Carrie Newberry’s first novel, an urban fantasy called Pick Your Teeth With My Bones, is being published by EDGE Lite Science Fiction and Fantasy, a Canadian publisher. The book was accepted on its first submission. For the most part, she writes fantasy and horror, though she has written short pieces of literary fiction as well as flash memoir pieces.
After studying Creative Writing at UW-Madison and after maxing out on Creative Writing Workshops at UW-Madison, Carrie decided to leave academia behind in order to pursue her career as a dog groomer’s assistant and have lots of time to write. She hasn’t regretted the decision for a moment, although it would come in handy to have a degree of some sort to list right here. She continues her studies at AllWriters Workplace and Workshop, as a member of the monthly Saturday morning New Year’s Resolution Write a Book Workshop, because writers can always learn more from their peers. In 2016, Carrie joined the faculty at AllWriters, where she teaches a weekly online book-writing workshop. She works as a dog groomer and lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with a greedy terrier and a cock-a-poo who loves to sing along to the radio (and who is absolutely never on-key).
Your debut novel Pick Your Teeth With My Bones is an Urban fantasy with a lot going on. A secret society, the hidden fountain of youth and a protagonist with impulse control issues. What could go wrong?
Ha! Right. Only a pesky librarian, a dying sister, stalking monsters, banishment, a touch of sexual tension, and a ton of pithy comebacks.
And as a follow-up to that question, what type of stressful situations were most interesting to inflict on the characters?
Banishing Kellan from the forest, definitely. It put her in a position of having to deal with the problem of Darcy by herself. She’s actually very capable, but she doesn’t believe she is. It was fun to watch her find her way.
You have created a world with a complex society with a specific set of rules. If you had to create a society with only three rules to govern it – what would they be?
Oh, boy. Be kind, put yourself in others’ shoes, and be honest. So I guess I’d have a society that’s kind of like kindergarten. But I think if kindness and empathy were the focus of the world, we’d have a very different experience.
You have a cock-a-too and two dogs – do any of their specific behaviors appear in your characters?
I actually just have two dogs – a cock-a-poo and a terrier mix. No birds. But yes, they appear in both Kellan’s and Galen’s characters. Galen’s sweetness, his attentiveness, his joy – that’s all Harvey, my cock-a-poo. He’s sweet and goofy. And Kellan’s attitude, her sass, her tendency to land herself in hot water – that’s Jilly, my terrier. She’s nine pounds of trouble with a capital T.
You studied Creative Writing and now you teach it – what is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Plant your butt in the chair. Those aren’t the exact words – the advice was a little more profane than that – but it’s the general idea. If you never sit down at the computer and let loose, you’ll never get anywhere. Butt to chair and tell that inner critic to shut up.
What is your favorite (read) book and why?
Dreams Underfoot, which is a collection of connected short stories by Charles de Lint, because he writes urban fantasy like he’s writing a song. It was the first book of his that I read, and I fell head-over-heels for his writing with the first story. It makes you believe that magic really is all around us – all you have to do is trust your eyes.
What is the book you dream of writing and haven’t yet?
I have about six of those. To tell you the truth, I can’t wait to finish the sequel to Pick Your Teeth With My Bones, but I’m also excited about a few other projects that are kicking around in my head. Writing is so much fun – I think I dream of writing the next book. And the next one, and the next one.
You can also check out her Facebook Live session from Dec 11.
More about Pick Your Teeth With My Bones
Find out more about Carrie Newberry
Webpage: Carrie Newberry
Listen to an excerpt of Pick Your Teeth With My Bones