Follow the Hummingbird by Elena Carter
This year my friend, Rachel Stanley, and I started a book club. This book club was created to read indie books and help indie authors reach their goal of obtaining reviews. Each month we alternate between member’s choice, Jess’s choice and Rachel’s choice. For the month of April, my choice was Follow the Hummingbird by Elena Carter. This was a no-brainer for me. I was instantly attracted to the cover and the concept of visiting other lands through your dreams.
Before we talk to Elena, let’s read the synopsis:
Where do you go when you close your eyes at night?
Lonely and depressed after her husband dies, Tina gets through her days on autopilot. But her nighttime dreams are anything but regular. Everything changes when she wakes up with proof that her dreams are much more than they seem.
After recovering from the initial shock, Tina sees a life-changing opportunity. Encouraged by her friends and armed with some magical amulets, Tina embarks on the journey into the world of her dreams. That mysterious world awaits Tina eagerly, ready to open its multiple doors to her. Except some doors are better left closed...
While exploring different realms, hoping to reunite with her lost love, Tina faces the danger of losing her soul to a dark ancient force.
On the other hand, she now has a reason to believe that she can find her ”happily ever after” in one of those worlds.
Will she be able or even willing to return from her journey?
J.C. - Hi Elena. Thank you for joining in on my indie interviews. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
E.C. - First of all, I’d like to thank you for this interview, and for picking my book as this month’s read in the book club. April is a very special month for me, and I immediately interpreted it as a great sign (yes, I like seeing good signs in everything and attaching special meaning to things and events. Life is much more fun this way.).
I guess I’ll move on to a more formal introduction now. My name is Elena Carter, and I currently live in Varna, Bulgaria with my husband and two sons. I have always wanted to become a writer, pretty much as long as I can remember. I started reading at the age of four and have always been fascinated with books. It took me a while, though. With the encouragement of my husband (a professional screenwriter himself), I finally gathered the courage to follow my dreams at the age of forty. What can I say, it’s never too late. I guess this is the way it was meant to be, and I’m beyond grateful for that. I published my debut novel, “Follow the Hummingbird,” last year, and I’ve almost finished writing book two in the series, which will be released in a few months.
J.C. - How did you come up with the idea for Follow the Hummingbird?
E.C. - Dreams have always played a very important role in my life. And I have always believed that there was something more behind them than just a tired brain trying to process the information received through the day.
So in the very beginning, I just knew I wanted to write a book about dreams. But the more I started thinking about it, the more the characters and their dreams started connecting with me. It’s some kind of magic, really. You just open your mind and your heart, and then it starts flowing. Characters and their stories, amazing worlds and creatures, breathtaking landscapes. All I can do is try my best at capturing the images and transforming them into words and phrases. I hope I managed to do a good job there.
J.C. - I am a very vivid dreamer and loved the concept of traveling through worlds in dreams. If you could dream walk, what world would you like to travel to?
E.C. - I believe that there are infinite worlds and realities out there, beyond the boundaries of our imagination and comprehension. I also have this crazy theory that the stories we come up with, as authors, come into existence in the form of whole new worlds. Our characters come alive somewhere, in some parallel world or alternate reality. Call it a God complex if you wish, but I think this is what the power of creation is all about. And creativity is a superpower that every human being on Earth possesses, whether they’re aware of it or not.
So I’d be thrilled to actually visit some of the worlds from “Follow the Hummingbird.” To go on a ride in the Ferris wheel cabin forgetting about my fear of heights; to meet the fascinating inhabitants of Callima so that they could share their light with me; to close my eyes and listen to the wind with the Tapoori.
And I do miss the dreams from my childhood when I used to fly. That’s definitely something I would love to experience again.
J.C. - Tina is a recent widow. What made you want to incorporate that sorrow into the book and how important is her husband’s loss to the plot?
E.C. - As someone who has suffered loss and grief, I wanted to give people hope. When you lose someone dear, you also lose a part of yourself. The journey you embark on afterwards is mostly about finding yourself again. Finding strength. Finding courage. Courage to let go of the past and take a step towards your future. Usually the first step is the hardest one.
Tina was lost. She was about to give up. And that’s when she was given a chance to see life from a different perspective, with the help of a guide and supportive friends. Letting go is always the hardest part. Turning your back to the past and opening your heart to the future might seem as an insurmountable task at times. But there’s always hope. That’s what keeps us going.
J.C. - We meet a character named Alice and she mentions a rabbit. To me, your book has a very fun Alice in Wonderland vibe. Did you get inspiration from that tale?
