Time certainly moves quickly, but some of our readers may remember you as a member of our group.
First off I want to thank you for inviting me to the Saturday Writers blog. I was a member of Saturday Writers from 2006-2011 and I shared some of my novel, Voodoo Butterfly, during open mic sessions. So some of the members may remember my readings. I'm happy to announce that I earned a publishing contract and the book is out!
Thank you for talking with me, Camille. Let’s begin with the juicy scoop; I heard it took you about ten years, from idea to birth, for your book. Tell us how it was actually born.
From conception to publication, the process took six years. In 2008, I dreamt about my main character, Sophie Nouveau, during a family trip to New Orleans. In that dream, Sophie had the power to change evil people good. The second flash in that dream was an image of Saint Louis Cathedral (in New Orleans) absolutely covered in monarch butterflies. That became my opening scene. In 2009 I began writing the novel. Over the next few years, about a dozen NYC editors and agents requested my manuscript. Then in 2013, I was a finalist in a national RWA contest and my publisher, who was a final judge, offered me a contract. The ebook released in October 2014 and now the print book is available (both versions can be found on Amazon).
Wow, that is a fantastic ending to a great dream! Did you spend a lot of time in New Orleans researching your book after that?
In the name of "research," I've visited New Orleans twice. NOLA is such a fun town and has a culture unlike any other city in the US. If I hadn't actually visited, I would not have done the city justice. For anyone that wants to visit, I'd highly recommend paying for a haunted or cemetery walking tour because it will orient you in the French Quarter. Then you can explore more on your own. And of course eat some Cajun food.
I have 3-5 books planned for the Voodoo Butterfly Series; my publisher likes to work with authors on series so that's reassuring. If the books are doing well at that point, I'll stick with Voodoo Butterfly for as long as I can.
Do you belong to any critique groups or other types of writing groups that helped you on your writing journey?
My critique group actually consists of some Saturday Writers alumni. We are a group called The Literary Ladies and you can read about all things writing on our blog (www.thelitladies.com). Three of the five original members have earned traditional publishing contracts, so critique groups work. Without the help of the Lit Ladies, Voodoo Butterfly would not have been published.
No doubt about that, Camille. Sharing our writing is such an important part of the process. I’m glad to hear that you found your critique partners through Saturday Writers. What other sort of writing process have you found that really works for you?
I have two kiddos, ages two and seven, and I just cannot work with them around (go figure). There are two parts to my process. First, I keep little memo notebooks everywhere: in my car, purse, kitchen, bedside table, and desk. When I think of a scene or a character, I jot down a few notes and pile those on my desk. I actually never get writer's block (miracle of miracles) because I have all of those notes to guide me. Second, I only make myself commit to writing 15 minutes per day, five days a week. Normally it leads to about an hour of daily writing, but I've found that I have absolutely NO EXCUSE for not writing at least those 15 minutes. To give you an idea of how productive that is, I was able to write the first version of Voodoo Butterfly in one year and it was good enough to get manuscript requests from multiple agents.
Fifteen minutes does sound extremely doable, for anyone. It's also reassuring to those out there thinking they just don’t have time to write.
I know some of our members would love to meet you in person or visit an old friend. Do you have any appearances planned for your print book release where we can see you and get an autographed copy?
I will be in Saint Charles over Labor Day weekend signing books with three other area fantasy and paranormal authors. We'll have fun giveaways including gift cards, books, and other goodies. Here's the info for that event:
Main Street Books
St. Charles, MO
September 5, 2015
Hope to see some of my fellow Saturday Writers there!
September 5th is my birthday! What a great way for me to spend a few hours that day. I’ll try to gather a small gang of writers and storm the event.
*Since this interview I have received my print copy of Voodoo Butterfly and I am really enjoying it. I think Camille did tons more research than she let on in the interview because the book is filled with such detail about voodoo, faith, and the town that feel quite accurate and certainly believable. Her characters are written very well and she gives us a chance to get to know each of them. I’m anxious to finish reading the 342 page novel and find out where the journey takes everyone. Voodoo Butterfly is published by Soulmate Publishing in New York, and is available on Amazon