You know that expression “Live Life To The Fullest?” Well, that notion immediately springs to my mind when I think of author Geralyn Corcillo. When you read her books, and if you’re like me are fortunate enough to be able to interview her, you get the sense of a woman who appreciates and respects life in all of its infinite mystery. She is a very compassionate, very intelligent, very imaginative and very talented woman who combines all of these wonderful attributes in her creative endeavors. The result: a treasure trove of marvelous books to excite, intrigue and inspire readers. Even in a chaotic and uncertain world, if we can let inspiration serve as our guide, perhaps we can uncover hope amidst the confusion. Corcillo’s characters live life to the fullest and through her writing, readers are welcomed along for the ride.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Geralyn Corcillo. Read what she had to say below.
In the Drakenfall series, you created a vibrant world situated in an English country estate. What made you decide on this particular setting?
“Very few people noticed this. I had one reader notice it but some of the characters in my Drakenfall series were named after the donors of the Masterpiece Trust. The reason that I decided to write a book in England in the heart of the Cotswolds was because I love British stories and British television. I’ve been watching Masterpiece since I was like in 9th grade. Alot of my favorite shows take place in Oxford or Cambridge. Something like the Cotswolds…that place is my fantasy. I went to England when I was in college. I spend a semester abroad. In fact, in Upstairs, Downstairs, the opening scene that takes place on the bus actually happened to me. Not exactly the same, but alot of it is incredibly similar. I’ve just loved English stories all my life
Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read everything by her. I feel like I’m in a different world when I’m reading her books.”
Your characters have a wanderlust, traveling to different locales. Do you use your own travel adventures in your books?
“Like I mentioned, Drakenfall came out of my love for English stories and the Cotswolds. But I’ve also traveled to many other places. My parents didn’t have alot of money. We went to the Jersey shore, but didn’t really travel to alot of places. So when I was in college, I jumped at a semester abroad and was excited by that. I went to the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. After living in Los Angeles, it was such a wonderful experiences seeing a different culture. With a trail rail pass (I don’t even know if they have them anymore), but back then, for a very low price, you could buy a pass that would work for all of the trains in Europe. You could basically go from train to train to train all around Europe and that’s what I did for a month. I went to France. I went to Alsace-Lorraine. I went to Ireland. That was really fun. I also went to Russia. My sister was a Russian major in college and she lived in Russia for ten years after college so I took a train to visit my sister. I think I took the train to Russia straight from Germany so I was in Germany for a little bit. I’m grateful for discovering so many wonderful and talented Chick Lit authors from all over the world. We support each other so much. When I write my books, I want to show women as strong protagonists where finding a man isn’t their main priority. If romance happens, it happens for these characters but it is not their focus. Falling in love is a wonderful thing for a story but it is never my heroine’s goal. My heroine will have her goal then love may happen along the way.”
You excel at writing a book series (Drakenfall & Love in the Limelight). From the outset, did you plan for a book series or did your intention evolve as you were writing the first book in the series?
“That is an awesome question because it really did just kind of happen. First of all Miss Adventure was a completely stand alone book. Queen of the Universe has nothing to do with Miss Adventure. There are none of the same characters. The only thing that they have in common is that they both take place in Los Angeles. After Queen of the Universe, I wanted to write a story about some of the supporting characters in Queen of the Universe. Queen of the Universe is about Lola and Arlen. Lola is a tv writer and a show runner which means that she got the chance to create and to write her own show. Lola can’t cast the role of the hot bounty hunter in her show until Arlen Black walks in. But he’s not an actor. He’s the handyman. Lola hires him because she’s trying to get her pilot shot. I don’t know if Queen of the Universe is my favorite. It’s pretty close. But I think that everything I write is my favorite (laughs). Catch a Falling Star is very much a spin-off of Queen of the Universe. You don’t have to have read Queen of the Universe to understand Catch a Falling Star because these are supporting characters with their own story. These books just kinda organically grew into a series. When I’m writing, I create these stories and characters and I find that when I leave them, I want to get back into their world. With Lola and Arlen, I wanted more with them but realized that their story was over. But I could write about people who know Lola and Arlen. You can read each book individually without having read the previous book because they’re all stand alone reads. The more I created this universe, the more I wanted to explore these different characters. Then with the Drakenfall series, a bunch of very successful and popular writers were getting together to write an anthology, Love in the Elevator, and they invited me to be a part of the anthology. I kinda had the story in my head for what became Upstairs, Downstairs. When I was done with the anthology, I felt that Drakenfall had to have a Christmas book. The title came to me very quickly (A Drakenfall Christmas) and I knew that I had to write that book (laughs). I didn’t plan either series. But the more that I got into them, the more that I knew that I wanted to further explore these universes. There’s another Drakenfall book on the horizon.”
Which one of your book series did you find more challenging to write, Drakenfall or Love in the Limelight?”
It’s hard to say. Miss Adventure was my first book and that certainly had enormous challenges. You always have your own doubts and insecurities, but it’s more so with the first book. Now that I’ve gotten more books and short stories published, I feel a little better and more in control of the process. Miss Adventure is my longest book and I also think that it’s my funniest book. What I adore about romantic comedy writing is that it’s not just situations and funny dialogue, but it’s every line that you think about. Miss Adventure was years and years and years in the making (laughs). Queen of the Universe was also a challenge because it was my second book. Miss Adventure did really well so I was worried that Queen of the Universe wouldn’t do as well. However with Drakenfall, the big challenge was that I had the story in my head but it took alot of time to get it down on the page. I would put the story down and go back to. It wasn’t until I got the narrator’s voice that it really worked for me.”
What is your writing process like? Are there any routines that you follow when you sit down to write?
“Here’s how I write: I get the idea in my head and I’ll be thinking about it for a long time. I don’t write an outline except maybe towards the end of the process when I’m thinking of a scene that I still need to write. Usually, once I get the idea in my head and think about it for awhile, when I start writing, I just sit down at my computer and go. I’ll type like a maniac for six or seven hours straight. I want to get through the first draft so then I can edit like crazy (laughs). I’ll do some research before I start writing, but once I start editing, I’ll go back with more research for the things that I don’t know. I’ll double check and triple check everything..With Miss Adventure, I did so much research for that book because it’s about someone who goes on extreme adventures. I have never been on extreme adventures so I had to really do the research (laughs). The final step for me is when I put my manuscript on my computer and it reads the way I want it to read. I don’t hear errors that I don’t see so doing it this way lets me read out loud and hear what I need to fix. This final step can take up to three months.”
Are there any current projects that you can share with us?
“Absolutely. There are more Love in the Limelight books on the horizon. There are more Drakenfall books on the horizon. The next Drakenfall book is going to be about one of the characters from the village where Drakenfall is. I’m also working on a short story for an anthology about the diversity of love. It’s basically about a woman in Los Angeles in her sixties. She’s a woman who has kept herself very isolated all her life. She has this homeless guy living under her house. It’s going to be a short story that is not really Chick Lit. I’m excited about it. June 1st I’m starting to write a story with an author named Holly Tierney-Bedford. I love her books! She asked me if I wanted to write a book with her and I was like, Really? Is this a trick question. Of course, I want to write a book with her! She writes incredibly funny Chick Lit books but she also writes amazing women’s fiction. I’m so excited collaborating with her.”