Author Interview - Coral McCallum
This week's guest is Author Coral McCallum.
Coral is a contemporary romance author. She has published three books in her Silver Lake Series as well as a stand-alone novel.
I hope you enjoy reading a little more about Coral and her writing.
About Writing/Books/Being an Author
1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you - in what way and what was the name of that book?
I was lucky in that my mum always read to me when I was a little girl. Books have featured in my life for as long as I can remember. The first “big book” I remember reading on my own was Alice In Wonderland. My mum said it was too advanced for me but I’m kind of stubborn so was determined to read it. The copy of it was old, with no pictures, only the occasional drawing but I remember being fascinated by the way The Mouse’s Tail was laid out on the page. I was about 6 or 7 at the time but I finished it all by myself.
2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?
As soon as I could write a few words and string a sentence together.
3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?
Oh, that’s a cruel question for a book lover! The answer I guess also depends on mood. I’ll try to narrow it down to five that I always go back to – Paolo Coehlo, John Irving, Barbara Erskine, Kate Mosse and Stephen King. Bit of a mixed bag!
4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?
I love creating the personalities of my characters and bring them to life. I try to give them real life habit sand mannerisms eg Jake Power in my Silver Lake series is always late and, when he’s nervous, runs his hand through his hair. My least favourite thing is formatting and editing. Commas are evil!!
5. Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere and everything – a song lyric, a name, a daydream. A combination of all of those. If I hear a name that catches my attention, I’ll take note of it and then try to think of who could have a name like that, what would they be like etc.
There’s a scene in the third book in the Silver Lake series, Bonded Souls, that was inspired by the lyrics of the Slash ft Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators song “Not For Me”.
Ideas are all around us – you just need to look for them
6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?
Oh…good question. I guess photography. I love taking photos! I also write a music blog, The 525 to Glasgow, where I review the rock shows I attend and I take all my own photos for that.
7. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?
Lord of the Rings. I love that book!
8. When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?
A bit of both in reality. I’ve always said you can’t create a character that is based on a real-life person for risk of offending them. I’ve been told there is a lot of myself in Lori in the Silver Lake series but that was as much accidental as anything else. There are traits that remind me of friends and, I guess, myself. I have written a serialised short story that appears on my blog that is loosely based around a friend. They had playfully begged and begged to be in my book and I mischievously wrote them into my Silently Watching stories- a case of be careful what you wish for!
9. Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?
Yes, to an extent. When I created Jake Power, I could hear him singing in my head. A year or so after I created him, I heard a song called “Ghost” by the Australian rock band, Massive. It was Jake’s voice in my head. Love that song.
10. How do you come up with titles for your books?
The titles of the books in the Silver Lake series are song titles of the fictitious songs the band play. They also reflect the story in some way too. My stand-alone spin-off novel was harder to name. I elected to go with the character’s name, Ellen, for simplicity’s sake. That also leaves me free rein to add to the spin-offs with other characters in future.
11. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?
Currently I am finalising book four in the Silver Lake series, Shattered Hearts. This one is due out on 6 December via KDP and picks up the story of all things Silver Lake five years down the line from Bonded Souls. I’ve also started planning and writing the next and final book in that series but it is very early days there.
12. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?
Not yet but who knows what the future holds. Ever the optimist!
A Little More Personal
13. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?
I have a lengthy list but I think “visit the Grand Canyon” is top
14. Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?
I am sure there are several but I can’t think of one just now….sorry.
15. Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?
There have been a few, usually déjà vu type things or the odd spooky thing. I saw a “fortune teller” once, kind of by accident. I thought the lady was going to read Angel cards not necessarily be a medium. She caught me off guard and told me quite a few things that there was no way she could have known. Freaked me out a bit.
16. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?
I am very superstitious and I’m a creature of habit - bad combination! I tend to wear the same jewellery if I’m going to certain places or the same Converse…that kind of thing.
17. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
Probably Kangaroo meat a long time ago
18. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?
Rehoboth Beach, DE and the surrounding area. Definitely a place close to my heart.
19. Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?
Probably sledging down the driveway of our house when I was about 9 or 10 with my friend Gill. I didn’t own a sledge so had borrowed my mum’s metal tea tray, waxed it with a candle and off we went! That driveway was steep! It’s a miracle neither of us got hurt.
20. What makes you happy?
Walking along any beach or being at a rock show or simply a good cup of coffee with friends.
21. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?
Life is busy – I work full time as a team manager for a bank, I write a weekly blog, I run two social media fan sites for a real life rockstar plus I have a husband and kids and 4 cats. I could be doing anything associated with any of these or I could have escaped out to a rock show!
22. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?
Yes – several rock stars. The one I have met most often is Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge. It’s two of his online fan pages that I run. He’s one of the most humble, talented, shy humans I have ever met. A really lovely guy. Very easy to talk to. I’ve met the rest of Alter Bridge too and they are all great guys. The first time I met Myles was when he was in Glasgow with Slash ft Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. I got to meet the three Conspirators too that night – Todd Kerns, Bent Fitz and Frank Sidoris- all lovely guys. I go to a fair number of rock shows so I’ve met a few bands along the way.
I’ve kind of given most of it away in my answers above.
Ok, I’m Coral McCallum and I’m a wife, mother, bank manager, blogger, author and a rock chick at heart. I live in a town called Gourock on the banks of the River Clyde on the west coast of Scotland. I’ve always been a writer at heart. I’ve written stories and poems for as long as I can remember. About seven years ago I took a long hard look at myself and decided I needed to do something just for me…. like I do with everything I thought about it a while longer then on 8 May 2013 I sat down on my front doorstep in the early evening sunshine and began to write the story that eventually became Stronger Within, book 1 in the Silver Lake series. If you’d told me that night that by the end of 2019, I’d have published 5 books I wouldn’t have believed you. My mantra has become “Dreams get you started. Discipline keeps you going.” With a bit of self-discipline, the dreams come true.
Oh, and the secret fear – letting people read what I write.
Social Media Links
Amazon.com links –
Stronger Within - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M
Impossible Depths - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K
Bonded Souls - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71
Ellen - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44
Shattered Hearts can be pre-ordered here. It is due out on 6 Dec 2019
Amazon.com link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM