- Nikky Lee
10 Questions with C. Vonzale Lewis
Carla Vonzale Lewis likes her martini’s shaken…never stirred. She loves the written word and the way a good book can take you to another place and time. For her, writing gives her power to create and to fix this broken world.
Despite being born in Georgia (don’t mistake her for a Georgia peach) she grew up in the North. California to be exact. The first part of her life, she worked in customer service. Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy job. But she did enjoy talking with people. And when it came time to develop her characters, she drew on those experiences. Her first book, LINEAGE, answered the question, “What do the the big bosses do all day?” She might have gone a little dark with her answer.
Carla started writing her first novel in 2014. Thirty days later she had a collection of scenes that needed some serious revision. And that was where the fun came in. Over the course of several years her novel went through final draft after final draft until she finally came to…you guessed it, the final draft.
When not writing, she enjoys reading, binge watching shows on Netflix, and trying to convince my husband that getting a dog is a wonderful idea. One day, she will discover how many licks it actually takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself! Where do you call home and what do you write?
Well, hello there! My name is Carla Lewis, but I write under the name C. Vonzale Lewis. I used to work in customer service, the most thankless job out there. At least in my opinion. I live in Southern California with my loving husband. I write adult dark contemporary fantasy with heaping dollops of romance and mystery thrown in for good measure.
2. What drew you to that particular genre?
Great questions! I have to say I love mystery. I love the idea of weeding through clues to find the answer. It keeps the mind focused. And what’s life without a little romance to put a smile on your face. As for the dark fantasy elements, those have always fascinated me. Those are mysteries unto themselves, no? Afterall, the myths and legends and stories from the past have some kernel of truth in them and when I write, I feel as if I am unearthing those hidden gems for the reader. Filling in the gaps if you will.
3. What’s your best known work?
My first book was Lineage. It’s the first in a series of eight in my Blood and Sacrifice Chronicles series. I have finished the second, Zealot, and have begun working on the third, Tribe. I’ve also had a few short stories published as well. The series follows Nicole Fontane as she weaves through the mysteries on Tulare Island trying to bring down all blood magick users while learning about her own abilities along the way. And yeah, there is some steamy romance 😊
4. What inspired you to write it?
Haha. Well, as mentioned above, I used to work in customer service. One of the many things I remember being curious about as I sat on the phones being berated by caller after caller was what do the big bosses do all day. On a particularly frustrating day I thought, maybe they sacrifice the employees. LOL! Yeah, I got a little dark with it but as I said, it was a frustrating day. From there, the series was born.
5. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter, pantser or somewhere in between? How do you research?
Oh, a challenge question I see. I’m definitely a combination of the two. Although, I have to admit, while I didn’t use an outline for Lineage. For Zealot, I had to use a loose outline to keep some of the events from the previous book consistent. As for research, I do both as well.
6. What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve researched for your writing?
I’d have to say learning about the African myth that explains the hurricanes. According to myth, they travel the same path as the slave ships. Of course, science can explain this, but just the idea of it is pretty fascinating and speaks to something powerful. I’ve used this in a short story I wrote recently.
7. What’s the most personal story/scene you’ve written and why?
My character, Nicole, was sexual abused as a child. In Lineage, these memories come flooding back and the impact causing a great deal of pain. I mirrored some of her own responses to this after myself. It was hard at first, but also cathartic. She survived as I did.
8. Who are your literary influences? In what way?
I’d have to say all stories I read influence me in some way. But the most impactful are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, Ilona Andrews, Kelley Armstrong, and Faith Hunter. All of them write great characters who feel real. A great plot is fantastic, but if you have flat characters, the story will fail. They also dive deep into the worlds they build and this is always a pleasant thing. It’s why I spend so much time really getting inside my characters head.
9. What books are on your bedside table right now?
I’m currently reading Nora Roberts Becoming and have just finished Ilona Andrews Fated Blades.
10. Last and most important, where can we find your books/stories?
My books can be found on all the retail sites, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo.
Follow Carla on these platforms!
Website (sign up for her newsletter too!)
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