Cara Faith Donovan writes highly evocative descriptive prose that straddles the paranormal and romantic traditions. ‘Tears Of Crimson’ is set in New Orleans and brings the French Quarter to life as the backdrop to her vampire story. It is a strange and compelling book and Cara dramatises her characters with detail and finesse. There is something haunted about her prose and she has an individual style. She is also one of the most active and effective role players on the internet.
She met me at The Slaughterhouse where we talked about Romance and mortality.
If vampires visit you in your dreams how do you view dreams?
I guess I see dreams as the escape from everyday life and the only time when I, personally, have the ability to truly unleash my creative thoughts. During my waking hours I feel that I have a certain face I have to put on for the rest of the world; Mother, wife, etc. When I dream all the restraints are taken away and that’s when I allow myself to create all the wonderful worlds and creatures in my mind.
What does Rafael represent to you and considering the Ancient Greeks thought that daimons were “supernatural beings between mortals and gods, such as inferior divinities and ghosts of dead heroes” do you think the world you inhabit is alien?
I’ve always thought that Rafe was more real than not to be honest. I don’t believe we see everything around us. For as long as I can remember I’ve had dreams about this other world that he inhabited, that being said it’s made me question the possibility of other life forms existing. To me there is not enough information available to make a conclusive decision on whether or not life exists outside of our planet, but I definitely would not rule that out. One theory that I have contemplated was that our time spent in dreams was actually a form of astral travel to other destinations. Another theory that seems to feel right to me is the possibility that Rafe is a guardian sent from another realm to watch over me. He appeared in my dreams during a time when I needed a distraction from the pain I was suffering in real life, so in that aspect one could also assume that he was a figment of my imagination that my mind created to overcome the problems I was having during those times. Whether he is a creation of my own thoughts, a guardian angel sent to protect me, or my own personal demon there has not been a day in my life that I have regretted the thoughts of him.
Tell us how you came to write ‘Tears Of Crimson’ and how the novel has evolved.
Believe it or not it all started with a dream. During my dream, which reoccurred until I started putting the words down, Rafe was standing in his home land and holding out his hand to me. I won’t give away much about his home because it’s actually in the book. I will tell you that I can still see this place vividly in my mind and he told me it was time to share our story with the world. I still find it hard to sit down for long periods of time and do one steady task so it took a few nights of this same exact dream to finally get me motivated enough to start. I had completed half of the story when I got distracted with the things going on in my life and actually didn’t pick it back up until six months later. The dreams were still going on during this time so when I got the motivation to start writing again it only took me a short time to pick up where I had left off. One thing I can say for certain is that I will never allow my writing to go untapped for so long again. During this time I couldn’t stop writing the ideas were flowing so quickly.
How has your career as a singer songwriter influenced you?
Song writing has many of the same elements as writing for a novel, at least for myself. The main difference being that you need to tell a story in a very short amount of time with lyrics. As far as my singing I always felt the emotions of the lyrics so deeply that I would lose myself in the song I was singing. When I write I find that I use this same skill and try to put myself in the characters shoes, so to speak.
Who are your literary influences?
There is actually an amusing story behind this answer. As a young girl my grandmother received Harlequin romances, the subscription that sent you four small romance books a month. Of course I was not supposed to read these since I was only 8 or 9 at the time. I would sneak these little romance books into my play tent and read every line. I can’t remember the author’s names but I read every single one that came in the mail and wanted to be just like them when I grew up. Needless to say they left a huge impression on my young mind and I always expected prince charming to ride up on his white horse and sweep me off my feet one day. As for authors that I enjoy today, I would have to say my two favourites are Charlaine Harris and JR Ward.
Do you believe that vampires are symbolic or real?
Well I definitely believe that psychic vamps are real. Actually something I have put a little study time toward. I won’t go into the details but I felt attacked by someone who studied this type of mental manipulation once. As for the immortal vampires, I can only wish it were so. I think living forever, never aging, and controlling all the thoughts around me might be interesting. But hey I’m a pretty open-minded person and if I’m wrong I will be glad to be called on it.
Would you describe yourself as a romantic and what do you think the ingredients are for good romantic literature?
Absolutely I would classify myself as a romantic. To me a great romance can be many things but what I enjoy seeing is that first meeting. True romance, for me, begins with a shiver of awareness the first time you look in someone’s eyes. Your heart racing for no logical reason, that’s always a great second step. In keeping with a good plot I enjoy seeing characters overcome differences of opinions or huge moral struggles. Romance is about feeling pure emotion, and good romantic literature demands that the author can pull the readers into those feelings and keep them wanting more.
You are extremely active on the internet, how effective do you think online networking is and do you think it helps the promotion of a book?
I think promotion on the internet is vitally important these days. We live in a society where everything is so visual and fast-paced that I seriously believe if you aren’t out there promoting with social media you’re going to have a very hard time getting your book noticed. If you write books that aim toward the young adult crowd I think it’s even more important to have all the electronic promotion you can. That being said having traditional face to face contact as with book signings is just as important.
Do you think power and control are linked?
A difficult question to answer! Power can mean many things so I’m just going to put it in a context of power in the sense of being the dominant person concerning business relations. Power in that instance would definitely be linked to control. When you are in a leadership position you maintain control over the people who work for you. In that aspect the two are almost synonymous with each other. As I ponder this question more deeply I cannot find a situation where the two are not linked in some form.
What difficulties have you encountered writing paranormal romance in the small suburb you reside in?
I reside in a small southern town in Alabama where the major emphasis is on conservative values and religion. Vampires are not a very good topic for conversation for the most part in my town. I write under a pen name for that reason and keep my writing out of my everyday life. There are many wonderful qualities about the place I live but tolerance for the most part is still something that they have not awakened too.
Thank you Cara for giving an engaging and insightful interview.