Today, I’m delighted to interview L. Anne Carrington, author of ‘The Cruiserweight’. Her book is due to be published by Night Publishing in late 2010/early 2011, and published in electronic and ebook media in Autumn 2010.
Please tell us more about ‘The Cruiserweight’.
‘The Cruiserweight’ is a somewhat quirky blend of wrestling and romance.On one side, there’s the male protagonist, Brett Kerrigan, who’s all of five foot eight and under two hundred pounds—not the hulking type of wrestler many of us envision. He’s even smaller than the average cruiserweight, which is around 220 pounds. Though the world sees the confident and sometimes cocky Brett, away from the spotlight, he’s very kind-hearted, a little shy, deals with his anxiety issues by smoking marijuana (a chagrin to his employers, even though he has an order for it), and has no idea why people find him appealing. Before he’s released from his talent contract in a round of roster cuts, Brett struggles with his position in that company, dealing with everything from being taken seriously as a wrestler to backstabbing co-workers and power-hungry management.
The female protagonist, Karen Montgomery, is a plus sized woman and a sports journalist whose focus is on wrestling. She’s been a fan of Brett’s for years and even wrote an award-winning feature about him and his career which spanned from his earliest days in independent wrestling promotions to the present.
The pair meet a year after Karen’s feature is printed, become friends, and then their relationship blossoms into a romance. In between, readers learn of the ups and downs in each of Brett’s and Karen’s respective careers and personal lives.
What inspired you to write ‘The Cruiserweight’- real events, personal history, pure imagination?
Part personal experience, part imagination. Basically, I took what experiences I had going to wrestling shows, added in a little fiction, and a story was born.
What made you become interested in wrestling and why?
It happened by accident, really. I was eighteen and my former sister-in-law had a big interest in wrestling, and she knew a lot of key people—even dated a couple at one point before she married my brother. We got into a few shows free because of her connections. What amazed me at the time was how two guys who almost killed each other in the ring were drinking and joking around together in a bar two hours later. Over the years, I went to several live shows and met a few stars in the business. Most are very nice people, and I have great respect for what they do.
Have you done any wrestling yourself? To give you the insider’s view?
Good lord, no. I did sit in on a wrestling school class when I was doing a feature for a column I wrote, then there were all the shows I attended,and of course, people I’ve met and talked with during the course of developing the book. Some have become both colleagues and personal friends.
Is there any of yourself in the character of Karen, as you are a journalist?
Perhaps some. We’re around the same age, from Western Pennsylvania, and come from basically the same social class. My work’s never been syndicated, though, which Karen’s eventually becomes.
Karen is significantly older than Brett. Did you intend to explore the ‘older woman/ younger man’ idea or did your characters simply happen that way?
A combination of both. Some people are uneasy with the younger man/older woman concept, yet don’t blink twice when things are the other way around. Why is that? Women are waiting longer these days to find a partner, and studies show they live longer than men. Why can’t a successful woman snare a younger guy? Needless to say, Karen isn’t a fame monger or gold digger,which makes Brett drawn to her even more.
As many authors do, you posted parts of ‘The Cruiserweight’ on some author community websites. Have you had any sensible negative comments and if so,about what aspect of the story- characters, plot etc?
There’s been a few constructive ones which helped me tremendously in the editing process and rewriting some chapters. Those I appreciate more than words can express. I’m always open to good, honest feedback. Of course,there’s always one or two biased naysayers who are going to put down everything I do, but it’s best to see those comments for what they really are and not to take them seriously.
Who do you anticipate will be the biggest fans of your story? People who like sports? People who like stories about relationships? Or do you anticipate it will appeal to a wider range of readers?
No doubt the wrestling fans will like ‘The Cruiserweight’ for its action scenes and what shenanigans Brett and his longtime best friend and former tag partner, Patrick Sanchez-Garcia, get into next. Women will like the romantic aspect, though some who are familiar with wrestling may enjoy that aspect of the book too. Some may tag it a ‘niche’ novel, but we’ll see when the book is released. Be warned, though; there are quite a few erotic scenes in this book!
How long did it take you to write your novel? Did anything change much during editing?
I’ve been working on this book off and on since July 2008. So many changes have been done on ‘The Cruiserweight’ that I look at the first draft and wonder “What in the world was I thinking?” I had a hang up on the show vs. tell issue, but once I ironed out that situation, the rest just began to flow. Finding an unbiased group of readers helped craft the book into what it is today, and I can’t wait until it’s completed, which should be in the next couple of weeks.
Do you start with an incident or a character when you write, or some other idea? Do you find that your characters sometimes take the lead with deciding where the plot should go, or do you make a tightly structured plot and fit them in to that?
You’ll get a chuckle out of this: I keep little tablets around, especially by my bed. Sometimes when a story idea pops in my head, and I’m not near a computer, I’ll jot down some notes. Everything from what I want the characters to look like to the story’s time period and location setting,to how they meet. Sometimes, I’ll just do ‘free writing’ and save those notes for when I need another story idea.
You have worked very hard to promote your book (and those of others)- do you think being proactive helped you get published and why exactly?
Being proactive may have helped. I honestly think publishers tend to see who’s willing to put themselves out there on a regular basis to stir up the buzz on their own work. Many new writers tend to have the misguided impression that an agent or publisher is going to do everything once the author is signed, and that isn’t the case. It’s a fifty-fifty thing. It all goes back to the saying “You get out of it what you put into it.”
Do you feel like one of a small band of female writers in what could be seen as the male world of sports writing? Is sports writing dominated by men?
For the most part, sports is still a man’s world, but the trend is turning as more women journalists are getting into sports and sports reporting. Jacqueline Moore captured the WWE Cruiserweight Championship in 2004. Who’s to say there won’t be a Super Bowl-winning female quarterback in the future? Anything is possible.
Thank you for the interview and best of luck with ‘The Cruiserweight’.
Thank you for the interview. More about me can be found on my website at www.lannecarrington.com. Updates on ‘The Cruiserweight’ can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/TheCWNovel, and I can be followed at twitter.com/lacarrington1 (those are the only Twitter accounts I have. Any others that may be out there are fake).