Interview with Demelza Carlton
Today I'm joined by author Demelza Carlton to chat about her book series.
What genre do you write and why?
I write…several, actually. Paranormal romance and urban fantasy, because mermaids, dragons, angels and demons intrigue me, especially in a modern, urban setting. But I've also written a romantic suspense trilogy that borders on psychological suspense…because nothing's straightforward in my Nightmares.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest release in the Mel Goes to Hell series is the third book, Mel Goes to Hell, and I'm soon to release the fourth one, To Hell and Back, which will be out on the 1st February. The whole series is based on a crazy idea: what if Lucifer fell for an angel, a brand-new temp sent to spy on him as he primes the HELL Corporation to take over the corporate world?
The first book (Welcome to Hell) is just a short story – Melody Angel's job interview, where she first meets Lucifer. The second book (See You in Hell) is the story of an office romance with a difference…because Lucifer may have fallen hard, but sweet Mel isn't as easygoing as she seems. And Luce isn't used to being refused.
In the third book, Mel Goes to Hell, the unthinkable happens – Mel follows Lucifer into Hell itself and she's forced to fight her way through all the levels of Hell as only she can. But it's not the Inferno of Dante's time – definitely not. Some of the female demons, inspired by modern-day BDSM erotica books, have redesigned their workspace and there's more wear and tear on the whips than ever. Not to mention a punishment level that's been modelled on the Black Friday sales…
The fourth book (To Hell and Back)…well, Persephone (Mel's cousin and a half-angel) disappears, and the desperate archangels Michael and Raphael beg Mel to help find the girl. The search takes Mel across the globe, from
Australia to the UK
in her search for Persephone as she carries out her normal angelic duties. The
problem is, Lucifer tags along and proves quite talented at causing trouble
wherever Mel goes. Oh Hell, just the time he, Mel and St Patrick go out for
drunken karaoke one night in Japan …that
sounds like a joke, doesn't it? An angel, the devil and St Patrick walk into a
What's the best thing about being a writer?
The research and the freedom to take a project wherever and whenever you want. I've explored old World War II ruins; spent time in a shooting range; explored caves; gone whale watching, scuba diving and snorkelling; ventured behind the scenes at a whisky distillery for a private tasting and tour…all in the name of research. It's not all fieldwork, though – there's a lot of desktop and online research, reading scientific papers and books and all. One day I might be investigating particle physics for a concept I want to use in my Mel Goes to Hell series; another day I might be standing on a harbour rock wall, dodging the spray from the storm surge as I try to work out where the fishing boat harbour jetty was in the 1920s because no amount of Google maps and aerial photography can compare to standing there where the events in a story happened.
Who is you favorite character in your book and why?
In the Mel Goes to Hell series? Ooh, that's really, really hard. I love Mel because she's so sweet and yet so strong, she doesn't take orders from anyone – no, not even the Lord of Hell himself. In the third book, Mel Goes to Hell, I had to write a chunk of the story from Lucifer's perspective and I found I have a bit of a soft spot for the cheeky devil. He's frustrating to write, because one minute he'll try to do something right, and then the next minute he's stark naked and raising Hell as only Lucifer can. He's a bad, bad man, but sometimes it's just bad luck – he's notorious for it. I can't help but feel sorry for him, especially when he really is trying to do the right thing by Mel. And he has no idea what he's gotten into, either – for an angel to be able to resist the Lord of Hell for as long as she has, there's quite a story to sweet Melody Angel. Oh, here I go again…no, I won't spoil it for you.
How long did it take you to write your book?
Most books take me between one and two months to write, depending on the length. That's like doing National Novel Writing Month every month I'm writing, really, as I can write 20,000 words in a good week. But…with all the research a book involves, sometimes they can take longer than expected. I'd rather delay a book by a few weeks to make sure I get all the details right, before sending it to my editor to make sure I haven't accidentally turned my hero into a gimp or misspelled his name.
The exception to all of this is my Nightmares Trilogy – those three books have taken me twenty years to write. Good thing, too – I wouldn't even want to read the first version of that book again, let alone share them with anyone else!
