Daniel L Carter – The Unwanted

Thank you Mr. Carter for taking the time to interview with us today. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and where you’re from.

Well my name is Daniel L Carter and I’ve lived in New York State all my life. I grew up mostly in the Hudson Valley area near West Point. Being the extrovert that I am I’ve done acting, directing, writing (mostly screen plays and short scripts), music minister and now author. I am a die hard Giants football fan and a huge movie buff. I had over 400 DVD’s at one time in my collection but have since given away or sold half of them. I currently live in Western New York with Margo my wonderful wife of over fourteen years.

For our readers tell us the name of your science fiction action novel and what it’s about.

My novel is called The Unwanted which is book 1 of The Unwanted Trilogy. The story is about Janet, a nurse, who saves five unwanted infants that are part of a genetic experiment, set to be murdered, and hides them away in the back woods of Oklahoma on her uncle’s ranch. We follow the lives of these children as they grow and experience the consequences of their births. Simultaneously we also follow FBI Agent Nick Catlin as he investigates multiple mass murders involving the children’s creator Tibon. Ultimately the grown children and Agent Catlin are forced to face Tibon in what turns out to be an intense and explosive confrontation.

What were your inspirations for writing this novel?

I love science fiction and fantasy stories but most main stream movies and books I find either shy away or vaguely mention God or worse. My desire was to write a story that had ch influenced me in writing The Unwanted.

How did you choose the title?

The title The Unwanted came quite early on when I was formulating the story in my head. I wanted to have a title that did two things. First I wanted it to be mysterious and make people want to ask, “Who are The Unwanted?”. The second thing was I wanted a title that almost everyone can relate to. We all feel unwanted in one form or another in our lives and I wanted a story that would allow people to identify with.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting The Unwanted published?

A friend of mine gave me great advice when I told him I was starting to write a novel. He said, “Before you even think of finding a publisher have a story finished.”

I can’t tell you how important that was because I was jumping the gun and getting side tracked by the process of trying to find a publisher. I focused on getting my manuscript to the best possible literary status I could before I started on the process of getting published.

I’m sure many authors can identify and share stories of all kinds of rejection letters after submitting their queries to publishers. My experience was no different. From “This has been done before” to “It just doesn’t sing for me,” yeah that one was funny. I didn’t realize I was writing a song for them. Anyways, I digress. My point is that I simply didn’t give up. After just a little over a year I received an email back from OakTara Publishing stating they would love to take me on as one of their authors. I’ve just recently finished my second novel Children of Anak book two of my trilogy and it’s with OakTara as well. Ramona Tucker and Jeff Nesbit are great!

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I’ll be honest, I don’t think of myself so much as a writer but rather a story teller. When I hear the title writer I think someone who is a wordsmith and manipulates the English language into an art form. I simply wanted to write a compelling story and characters in a way that I wanted to read a book. Having an acting background I understood the importance of understanding a character and delivering your lines to convey emotions. Ultimately it was my wife who encouraged me to start writing. So I set out on how to translate my acting and directing knowledge into a novel. I had the story in my head and now came the hard part that took over a year and a half, learning how to write a novel. I spent hours researching and reading material on how to write and even submitted some of my early drafts to editors for free critiques just to get an idea of what they were looking for.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Writing rituals…hmmmm…that’s an interesting question. The only rituals or maybe you’d call it habits are that I try to end my writing time knowing where I’m going next in the story and when I go to bed at night I visualize each chapter from my story that I’m trying to write. If I can see it I can write it.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

I’d like to say that I thought long and hard on finding just the right names for each specific character but the fact is that I used many family members names for different characters. The characters themselves don’t reflect my family but I thought it would be fun to use some of their names.

If you could give advice to other authors reading this interview what would you share with them about writing and trying to be published?

I’ve learned don’t take yourself too seriously. Not everyone is going to like your story. Know your audience when writing. Publishers don’t always know what they are talking about. Be confident in your manuscript before submitting queries (If you aren’t sold on it neither will anyone else), Show your work to people who will give you an honest opinion of your story and writing skills. Lastly do not stop growing as a writer.

What would you do differently if you were doing it all over again?

I would have spent more time in preparing an outline and character profiles. My first novel was written four times within a year and a half time frame. My second novel I wrote in just over six months.

What types of books do you like to read?

I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction stories growing up. Coming from an abusive household my only escapism was books and movies.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Good questions. My favorite writers are Stephen R Donaldson and Robert Aspirin. Mr. Donaldson has the ability to take you on a trip into the mind of his characters in such a way that the internal conflicts are just as important as the external. Plus he is something of a wordsmith which is something I could never do. Robert Aspirin make me laugh. His Myth series is classic and done in such a tongue and cheek fashion that sometimes is needed after a hard days work.

What is your next book and can you tell us about it?

My next book is Children of Anak book two of The Unwanted Trilogy and is already with my publisher. COA is the continuation of book one and I’d love to share what it is about but that would probably give spoilers for The Unwanted. I can say that book two introduces us to more unique characters named Lullaby, Myriad, Trammel and Spirit Walker. I’m currently working on book three Unholy Resurrection.

Describe who the perfect reader would be for The Unwanted?

The perfect reader would be someone like me. I like fast paced books that stay on point of telling a story. Someone who likes to identify with the characters they read about. A reader who doesn’t want to read chapter after chapter of unimportant details that neither add to the story or the characters. Each chapter of the book has a point and purpose that moves the story along in such a way that I can’t wait to read what happens next. Also I want the story to visually pop in my head so that I can see it as if I was watching a movie. When a writer can do those things I’m hooked.