Behind The Pen: with Carolyn Crane (+giveaway)

OK, I love interviews.  But I find the artists behind the stories equaling intriguing, and I think they deserve as much limelight as their characters. So here instead of a list of questions about the story, the plot, and the characters I ask authors the same 11 questions about themselves and hopefully get a glimpse behind the pen...

Today is a special day for a couple reasons.  To start, this is the first edition of 'Behind the Pen'. But more importantly, today is one of my favorite new authors Carolyn Crane's birthday! So, to celebrate she'll be leading off this new segment, and will be giving away a copy of Mind Games and a chocolate treat (since birthday cake is a tad hard to ship)

Giveaway Details: 

  • Please make a comment, sing a birthday song, give away a wish, etc. below
  • U.S. & Canada only
  • You have until Friday, Sept 24th at 8pm (pst) to leave a comment for Carolyn
  • Winner will be announced here Monday Sept. 27th

In case you don't know Carolyn, she's the author of The Disillusionists series. She has her highly anticipated second installment in the series, Double Cross, releasing Sept. 28th. Be sure to pick up a copy!  
And if Carolyn is a new author to you, then definitely leave a comment here and get a copy of Mind Games so you can see what all the fuss is about.  

Q 1: What is the last book you read?
CC: I just finished MY FORBIDDEN DESIRE by Carolyn Jewel. It was my first Carolyn Jewel paranormal (I love her historicals) and I read it out of order! I almost never do that, but it totally worked, and I loved it. Darkly sexy, and really inventive and trippy in terms of magical stuff, and also, really darn exciting!

Q 2: If you were stuck on a desert island, what book would you like to have with you?
CC: Well, I might reread Kushiel’s Dart. It’s nice and long, and I thought it was excellent. I always mean to reread Middlemarch, too. I love that book. I think I’d want to bring a book I already read, so that I’d know it’s good. Though, if Joanna Bourne’s next was out, I’d bring that.

Q 3: What is your favorite swear word?
CC: Fuck! I think it carries the most weight.

Q 4: What is your biggest pet-peeve?
CC: This is stupid, but when people put on their signal while they are turning, instead of beforehand. Or, when you get stuck behind them at a light, and THEN they turn on their signal. Why? Why even bother? Oh you late signal turner-oners!! Also, I don’t like when people over-explain things to me. Also, I hate when people don’t recycle when they just as easily could. Look, three answers. Hopefully your pet-peeve isn’t people who endlessly prattle on about their pet peeves. 

Q 5: What quality do you most like in a man?
CC: I was just thinking the other day how much I love how impractical my husband is. I’m really practical and he is so wonderfully impulsive and impractical.

Q 6: What quality do you most like in a woman?
CC: Intelligence. And I tend to like sarcastic and/or humorous women.

Q 7: What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
CC: I would like to be a cop. I would arrest those late-signalers! No, that’s not why. I guess I just love cop shows. But I would have to have a complete personality transplant first. I’m way too much of a pushover to be a cop.

Q 8: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
CC: These are very interesting questions! I’d really love to live in San Francisco. I always feel really happy there. And the cool weather makes me want to run around excitedly. And, as freelancers, my husband and I are somewhat mobile, and we do contemplate moves like that (my husband would love to go back to New York city, his childhood home). But the cost! Minneapolis is pretty inexpensive living, which is great for writers. You don’t have to work as much to survive, and it’s a nice place, too.

Q 9: What inspires you?
CC: This is a very  open-ended question! I would have to say portrayals of intensity and raw emotion inspire me, especially in songs or movies or really excellent TV shows. For example, there was this scene in The Shield, an ultra-violent cop show I like, where this minor character, Dutch’s, self image got totally penetrated and destroyed by a serial killer’s insight. I was shocked and moved by it. I guess anything that moves me, because I am a totally even-keeled person. Look how I go on and on! Do I get excused because it is my birthday?  (OF COURSE YOU DO!)

Q 10: If you could be one person (dead or alive) for a day who would you be?
CC: I can’t even think of an answer! Not a writer. I’d like to be somebody who works on projects with other people, and is really into it.

Q 11: Mac or PC?
CC: Mac, baby!

