Today on Jilligan’s Island, our guest of honor is Carrie Anne Noble, author of The Mermaid’s Sister and The Gold-Son. She’s graciously offered to give away a signed copy of The Gold-Son! But first I took the time to ask Carrie a few questions.
J: Welcome, Carrie! Summer is here, so what are you reading now?
C: I’m currently rereading The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. What can I say about this incredible book? It’s YA with dangerous mythical horses that surge out of the sea, a girl bent on saving her family home, a boy determined to win his beloved water-horse, a little romance, a heart-pounding climax, and lovely prose. Sigh.
J: I’ll confess I’ve never read that one, but I’ll have to pick it up from the library. I know The Mermaid’s Sister was well received (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Winner for Young Adult Fiction), but how long did you write before you became published?
C: Although I’ve always enjoyed writing, I didn’t start taking it seriously until about twelve years ago. I wrote my first complete (and completely horrible) novel in 2008. The Mermaid’s Sister (my fifth attempt at a novel) was published in 2015.
J: We’re glad that fifth attempt was published! So, what are your go-to writing resources that could help aspiring authors?
C: I highly recommend the Writing Excuses podcast, any of Jeff Gerke’s writing books (especially The First 50 Pages and Hack Your Reader’s Brain), and the YouTube video series of Brandon Sanderson’s university course on writing science fiction and fantasy. All of these resources teach valuable skills without boring you silly.
J: I agree, Jeff Gerke’s books are excellent! What’s your favorite part of writing?
C: I like the revising stage, when I have a completed story to shape and polish. I write rather sparsely in the first draft, so it’s fun to go back later and expand on sights, sounds, smells, and emotional experiences.
J: Does your writing space help in this regard? What does it look like?
C: I have a little, slant-ceilinged, upstairs office painted green and silvery-gray, decorated with mementos from childhood, a collection of hedgehogs (including a real live one I’m babysitting for an exchange student who’s in Europe), drawings done by my kids, and various things that inspire me. There are lots of Post-it notes and pens scattered about. My window looks out on a lovely maple tree and grassy fields, so I can stare at nature while I daydream and plot.
J: That sounds wonderful. Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
C: It energizes me in a way that makes my kids roll their eyes—because I get very loopy and silly when I’m deeply involved in a project. I try to behave in front of strangers, but I did have my son help me act out a fight scene in front of my other son’s new girlfriend once last fall. She wasn’t half as disturbed as he was.
J: That’s too funny! Do you do any other creative activities other than writing?
C: I enjoy baking and sewing. It doesn’t happen often, but I really love creating costumes (and wearing them!).
J: Ooh, I’d love to see pictures of some of your creations. I have a few questions about The Gold-Son. Where did you get the idea for this book?
C: One morning six years ago, I was gazing out the window and saw the bearded gentleman who strolls past my house daily with his walking stick and faithful dog. For some reason I thought to myself, What if he’s really a leprechaun looking for a place to bury his gold? I let that question ferment in my imagination until autumn, when I wrote the first version of The Gold-Son as my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project.
J: What made you select this setting?
C:The leprechauns made me do it! They needed to be in Ireland at the beginning, since that’s their homeland. I chose the small town Pennsylvania setting for the second part of the story because it was fun to plop a leprechaun into my personal corner of the world.
J: Hmm, I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for leprechauns then. 🙂 What’s the theme of this story? Why did you choose it?
C: I usually don’t consciously choose themes ahead of writing the story, but in retrospect I’d say the major theme of The Gold-Son is “don’t let your circumstances dictate who you become and how you act, but instead choose to do what’s right and to be the very best version of yourself.”
J: That’s a great message to share with readers. Did you ever consider any other titles for this manuscript? Or was this your first choice?
C: Back in 2011, the original title was The Leprechaun’s Penny. Another version was called To Catch a Leprechaun. My last working title was Once A Leprechaun. In the end, my publisher chose The Gold-Son—which I really like. They wanted to avoid having “leprechaun” in the title because they didn’t want potential readers to expect a cheesy leprechaun tale (i.e. Lucky Charms guy frolicking about at rainbow’s end and giggling).
J: Good point! Finally, what’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned while writing this story?
C: The inestimable value of a good editor! Although Marianna Baer was previously my developmental editor for The Mermaid’s Sister, this experience was totally different. This time, she pushed me so much harder to be a better writer, rejecting every cliché and every bit of lazy storytelling she found. It was grueling work ( I admit I shouted at the computer monitor on numerous occasions), but I came out on the other side feeling like I’d grown by leaps and bounds as a writer and as a person—all because she demanded more from me than I knew I could do. I’m grateful beyond description for all Marianna did for The Gold-Son and me.
J: Thanks so much for sharing with us, Carrie!
Below are Carrie’s social media sites, so drop by and say hi. Also, I have the beautiful cover of The Gold-Son. Don’t leave without signing up for the giveaway!
More about the Author:
In the wake of her thrilling past as a theater student, restaurant hostess, certified nurse aide, and newspaper reporter, Carrie Anne Noble has turned to writing novels and short stories. Her debut novel The Mermaid’s Sister won the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for Young Adult Fiction, and the 2016 Realm Award for Speculative Novel of the Year. Carrie lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania with her tolerant husband, charming children, two naughty cats, a not-so-bright dog, and some really-not-so-bright chickens. The chickens do not live in the house.
You can find her at the following places: