Author Interview: Madisyn Carlin
Madisyn Carlin is back, y'all, and this time she's joining us here on Of Blades and Thorns for an AH-MAY-ZING and so uplifting interview!! I hope y'all will enjoy getting to know her a bit better, reading about her writing journey, and being inspired by her faith!
Without further ado...
Thank you for having me, Grace!
My pleasure! :D So, what first inspired you to write?
At the ripe old age of fifteen, after much prodding and encouragement from my mom, I decided I might try writing. What inspired my first idea was a Star Wars trailer. I didn’t like it that the character died and wondered, “What would happen if he survived?” The idea kept nagging me, so I finally asked Mom where to begin. Two days later, I began writing the story. I never finished it and it’s terribly, horribly, and atrociously written, but I believe the idea has some merit and I will return to it. Eventually.
Augh, character deaths, am I right? What are some of the driving forces behind you and your writing now?
The primary driving force is my faith. Words have power and can touch lives, and I am honored God has blessed me with opportunities to share the Gospel through my characters’ stories. Alongside that, stories can help others going through difficult times. Sometimes reading about a character dealing with a similar struggle can help bolster our faith and give us hope and courage.
The second is that my mom is an author. It’s so fun and cool to say, “Yes. I’m a writer just like my mom”. I’m quite proud of her and to be following in her footsteps, albeit in a much different genre, is exciting.
I bet that is cool!! (Me over here secretly wishing my mom would just read...) Can you name any authors who have inspired your voice in different ways? How can you see their influence in your writing?
I’ve learned so many things from so many different authors, but there are four main authors who have influenced my writing voice. The first is my mom. From her I learned the overall how-tos for writing, including how to write characters, and how to incorporate faith into the stories.
The other three are Jaye L. Knight, Donita K. Paul, and Morgan L. Busse. Aside from Tolkien, they are my top three favorite fantasy authors. When I read their writing, I find both what I’d do differently and what I like. Then that is applied to my own writing. I hope I can one day say I write stories that impact readers just like they do, while being unafraid of sharing my faith and putting my characters through difficult times that draw them to God.
Yes, girl!!! That day will come soon, I know it! What are some of your most favorite books/genres—to read and to write?
I am a fantasy nerd. A snob, if you will. I primarily read Christian fantasy, though I do have Christian historical and contemporary romance on my shelves as well. My favorites, and this will be no surprise given my above answer, include The Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight, anything by Donita K. Paul, and The Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse. I also have a particular fondness for anything by Tolkien, but specifically The Silmarillion, since that was the book that catapulted me into really liking fantasy.
Likewise, Christian fantasy is my favorite genre to write. I may dabble in historical fiction and science fiction at some point, but for now I’m sticking with fantasy.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
When I’m not writing, I am prowling about my hidden lair, evilly cackling as I plot and scheme ways to make my characters’ lives more difficult and heartbreaking. Or so my sister and betas believe.
I’m jesting. Partially. ;) I do a myriad of different things when not writing. These include spending time with my family, working, trekking through my beloved mountains, and adding to my book, notebook, pens, and stationery hoard.
*looks about her own hidden lair stocked with an excessive amount of notebooks* Sounds like fun to me! Looking back, what has changed for you as a writer—be it how you write or what you write about—over the last few years?
My writing has definitely changed. For the better, I hope. The style is stronger and I can tell I now know more about developing characters than I did three years ago. The content is the same, only better written.
Your debut novel, Deceived, just released April 26th! What inspired this story?
This story was actually inspired by a dream. While I don’t remember what I dream about most nights, I can still clearly recall that particular dream, though it happened in 2019. There was a hatchet, danger, and a grumpy, intense, blond-haired soldier wearing a blue cloak. That particular scene didn’t make it into DECEIVED, but I have plans for it in Book Three in the series.
Ooh, I can't wait! What part of Deceived was the easiest to write, and which was the hardest? Where did you stumble and second-guess yourself?
The easiest part to write was the ending, meaning the final five or so chapters. The hardest were Therese’s chapters, though I’m not exactly sure why.
The stumbling and second-guessing never arrived during the first draft, which is unheard of for me. They arrived, instead, during the initial editing in 2020. They haven’t left. It’s almost worse now even though DECEIVED is published.
Oh, gosh, YES!! Girl, I hate to break it to you, but those doubts will never leave. *glares at her three-year-old debut who just garnered its first two-star review the other day*
What’s next for you? (A sequel to Deceived, possibly? Hint hint!)
Hint taken. ;) I have two ongoing series: The Deception Trilogy and The Shattered Lands series. DECEIVED is the first in a trilogy, so two more books come after it. Book Two, BETRAYED, is about 15K in. Lord willing, I will publish it late this year or early next year.
This year I also hope to publish Shattered Reflection (The Shattered Lands, Book One), a veritable monster of a Snow Queen retelling. I just received beta feedback on it and hope to publish it October/December. Am I insane for doing two series at the same time? Yes. Must I obey the muses and characters? Also yes.
Oh, definitely, yes! I simply cannot wait for Shattered Reflection! It sounds AH-MAY-ZING!
What do you want, most of all, for readers to take away from your writing?
I want readers to walk away feeling hope that, when they walk through the valleys and wastelands of life, they are not alone. That God will never leave nor abandon them. I want the stories to show that, while we are brought to our knees and the end of our ropes, God is in control. He is there through the pain, the trials, the heartache. Nothing is too big for Him to handle. The God who leads us to the good times in life will lead us through the hard times.