E.C. - There will be even more references to that gem of a story in book two. Alice in Wonderland has always been my favorite book. And Alice is a character that has a very special place in my heart, ever since she appeared in my mind and told me she was going to be a part of this story, whether I like it or not. I’m absolutely serious, that’s how it happened. One minute, I’m writing about Tina getting a coffee, and the next minute, this amazing lady appears out of nowhere. And I’m so grateful for that. She has taught me so much.
The next book, “Follow the Blue Rabbit,” follows Alice’s story from the very beginning. I’m really enjoying getting to know her better as I’m working on the first draft.
J.C. - Your cover is STUNNING! How did you choose the theme and colors? And who did the graphics?
E.C. - I’d say that it was fate. As I was working on the book, I kept thinking of the cover and playing with different ideas. But I couldn’t make up my mind. I was looking for something perfect, but I couldn’t find it, so sometimes I’d just get frustrated and put it on hold.
Once, I was looking through the screenshots album on my phone (searching for something not book-related, by the way) and stumbled upon a picture from Deviant Art that I had saved months before that, on one of those sleepless nights I spent researching the cover design options. That’s what I do, I take tons of screenshots that are supposed to help me remember things, but it almost never works this way. Except for that one time when I was going through the album looking for something else, and saw that picture. It felt like a revelation.
I went back on the app, restored my old password, and found the artist. Wrote a message saying that I loved the picture and it had all the right vibes, but I needed some key elements to be added, colors changed, etc. Briefly explained what the book was about and what those key elements were. And she did an outstanding job.
Then I found book designers that turned that piece of art into a book cover, adding the right fonts. The result was stunning. I really do believe that there are no such things as coincidences.
J.C. - Who has been your biggest support system while on this writing adventure?
E.C. - I’ll be forever grateful to my husband for having faith in me and encouraging me to start writing. When he first mentioned it, I said, “Even if I do give it a try, I’ll never write in English anyway, it’s not my first language.” He said, “That’s a shame, I’d love to read it.” He believed that I could do it before I believed it myself. So I went ahead and wrote my debut novel in my second language.
And my amazing mom comes to babysit my super-active little boy so that I can have some writing time while he naps. Because I can tell you from experience, it’s pretty hard to type thousands of words on your phone while there’s a sweet little angel sleeping on your shoulder (which I did anyway, of course, that’s how a huge part of book one was written). Considering that my mom doesn’t speak English, she can’t even read my book. But she’s proud of me anyway, and she believes in me.
I’m beyond grateful.
J.C. - Finish the sentence. In ten years I’d like to …
E.C. - Be a bestselling author, have at least one of my books turned into a movie, and keep writing more books because that’s what makes me happy.
J.C. - Book two, Follow the Blue Rabbit, is on its way! What can you tell us about it?
E.C. - Your question reminded me that when I finish the first draft—which is soon—I’ll have to write a blurb. Can’t avoid it forever. And you know how dreadful that is…
Book two focuses heavily on Alice’s story, which is told through her diary that she had left to Tina. Alice is in danger, and Tina needs to help her. In order to do that, she looks for answers and clues in Alice’s past, by reading her diary. So half of the book (every other chapter) is written in diary format. The other chapters show the reader what Tina and her friends are up to (it takes place just a few months after the end of the first book) and how Tina is trying to save Alice. Oh, and one of Tina’s friends starts having some very interesting dreams too. I can see that the blurb-writing process will be a long one!
J.C. - Lastly, where can readers find you and your work?
E.C. - I have an author website, where I publish blog posts once in a while, and a mailing list—the newsletter comes out once a month, and I keep it short and sweet. A quick writing/personal update, special announcements if there are any, and some book recommendations. I usually throw in a couple photos of our stunning local sea views too. I can also be found on Instagram and TikTok.
And my book is so far exclusively on Amazon, which means it’s part of Kindle Unlimited. I was thinking about going wide and publishing on other platforms, but haven't decided yet.
Here are the links:
Author website - https://elenacarterauthor.com/
Newsletter sign-up - http://eepurl.com/hwgca1
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/elena_carter_author/
Tiktok - https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMR6h9QEU/
”Follow the Hummingbird” - http://mybook.to/FollowTheHummingbird
Thank you for reading about Follow the Hummingbird and Elena Carter! This book brought me so much joy while reading it. Here’s my review:
Follow the Hummingbird is a dreamy tale about a widow named Tina whose dreams become reality. I absolutely loved this book! It’s a happy, entertaining read that had my fingers turning the pages in record speed. I am in awe over the worlds Carter has created. I’d love to go to Callima or Tapoori - in life or in my dreams! Hummingbird has a very Alice in Wonderland, magical feel and is perfect for a dreamer who wants to get caught up in a fantasy world - or two! There are even two bonus short stories at the end of the book. I will say, I look forward to the sequel. I can’t imagine where Carter will take me next. The possibilities are endless! And the cover - absolutely stunning! HIGHLY recommended.