Who designed the cover?
Me, actually. I can show you dozens of examples of why authors should never design their own covers – just from my portfolio – but all that design practice DOES pay off. I engaged a graphic artist to do my first cover and I've since learned that I can do better. Having a background in photography helps – say I want a picture of a particular place, as most of my books are set here in
. I hop in a car or occasionally on a plane
with my DSLR and get the shot. I use a lot of background photos on my website –
I wanted to illustrate what a shag on a rock was to my readers, so I headed out
in search of the water bird in question. And I found it – just a short walk from
where Lucifer's penthouse apartment is, too. Western
Every time I start a new series, I swear I'll engage a cover designer for this one…but graphics work is so addictive sometimes that I end up doing the covers myself.
Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
Oh, absolutely. See, the whole Mel Goes to Hell series was inspired by an unexpected briefcase a fellow train commuter shoved up my skirt. Really unexpected and incredibly uncomfortable, too. I learned not to kill the man who did it on a crowded train. Though if he ever does it again…I'm no angel, that's for sure.
I've learned that cave photography needs a high-powered torch and you spend a lot of time on your knees…after which stairs are torture. That you're not supposed to smile while scuba diving – no, not even at the cute shark you just photographed – because it breaks the seal on your mask and it fills with water. That pearls can survive for thousands of years and still look pretty. How to make mushroom risotto, and Lucifer's sinful triple chocolate mousse cake that had even Mel's mouth watering. And some people really, really hate Lucifer in my books because sympathy for the devil is just…wrong. You can't help but be sympathetic to this sexy devil…
Where can a reader purchase your book?
The Mel Goes to Hell series is available…well, wherever you buy good books! All the books are available in paperback and ebook format, at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play…and a whole bundle of other places, too.
Welcome to Hell (#1)
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/welcome-to-hell-demelza-carlton/1118739335?ean=2940045715829
See You in Hell (#2)
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/see-you-in-hell-demelza-carlton/1119109471?ean=2940045808255
Mel Goes to Hell (#3)
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mel-goes-to-hell-demelza-carlton/1120020137?ean=2940046058703
Google Play: http://play.google.com/store/books/details/Demelza_Carlton_Mel_Goes_to_Hell?id=Kq0YBAAAQBAJ
To Hell and Back (#4) should be up for preorder very, very soon…so your best bet if you're after the earliest news on that book is to sign up for my newsletter, which is where I tell people first about release dates, free and discounted books. The link for that is: http://eepurl.com/X_eUP
How do you research your books?
I think I sort of answered this one already. With a camera in one hand and an internet-ready device in the other. But when I'm at a site…it's often with my eyes closed. The sounds and smells of a place are important, the taste of things, especially when it's a character's first time experiencing it…for one of my historical fiction books, I had to write about a heroine's first taste of chocolate. I went through a whole packet of Lindt to get that scene right. Not to mention one couple's first kiss…my poor husband had to help me with that research.
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
After finishing To Hell and Back, I started working on two books – the fifth book about Mel and Luce, The Holiday From Hell, and the last book in my suspense Nightmares Trilogy – Afterlife of Alanna Miller. Both very different books, as Mel and Luce's disastrous holiday in Western Australia's south west is almost the complete opposite to the final episode of Nathan and Caitlin's story as they struggle to put their lives back together after her abduction, never knowing if they're safe or if the whole nightmare will start again.
The reason I'm writing the two together is that they take place in the same location at the same time – and in one scene, all four of them are at
was abducted from the street outside Mel's office window – if she was working
that day, she'd have witnessed it. And the place where Mel and Luce stay in Lake
Cave is only a short drive from where
Caitlin was held captive. So when Caitlin and Nathan venture back to the old
World War II bunker to put their demons to rest, so to speak, they don't know
that Lucifer himself is living only up the road. Margaret River
Afterlife of Alanna Miller will be released on 15th January, but The Holiday From Hell won't be out until the end of March, or early April.