Robin came to my attention through social media.
Welcome inside the mind of Robin Michele Carrol, a writer who currently resides in Englewood, Colorado. Robin began writing short stories at the age of nine, but her artistic journey didn’t truly begin until eleven. That’s when she created her own soap opera in junior high and became known as the little girl with the big imagination. Her formation of The Search for Love made her popular amongst her peers as the pages of Robin’s drama circulated throughout the halls of the middle school she attended. Eventually, the teachers learned about the content, and Robin was called to the principal’s office with her mother. She was told the subject matter was too mature, and she was no longer allowed to share it with her classmates. However, the school didn’t want to squelch her talent, so they placed her in an English class with a teacher who helped Robin hone her skills. There, the seeds were planted, and Robin realized she was born to be a storyteller.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Robin Michele Carroll, and I’m an author and poet who resides in Englewood, Colorado. I have a 19-year-old son and a dog named Zoey. I work as a Real Estate Product Manager in a credit union, but my goal is to someday quit my day job and write full-time. I published my first book, Two Faced, in 2018. It is categorized as mystery and suspense, but it’s also comprised of romance, drama, crime, and a touch of the paranormal. I am currently working on the sequel, Dream Killer, which I hope to have completed by the end of 2019 and published by spring 2020.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I began writing in journals when I was nine, but my artistic journey didn’t truly begin until the age of eleven. I had two defining moments that year. The first was when my English teacher gave the class an assignment to either write about a person we admired or to make up our own story. I wanted to write about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but ten other kids did too, so I decided to go the creative route. I went home that day and started writing whatever sprang to mind. That brainstorm session produced my first short story called A Family Tragedy. After I handed it in, my teacher asked me to return to her class later in the day. When I arrived, I saw my paper on her desk with red ink marks across the entire front of it. I immediately thought that she hated it, but luckily, I was wrong. She expressed how talented I was and informed me that I got an A. She asked if I was interested in having the story entered in a contest for middle school students across the state of Pennsylvania, and when I said yes, she instructed me to make a few corrections. I did, and a few weeks later, it was announced on the school’s intercom that I won. That was an exciting day that will forever be etched in my memory.
The second defining moment happened in study hall several months later. I had completed all of my schoolwork, and I was bored. There was still 30 minutes left in class so I decided to create my own soap opera. My formation of “The Search for Love” made me popular amongst my peers as the pages of my drama circulated throughout the halls of the middle school I attended. I became known as the little girl with the big imagination. Eventually, the teachers learned about the content, and I was called to the principal’s office with my mother. She was told that the subject matter was too mature, and that I was no longer allowed to share it with my classmates. However, the school didn’t want to squelch my talent, so they placed me in an English class with a teacher who helped me to hone my skills. There, the seeds were planted, and I realized that I was born to be a storyteller.
Despite the reprimand I received for adult subject matter, I continued to write the soap opera. The demand was high, and my friends were a lot sneakier when it came to hiding it from the teachers. For almost three years, those characters were a huge part of me, until I chose to retire the show my final year of junior high. By the time I got to high school, I had matured, and I needed my writing to reflect that growth. I wanted to create stories that were more than just drama, romance, and infidelity. That’s when I decided to focus on suspense as my primary genre.
What genres do you like to read? Are these the same genres you write in?
I read and write mystery, suspense, and romance. However, I want to delve into the horror genre. I love Stephen King, and would like to walk in his footsteps one day. As much as my friends dislike horror, they tell me all the time that I would great at it. They often remind me of how I always told the best campfire ghost stories. The other counselors used to get angry with me because their campers were always too afraid to go to sleep, and when they did, they wanted the lights on in their cabins. That was years ago, but it still puts a smile on my face that I was able to create stories, without rehearsal or forethought, that scared people.
My goal is to complete the sequel to my current book, Two Faced, and then work on my first horror book. I don’t know all the details yet, but I do have the concept in my head. It involves clowns and dolls – think Chucky meets Pennywise from IT.
Is your book for adults, young adults or children?
My book, Two Faced, is for adults, but young adults might enjoy it also.
What is your current release or project?
My current release is the suspense/thriller Two Faced. I’m writing the sequel now, Dream Killer, which should be completed by the end of this year.