*I did ask Carolyn a couple questions I've always wanted to ask her*

The Spinecracker: I can only imagine what it must be like for you on a release day. How do you cope? Any unique quirks, rituals, places/sites you avoid or can't stay away from?
CC: All of release week can be kind of emotional. It’s like you’ve been living in this enclosed biosphere of stories and people that you created, tending lovingly to it all, and suddenly it’s not enclosed anymore and everybody sees into it and says stuff about it. I’ve only been through one release day, and I was kind of a mess! I mean, it’s fun and exciting, and it’s what a writer ultimately wants—a book release. But it’s scary. I find it’s hard to concentrate. In the best world, I’ll stay away from things like Amazon rankings and trolling Google for every mention.

The Spinecracker: I've always loved superheroes, and the Disillusionists are an original set.   How long were they playing around in your head, before you decided they had a story to tell?  And how long did it take you to write their first story, or did you write all three at once?
CC: I got the idea all at once, really (An anecdote I sometimes tell, that I had just read a hugely depressing semi-philosophical book that made me feel awful, and I thought, if I had an enemy, I would give them this book as a gift, so that they could feel as disillusioned as I did. Then I thought, what if there were people who disillusioned other people for money? Hey, that would make an interesting plot!) And from that idea I started playing with a possible team. From the start, I thought it would be cool if, with my squad, if their weaknesses were powers. It evolved and simplified as I worked with it, maybe over about four months until I had the setup where it is now. It started out overly complex.

Help me thank Carolyn for being so kind and taking the time to answer my Proust-esque questionnaire by leaving a comment/birthday wish!

Be sure to go out and purchase Double Cross when it releases Sept 28th!


  1. Happy birthday and great interview!

  2. Thanks Mbreakfield!

    Jessica, I kept thinking this series was called behind the spine this week! I think behind the pen is way better. LOL.

  3. Happy Birthday, Carolyn!!

    Thank you for the 1st chapter of Double Cross. Umm...I so need a book zap soon. Hurry with book 3!

    I have the very same pet-peeves!

  4. Happy Birthday Carolyn!!! Hope you have a great day :)

    I would love to win a copy of Mind Games. Your a new author for me and I so want to dive into your books. Great interview, glad I see another fanatic recycler (that's what my husband calls me) When we lived in WA you had to pay to have a recyle bin and that never made sense to me. We didn't start recyling till we moved to Cali and I was surprised we got our recycle bin for free, so I have become obsessed and my kids have even joined the banwagon. My husband never pays attention and I've been known to go through our garbage just to fish out the recycables that he threw away :)

  5. Happy Birthday! May all your dreams come true

    Have a good one;)

    Tina G

  6. Happy happy birthday! I have been seriously covetous of this book, but my little 11 month old beast has cut into just a scooch of my reading time. I should hire a baby sitter just to catch up on my habit.

  7. Great interview! Happy Birthday, Carolyn! I hope your birthday is spectacular!

  8. Thanks everyone for your comments/birthday wishes to Carolyn so far.
    You guys rock!

  9. Hey! How nice it is on my birthday to come here to all these nice wishes! Thanks so much you guys!

  10. Carolyn: How many pieces of cake have you had yet?! Have a great night!

  11. Happy birthday Carolyn, I hope it's a great one :)

    hewella1 at gmail dot com

  12. Happy Birthday!!!!!

    Hope it's a good one. Also hope you got what you wanted. :)


  13. great interview. I haven't read Carolyn, yet! Happy Birthday! It is a great time of the year to have one. All the fairs going on. I would eat funnel cakes till I puked (you know food has no calories on your birthday)

  14. I hope you had a wonderful birthday so Happy Belated Birthday. I enjoyed your interview very much and I haven't read Mind Games yet, but I would like to.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  15. Happy Birthday, Carolyn! I LOVED Mind Games and can't wait for Double Cross to come out :-)

    Sarah M

  16. Happy Birthday and I hope all your wishes came true.
    I have your books on my tbb list and am looking forward to reading them.
    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

  17. Great interview. :) Great to hear how the Disillusionists came about.

    Have you wrtten books that are sitting on your hard drive or in notebooks around the house? How long have you been writing?

