Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Interview with Viola Carr, author of The Devious Dr. Jekyll - Win a $25 GC!

Title: The Devious Dr. Jekyll
Author: Viola Carr
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy/Steampunk
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Audible

 Dr. Eliza Jekyll, heroine of the electrifying The Diabolical Miss Hyde—an edgy steampunk retelling of the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—investigates a bizarre murder case in an alternate Victorian London while battling her treacherous secret half: Lizzie Hyde.

Solving the infamous Chopper case has helped crime scene physician Dr. Eliza Jekyll establish her fledgling career in the chauvinistic world of Victorian law enforcement. But the scrutiny that comes with her newfound fame is unwelcome for a woman with a diabolical secret. And there is the mercurial Royal Society agent and wolf man Remy Lafayette. Does he want to marry her, eat her, or burn her at the stake? Though Eliza is uncertain about Remy, her dark and jealous shadow self, Lizzie, wants to steal the magnetic and persistent agent, and usurp Eliza’s life.

It’s impossible to push Remy away when he tempts her with the one thing she can’t resist: a bizarre crime. The search for a bloodthirsty ritual torturer dubbed the Pentacle Killer draws them into a terrifying world of spies, art thieves, and evil alchemy, where the price of immortality is madness—or damnation—and only Lizzie’s dark ingenuity can help Eliza survive. As Eliza and Remy race to thwart a foul conspiracy involving the sorcerous French, they must also overcome a sinister enemy who is all too close: the vengeful Lizzie, determined to dispose of Eliza for good.

The Devious Dr. Jekyll is available for order at  
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What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
I've learned a lot of things, been a lot of places. I get satisfaction from doing creative things, so I'm proud of all my novels and the work I've put into learning musical instruments and the like. But there's always more to do!
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I've had a pretty easy life. I'm middle-class, white, educated, and the people around me are supportive of my choices. So I suppose my writing reflects that, in that my books tend to address problems that are a bit higher up the scale of human needs. My Electric Empire series is set in quasi-Victorian times, but my characters still have what you might call 'first-world problems'! My heroine, Eliza, isn't worried about finding her next meal. She's fighting for her career, for gender equality, for justice for murder victims. She's in a place where she's concerned about happiness and fulfillment, not raw survival – at least, not to begin with.
When and why did you begin writing?
At school, for something to do. I've always liked writing stories!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
English class was something I was good at as a kid, as opposed to the more sporty things, at which I really sucked. So I got thrown on the 'clever kid' pile. Which meant I tended to self-select those things. Vicious circle, etc.  Was I pigeonholed? Sure. But I wasn't unhappy about it.
When did you first know you could be a writer? 
I wonder what that means: 'be a writer'. As in, write? Anyone can do that. Writing for publication takes another level of dedication. I started doing that in my late twenties. So yeah, don't believe anyone who says that if you didn't start when you're a teen, it's too late. It's never too late.
What inspires you to write and why?
Panic, mostly. At deadlines. Ha! No, I think I'd still be writing even if I'd never landed a contract. It puts me in my happy place. I read an article once about something called 'creative flow', and how getting immersed in a task to the exclusion of all else – even if it’s a menial task, like doing the ironing – makes you happy. That's me, at my computer :)
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Fantasy and sci-fi first and foremost. I love historical fiction, but I'm at best an amateur historian. Which is one reason why Victorian steampunk is so much fun for me – it's the speculative kind of history that I enjoy.
What inspired you to write your first book?
The first ever iteration of my first ever novel came from a high-school creative writing project. I started this horrible high fantasy story, complete with quests and magical plot-driving items and insufferable main characters. I had no idea where it was going. Needless to say, those chapters ended up in the bin (yeah, this was so long ago that I hand-wrote it!) but that idea was the genesis of a slightly better novel manuscript that I eventually finished. And no, you can't read it :)
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
For a while I wanted to be Anne Rice. I loved her lush descriptions and courageous characterizations. I learned a lot from 80s-style epic fantasy – yeah, it's kind of cringe-worthy now! But devouring authors like Weis and Hickman (they of the Dragonlance books) taught me a lot about plot structure and how to play a scene for drama. Also about what not to do :)
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Two things. Being able to step back and see the big picture is difficult, especially when you're first starting out and focused on the minutiae of craft. At least, it was for me. You see and hear about a lot of writers – especially indie writers – for whom making up a story is easy, but writing craft is, shall we say, problematic :) I'm the opposite of that. Writing was innate for me. Story came harder.
The other is motivation. Starting is easy. Finishing – and keeping going when it's not progressing well! – is a lot harder.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
I guess it reinforced what my other books have taught me: every book is different. Some well-known author (I forget who?) said that you never learn how to write a novel – you only ever learn how to write this novel.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
I'm working at that! I write full-time, and my family is very supportive.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
Yes and no. I publish books under two author names and they're very different. I have lush, dark, erotic, highly descriptive books, and slam-bam action-focused books. But like a poker player's tells, there are certain elements – turns of phrase, character types, technical aspects – that will always give me away.
Of course, character voices will always be different. The Diabolical Miss Hyde and The Devious Dr. Jekyll have 2 points of view: Eliza's and Lizzie's. They're two halves of the same person, so I deliberately tried to make their voices 'the same but different'. They influence each other, and occasionally there's bleedover. It's how I imagine a 'split personality' in the style of Jekyll/Hyde would work!
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
I have special blood that doesn't stain the keyboard when I bang my head. Washes right off. It's awesome. Oh, and I can eat comfort chocolate by the ton. The ton, people.
No, seriously, I think the best quality for a writer is to make sure you're always learning, and I try to do that, whether it's research or craft or just reading other authors.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
Apart from wit, charm and dashing good looks? Er. Nope. Got nothing.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
I'm getting older. Y'know. Wrinkles and stuff. How is this possible?
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
One writers' quote that I always remember was from Hilary Mantel, who won 2 Booker Prizes for her historical fiction books Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. She said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that when she's writing, she'll invent the contents of a man's heart, but never the colour of his wallpaper. In other words, research the parts that can be researched, and get them right – but hidden motives will always be fair game. Excellent advice for historical fiction, which is really entertainment first and history a distant second.

Viola Carr was born in Australia, but wandered into darkest London one foggy October evening and never found her way out. She now devours countless history books and dictates fantastical novels by gaslight, accompanied by classical music and the snoring of her slumbering cat. She loves history, and pops down to London’s many historical sites whenever she gets the chance.  She likes steampunk, and thought it would be cool to investigate wacky crimes with crazy gadgets…just so long as her heroine was the creator of said wacky gadgets: a tinkerer, edgy, with a dash of mad scientist.

Readers can follow her on twitter at @viola_carr  and online at

For More Information
Visit Viola’s website.
Connect with Viola on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest   PUYB Giveaway

Viola is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins October 26 and ends on November 13.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on November 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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