Guest Blogging with Carmen Fox from Guarded

Guest Blogging with Carmen Fox from Guarded



As a writer, I have god-like abilities when it comes to my characters and the world they inhabit. I care for and admire my people, despite their idiosyncracies. Of course my life would be easier if I made them perfect, right? But the truth is, they simply come that way. I’m not sure if I subconsciously draw them from my hidden self, from those I know or if they come to me through that beast we call creativity, but there they are, as deficient and complicated as the rest of us. Trouble is, it’s my job as a writer to tell their story. But how can I do that if I don’t really understand what makes them tick? Like flesh-and-bone beings, their inner workings are wrapped in layers and layers of deflections and contradictions.

In other words, in order to develop a story, I need to dig deep into my characters. What do they love? What do they fear? I’m free to influence their speech pattern, sure, but the central character flaw, the very thing that should define the entire plot, is not so easily fathomed.

To discover the chink in their armor, I must test them. This is when I put on my “Cruel God” hat and put them through the wringer. I build a world around them that offers easy choices and hard ones, and the consequences that accompany them. I populate their world with more characters, good, bad, relevant and inconsequential. Colors, sounds, smells bring their environment to life, so they may stumble seemlessly from one place to the next.

How do they react? Who irks them? What drives them? Step by step I unravel the threads to discover their naked selves.

If they reach an impasse, I might need to tweak their world a little. Give them a new ally or set a new short-term goal, or just heap more badness on them. The stronger their original flaw and the more adversity I confront them with, the more satisfying their final transformation.

After all, I love my characters, and I want them to live up to their potential. 

But there’s another reason I sprinkle dirt, and not just fairy dust upon my heroes. I can sell magic, resurrection, even coincidences to a reader, but a perfect life? Nah. Not only would no one want to read a book about long walks in daffodil gardens, they wouldn’t even believe it. Just like Agent Smith explained to Neo in The Matrix, a perfect world is just not believable.

Here is where I split paths from our notion of a ‘real’ deity, though. I try to give our characters the outcome they deserve. I dig a happy ending. My books should end with a smile.

This is how I built my world.

And in my edit, I took out the sledge hammer.

GUARDED, book 1 of The Silverton Chronicles, was brimming with characters and plot. For one month I hacked away at it to make room for the bits that needed the light. Pruning and weeding is necessary to make scenes shine, but I was careful not to remove too much plot. After all, messy and complicated is good, because our judgments do have real-world repercussions.

In Guarded, Ivy must discover her flaw and conquer it before she can have her happily ever after. So I gave her a murder, a mysterious statue, a brain-squeezing background and a hell of a past to deal with. If I were a linear author, I’d have placed a hot guy by her side to help her along right from the start. Instead I surrounded her with an assortment of men to help and hinder her. Her decisions reflect her personality, and only once she truly knows herself and has learned her lesson can she make the right choice.

The events my readers experience were carefully constructed and just as carefully deconstructed until the purest story remained. I’m proud of the work I put into it and can’t wait to dive back in for the next instalment of The Silverton Chronicles. 

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  • Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance/SuspenseFullSizeRender (2)
  • Publisher: Smart Heart Publishing
  • Date of Publication: July 31, 2015
  • epub: 978-0-9931992-0-2
  • paperback: 978-0-9931992-1-9
  • hardcover: 978-0-9931992-2-6
  • Number of pages: 276 print pages
  • Word Count: 104k
  • Cover Artist: Ana Grigoriu
  • Book Description:


Guarded (The Silverton Chronicles #1)

When everyone’s existence depends on the lies they tell, trust doesn’t come easy

Ivy’s neighbors have a secret. They aren’t human. But Ivy has a secret, too. She knows. As long as everyone keeps quiet, she’s happy working as a P.I. by day and chillaxing with her BFF Florian, a vampire, by night. When a routine pickup drops her in the middle of a murder, her two worlds collide. While Florian knows how to throw a punch, deep down he’s a softie. His idea of scary? Running out of hair product. It’s time Ivy faced facts. Even with a vampire on stand-by, one gal can only kick so many asses.

For help, she must put her faith in others. A human, who might just be the one. A demon, who will, for a price, open the doors to her heritage. And a werewolf, who wants to protect her from herself.

Torn between these men, Ivy must tread carefully, because one wants her heart, one wants her body, and one wants her dead.

