That Rat, Carter Janson (States of Love) by Amy Spector
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Amy Spector here today talking about writing, characters, and her latest story That Rat, Carter Janson. Welcome, Amy.
Hello, everyone. This is Amy Spector and I’m excited to be here today on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to answer a few questions—I’ll undoubtedly humiliate myself epically—share my new release from Dreamspinner Press, and offer up a chance to win a copy of That Rat, Carter Janson.
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Amy Spector
How much of yourself goes into a character?
I think there’s always something of myself that goes into my characters. Sometimes a little, sometimes an embarrassing amount.
I think when I was first starting out, just learning my skill really, those pieces of me in my characters were more blatant. I’m still learning, still growing as a writer, but I believe they have become more subtle. More subtle and somehow more true to who I actually am.
I think with my newest book, my main characters Felix and Carter are both like me but in very different ways.
Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?
While I always write HEA, I like reading both. The truth is, I am such a sappy romantic at heart—something I didn’t really discover until I started writing—that I’m always convinced that an HFN is going to end up a happily ever after.
For me, Rhett Butler was always going to come back. LOL
Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?
I read very little romance when I was younger. I mainly read classics and mystery. Then I moved on to horror. I would occasionally pick up a romance novel, but rarely.
It wasn’t until about seven years ago when a friend insisted that I go with her to a romance writers’ convention that it all changed. She dragged me from booth to booth, told me what books to buy, made me stand in line to meet and get autographs from all these people I had never heard of—like J.R. Ward and Charlaine Harris and a dozen others. And even then, those books sat on my bookshelf for more than a year before I finally pulled the first Black Dagger Brotherhood book off my shelf.
After that I was pretty much on a quest to read every paranormal romance I could get my hands on. LOL
How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?
Truthfully, I wasn’t instantly on board with ebooks when they first showed up on the scene. I liked physical books—the weight of them, the smell of the ink and paper—for a lot of different reasons. Part of it, I think, is that when I was young, we were quite poor and owning a book was a huge thing. I remember being about eight and buying these three old, jacketless Nancy Drew books for a few quarters at a flea market and they were like treasure to me. So I think I still like the ownership part of it, and digital books didn’t give me that same thrill.
Later I fell in love with them. It was the ease of getting books, that I could carry hundreds of books with me all the time. And there was that whole quest to read all things paranormal romance.
Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why?
I’d have to say, it’s a tie between my paranormal romance Cold Fingers and That Rat, Carter Janson.
Cold Fingers was the first book I wrote that was wholly my idea. It was a love letter to the movies that my grandfather showed my mother and my mother, in turn, showed me. And it was the first time I wasn’t writing specifically for an anthology that dictated my story in some way. That Rat, Carter Janson was easily the most work but it also was the most satisfying to write. And it’s all about things that I love, like art, and history, museums and crime.
What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?
People aren’t perfect, and I like to write about that.
I think flawed personalities and bad first impressions are wonderful to play with and explore. I like to present a character and have their true nature slowly revealed because we all put up fronts and show the world a facade. I like to have a reader say … Oh, I didn’t like him at first, but now I think he’s wonderful.
Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work? Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it? Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?
I’ve never done that with an entire story. I have certainly done it with scenes many, many times.
The very first scene in That Rat, Carter Janson was the first thing I wrote. I removed it shortly after, convinced it didn’t work.
Months later, when I was almost finished with the book, I put the scene back in, added the last line, and realized it was exactly what the story needed.
Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it? Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.
I haven’t but I want to! I’m pretty much convinced it’s the answer to all those scenes I find myself struggling with. But I have young children, and a husband who could sleep through the apocalypse. And, since I do most of my writing at night, I figure one of us needs to be able to get everyone out of the house if there’s a fire. LOL
If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?
I would love to write from a deck over looking the ocean. I already love writing outside—the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the breeze—and I can think of no better soundtrack or better view, then the waves of the ocean.
It would need to be a miraculously deserted beach. Half-naked beach goers could be distracting. Or maybe they’d be just the inspiration I need!
With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain? To get away? To move past? To wide our knowledge? Why do you write?
Honestly? It sometimes makes it hard to write at all.
I’ll be stressing over some scene or other, or worrying that a story subplot isn’t working and I’ll see the news—and the newest nightmare unfolding—and I’ll think… Who cares about a damn book? The world is falling apart. Then I’ll think about how often I have allowed myself to escape into a story, had the way I thought about something irreversibly changed by a simple piece of fiction, or found happiness for just a little while in the pages of a book. Then I’ll keep going.
What’s next for you as a writer?
There’s the question, isn’t it?
When I started That Rat, Carter Janson, I didn’t really see it as more than a standalone story. But, by the time I was ready to write the end I had fallen in love with too many of the characters—had played matchmaker in my head—and I knew I wouldn’t be able to say goodbye forever. And, being the HEA sucker I am, I knew I’d have to revisit them.
I currently have a novel length story in the works starring two of the secondary characters from the story.
That Rat, Carter Janson (States of Love 35)
Every man has secrets, but some are bigger than others….
Felix Peake escaped a shady past to carve out a successful career as an expert in Mesopotamian art and gain the respect of the Chicago art community. But when an assistant curator—a man Felix could easily see himself falling for—asks him to reauthenticate a cuneiform tablet to avoid a looming scandal, Felix’s carefully constructed life could crumble.
The tablet is a fake, and Felix is intimately familiar with the artist. Master forger Carter Janson—Felix’s ex and first love—disappeared from his life six years before without a word of explanation. Now, to hold his world together, Felix must find the original tablet, steal it back, and replace the forgery—all before the museum exhibit debuts. It’ll mean slipping back into a role Felix wanted to leave behind and risking his promising future. But even then, he can’t do it alone. He’ll have to confront that rat, Carter Janson.
States of Love: Stories of love that span every corner of the United States.
About Amy Spector
Amy Spector grew up in the United States surviving on a steady diet of old horror movies, television reruns, and mystery novels.
After years of blogging about comic books, vintage Gothic romance book cover illustrations, and a shameful amount about herself, she decided to try her hand at writing stories. She found it more than a little like talking about herself in third person, and that suited her just fine.
She blames Universal for her love of horror, Edward Gorey for her love of British Drama and writing for awakening the romantic that was probably there all along.
Amy lives in the Midwest with her husband, children, and her cats Bowie and Poe.