Exclusive Interview with
T. M. Caruana
When did you start writing?
I have always enjoyed writing and thinking up stories, but I didn't put them down on paper at first. My writing started with my own diary. I had been writing so many stories in it that I thought I would publish it, but then I got too shy and realised I had to change it to Fantasy and that's how it all kicked off.
What makes writing your passion?
The outlining of the plots and twists is my favourite part in the writing process and what makes it a passion. I have a black notebook for each of my series filled with information and character descriptions which I develop wherever I am in the world before I start the first chapter. I'm creating worlds of my own and the adventures along with them.
How long have you been writing?
I have now been a published author since February 2014 and have written 13 books, 1 novella and, together with my daughter, have published 2 children's books.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
It was a weird feeling when Amazon sent me the confirmation that it was live. I had to ask myself a few times if it was real.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
This depends entirely on what kind of story I'm writing. I choose to write about characters I feel are intriguing and who add feeling to the plot.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
I think that, as all authors, it is hard to get your work in front of readers who dare reading from a new author. It is slow organic growth, but so rewarding when you hear from a reader who likes your story and wants to know more of your work.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I have the opposite problem. I never get enough time to write. I have a job and two children, so my hobby of writing always comes last. But it doesn't matter because I can still consider the plots whilst I cook or prepare lunchboxes. This means that I have always thought of something to write when I finally do get the time.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I eliminate pressure so that I can enjoy writing when I feel inspired. Being an author can be a slow process when it comes to growth, but the good reviews help me to keep going. In the meantime, I also ensure that I constantly keep learning different aspects of book marketing, follow influencers and write down the advice I think is useful.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I would probably say that I should start writing and keep them on reserve until I can afford launching them. Then I could have been ready to launch books more frequently. Start learning about book marketing and start making friends with the same interest so that you can have a helpful community to socialise with.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Blessedly, I have not had many bad reviews so far. Of course, you want people to enjoy your stories but because humans are so different, I'm not expecting all who come across my work to like it. I always listen to feedback and try to improve.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
These are the times it feels like you are getting a reward for all the hard work you have put in. It brings joy into my heart and gives me inspiration to carry on with the story I'm working on.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Hmmm...I had to think there for a while. I don't believe I have. My books are about angels, dragons, kings & queens, magic spells and shapeshifting creatures. I don't normally run into them in town. :)
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I have so many characters in my books, so I suppose some of the characteristics could be compared with myself, but not one person entirely. Maybe if I lived in their fantasy world I would react the same as some of them, but in real life I have other responsibilities and can't go flying off on a dragon or cast a spell to become invisible, although at points that would be really useful.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
The book cover is very important to get the new reader’s attention, but the story also needs to be good so that word of mouth can travel to those readers who enjoy the genre. When you are a more established author, I think the book cover is also important but not as important as when you just start out. In the end, I believe the story is the most important aspect though; that needs to be interesting.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I have my newsletter and sometimes readers communicate with me and I love it. I absolutely find it enjoyable to hear my readers’ opinions and takes on my books. I have also gained many new author friends by communicating on social media. The conversation comes very easily as we share the same interests.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Praise is always lovely. It gives hope and inspiration that one day I can give myself the credit that I have a talent for it. It is nice to know that you are good at something special.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I don't have a favourite author since I like to know the voices from different perspectives. I do like to read books by Terry Goodkind, Brandon Sanderson and George R.R. Martin.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
It would be fantastic to see your book on film, but I don't realistically believe that will happen. LOL. A realistic goal is to be able to earn a good monthly salary so that I can take my kids on fabulous summer holidays.