Camille, tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?
I am smack dab in the middle of the mothering season. I have a toddler and a soon-to-be second grader. You think that age difference would mean they wouldn’t fight, well, like siblings. And you’d be wrong. In between my job as a mom-referee, I write for my critique group’s blog, The Literary Ladies, which focuses on empowering women writers. I also write paranormal fiction which is based on my personal experiences growing up in a haunted house. Voodoo Butterfly, my debut novel, was a 2013 Lone Star Contest finalist and has earned only 4 and 5-star reviews on Amazon. (Mama’s proud).
Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?
When I was 8 or 9, I’d type stories about princesses and Oscar the Grouch on my mom’s electronic typewriter. Over the years, I dabbled in writing in one form or another, writing for my high school and college newspapers, reporting for a local NBC affiliate, and teaching Composition at the college level. I finally made time for my dream of writing a novel when I decided to stay home to raise my kids.
How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?
My story is not one of overnight success. I started writing in October 2009 and, in one year, wrote a draft that was good enough to garner a few manuscript requests from NYC agents and editors. Over the course of the next few years, I had many editors and agents tell me they “really liked it, but it was not quite the right fit” for them. In 2013, Voodoo Butterfly was a finalist in a writing contest hosted by the Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America. One of the final round judges was Debby Gilbert, who owns Soul Mate Publishing, and she offered me a contract. Voodoo Butterfly finally made its debut 5 years, to the month, after I began writing it.
What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?
I grew up in an old house where many people experienced paranormal activity. The scariest episode I experienced was waking in the middle of the night to someone—or something—tapping my head with what felt like a finger. I was so terrified, I literally couldn’t move. The drumming on my skull continued for who knows how long as I rattled off Our Fathers and Hail Marys in my mind (being the good Catholic girl that I am). Eventually, I fell asleep.
Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?
Being a SAHM, I have very little quiet time. There have been some periods in the kids’ lives (especially during toddlerhood), that I’ve had to basically give up writing for a month or so. It sucks. I wish things were different, but it is what it is. Most times, I commit to a practice of writing 15 minutes per day. Most times it turns into an hour or more. I never have writers block because I write notes to myself throughout the day if an idea hits me. When I sit in my chair, those notes guide where the story will take me.
How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?
I normally start out with a loose outline, but for my most recent work, I’ve made a detailed outline. So far I like it. Along the way I research about voodoo and New Orleans so that I can be as true to those cultures as possible. My plot and character development is completely made up, though, and that’s where I have my fun and freedom.
Voodoo Butterfly actually began as a dream. When I was on a family trip in New Orleans in 2008, I dreamt of a woman who had the power to change evil people good. Immediately following that dream, I had a flash of a dream where I saw Saint Louis Cathedral in NOLA completely covered in monarch butterflies. In the middle of the night, I wrote down those two imaginative sparks and it itched in the back of my mind for months. I finally started writing the story in fall 2009.
Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.
Right now I’m working on the second book in the ‘Voodoo Butterfly’ series. My main character, Sophie, is going to go through some dark-night-of-the-soul kind of stuff. And we’re also going to get to know the dark and mysterious Jacques better. I can’t wait for people to read it!
Camille’s debut book with Soul Mate, VOODOO BUTTERFLY:
When twenty-five-year old Sophie Nouveau inherits her grandmother’s voodoo shop she knows nothing about voodoo. Or her family’s history of Mind Changers, who have the power to change evil people to good. To complicate matters, someone doesn’t want Sophie in New Orleans and sends a series of death threats to scare her away from her new enchanted life.
Tipped off by her grandmother’s ghost, Sophie realizes her mind-changing spell’s been missing one magic ingredient: true love. If Sophie cannot experience transformative love, she cannot make her spell work, and she will be powerless to fight back when confronted by the one who wants her dead.
Find Voodoo Butterfly on Amazon:
Camille is doing two giveaways*:
1) An ebook copy of Voodoo Butterfly
2) A $5 Amazon gift card
*To enter, please 1) Follow Camille on Twitter, 2) Friend Camille on Facebook, and/or 3) Sign up for Camille’s mailing list at http://eepurl.com/6AIsT.
Comment below with which things you did for more chances to win.
Camille, thanks so much for visiting with us today!