When I first met Cari Hislop, in Portland, Oregon, I was a young child and I made her toilet overflow. I was mortified by the experience and determined to never make eye contact with her ever again. Fate wasn't on my side it seems because from then on our lives have bounced off each other in a sort of ping-ponging that has bonded us as closely as sisters. She now lives with her husband thousands of miles away from me in England where she spends her days taking walks past castles and writing Regency Romance Novels.
Her website regencyromancenovels.comdraws readers from around the world and is a great place to get your fill on lots of period fiction.
One reviewist from Good Read's said that: "Cari Hislop's online short romances are pretty hysterical. Hislop scores points in my book for breaking away from the conventional - her heroines range from the obese to those with literal bad-luck and her heroes from the self-centered to the nearly deaf."
I got the opportunity to ask Cari some questions for The Literary Soundtrack recently... which really just means I emailed her and asked her just how much she loved me :)
For the full interview you can go to our interviews page and scroll down to Cari Hislop. For a little more about Cari you can read her profile at Smashwords.
Cari: I find it fascinating that music associated with stories imbues the music and the story with a haunting power they might not otherwise have had...I suspect music and stories have always been linked, whether they were stories sung in plain song or told with a harp or drum in the background. I personally believe there's a part of us that needs stories as fundamentally as our lungs need oxygen. A friend once asked me, "Can you imagine a world without stories?" I tried to imagine it, but I couldn't.
Cannwin: What gave you the idea of publishing your books completely electronically? E-Books are really popular right now, but you have been writing online for several years now, what gave you the idea? Have you ever regretted this decision?
Cari: In 2007 my husband had the idea to sell my stories online. I'd finished several books and I was trying to force myself to start the process of finding an agent, but I knew that even if they agreed to represent me they'd probably read my stories and tell me I couldn't have a hero who was a blatant misogynistic pig (The Curse of Love).
And then there was the fact that if I published the traditional way my stories would only be in paperback for six months to a year and then they'd collect dust in the great publisher's warehouse in the sky. Selling on line was the perfect answer; I'd retain complete ownership, the stories would be unaltered except by me and they would be accessible to read for the rest of my life and beyond (if my heirs can be bothered). My husband's a computer programmer so he made me a website and I was in business.
Cannwin: What type of music do you enjoy?
Cari: I tend to have phases where I'll listen something to death and then not listen to it for a year or two and then listen it to death again though there are exceptions. The other day I just bought the Best of David Bowie after watching Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, but before that I bought some Pink Floyd and U2 and Elton John. Today I'm listening to old easy listening music from the early 80's.
Cannwin: I am strongly affected by music and the mood it creates inside me, so I avoid it when I am writing. Do you think music alters the style of your stories?
Cari: For me music is normally a wall of sound that blocks out distractions, but there have been a few instances where I've listened to specific songs while working on important scenes and the song has been folded into the story. A Companion for Life has a lot of important scenes written to Richard Marx's Falling. The song perfectly captures the sense of falling autumn leaves that are an important part of the hero and heroine's mutual past.
Cannwin: Are there any songs that bring to mind a certain book for you? Are there any books that bring to mind a song?
Cari: I find listening to songs from my childhood often brings to mind certain books. Just yesterday I bought "Just the Two of Us" by Grover Washington Jr...I love this song...to me it's Edward Eager and Andre Norton's magic books.
I didn't used to find songs for stories, but a few years ago I heard U2's "Vertigo" and it was John Smirke's song! And then I heard Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" and I was entranced. It was like someone had written a song from the point of view of my hero Geoffrey, Duke of Lindhurst from Redeeming a Rake (He calls his heroine Angel/Sunshine.) Since then I've started consciously listening for songs for character.
Cannwin: What is a book you would recommend to our readers?
-Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead (It's taken me twenty years and three readings to understand this weird story. It's hard to like any of the characters, but it pulls you on through all seven hundred pages like a steam locomotion full of coal and sweaty manpower. I don't necessarily agree with her politics, but she dissects human nature with a surgeon's scalpel. I love it.)
-The Lais of Marie de France (These are very short stories originally in poem form that were meant to be verbally recited. Some were written some were compiled by a medieval woman of the English court named Marie. They're almost medieval fairy tales, but at the same time snapshots of Medieval life. Priceless!)
-The Love Letters of Robert Browning & Elizabeth Barrett edited by V.E. Stack (If you love real love stories...this one is hard to beat. The two were poets who admired each others work before they met. She had a psycho father from hell who didn't want any of his numerous grown children to marry. The letters read like a made up story, but they're real!
Thanks so much to Cari for taking her time. I hope you all go check out her work. You won't be disappointed.
Books: The Curse of Love by Cari Hislop
A Companion for Life by Cari Hislop
Redeeming a Rake by Cari Hislop
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
The Lais of Marie de France
The Love Letters of Robert Browning & Elizabeth Barrett edited by V.E. Stack
Authors noted: Edward Eager
Music: Just the Two of Us by Grover Washington Jr
Vertigo by U2
Falling by Richard Marx
Angel by Sarah McLachlan