I’m a financial accountant for a large Aussie corporate
Saving for… a deposit on a house.
I procrastinate by… watching Most Haunted. Oh no, wait, that’s research. Facebook, playing with my cats, gardening or cleaning.
Three things people might not know about me are… I have a masters degree in Post Colonial Literature, I read tarot cards and I’m about to become a great-auntie for the third time!
My secret skill that is no longer a secret… I speak French, Spanish and (a little) Italian
Favourite author… The impeccable Miss Austen. And Douglas Adams.
Currently reading… I’m rereading Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Plotter or pantser… Half and half – I pants the first half of the novel, then sit down and work out where on earth its going next and do some serious plotting. The half/half technique has taken some time to evolve though – I’ve tried everything from planning every scene out to just completely winging it. I think now I’ve found a balance between allowing the inspiration to take me without the fear of getting really stuck overwhelming me. However, before I start pantsing the first half, I’ve worked out the GMC for each character.
I would most like to meet… Douglas Adams because…his books had a massive influence on me. He created worlds that were a unique mixture of imagination and scientific truth.
If I was stranded on a desert island, the three things I would take are… My man. A never ending and self-cooling packet of Arnott’s Mint Slices. The combined works of Jane Austen.
I write… Mostly paranormal romance – out of this world romance! – but I tend to experiment a bit more when I’m writing short stories. Bizarrely enough, that means things like THE REAL ME are a lot more mainstream romance than my normal writing.
Visit Cara’s website for more information www.caragabriel.com
Cara is giving away a copy of Little Gems Garnet Edition to her favourite comment. You have until 5pm (ESDST) this Saturday. Winners will be notified and also posted here.