About Me

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I'm a published author of short fiction for kids and adults. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. I'm a former content writer for Spirit and Truth publishing on their Living the Word series. I've also worked as a paid book reviewer and as a student editor for The Louisville Review literary magazine. I'm a wife and mom to two great kids, three dogs, and a cat. I love books, movies, gardening, kids, and animals.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Who You Ask is Carrigan Richards? Find in My Latest Adventures Post!

Photo courtesy of Carrigan Richards
Today I'm excited to introduce you do guest author Carrigan Richards. She's joining me today to discuss her new paranormal YA fantasy Under a Blood Moon. I was lucky enough to receive a free reader's copy for review. It is the first book Carrigan has launched in her Elemental Enchanters series.

In Under a Blood Moon, seventeen year old Ava Hannigan is a heriditary witch or enchanter as they like to call themselves. She is part of a group of six teens whose powers are tied to the natural elements. Ava's powers are tied to the element of water. When she discovers she can breath under water she is disappointed instead of excited that her powers have developed. Ava has done something forbidden. She's fallen in love with a mortal boy named Peter. To make matters even worse Ava and her friends find themselves caught up in the middle of a three-hundred-year-old war between two different covens of enchanters. Now not only are she and her friends vulnerable because of their unique powers, but Ava's love for Peter makes her even more susceptible to attack from their enemies. I won't give away any more of the story than that. Just know it is a compelling read with a fresh new twist on the fantasy genre that deals with witches and the love story is poignant and well written.

Ann: Welcome Carrigan! I'm so excited to have you on my blog today. I recently finished Under and Blood Moon. I really enjoyed it and love the new take you gave the premise which deals with characters who are hereditary witches. That and the star-crossed love story were both very dynamic and fun to read. As a reader I'm eager to know what inspired you to write this story and what in particular draws you to this particular genre of YA fiction?

Photo courtesy of Carrigan Richards
Carrigan: Thank you for having me! I have always been intrigued with witches and magic, and wrote a few stories involving both. There was always something alluring about the subject. And I have always been interested in stories that encompass special abilities. I think most people wish they had a special ability and I find it fun to read stories or watch TV shows involving them, but it was even more fun to write and create it.

Ann: Immersing yourself in a world you love and created is the best! How long did it take you to finish your novel and what is your writing schedule like? Do you hold down a full-time job in conjunction with building your career as a writer?

Carrigan: I actually started writing Under a Blood Moon in 2003, but life happened and I was in school and working full time, but I still rewrote it several times before finally finishing it last year. I usually try to write every single day. Or do something involving my books, whether it be editing, marketing, etc. I do have a full-time job, so most of my writing is at night, which I think I'm more creative then anyway.

Ann: Then it is win/win if you can write when you are feeling most inspired. What was your path to publication like and how did you eventually decide to self-publish your novels?

Carrigan: I had finished my first novel, Pieces of Me, and sent off several queries, got a few bites, but it always got rejected. So then, I read the story of Amanda Hocking, and started thinking about self-publishing. I never wanted to do it because of the costs, but because of so many outlets now that allow authors to self-publish easily and affordably, I decided to go for it. And now that I have, I love it. I can be as creative as I want, I can publish at my own pace, and even though it's hard work, it is rewarding.

Ann: I've read Amanda Hocking's story to self-publishing too. I agree that the path to publication has become much more open for writers with self-publication, especially if you have a good plan in place beforehand. You talked in your acknowledgements section about the music that inspired you as you were writing Under a Blood Moon. Why do you think music is so important to your creative process and what types of music did you listen to while you wrote?

Carrigan: I think the reason why music is so important to my creative process is because there is always a story in every song. And when I hear certain songs, a scene pops into my head regarding a story I'm working on. Sometimes, I will listen to that same song repeatedly until I have the scene written. It helps with the mood and tone of the scene. It gives me inspiration for my characters because they are real people in my eyes. They feel things just like the musicians. I also make playlists for every book I write because it helps me in so many ways. I listened to anything from pop to folk to rock to metal for Under a Blood Moon.

Ann: That is an interesting connection you pointed out about the feelings of your characters being tied to that of the musicians in the songs you listen to. I've found that to be the case as well. Music can really help set the tone and emotional impact of the scene and you listened to quite a broad spectrum of music. I guess you really would need to compile a playlist for so many different songs. Hearing that leads me to my next question, what does your writing cave look like and what are some of your writerly necessities you can't do without while you work?

Carrigan: My writing cave (I like this by the way) is a room with a window and bookshelves surrounding my desk. I have a dry-erase board for notes. A lot of post-it notes and lots and lots of pens. I probably have way too many pens, but I'm okay with that! I also have a couple of awards on the wall and inspirational writing quotes.

Ann: Having a dry-erase board for notes is genius! I'm so going to steal that for my own writing cave. Under a Blood Moon was the first book in a series. How many other books do we have to look forward to and what other books do you have coming out in the future?

Carrigan: Three more in the series and after I publish my Elemental Enchanter series, I plan on working on a new series, possibly two books, about a girl who has a second life per se in her dreams.

Ann: Well I can't wait until the next Elemental Enchanter book. Can you share the title for the sequel and give us an idea when it will be coming out? The new series about the girl with a secret secondary existence in her dreams sounds very intriguing too.

Photo courtesy of Carrigan Richards
Carrigan: The next novel is Under the Burning Stars and will be out July 21, 2014. 

Ann: Yeah! What is one characteristic that you share with your main character Ava in the story? What is one thing about you that people might be surprised to know?

Carrigan: We are both stubborn. I used to be a teen volunteer at the Birmingham Zoo and was certified to handle a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.

Ann: Ewww! That is surprising! I'd love to hear more about how you got certified to handle those, but I've kept you too long already. Thank you again for being on my blog today, Carrigan. I hope to have you back again soon! For those who would like to purchase a copy of Under a Blood Moon, it is available on Amazon (author's page) as is Carrigan's contemporary YA romance and pyschological thriller, Pieces of Me. To find out more about Carrigan Richards visit her website at http://carriganrichards.com/ or follow her on Twitter or Goodreads.


  1. Ann, thank you for introducing us to a new YA author! It's always great to read about new books and what new authors are up to. Best of luck to both of you.