USA Today bestselling author Carter Wilson explores the depths of psychological tension and paranoia in his dark, domestic thrillers. Carter is a two-time winner of both the Colorado Book Award and the International Book Award, and his novels have received multiple starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Carter lives in Erie, Colorado in a spooky Victorian house.
You're never too old to chase a dream. Hell, sometimes you don't even realize there's a dream to chase until you're well into adulthood.
That's what happened to me.
It was sixteen years ago and I was firmly rooted in the world of real-estate consulting. My path had been pretty straightforward to that point. Went to school at Cornell and studied real-estate finance and didn't take a single English course, much less creative writing. Got my degree, went out to the real world, and, after a couple of years working in hotels, I applied my learning to the world of consulting.
Now, this isn't to say I wasn't a reader. In my 20',s I truly discovered literature in a meaningful way for the first time (i.e., it wasn't forced upon me). I tore through book after book, rarely picking one up that wasn't at least 600 pages (I had no money, so I needed a high word-per-dollar ratio). But I wasn't writing. Didn't even think about it. It wasn't a dream.
One spring day when I was 33, I was taking a dreadful all-day continuing-education class for an appraisal license I once had. I'd describe the class to you but you'd fall asleep before my first mention of discounted cash-flow methodology. There I was, bored to tears, two hours left to go. To keep entertained, I decided to give myself a puzzle. I wrote the following sentence in my notebook:
Three people are murdered at the exact same time in the exact same fashion in different parts of the world. What's the connection?
My challenge was to find a storyline before the end of class that would answer that question. I couldn't do it. I went home, and the question still nagged at me. Over the next few days, I decided to work on the question, writing down potential plot lines that would lead to an answer. The process became more and more complex, so I began dedicating more greater to writing down thoughts, which led to paragraphs, which turned into pages.
Ninety days later I had a 400-page manuscript.
I had never done anything like this before, and even though it seemed to me some kind of wonderful epiphany, I still had no idea what I was doing. No concept of what to do with my manuscript, much less if I was even a good writer. I had to learn an entirely new industry from scratch, and the more I learned, the more it depressed me. I found out that very few writers get agents, even fewer get published, and only the top .01% make any real money at it.
It took a year and about eighty rejections to land my agent (the same agent I still have today). That first book never sold, so I wrote another. That one didn’t sell, so I wrote a third. And so on. It was my fifth book that finally sold, nine years after that day in the continuing-education class. Throughout the process I learned how to excel at my day job and write books on the side. I learned the beauty of rejection, and how it made me a stronger and smarter writer. I learned about patience in storytelling. Most of all, I learned about the business of writing. The wondrous, erratic, frustrating, anxiety-laced, satisfying business of writing.
No school could have taught me any of those things. I unearthed a dream I never knew I had, which might just be the best kind of dream.
Since the day I began my writing career, I've published five novels (all thrillers), with a sixth scheduled for publication in July 2019.
My most recent novel, Mister Tender's Girl, was published in February 2018 from Sourcebooks Landmark. Inspired by the real-life Slenderman crime, Mister Tender's Girl tells the story of Alice Hill, who, at fourteen, was viciously attacked by two of her classmates and left to die. The teens claim she was a sacrifice for a man called Mister Tender, but that could never be true: Mister Tender doesn't exist. His sinister character is pop-culture fiction, created by Alice's own father in a series of popular graphic novels. Over a decade later, Alice has changed her name and is trying to heal. But someone is watching her. They know more about Alice than any stranger could: her scars, her fears, and the secrets she keeps locked away. The book is a story about Alice having to confront her past in order to survive her present.
Mister Tender's Girl
At fourteen, Alice Hill was viciously attacked by two of her classmates and left to die. The teens claim she was a sacrifice for a man called Mister Tender, but that could never be true: Mister Tender doesn't exist. His sinister character is pop-culture fiction, created by Alice's own father in a series of popular graphic novels.
Over a decade later, Alice has changed her name and is trying to heal. But someone is watching her. They know more about Alice than any stranger could: her scars, her fears, and the secrets she keeps locked away. She can try to escape her past, but Mister Tender is never far behind. He will come with a smile that seduces, and a dark whisper in her ear...
Inspired by a true story, this gripping thriller plunges you into a world of haunting memories and unseen threats, leaving you guessing until the harrowing end.
Find Carter at his website and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Where to Buy Mister Tender's Girl
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.
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