Marie: What do you do when you get a 'mind block'?
Carl Alves: I don't have time for writer's block or a mind block. I work full time as an engineer at a pharmaceutical company, and I have two small children. My wife is a physician and I frequently have to take care of the kids. I write whenever I can even if that means a few minutes here and there. I personally think writer's block is an excuse for not having the ethic to work hard. I couldn't imagine telling my employers in my day job that I'm not in the right frame of mind to work. Writing is like any other job. It's work. It's not glamorous. It's not the romanticized notion that some people have. Just plant your butt on the chair and get to work.
Carl Alves: Writing is something I have passion for and I love doing. Fortunately my day job compensates me well and I don’t have to depend on writing for income, which gives me freedom to write simply because I love to do it.
Marie: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you, and why?
Carl Alves: I would bring a magnifying glass to help me start fire, a spear to use for fishing and hunting, and a net also for fishing. What can I say, I’m a practical guy.
Marie: What is your favorite genre to write, and why?
Carl Alves: I’m predominantly drawn to horror and fantasy. Stories firmly implanted in the real world are fine, but I like to delve into the supernatural. It allows me expound the bounds of reality and further dip into my creative side.
Marie: Could you tell us three random things about yourself?
Carl Alves: I am fluent in Portuguese. I have a BS in Biomedical Engineering as well as an MBA. I have been to all but three states in the United States.
Marie: Can you tell us anything about a current project you are working on?
Carl Alves: I generally work on about three or four different novels/short stories at any given time. I like to bounce back and forth between them, which helps keep things fresh. Right now the project I am most excited about is a novel entitled Beyond Ragnarok, which is a post apocalyptic version of what takes place after the Battle of Ragnarok from Norse mythology.
Marie: What obstacles would you warn beginning authors of?
Carl Alves: Self-publishing has never been easier especially in light of the digital revolution the publishing industry is going through. Self-publishing gives the writer complete control of their book, and also the ability to keep the bulk of profit from sales. However, I would highly discourage a newbie writer from going this route. For one thing there is a flood of self-published books from no name writers, and the chances of success are slim. Don’t get me wrong, there are writers who have had great success self-publishing eBooks. J.A. Konrath, Scott Nicholson and Joseph Nassise are among them. But these writers usually have a history of books that have been published by traditional publishers and have already developed a following. Most self-published novels are unprofessional, unedited garbage that don’t deserve to be published. This reflects poorly on writers in general, and these books should never see the light of day. In other words, don’t take short cuts and immediately go the self-publishing route unless it absolutely makes sense.
Marie: Which scenes did you find the most fun to write?
Carl Alves: I absolutely love to write fight scenes. I try to make them as realistic and visceral as possible, even when they involve supernatural characters with supernatural abilities. I cringe when I watch a movie or read a story with a fight scene and my reaction is either ‘this could never possibly happen’ or ‘this writer doesn’t have a clue about what an actual fight looks like.’ I enjoy choreographing fight scenes in my mind and getting it down on paper. “Two For Eternity” gave me even more latitude because my two main characters are superhuman in many ways, and therefore I can really do some wild things when they engage in combat, yet still keep it realistic.
Marie: What question have I not asked that I should, and what is the answer?
Carl Alves: What was the hardest part of writing “Two For Eternity”?
The hardest part of writing “Two For Eternity” was also the most rewarding. My novel takes place over a period of over 12,000 years taking place in various time periods such as Ancient Egypt, the time of Christ in Judea, the Spanish Inquisition and World War 2. I had to do a massive amount of research in order to get the flavor and customs of the times as well as historical details to make the writing look and feel authentic. For each time period I did an extensive research, which was challenging because I had never done anywhere near that level of research. But it was also very rewarding. I learned so much in the process, more than I ever learned in any history class I had ever taken. Hopefully the readers of “Two For Eternity” will be able to learn a little as well as be entertained.