Tell us about the key characters
Missy Melendez has psychic abilities. When she closes her eyes, she is plagued by the spirit of a malevolent killer. Her clairvoyance, a gift passed down from her gypsy grandmother, coerces her into a realm of death and suffering that she can’t elude, particularly after her husband, Robert, is executed. His homicide, along with his mistress, compels Missy to acknowledge her own immortality. She knows that she’s the next victim, but she can’t exorcise the killer from her mind – at least not yet. Missy needs to stay connected to him in order to exonerate herself. She’s seen his horrendous deeds in her visions, but will that be enough to convince the arresting officer, Detective Danielle “Dani” Cole, that she’s innocent.
When they meet, Missy recognizes Dani as the nameless, faceless person who’s haunted her dreams for years. Like Missy, Dani is a broken woman who craves the gift of redemption. Insubordination covers her hands in blood, and she battles every day to assuage her misplaced guilt. Dani is determined to do whatever it takes to rebuild her reputation, and she believes that Missy’s conviction will put her back into the department’s good graces. Missy is aware of Dani’s plan, but that doesn’t prevent her from being inexplicably drawn to the other woman. Dani has the power to destroy Missy, but still, the unthinkable happens. Now, with her abilities crippled, the killer moves closer, and Missy must find a way to save them both.
What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?
Dr. Robert Melendez is a gifted plastic surgeon who can transform lives with a scalpel. Known as “the miracle worker,” he allows ego and greed to overshadow his talent by blackmailing some of the world’s most infamous criminals. Robert provides them with new faces then threatens to reveal their true identities if he isn’t paid additional money for his services. His plan flourishes until one day he is found dead beside a woman who is believed to be his wife, Missy. Upon further investigation, it is revealed that the female is his mistress. The wrong woman is executed, and once the mistake is discovered; the murderer pursues Missy, determined to finish the job. Now, Missy must fight to stay alive as she grapples with the “gift” that connects her to Robert’s murderer. She has to prove her innocence in a double homicide, all while fighting her feelings for the detective who could possibly destroy her.
Share an excerpt
The air was damp, heavy with humidity. The slight, muggy breeze caused the wind chimes to ring, the sound melodic in the still of the night. Despite the lateness of the hour, the temperature remained above eighty degrees. Like the man lurking in the shadows, summer had come with a vengeance.
Unaware of the violence that skulked in its perfect little community, the wealthy Connecticut neighborhood slept. Not a single light shone in the cul-de-sac of high-priced homes. The only illumination was the glow of streetlamps.
The dark figure climbed the stairs of the house on the end. His watchful actions were those of a man whose sole purpose was to remain unrecognized. Dressed in black, he knew he appeared more phantom than man—a ghost in the darkness.
He squatted to retrieve the house key from its hiding place under the stone planter box. The flowers flourished with vibrant, sweet-smelling blossoms, but in time winter would return, and the foliage would die, the stems and leaves curling and brown from the cold. Their time would come, like all living things, including the two unsuspecting targets inside. He smiled beneath the mask as he thought about the job ahead of him. Nothing and no one lived forever.
He slipped the key into the lock and eased the door open. Once inside, he paused for a few minutes to assimilate to his surroundings. From the living room to his right came the steady ticking of an antique clock on the mantel. To his left, a refrigerator hummed quietly in the kitchen. He couldn’t discern any other sounds or movements, just stillness. Satisfied that everything was clear, he advanced up the stairs to the bedrooms.
The thick snore of a sleeping man echoed in the hallway. The intruder retrieved the weapon from its snug resting place—the waistband of his jeans—and followed the sound. The pistol, a .22-caliber semiautomatic, was lightweight and effective at close range. He’d purchased the gun from a drug dealer in Philadelphia, and once the job was complete, he planned to dump it in the nearest river.
He entered the bedroom and observed the couple who lay side by side—his latest victim and, next to him, his beautiful wife. The bed was rumpled, the sheets and blankets twisted around their hips and legs, half-covering them. In the sliver of moonlight that fell across the mattress, the woman’s pale skin stood out, smooth and creamy.
He crossed to where she slept and pressed the barrel of the gun above the woman’s breasts, right over her heart. He squeezed the trigger and smiled as the woman’s eyes popped open. Her body convulsed at the bullet’s impact. She gasped for air, the gurgling sound wet as fluid and oxygen met.
The man beside her opened his eyes and scrambled into a sitting position. Making small, squeaky sounds of terror, he inched backward until his spine pressed flat against the bed’s headboard. His chest heaved as he looked frantically back and forth from the man dressed in black to his twitching, bloody companion.
“Hello, Robert.” The predator circled the bed until he came face-to-face with his prey. “Someone has paid me a lot of money to rid the earth of you and your wife.”
