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An Interview with Carrigan Richards

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Carrigan Richards, a native of Cullman, Alabama, discovered her passion for weaving imaginative tales early on. She is a graduate of Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia and received her Master of Arts in professional writing from Kennesaw State. Carrigan expertly merges reality and fiction to delve into life’s complexities. Her vibrant characters and thought-provoking narratives showcase a talent for captivating storytelling. Carrigan loves hiking, concerts, furbaby play with Ella and Ozzie, and fervently supports the Atlanta Braves.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I actually first wrote this story when I was 14 after getting the idea from an episode of Boy Meets World. It involved Shawn and Cory helping a girl whose father beats her.

Tell us the story of your book’s current title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title (now Black Dove) for the longest time had been Daddy’s Little Girl, but as I got older and the story was completely rewritten, I wanted something else. I’ve always been a huge fan of Tori Amos, and she’d written this song, “Black Dove (January),” which is about child abuse. The song just stuck with me and I loved the title. In some cultures, doves are seen as messengers of peace and symbolize hope, love, and new beginnings, and a black dove tends to represent negativity, mourning, transition, depression, or anger. I think all these ideas came together perfectly for the novel.

Describe your dream book cover.

I love covers that show many scenes or symbols from the novel. Before reading, you have no idea what it means, but after reading the cover takes on a new meaning.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

It actually does have a soundtrack! Because the novel takes place in the 90s, I had a LOT of fun with this playlist. Here are a few tracks. The full playlist is on my website.

“Fade Into You” – Mazzy Star

“Pictures of You” – The Cure

“Luna” – Smashing Pumpkins

“Black” – Pearl Jam

“One Headlight” – The Wallflowers

“Silent All These Years” – Tori Amos

“Black-Dove (January)” – Tori Amos

“I’m Kissing You” – Des’ree

“My Skin” – Natalie Merchant

“Dumb” – Nirvana

What books are you reading (for research or comfort) as you continue the writing process?

Right now, I’m reading Stephanie Garber’s Caraval, which is amazing. It’s different and very unique. It’s also different from what I’m currently writing now which is a ghost story. I also read a lot of books on writing and editing.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I’ve worked in marketing, account management, and retail. One of my first jobs was as a teen volunteer for the Birmingham Zoo. That was fun!

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

My mom had always been a writer, but I was always making up stories whenever I played with my Barbie dolls as a kid. I would write their names down and give little back stories. I started writing poetry when I was 9 or 10 because my mom had gotten fired from a job. She came home upset and I wanted to cheer her up so I wrote a poem and really liked doing that.

Where is your favorite place to write?

My office is filled with a lot of my favorite things: stuffed animals, pictures, awards & accomplishments. I have two windows so I can look outside.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I always light a candle when writing and always have music playing. The music acts as a muse. I used to journal every single day, but it’s been a while.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

One thing I hope readers take away from my book is they learn that they are not alone. My books involve mental illnesses as a way to spread awareness—so people can see what it’s like to have one and hopefully understand them. My perfect reader can learn something from my books whether it’s to help themselves or someone else.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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