Disclaimer: I’m a growing fan of Carlyle Labuschagne, not just because of her books, but because she’s got to be one of the most honest writers out there. I see Carlyle and think, ‘I want to be her!’ She balances her busy family duties with her jet-setting writing world. Add to that her charity work to bring more books to South African scholars and her South African writers’ support event, SAIR Book Festival, and you just know that Carlyle is someone special. Oh, and did I forget to mention she’s co-founder of Firequill Publishing?
With her wicked sense of fun, and knowing that she’d give me the straight story on her experiments with genre shifts and pen-names, I had to ask her about some thorny issues these produce and how she’s avoided some of them.
I have to ask: Moving from YA Sci-fi to Adult Suspense is a really brave step with the possibility of alienating your fan-base whilst reaching for a new one. What made you take this chance fairly early in your writing career?
The short answer:
I love this question. And why I love this question is because the world right now is all about validation, fame, fortune, power and driven by accolades.
And to me that is the opposite of what I imagined a published writer to be.
I am very much ruled by my impulses, desires and emotions. In today’s publishing arena, book writing and publishing is very much a cut-throat business. And this quality in me, to be impulsive and indecisive is probably not the best route to take in the book-world where sales and rankings rule.
To me from the get go it has never been about the sales, money, status and competition. For me it has always been about my purpose and dream of being a purpose-driven storyteller. It has always been about the journey and the healing power of writing. For me it’s always been about the fact of creating a world that connects with readers who feel lost and powerless in their realities.
My point is, that yes, sometimes I feel and can be viewed by some as a failure for not after 3 years of starting my YA trilogy been able to complete the trilogy. Yes, as an author you need to cater to the needs of your fans and readers. But I am the kind of writer who goes where my heart takes me. This time it took me to take on a crime story for the upper YA or clean adult readers. It was a challenge I must add – totally worth it though.
In moving genres, what has been the greatest challenge for you?
Well, this becomes very much an emotional driven story, motives and characters are the heroes in a real world where magic and fantasy can’t be the miracle rescue.
So, gotta know, how was Bailey Quinn born?
Haha. I’ve loved the name Quinn for as long as I can remember and, well, Bailey holds a dear place in my heart. I had a miscarriage a few years ago and Bailey would have been her name. So, to me I can now say she will always have a part in my life.
Adapting marketing to a pen-name seems tricky. How did you decide to approach it?
It’s like any other marketing strategy: who are you writing for and where do they hang out. Be precise… What do they read, eat, listen to and who are they daily?
It can get complicated when running two webpages and social media accounts on twitter, fb etc. But mostly I made sure that everyone knew who Bailey Quinn is…my pen name for my crime books. So my instagram account stays the same.
I had to decide that with my busy life of mommy, working lady, author, and being founder of SAIR and co-founder of Fire Quill Publishing, that my books are my fun time. For now I’m not too worried about loosing Bailey Quinn in the fray.
I have to ask: In retrospect, what would you have done differently?
If ever, probably planned my books out better. This crime book was one of the first that I actually planned instead of just written from the heart. So planning…I’d revert to more planning of my novels from the get go.
As a regular at Utopicon, how did you manage juggling genres this year?
Well, I had a table with my publisher so I had all my books at one table and, yes, it was overwhelming. And my first 20 books sold, I signed under Carlyle Labuschagne instead of Bailey Quinn… I felt silly, disappointing actually, that I can make such a huge mistake…but everyone knew me as Carlyle so they get the one of a kind signed BQ book as Carlyle
What would you say is the greatest difference between YA and Adult writing, and their communities?
From getting the reviews back I notice that adults expect something when they pick it up. They have a clear vision of what they want and what to get out of the book, and if you don’t deliver exactly that…oops! For YA, they expect to be told a story, to disappear and enjoy the journey. I am not saying they don’t expect anything — YA readers are smart and fun and expect a good story – but if they enjoyed it even if it’s not what they thought it was they’ll love it. This is still new to me, moving between the two, so I guess in a year’s time I might find some other differences.
Congrats on impressive reviews for Infallible. Do you find you have a whole new audience, or have your fans crossed genres with you?
Thank you so much. I’m finding my followers have crossed over, but I have also accumulated some new readers depending on where the book has been distributed.
I have to ask: What are your plans for the Infallible Scarlet Ann Martins?
Well, that would be a spoiler right there.
But I hope to continue her story of course. This time we might find her back in SA routes and perhaps travelling back to NYC where it all began.
WE will have to go where the evidence takes us!
Does this mean you’re concentrating less on YA in the near future?
Not at all. I have two series to finish and have started a new one. YA is why I started writing, it has so much meaning for me.
I have ask: You’re such a busy bee with SAIR, your library initiate, your international book signings and your writing. What will Carlyle L be pulling out of the hat next?
I am always planning something and there are many projects in their proposal stages as we speak. Teaming up with others and spreading my wings is where I am always at.
About Carlyle Labuschagne
“Dont be crippled by fear, let love give you wings”
Carlyle Labuschagne (Bailey Quinn) is a South African award winning author, with a flair for mixing genres and adding loads of drama to every story she creates. For now she is happy to take over the world and convert non Sci-fi believers. Her goal as an author is to touch people’s lives, and help others love their differences and one another by delivering strong messages of faith, love and hope within each world she writes about.
Carlyle used writing as a healing tool and that is why she started her very own writers support event – SAIR – “To be a helping hand for those who strive to become full times writers, editors, bloggers, readers and cover artists – its a crazy world out there you dont have to go it alone!”