GUTGAA Meet & Greet

I’m excited to be participating in the Gearing Up to Get an Agent blogfest/pitch contest (also known as GUTGAA), hosted by the generous YA witer Deana Barnhart. For this week’s post, the participants are doing a meet & greet.

I’m Carla, a former archaeologist turned stay-at-home Mom/writer. I grew up on Vancouver Island, lived in Los Angeles for many years, and currently reside in Wisconsin with my husband and two kids (a 15-year old girl and an 11-year old boy). I love books that transport me to different worlds, like Narnia, Oz, and Middle Earth, which is probably why I write young adult fantasy. Among my sources of inspiration are the countries I’ve visited. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on archaological digs in Spain, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, and Cyprus; I also lived in India for five months. I’m a big fan of Broadway show tunes, 80s pop culture, and really good coffee.

Where do you write?
My home office, which is basically a computer desk in my bedroom. I often have to fight the cat for writing space.

Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
A miniature statue of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god from India, known as the ‘Remover of Obstacles.’ He’s there to prevent writer’s block.

Favorite time to write?
In the morning, after the kids have left for school.

Drink of choice while writing?
Coffee. Lots of it.

 When writing, do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
Although I love music, when I’m writing, I prefer silence, otherwise the words interfere with the flow of dialogue. I’m way too easily distracted!

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
I entered a writing contest where I had to create the backstory for a fairy tale character, preferably a villain. I started writing about The Pied Piper and ended up creating a new character—his teenage daughter, Marisa. This character became the basis for my futuristic Pied Piper retelling, PIPER GIRL.

What’s your most valuable writing tip?
Find a critique partner that you trust! Mine is not only ruthless with her line edits, but also a great source of support.

Thanks for stopping by!



This entry was posted in Biography, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to GUTGAA Meet & Greet

  1. Jess Schira says:

    Exactly how does one go from soaking up the sun in LA, to braving Wisconsin winters? I’m a Michigander who hates the cold and often fantasizes about heading south.
    It’s nice to meet meet another YA (I write contemporary, I love fantasy but lack the talent needed to create my own worlds) writer.

    • casacullen says:

      I’m still not used to the Wisconsin winters, even though I’ve been living here for 13 years! I just bundle up and stay inside a lot. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

      • I’m a midwesterner by birth (Michigan, now Chicago area) and I have to say, I don’t want to live where it’s hotter. If anything, I might take more mild temperatures like Colorado. But I HATE hot. I’d rather brave a winter, honestly. Fall is my favorite season. Bring on the sweaters!

        Also, good luck with GUTGAA!

  2. Kelley Lynn says:

    Its so true. CPs are vital in this business!

  3. Elena Dillon says:

    I live in LA and can’t imagine living somewhere cold like Wisconsin! You are so brave! Nice to meet you! Good luck with GUTGAA!


  4. Katie says:

    I’m just dropping by with the GUTGAA hop. Your story sounds interesting!
    Archeology was always something I was interested in going into, I love history.

  5. Angie Sandro says:

    Hi, so very nice to meet you. The story of the Pied Piper always creeped me out. This sounds interesting. Good luck with GUTGAA. Stop by and say hello if you get the chance. I’m trying to make it easier on folk by adding the link, lol.

  6. casacullen says:

    Thanks for stopping by! I grew up in Victoria, and I still go back to visit the island because my brother lives in Mill Bay.

  7. YA fantasy is a great genre. I love being taking to a new world too. Your story about the Pied Piper’s daughter sounds cool. Nice to meet you.

  8. Hi Carla,

    Just dropping by to wish you good luck as well! Love your method for preventing writer’s block 🙂 Your Pied Piper retelling sounds cool — I hope to see more of it throughout #GUTGAA!



  9. Ooo. A Pied Piper retelling. I am intrigued! Your cat looks like a formidable opponent.

  10. Wendy Knight says:

    I have never before met a real archeologist! How awesome you must be! And yes, I would love to beta swap! I’ll find you on twitter 🙂

  11. Eliza Tilton says:

    I love that you’re an archeologist! Growing up, I was obsessed with Indiana Jones and wanted to be an archeologist because of him.

    • casacullen says:

      I’m a big Indiana Jones fan. I think I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark when I was 15 (showing my age here!) and I loved it!

  12. Jessica says:

    I love your kitty, how cute. I also must battle my fluffly furball companion for the arm rest on the couch when it’s writing time. nice to meet you 🙂

  13. Oh, Piper Girl sounds fun!

  14. Just love your blog! So nice to meet a former L.A.!ian! I’m a native here, but have braved the winters of Tulsa and Philadelphia…still love the snow, but prefer to drive up to greet it for a weekend :-)! Actually, I love watching it fall down. Great to meet you on GUTGAA! * Good Luck to you* Muaaah!

    Dr Margaret Aranda

  15. EM Castellan says:

    I love the idea of having a ‘Remover of Obstacles’ statue by the writing desk 🙂 And your manuscript does sound intriguing. Enjoy GUTGAA!

  16. Mia Celeste says:

    I have a writing cat, too. I’m trying to train him to be my muse. Grin, it’s not quite working. After finding out you were doing GUTGAA, I had to visit you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.