Amen, sister!! Have you ever endured any discouragement as an author? If so, what inspired you to persevere?
Like any writer and author, I have endured discouragements. Some are from others, like the rejections I have received from publishers. More often, though, I bring discouragement upon myself. I am chronically second-guessing my writing, comparing it to others’ and finding it not even subpar, and questioning if I’ll ever be able to make something of the plots running amuck through my mind.
I recovered from the rejections fairly quickly, which I thank God for since if I hadn’t DECEIVED wouldn’t be written. In persevering through my own self-wrought issues, it takes some time. I have to remind myself I wasn’t given this idea for no reason. And while it may not meet my overblown and grandiose expectations, it can still, hopefully, touch a reader’s life.
What are your greatest aspirations for your future, be it as a person or as a writer?
My greatest aspiration, as a person, is to grow in my faith. For my writing, it would be to write tales that glorify God and impart the Gospel.
What has being a writer taught you?
Being a writer has taught me so, so much. My faith has grown and through this avenue I am able to share the Good News. It’s taught me to stand strong and unflinching even though the world fights against everything I believe. And it’s taught me, though my characters, to never be afraid to speak out for truth, freedom, and doing what’s right.
Amen!! (I seriously feel like amening every single one of your answers. *winks*)
What led you to self-publish Deceived? Will you continue to self-publish, or do you have plans to traditionally publish one day?
A rejection, actually, was what paved the way for DECEIVED being self-published. July 2020 was when I received the rejection. I shelved it until October 2021, when my mom suggested I self-publish.
I would like to eventually become a hybrid author—someone who is both. I have stories I will only self-publish, Lord willing, and there are stories I’d like to see be traditionally published.
Same here, girl! On both accounts! What are your thoughts for other aspiring writers on writing and publishing?
We’ve all seen those low-star reviews. “The writing was preachy.” Or, “It felt more like a sermon than an actual fictional story”. Those have stifled many a Christian writer in their attempts to include faith in their stories. Don’t let it stifle you. Be unashamed, be unafraid to include the Gospel. Don’t hesitate to put in strong salvation themes. The world needs to hear the Truth. Those reviews? They’re accolades. We offended someone by including God’s Word. That’s good. We’re doing what needs to be done.
The world is dark. It will rail and fight and kick and scream against the Light. Don’t be afraid to share your faith.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. - Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)
Once again, thank you so much for having me, Grace!
WHOO GIRL PREACH IT SISTER THAT IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!! *clears throat* Thank YOU for joining me, Madi!! It was my honor and pleasure to have you!
I don't know about y'all, but that was one darn good interview! Madi is full of amazing encouragement and advice! Y'all aspiring writers take note now! *winks*
I hope y'all have enjoyed getting to know Madi a little more and hear about Deceived! Naturally, there's a lot more to learn, so I'll leave y'all with the tour schedule (and the giveaway + preorder info, in case you missed it!) so you can check out more interviews, guest posts, and reviews!
giveaway + preorder swag
Y'all, Madi has some FANTASTIC goodies for those have preordered Deceived (or ordered it during the duration of this blog tour, which is from April 25th to May 7th)! You can receive some epic swag, like an autographed bookplate and a character card (pictured to the right!) that is absolutely gorgeous, if you ask me!
All you have to do is fill out the form below to receive your bookish goodies!
Not interested in preordering? Not to worry! Madi's also got this AMAZING chance to win a SIGNED paperback copy of Deceived AND that beautiful character art!
The giveaway ends May 10th, and all you have to do is click the button below!
If you don't have social media, that's perfectly all right! All you have to do then is comment on each post in the tour and you're entered!
Monday, April 25
Madisyn Carlin | Intro + Book Spotlight
Joy Woodbury | Book Review
Tuesday, April 26
Madisyn Carlin | Release Day! + Fun Facts
Vanessa Hall | Author Interview
Autumn | Book Spotlight
Wednesday, April 27
Esther | Book Review
Saraina | Character Interview: Therese
Joy Woodbury | Guest Post
Thursday, April 28
Madisyn Carlin | Group Interview
Kristina Hall | Book Review
Friday, April 29
Vanessa Hall | Book Spotlight
Olivia | Book Review
Sherrice | Author Interview
Saturday, April 30
Madisyn Carlin | Character Spotlight: Holder
Stephanie | Character Spotlight: Rogan
Sherrice | Book Review
Olive Creed | Book Spotlight
Monday, May 2
Vanessa Hall | Book Review
Grace Johnson | Guest Post + Book Spotlight
Stephanie | Book Spotlight + Character Spotlight: Ivelle
Tuesday, May 3
Madisyn Carlin | Meet the Characters
Stephanie | Book Review
Wednesday, May 4
Grace Johnson | Author Interview
Saraina | Character Interview: Rogan
Thursday, May 5
Madisyn Carlin | Character Q+A
Issabelle Perry | Character Spotlight: Therese
Friday, May 6
Grace Johnson | Book Review
Autumn – Author Interview
Jenavieve Rose | Book Review
Saturday, May 7
Madisyn Carlin | Blog Tour Wrap-Up
Olive Creed | Author Interview
Katja Labonte | Book Review
Saraina | Author Interview
about the author
Madisyn Carlin is a Christian, homeschool graduate, blogger, voracious bookdragon, and author. When not spending time with her family or trekking through the mountains, she weaves tales of redemption, faith, and action.
Want to connect? Find her social media links here.