This Writer Wednesday, the spotlight shines on YA author Carly Jeffrey!
Publishing this interview felt like I was sitting down to talk with an old friend. A self-professed nerd, I would venture a guess that Carly is a kindred spirit to many of us indie writers. She enjoys music, dinner parties, dancing, card games, bushwalks in her native Australia, and more.
Learning about Carly was a delight, and her sunny energy is sure to brighten the day of everyone who reads her interview. Carly's book Tempest is available now!
A quick note:
During this interview, you might note that many of the questions include the word “we” as if “we” asked them. Well, we did. This detail is meant to include you, my dear reader, and I do hope you enjoy each interview published to this blog!
Additionally, please note that each interview answer is the author's own words and the interviews in The Intuitive Storyteller blog are intended for informational and educational purposes only.
Carly Jeffrey is a primary school teacher, blogger, poet and author. Tempest is her debut Young Adult Fiction novel, the first narrative in the Alazne Series, inspired by her husband Mark.
As an avid reader with a vast imagination who grew up reading the likes of J.K Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Lauren Kate and Cassandra Clare, Carly loves an intriguing sci-fi fantasy series filled with intricate details and a twist of romance. Her active participation in self-development, poetry and blogging, about everyday life and mental health, allow her to connect with the audience on a personal level and create authentic, relatable characters.
She lives in Sydney with her husband and two beautiful dogs Astrid and Odin. Her spare time is spent singing (mainly in the shower), dancing, playing sport, artmaking, going for bushwalks. Carly also enjoys spending quality time with the family and friends who inspired her to begin writing in the first place.
“WHEN YOU COME OUT OF THE STORM, YOU WON'T BE THE SAME PERSON THAT WALKED IN. THAT'S WHAT THE STORM IS ALL ABOUT.” - HARUKI MURAKAMI
Evie's birth on the night of a tumultuous tempest sets in motion a set of consequences beyond her comprehension. On the eve of her 18th birthday she comes to realise that as the one, true heir to Ada's throne she holds more power than the key to the city. But does she have what it takes to walk away from the only life she's ever known?
Despite dreaming of a life of freedom and true love, Evie is torn between living the life set out for her by her parents and her newfound destiny. Will she stay in her comfort zone and remain the dutiful daughter or flip the script and jump into the unknown?
The balance of the Universe rests upon her decision.
Tempest is available now on Carly's website.
And now, the interview:
Carly, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
My gut feeling is to say Year 8. I'm sure I was writing well before that. But Year 8 was when I really started to become interested in it and feel like I might have the ability to pursue it. In fact, I acknowledge my Year 8 English teacher in the back of my novel for the immensely positive impact she had on my belief in myself and my ability. Her classroom was a safe space for a nerd like me and her assignments were so fun! I could be as creative and unique as I wanted. Nothing but fond memories!
Tell us about the person(s) or event(s) that inspired you to write your latest work.
My debut novel Tempest (May, 2021) is Book #1 in my Alazne Series (8-9 books). The person who inspired the novel is my now husband, but was my boyfriend of three years back when I started this endeavour in 2011, as a 21-year-old. I think this book and its consequent series are a reflection of all of the wonderful stories I've consumed over time and my weird, wacky, and wonderful dreams.
What is your favorite genre to write and why do these types of stories appeal to you?
I'm pretty typical and predictable in that I write what I consume. Young Adult Fiction has been my go-to for the longest time, particularly fantasy (with a twist of romance), so I tend to write the same sorts of stories. The Alazne Series is no exception to that. However, my poetry is more about everyday life and the people [with whom] I surround myself.
Do you have a furry familiar? Tell us about them!
I have two dogs: Astrid (3-year-old Staffy, Rhodesian Ridgeback and Kelpie X)—she’s the brains of the outfit, incredibly loyal, cheeky as hell, very protective and great with kids. Odin (2-year-old Labrado X Dalmatian) —he's our “loveable lemon,” medical issues up the wazoo and a BIG sook, but SO cuddly! They’ll appear in Occultation (book 3).
Tell us about your writing schedule and/or a ritual that is necessary for establishing and sustaining your writing mood and endurance.
I’m definitely not a positive example here. I don’t really have a schedule or a ritual. I’m constantly trying different things and seeing what sticks...
I think the hardest part for me is that both my day job (teaching) and my passion (writing) are so demanding/draining. So I find balancing them difficult. It took me a decade to publish Tempest because most of my work gets done in holiday periods when I’m fresh and have time to breathe. That being said, I’ve been doing a “20 minutes a day” writing challenge and that’s been hugely beneficial!
Why do you write? How does the act of storytelling affect you?
I write because I feel like there are these series of words, characters, feelings and stories bursting out of me. Writing helps me to make sense of the world around me—not just in my poems and blogs, but in my novels as well. The act of creation (art/writing) brings me a joy that I can’t get anywhere else. The act of storytelling, whether writing or public speaking, makes me feel like my most authentic self.
Think about yourself back when you first started writing. If you could travel back in time, what would you say to that version of you (about the writing process, publishing, the world, etc.) that might help prepare them for today?
