In a letter to her readers, Ute talks about her romantic comedies as “light as air stories that float, with characters just this side of nuts.” Her latest release, CONFESSIONS OF THE SAUSAGE QUEEN, is coming out July 7th.
Q: What led you to write this book?
All of my books involve a bit of synchronicity, I guess, a kind of perfect storm of one or two things coming together.
Sausage Queen began long ago as a failed murder mystery. This was back in the day when I was still trying to figure out how to write a novel. I started this mystery, about a woman who summered at a private lake with her husband and went out to walk the dog and was killed. The husband finds her body and is accused of her murder. The thing was a hot mess and is probably the reason I don’t write mysteries. But out of it came a character named Mandy who had a slightly crazy grandmother. I wrote a scene where grandma goes, with Mandy, to the funeral of her paramour. It was funny and I really like it. And it was totally out of keeping with the tone of the mystery. I couldn’t make it fit the book, which wasn’t working at any rate and was quickly abandoned.
A while later, I wrote the opening to a story, which featured a guy named Randy, who was trying to teach his not-so-bright dog to speak. Also funny, but the story wasn’t going anywhere.
Fast forward a few years. I completed a few novels and learned a whole lot more about craft. And I had these two scenes on my computer. I took the two scenes and began a brand new story,featuring Mandy, her grandmother Lila, and Randy. A whole bunch of other characters came into the mix as I wrote, including Wally, the funeral director friend who was in the original funeral scene.
Q: You’ve got an amazing backlist of books from your romanticcomedies, to women’s fiction to historical romance. Is there a new genre on the horizon for you?
For the moment, I’m balancing the three genres I already write in (I have a project in the works in each of them, yikes!) This keeps me pretty darn busy. But I do have an idea for a book with a bit of magical realism twist. Sigh. So you never know.
Q: Do you read the same genre you write?
Absolutely. I love books that can make me laugh or that pull at my heartstrings. I want to write books I’d enjoy as a reader.
Q: You talk about writing being the perfect job for a girl
who wanted to be everything. What books have most influenced your life?
I have a very intense book habit, reading is one of my passions, and so it’s hard to pinpoint a single story. As a little girl, I loved fairy tales and those have had a definite influence on my writing, particularly the more romantic stuff. I’ve always loved personal stories with a lot of heart. To Kill a Mockingbird is probably at the top of my best books of all time list. And I devoured A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and A Separate Peace when I was a teenager. I guess it’s small wonder that all of my books reflect the personal experiences of my characters
Q: Have you had an interesting experience in the research of one of your books?
There does seem to be a lot of serendipity when I write, things will come to me at opportune moments. When I was writing Afterglow, for example, I wrote a few scenes where the main character, India, takes a flying lesson and has a somewhat terrifying (and funny) experience in a small aircraft. I know nothing about flying; I haven’t ever been up in a small plane. One day, I was talking to a friend about the story and the flying scene came up. “I can help you,” she said. “I have a pilot’s license.” I had no idea she knew anything about planes, as flying was something she didn’t do anymore.
Q: What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you?
What do you want for dinner? Seriously, I don’t know that there are any questions that haven’t been asked. I like interviews like this one, where the questions are more specific to my work. Thanks for that. ☺
Q: Which fictional character by any author would you like to be friends with in RL?
I think it would be fun, although also a bit dangerous, to hang out with Stephanie Plum from the Janet Evanovich series.
To learn more about Ute Carbone and her books visit: