5 Questions with Paul Carroll
Our debut anthology Dublin’s Fierce City launches at Octocon tomorrow! Today, we’re interviewing Paul Carroll, who will be part of the launch team.
1. What genre do you like to write in most?
Broadly speaking, fantasy and a bit of light sci-fi, but that’s never set in stone. My books lean towards the supernatural or mythical, while two of the comics I write are adventure stories – one with a superhero, the other a homicidal cat. I don’t believe in unnecessary constraints.
2. Which author or authors inspired you to write?
As a child, I would have leaned towards Darren Shan a lot for this. The more I reflect on it, Garth Nix ended up having an early influence on me. More recently, authors like Andrew Kaufman, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman have been a sort of encouragement to let myself write more of what I enjoy, whereas Donny Cates (a comic writer) helped me realise that sometimes stories are allowed to be a little bit insane, so long as they work.
3. Are you a planner or a pantser, and how does that work out for you?
Definitely a planner. I can’t sit down and just start writing without an outline of some description. This comes down to never knowing when I’d have to stop, and fearing I’ll forget that one big moment of inspiration by the time I get to it in a book.
Planning, especially with the amount of detail I sometimes throw in, let’s me focus more on how I tell a story once I sit down to write. It also helps me remember to include everything in a scene, like a pile of magazines that I need to remember to write into a room so I can light them on fire later. (A very specific example, I know.)
Ultimately, it’s a safety net, and it let’s me pick up a book to write without having to worry about where I was.
4. What are you working on now?
While I continue my NaNo Prep on two books for November – sequels to A Death in the Family and Second Sight for Sore Eyes – I’m working on a couple of comic scripts. One is a sort of mystic-adventure tale, and the other is an all-ages superhero story set in Dublin (The Wren.)
5. What’s your one piece of advice for new writers?
Worry about your “writing career” after you’ve figured out how to write a book (play/comic/short story/etc.)
Telling good stories is more important in the beginning than whether they’re (a) publishable or (b) what you want to build your career on the back of. I haven’t touched most of the books I wrote while figuring out what I like to write and what I think does well for me, and I probably would wait to publish anything if I was given the chance to start over again, at least until I had more work done
When you’re ready, then you can begin to look at the best way to publish something, and whether something is worth publishing. That’s when you focus on marketing and your career and the idea of making money from your writing.
In short: stories first, business later.
When you do start your career, then, try not let the business side of things spoil the creative side.
Paul Carroll is a writer and comic creator from Dublin, one third of Limit Break Comics and a founding member of Cupán Fae. He writes books supernatural fiction and stories inspired by Irish folklore, which earned him a place on Geek Ireland’s ‘One to Watch’ list. As part of Limit Break Comics, Paul launched his first collection of short stories, ‘Life & Death’, building on his experience on ‘Meouch’ with Gareth Luby, and ‘The Wren’ with Buttonpress Publications. He is the owner and editor of Comix Ireland, and runs social media and vendor bookings for the Geek Mart.
About Dublin’s Fierce City
In Dublin’s Fierce City, nine writers from the group present seventeen tales of magic and wonder.
Explore a city of fairies and ghosts, where one is as bad as the other. Avoid the curses of witches, and escape the wrath of angels and demons. Survive alien invasions and all out war, and come out the other side seeing the whole world differently.