If you have never experienced in person the gorgeous and amazingly pure sweetness that is Carlene Love Flores, then I suggest you check your calendar and make an appointment to do so at your earliest convenience. If I could convey the effervescent loveliness with which Carlene so subtly reminded me to get my coughing, virus-ridden duff out of its funk and post the interview I did with her last month about her fabulous debut release, Sidewalk Flower, you, too, would wish you had such majestic and judicious grace.
I am as blessed and honored to have her as a Mermaid Sister as I am proud of her release…which just so happened to launch on my birthday. How’s that for awesome karma?
Alethea Mermaid: Tennessee, California, Australia — what special meaning (if any) do each of these places have for you?
Carlene Mermaid: Let’s start at the end and work our way back (which fits since this is how I wrote Sidewalk Flower-Trista and Lucky’s story.) When I think of Australia, I see brave people with gorgeous voices and a tenacious, fighting spirit. I can’t imagine Jaxon James (Trista’s best friend) being from any other place.
The first time I drove through Tennessee was years ago in the fall. I fell in love with the state that day and when fictional native son, Lucky Mason, stepped up to the plate to be Trista’s hero in Sidewalk Flower, I fell in love with him too.
Southern California is everything I know about being young at heart and free but also a place you have to leave sometimes to find yourself. I was honored to have made this trip with the heroine of the story, Trista Hart.
Alethea: Music is very important to you and your work. Do you listen while writing? Was there a “Sidewalk Flower” playlist?
Carlene: I do love music with all my heart! I listen to it most hours of the day & night and leading up to every scene I write. But during the actual writing, I prefer to be alone with those thoughts. Here is Sidewalk Flower’s playlist:
“Why I’m Feeling Blue” by Casey James (Lucky’s song)
“Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood (Trista’s song)
“Better Than Me” by Hinder (Jaxon’s song)
“The Dead of Night” by Depeche Mode (Sin Pointe’s song)
“Talk About Suffering” by Debra James (Gramma Grace’s song)
Carlene: Intriguing, isn’t it? I’m a big fan of men in hats. Also men without hats. Hey, everybody look at your hands! Now let’s safety dance. Sorry, I just had to go there in the name of 80’s music. Hmm…I also like Men in Trees. I miss that show…
Alethea: Have you ever driven cross-country?
Carlene: Oh yes! Road trips are my favorite and so when I had the chance to hop in the truck and drive from Virginia to California and back, I was in heaven. Where else can you listen to music, ride with the windows down and watch the sun setting in the rear view mirror? Here are a few pics from that trip: http://carlenelove.com/2012/08/08/my-favorite-cross-country-road-trip-pictures/
Alethea: Who are some of your favorite fictional heroes?
Carlene: Gosh, I am hands down the biggest broken record when it comes to talking about my favorite fictional hero, but since you asked…Valerius Magnus. ☺ Swoon. I am very jealous that you are Facebook friends with him. But can I just geek out a little here and say how excited I am to be officially sharing Lucky Mason with the world?
Alethea: Who inspires you — in both fiction and real life?
Carlene: There is so much I appreciate about life and the people living it. I’m inspired by the weak and the brave. The hurt and the whole. People with unshakable faith and those on the brink of losing it. I’m inspired when people don’t give up.
Alethea: What’s the coolest thing about being a Mermaid?
Carlene: I can think of many cool things about being a Mermaid, but the coolest by far, is calling the ocean home.
Alethea: What would you say are your Mermaid super powers?
Carlene: Well, whatever you do, don’t Google Mermaid Super Powers! The results are full of unimaginative fluff. Of course we exist, and of course we are super and powerful 😉 My super power is that I believe in make believe.
[Edited to add: I believe Carlene’s Mermaid Super Power is her beautiful purity of spirit. Am I right? Mermaids, feel free to chime in with your opinions below!]
Alethea: What’s next for you?
Carlene: Now that Trista and Lucky’s book is out, I’m spending time convincing Jaxon James it’s a good idea to tell the world his story next. This is where that Aussie tenacity I mentioned earlier comes in to play. But underneath it all, he’s a good guy. It’s really not his fault he can’t stop thinking about Trista’s long lost baby sister…
Thank you, Carlene!
If you have any other questions for Carlene, feel free to add them to the Comments below. And if you haven’t yet picked up your copy of Sidewalk Flower, now’s your chance!