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Beyond the Blurb with Southern Gothic Author Carrie Dalby

About Carrie:

While experiencing the typical adventures of growing up, Carrie Dalby called several places in both San Diego and Santa Cruz counties home and has lived on the Alabama Gulf Coast since 1996. Carrie writes for both teens and adults. Her current project is a Southern Gothic family saga, THE POSSESSION CHRONICLES. The first three novels in this series were published in 2019 with two more in 2020 and more to come in2021 from Bienvenue Press. FORTITUDE, a coming-of-age Southern Gothic that ties into the series, is listed as a "Best History Book" for kids (grades 5-10th) from Grateful American Foundation for its historical accuracy and reader engagement. When Carrie isn’t reading, writing, browsing bookstores/libraries, or homeschooling her children, she can often be found knitting, volunteering, or attending concerts

PoisedPenPro: When did you become a writer?

Carrie: I started seriously writing when I was fourteen. I wrote a book-length manuscript a year for the next four years and studying the business side of writing from the age of sixteen.

PoisedPenPro: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?

Carrie: I had a few shorts published in school journals and private newsletters as a teen, but nothing professional until I was in my thirties—so two decades.

PoisedPenPro: Did any other authors or stories influence your writing style?

Carrie: One of my favorite quotes is “Don't ask who's influenced me. A lion is made up of the lamb he's digested, and I've been reading all my life.” -Giorgos Seferis (Greek Poet)

That being said, my literary anchor is firmly in coming-of-age stories, second only to Gothic themes. Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L’Engle, Richard Peck, and other Newbery winning authors have been in my heart since my youth.

On the Gothic front, I’ve recently found a connection with mid-century saga authors like Frances Parkinson Keyes, Dorothy Eden, and Taylor Caldwell, though I’ve read them after writing The Possession Chronicles.

PoisedPenPro: What do you most enjoy writing?

Carrie: The same things I like reading: coming-of-age, Gothic, and novels that make me cry.

PoisedPenPro: What do you like least about writing?

Carrie: I love all the steps involved in the writing process, but the hardest thing for me is what happens after--marketing. There are so many books out there. Trying to connect with potential readers in a sea of possibilities is exhausting. I don’t dislike it, but the process is overwhelming.

PoisedPenPro: Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.

Carrie: That’s a tough one. I often claim Claudio De Fiore as my favorite, but if I really think deeply about it, I’d probably have to say it’s Bethany (both from The Possession Chronicles). I wrote Bethany’s birth scene for one of the novels in the series and I literally watched her grow to adulthood over the second half of the series. She’s a great blend of both her parents but becomes her own woman in a way I didn’t expect.

PoisedPenPro: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Carrie: It’s going to take longer than you ever thought possible, but it’ll be worth it.

PoisedPenPro: Are you a Plotter or Pantser?

Carrie: I’m a plotter, but as I write character-driven stories, they all jump the plot rails about a third of the way through the first draft. It never ends the way I expected.

PoisedPenPro: Tell us about the book you’re sharing with us today?

Carrie: Perilous Confessions is the first book in The Possession Chronicles. It covers the Christmas and Mardi Gras season of high society Mobile, Alabama, the winter of 1904-1905. It sets the stage of this multi-generation Southern Gothic family saga—including the passionate events that lead to demonic possession in later books.

Lucy Easton, an aspiring novelist, will do anything to help boost her chances at publication—including betraying her family. But when she crosses paths with the charismatic Alexander Melling, her aspiration for success pales in comparison to the attraction she feels towards him. Alexander is a young lawyer from a powerful family, striving to free himself from his father’s shadow. The more time he spends with Lucy, the more desperate he becomes to shed the secrets of his past—a past which can destroy both himself and the woman he’s falling in love with. While Alexander struggles with his past sins, Lucy must decide whether loving him is worth risking her own safety…and her heart. From gossip magazines to gleaming Mardi Gras balls, Lucy and Alex navigate the Edwardian era in the Deep South with both passion and guilt.

Book Excerpt:

Edmund went for the eggnog on the side table as Lucy stepped toward the corner, more comfortable to observe the room from afar than join in the conversations. Her brother, on the other hand, soon supplied drinks and laughter to several young ladies garbed in the peak of Edwardian fashion before he returned to his sister’s side.

Edmund handed her a cup and took her elbow, leading her toward the sofa in the middle of the room. “Surely you’ll forfeit your seat to my sister, Rupert,” he informed his friend.

“Of course, Eddie.” The plain-faced man stood from his snug spot on the couch and nodded to Lucy with a leering smile. “It would be my pleasure, Miss Easton.”

Mortified, Lucy took the uncomfortable position between two brunettes in red and gold, ever aware of her blonde hair and pale dress. She sipped her drink and glared at her brother over the rim of her glass, to which he merely winked in return.

“That brother of yours,” Judith McGowan said from her position to Lucy’s right, “is he attached to anyone yet?”

“Not that I’m aware of.”

“Even though he’s running with the fast group now, he’s still a great catch. Just look at him compared to Alexander Melling. It’s like a man verses a boy, though the boy has a larger pocketbook.”

The hosts’son had joined Edmund and Rupert in front of the fireplace. Alexander—the only one in the room with hair paler than Lucy’s—stood out from the others, but blond hair on a man wasn’t as unfashionable as for a woman. True, her brother’s distinguished facial hair gave him a more mature look, but Lucy rather liked the impish smile of clean-shaven Alexander.

Carrie, thank you so much for joining us today.

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Until next time..

Happy reading!

Tessa and Team Poised Pen Productions

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