    And those with the delayed turn signals, arrghh they annoy me as well. Oh and the slow drivers, in the fast lane! What!?! :) I think that should be illegal to do that. They should get a ticket. Oh well,


  18. Happy Birthday Carolyn!! I hope you had a wonderful day, do anything big to celebrate??


  19. Happy Birthday Carolyn!!! I haventr ead ur books but they sound just awesome I hope you have plenty more birthdays and releases to come !


  20. Happy Birthday! I hate, well dislike, late signalers or people who don't signal at all!



    So agree with jacmom, if someone doesn't use their blinker it bugs the heck out of me. What's worse is when they get into my turn lane without the blinker and once they get to the "edge" where the turn is, then they decide to put their blinker on, and this is the TURN lane. So annoying!


  22. happy Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day full of fun and cake!

    spettolij AT gmail DOT com

  23. La-la-Happy-La-Birth-la-day to yoooooou. La-la-la-Birthday-to-la-la-la. Happy-la-la-day dear Coraline, I mean Carolyn. (oops) Ha-la-la-la-la to yoooooou! And many mooooore. (Did you get the Coraline/Carolyn reference? Huh? Because in the book and movie they called her Carolyn so I called you Coraline...oh, never mind.) May your life be made into a movie. Who would play you, by the way?


  24. Hi Carolyn!

    Just stopping by to say Hi! I hope you had a great birthday, ate lots of cake, received multiple pressies!! I'm looking forward to Sept. 28 and the release of Double Cross!

    (don't enter me, I already own a copy of Mind Games)


    Dottie :)

  25. Happy Birthday. I hope the day is full of joy and laughter.
    I haven't read Mind Games yet but would love the chance to see what the hype is about!


  26. Wonderful Interview and Happy Birthday!!

  27. You guys! Thanks for all the birthday wishes! And, to answer some questions...

    Spinecracker: I had a total of ONE piece of flourless chocolate cake. Mmmm.

    Melissa: I have two books on my hard drive that I wrote before MG that never sold. And one I wrote since, for a new series, that will hopefully be sold soon.

    Nicole: To celebrate, my hubby and I walked to our fave Indian restaurant and totally pigged out, and sat outside and just talked.

    Zita: that is the most creative bday song I've ever had! LOL. So, who would play me? LOL. Melissa Gilbert? Oh, wait, that was my answer 30 years ago.

    Have a great night everyone!!

  28. Not entering the contest, but just wanted say this was a great first edition of Behind The Pen! Loved the interview & I can't wait for Double Cross.

  29. Happy Birthday! (that line always makes me think of Frosty the snowman, when he comes to life that's what he says, isn't it? Hey my son is now 21, my mind forgets and latches onto weird things. I was going to sing the birthday song that begins happy birthday to you and ends with you live in a zoo, but I didn't want to offend, I mean it as funny, my friends always sing that to each other, but anyway, I'm new to this site, and don't want to make a bad impression. Which I probably have with my rambling. So going now, hope you get all your wishes and many book releases!! :) Artesia at comcast dot net

  30. Not entering, just stopping by to wish you a belated happy birthday!

  31. Sending you my very best wishes for your birthday, Carolyn. Hope the coming year is filled with everything you could wish for.

    US reader

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  32. I'm going to sing the drama version of 'Happy Birthday!'NOTE: you have to stand up while singing it!
    Happy birthday to you!
    *spin around once while screaming WOOH*
    Happy birthday to you!
    *spin around once while screaming WOOH*
    Happy birthday dear Caralyn
    *spin around TWICE while shouting CAHPOOSH*
    Happy birthday to you!
    *spin around one last time while shouting MOO*
    All right happy birthday Caralyn! hope its great, stranger!
    US reader

  33. Happy Birthday Carolyn.
    Thanks for the contest.

    jellybelly82158 at gmail dot com

  34. Happy Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Happy Birthday dear Carolyn
    Happy Happy Birthday to you
    cha cha cha

  35. Thanks again to everyone who stopped by to check out the interview and to wish Carolyn a very happy birthday.
    The winner will be announced on Monday 8am (pst), so be sure to check back then.
    Have a great weekend