Carl Alves graduated from Boston University with a BS degree in Biomedical Engineering and has worked in the pharmaceutical and medical fields. His debut novel, Two For Eternity, was released in 2011 by Weaving Dreams Publishing. His novel Blood Street will be published by True Grit Publishing in November 2012.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing Two For Eternity was also the most rewarding. My novel takes place over 12,000 years, in various time periods such as Ancient Egypt, the time of Christ in Judea, the Spanish Inquisition and World War 2. I had to do a massive amount of research to get the flavor and customs of the times as well as historical details to make the writing look and feel authentic. For each time period I did extensive research, and that part was challenging because I had never done anywhere near that level of research. But it was also very rewarding. I learned so much in the process, more than I ever learned in any history class I had ever taken. Hopefully the readers of Two For Eternity will be able to learn a little as well as be entertained.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Two For Eternity is actually the fourth novel that I’ve written, but it’s my first to be published. The writing and research process took me about four years, but I was writing other stories and novels in the meantime. I first started writing in high school. After about a year I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t very good at it, not to mention that I majored in Biomedical Engineering in college and had no time to write. I restarted about seven years later at my wife’s urging. That was the point where I got serious about learning how to write and pursuing it professionally.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (if any)?
Getting Two For Eternity published was an excruciating process. It took many years to get to the finish line, suffering through many rejections. Years earlier, I had an agent, but unfortunately I did not have a very good agent. Over a couple of years they hardly submitted the novel they were representing, and it felt like I was bugging them every time I tried to contact them. After I dropped my agent, I decided to try on my own to find a home for my novel. I cold queried Sue Durkin-Eggerton from Weaving Dreams Publishing for my novel Blood Street. She called me and told me that she loved my novel but it wasn’t right for her line. I asked her if she was interested in reading another one of my novels, which might be a better fit for her publishing house. She enjoyed Two For Eternity and offered me a contract. Since then Sue decided to revisit my novel Blood Street, and offered me a contract to make Blood Street the first novel in a new imprint of hers, True Grit Publishing, which will be coming out in November.
Have you written a book that you have not been able to get published? If so, can you share a little about it with us?
As I mentioned, Two For Eternity was my fourth novel that I have written. My first three are still on the shelf and will hopefully find a home some day. My first novel, Conjesero, is a horror novel about a shape-shifting serial killer. I’m in the process of re-writing it. It amazes me as I do the re-write how my writing has evolved since that time. I read some parts of the book, and my reaction is “What was I thinking?” It also shows me that I have to continually improve my writing and learn more about the craft of writing. I don’t think I will ever get to the point where I’m fully satisfied with the quality of my writing. There is always room for improvement, and writing is a continual evolution.
How did you come up with the title?
Story and novel titles are probably the single most difficult part of the writing process for me. On rare occasion, the title comes to me at the same time that I start writing, and other times it’s a life and death struggle. The original title of my novel was In the Beginning, which is my main character’s last line of dialogue in the introduction. My publisher thought the title was a bit too generic, so we went back and forth for a couple of months searching for an alternate title. One of Sue Durkin-Eggerton’s students came up with the title Two For Eternity. I thought it was cool and catchy. I was just concerned that people might mistake it for a romance. But in the end, I think the title really captures the essence of the novel.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Two For Eternity is the culmination of a decade-long struggle of starting as a writing newbie, learning the craft of writing, working through many mistakes and becoming a better writer. After that came the countless number of rejections, with no seeming ending in sight. When I got an agent, I thought my problems were over, only to discover that getting an agent is not the be all and end all, and not all agents are created equal. To finally get to see my book in print was very satisfying. Every writer has to go through their own journey and overcome their own struggles. I write because I love to write, and whether or not I ever got published would not deter me from doing what I love.