I’d tell my younger, more naïve self that writing is an ever-changing process unique to everyone. As such, it’s really important to be true to yourself, your process and your story. Your journey isn’t going to look the same as other people’s and that’s okay. You’re still going to be successful, in your own way. Also, enjoy the small wins and the journey, not just the destination! There’s so much to enjoy!
What are your recommendations for fueling your writing energy and promoting inspiration?
I feel so funny giving advice on this, maybe because I haven’t totally worked it out myself? However, I am learning to listen to my body and mind, and know when to take a step back/rest and prevent burnout. I’m also learning how to inspire myself—new experiences, new locations, conversations with friends, reading consistently, watching TV shows/movies from that genre and listening to music.
How intuitive are you and does your intuition affect your writing?
Hmmm... I’d say I’m reasonably self-aware and intuitive? But then, I can also be quite naïve and gullible at times? There are definitely mistakes I’ve repeated... I think my intuition and introspection affects my writing schedule, consistency with projects and energy levels when working on a novel. Sometimes my hands will just know what to do when I’m drafting, even if I don’t have clear ideas.
Tell us about your long-term writing and publishing goals.
When I was younger, I wanted to travel the world and visit the different locations I was writing about in my Alazne Series e.g. Greece, Mexico, Germany, Italy. But, you know, money is an issue! Haha. Now, I’d like to stay committed to this project despite my doubts and impostor syndrome. I’d like to draft, publish, and share this entire series with the world. (Who wouldn’t love a movie deal though?!)
For what or whom are you most grateful right now and why?
I actually write in my gratitude journal every day to rewire my anxious, slightly negative mindset. The list of what I’m grateful for is SO long. However, if I had to be specific: my loving husband, my supportive family, my encouraging friends, my cute furry family members, the opportunity to self-publish through Press’d Publishing, the sales I’ve made and being able to do what I love—write!
Besides writing, what activities bring you joy?
It's a pretty long list... Soccer, hockey, dancing, singing, artmaking (mainly painting), swimming, bushwalks, teaching, spending time with friends, family dinners, reading (magazines and books), cooking (when I can be creative), dinner parties, board games, card games, beach holidays, travelling overseas and more...
Which book are you reading right now?
The Rules Upheld By No One by Amie McNee
What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?
The Dying Light by Emily Rooke
From YA Author Carly Jeffrey:
As a person who loves music as much as I love reading and writing, I found myself inspired by the lyrics and melodies of a variety of songs. In fact, there’s a song that has inspired me or that I have connected with each of the chapters in my book. In some cases, I have resonated with certain lines, whereas in others the whole song is the “vibe” I’m looking for. If you too are a music lover, please feel free to enjoy the musical inspiration behind each phase of Tempest.
Introduction: Nothing Else Matters, Metallica (1992)
Prologue: Mad World, Tears for Fears (1982)
Chapter 1: Wake Up, Dead Letter Circus (2012)
Chapter 2: Storm To Pass, Atreyu (2009)
Chapter 3: Lightning Crashes, Live (1994)
Chapter 4: Miracles, Coldplay (2014)
Chapter 5: You Can Do Magic, America (1982)
Chapter 6: No one Knows, Queens of the Stone Age (2002)
Chapter 7: Worthless, Bullet For My Valentine (2015)
Chapter 8: Everyone Wants To Rule The World, Tears For Fears (1985)
Chapter 9: Yellow Flicker Beat, Lorde (2014)
Chapter 10: Royals, Lorde (2013)
Chapter 11: Sky Full of Stars, Coldplay (2014)
Chapter 12: Over You, Safia (2016)
Chapter 13: In Plain Sight, Dead Letter Circus (2016)
Chapter 14: Secrets, One Republic (2009)
Chapter 15: Fantasy, MSMR (2013)
Chapter 16: Wake Me Up, Avicii (2013)
Chapter 17: Two Lives, Example (2010)
Chapter 18: Jungle, Emma Louise (2011)
Chapter 19: White Wedding, Billy Idol (1982)
Chapter 20: Friend Like You, Bliss n Eso Feat. Lee Fields (2017)
Chapter 21: Radioactive, Imagine Dragons (2013)
Conclusion: Quality Of Life, Hellions (2016)
Fill in the blank: Magic is...
Magic is all around and within us, if only we choose to look.
Stay connected with Carly Jeffrey! Here’s where you can find her:
On Monday, I will continue my new series, Tarotcatures: A Five-Part Examination of the Courts as Characters, with Part Two: The Knights. Stay tuned!
In her more than thirty years as a storyteller and visual designer, Amanda “Mandy” Hughes has written and designed over a dozen works of upmarket, literary, and women’s fiction under pen names A. Lee Hughes and Mandy Lee.
Mandy is the founder of Haint Blue Creative, a space for readers and storytellers to explore, learn, and create. Although she earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Psychology, she has yet to figure out her family, much less herself.
When she’s not writing, Mandy loves going to the movies, theater, traveling, nature walks, birdwatching, margarita-making, and binge-watching The Office. She is a tarot enthusiast who uses the cards to promote wellness and enhance creativity. She lives in Georgia with her husband and four boys, two of whom are furrier than the others (but not by much). Visit her website at haintbluecreative.com and follow her on Instagram @haintbluecreative.