Robert moved his mouth, but no words escaped. He appeared to be a breath away from dissolving into complete, incoherent hysteria. He whimpered and wiped the errant tears that ran down his cheeks.
The killer whacked him across the face with the butt of his gun. “Pull yourself together and quit acting like a little bitch.”
Robert inhaled deeply to control his emotions and relieve the searing pain in his head. “You … you have the wrong person,” he stammered.
“No. Unfortunately for you, I don’t.”
“You’re making a huge mistake. I’m not …” He hesitated. “You don’t understand.”
“On the contrary, I understand it all, Robert. You should have just given him the files and photos from the list. Now I’ve been sent to retrieve them from you.”
Robert shook his head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“If you don’t want to die, like your wife, then you’ll tell me where they are.”
“I don’t have any files, and she’s not my wife,” Robert uttered.
“Who’s not your wife?” he asked. For the first time, the killer examined the woman’s features and realized that he’d made a mistake. He leaned toward Robert and pressed the barrel of his gun to the underside of the man’s chin. “Where is she?” he hissed menacingly.
“I don’t know. She disappeared without telling me. Maybe she left so fast because she has whatever you’re looking for.”
“You think I’m naive enough to believe that you trust your wife with your prized possession?” With his free hand, he grabbed a handful of Robert’s hair and jerked him around to face his lifeless companion.
Robert watched the ever-growing pool of blood creep across the white satin coverlet toward him.
“I’m losing my patience, Robert. Now stop with the diversion tactics and tell me where Missy and the files are.”
“She must have gone to see her friend Kayla in Miami, but I don’t know her last name, so I don’t think you’ll find her.”
“Finding people is what I do,” he stated smugly. He squeezed the trigger. Brains and blood sprayed across the white headboard and onto the rose-patterned wallpaper.
He stared at the colorful mess, and like an artist with a freshly painted canvas, he beamed in appreciation of his creation. As he basked in the pungent smell of death, his excitement turned to desire. He unzipped his jeans and satisfied himself, leaving evidence of his arousal on the female corpse. Before he left the room, he placed the mistress’s earrings and Robert’s watch in his pocket as mementos.
After checking the rest of the house for the files and any information that would lead to Missy’s whereabouts, the killer returned to Robert’s room. He kneeled in front of the bed occupied by his victims and bowed his head. With eyes that glistened with tears, he prayed for absolution.
Do you have a favorite scene?
The development of my characters is extremely important to me. I want the reader to love them, hate them, and even wish for certain ones to die in an excruciating manner. If they feel the way I want them to about the events and people in the book then I’ve fulfilled my responsibility as a writer. I’ve had several people tell me, after reading Two Faced, how much they disliked Dani. They were surprised that I would make her so unlikable since she’s a main character. But what they came to realize is that Dani is complicated. She’s stern, uncompromising, and seemingly heartless, which is similar to many women who are in male-dominated job fields. Any sign of emotion, and they’re labeled as being too sensitive to effectively perform their duties. As the only female detective on the team, Dani has to deal with sexism and misogyny on a regular basis, which forces her to develop impenetrable armor. However, throughout the book, there’s the realization that her shield is not so powerful. In a scene towards the end of the book, Dani opens her heart and lets the reader experience her deepest, darkest secrets. She shares her childhood scars, and it’s heartbreaking. But it also allows the audience to empathize with her as they start to fully understand what shaped her into the person she’d become. Her vulnerability is raw and real because it’s based on first-hand knowledge, and I think that pain resonates with many women. Either because they’ve had similar incidences in their own lives or knows someone that has survived the same trauma. I believe the scene can help the wounded overcome their own tragedy, and if that’s true, then that makes Two Faced even more gratifying for me.
What advice would you give a beginner?
My advice for a beginner is to always believe in yourself, and no matter what happens…keep writing. When you feel like everything you create is not good enough…keep writing. When someone tells you that you can never make a living as an author…keep writing. If all you have is an idea…keep writing. If you feel like you’re too old to follow your dream…keep writing. If someone reads your work and hates it…keep writing. When someone says that you must write the way everyone else does to be successful, just stay your course and…keep writing. Work that 9 to 5 to support your family but…keep writing. And most importantly, when fear and doubt darken your doorstep…keep writing.
In the movie Sister Act 2, Whoopi Goldberg shares a quote with Lauryn Hill’s character, Rita, from the book Letters to A Young Poet, which says, “Don’t ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning and you can think of nothing but writing, then you’re a writer.” That was true for me, and if that’s true for any future writers out there, then my advice is to simply keep writing.
Twitter: Robin @rmcauthor
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