Available at AmazonAdd it to Your Goodreads Shelf


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Tour giveaway

1 copy of the Guarded e-book (for Kindle),1 copy of the Guarded paperback, 1 copy of the Guarded hardback, 2 $15 Amazon giftcards
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[accordion][acc title=”Excerpt”]

Excerpt 1:

A growl from behind made my skin crawl. I whipped around. Florian’s face was grim, his posture unnatural and stiff.

The hairs on my arms stood on end, and I suppressed a shudder. “Are you all right?”

“Can’t.” He propped his hand against the wall. “Not feeling well.”

My gaze followed the direction of his stare. Large crimson stains pooled on the immaculate living room carpet. Oh crap. Blood.

I turned back. Florian’s pupils dilated to form two black marbles, trained on me. His canines lengthened, coming to sharp and lethal points. The pounding of my heart overrode my motor skills, and for a second, I stood rooted to the spot.

This wasn’t how I’d envisioned his secret being revealed to me. I’d pictured cupcakes, and maybe tissues at the relief of finally being straight with each other, not a full-out blood frenzy.

Finally, the switch labeled “common sense” flipped and triggered me into action. I fingered the guards in my pockets. The small plates were my only chance.


About the Author:

Carmen lives in the south of England with her beloved tea maker and a stuffed sheep called Fergus. An avid reader since childhood, she caught the writing bug when her Nana asked her to write a story. She also has a law degree, studied physics for a few years, dabbled in marketing and human resources, and speaks native-level German and fluent Geek. Her preferred niches of geekdom are tabletop games, comics, sci-fi and fantasy.

She writes about smart women with sassitude, about pretty cool guys too, and will chase that plot twist, no matter how elusive.

Expect to be kept guessing.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER, Carmen’s first urban fantasy novel, was published in March 2015. To find out more, visit her at

[accordion][acc title=”Author Interview”]

Tell us about the role of women in your writing.

They’re strong. And I’m not talking about a token ‘feistiness’ to balance out an inherent need to find refuge in a man’s arms, but about an inner strength that allows them to weather any situation alone. If they choose to be with a man, it’s because they want to be, perhaps driven by passion or love, but never by a need for safety.

Who is Ivy?

Ivy, GUARDED’s main character, doesn’t let her past define her. Or so she thinks. In truth, her experiences have left her with emotional pressure points she doesn’t want anyone to poke. She deals with most situations with her special brand of humor, and although she’d do anything for her friends, she’s far from perfect. When people vie for your attention, perhaps it’s natural to take their support for granted. Worse, her curiosity often gets the better of her. It’s not that she deliberately walks into danger, but rather her idea of what is safe is a little skewed. Most of all she’s self-reliant. Not too proud to accept help, but she will act alone if she has to. In many respects she is who I want to be.

Why does Ivy have such a hard time deciding between the men in her life?

Ivy dithers between her sexual urges and her desire to be loved. Each of the three men offers her something different. One promises a normal future, the one she’s always wanted. Guy number two is incredibly hot and satisfies an itch the first man might not be able to scratch. And the third might be the most passionate, but also the most possessive of them. Sometimes, heart, body and mind simply cannot agree.

Tell us about Ivy’s relationship with Florian.

Florian is Ivy’s best friend. I imagine he’s every woman’s ideal best friend. No matter the situation, he has her back. Plus, he’s funny, and a little goofy. The two of them just click. He’s quickly become the most memorable character, and I’ve had women tell me he’s their ideal book BFF.

Do you have a Florian in your life?

I used to have a Florian in my life, the kind of person I spent every free minute with without ever being bored. We’d do the craziest things. And the total absence of sexual tension made it easy for us to laze in front of the TV in our sweat pants, greasy hair or not. Sure, our closeness wasn’t always straightforward, especially for my boyfriends or his girlfriends, but we made it work.

Would you categorize GUARDED as urban fantasy or paranormal romance?

I wish I didn’t have to categorize it. An agent informed me that GUARDED is a romance, since it has a HEA, a happily ever after, which is the payoff readers of that genre expect. But some romance readers have struggled with the fact that they can’t immediately tell who Ivy is going to end up with. She experiences different chemistries with different men. It’s part of the fun. Also, there’s a strong non-romance plot, which shifts the book closer into the urban fantasy or suspense genres. To me, it’s an urban fantasy romance.


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