CAROL HANSEN & MATT LANDE, Author, Singer - Interview

Today I’m welcoming back two previous interviewees (seems to be a theme this week!), author Carol Hansen and musician Matt Lande. Carol and Matt are “merging word and song” for a Kickstarter project that, if funded, will bring out a book, an album, and an EP of songs based on the book, as well as helping to defray production costs on two music videos. Carol’s book is DarkStar, which she chatted with me about several months ago. Matt’s album is Welcome Home The Child; we discussed Matt’s music several months back as well. The EP is three new songs by Matt based on the novel, as you’ll see in the interview below:

Carol Hansen

Carol Hansen

ANTHONY: Hello again, Carol and Matt! I’ve interviewed you each individually, so this combined interview should be fun.

CAROL AND MATT: Hi Anthony! Thank you so much for chatting with us again.

ANTHONY: Tell us how this project came to be.

CAROL: Well, when I was writing, DarkStar, one of my goals was to have a song written for my book and possibly a music video made for that song. Getting a book noticed is incredibly tough and I thought that this would be a great marketing tool to help get exposure for DarkStar. The idea was always in the back of my mind, so when Matt and I began following each other on Twitter, and I saw that he was a musician, I checked out his links. The minute I heard his voice, I knew that he had the sound I was looking for. I contacted him to see if he would be interested in reading DarkStar and writing a song for it. He said that he wasn’t opposed to the idea but, with his time schedule, he didn’t know how long it would take him to read a whole book, as he was working on his solo acoustic album at the time. So, I sent him a twenty nine page synopsis to read that would give him the gist of the story, but he decided he wanted to read the whole novel. Matt takes his music very serious and he said he didn’t want to miss anything. I thought that was awesome.
So, he read my book and initially, I had asked him to write one DarkStar song but in the process, he was inspired to write three!

Matt Lande

Matt Lande

Our correspondence with each other made us realize that we have a fun and unique opportunity to join forces and work together so we came up with our project; Music…when word and song collide. It’s awesome, as an author and a musician, to come together and make something amazingly different!

ANTHONY: Can you give us some examples of how Matt reinterpreted words from the book to create the songs?

CAROL: Sure! Here’s a couple:

DarkStar quotes that inspired the DarkStar song:

Alec hugged me tightly, and I pressed my face into his shoulder, allowing me to smell his masculine scent on the sweater he was wearing. Sobs escaped my throat as I felt the relief of finally being in his arms. All I cared about right now was being with him. Alec saved me. He didn’t let me die on the cold and snowy mountain.

After a moment of sobbing and sniffles, he put his finger under my chin and lifting my face up, captured my eyes. His were the same color as the day I met him.

                “You are safe now,” he whispered. “I will never let you be in harm’s way again.”


“I know this is crazy and complicated, but I will get through this…we will get through this. There is nothing to worry about now.” Alec drew me in close. I could feel the beating of our hearts, thumping in unison, two as one. Relief overcame me, but I wondered if it was premature as, at the same time, in the back of my mind the anxiety of the unknown future lingered.               

“I love you, Amrie,” he whispered in my ear. “You truly are my Darkstar.”

DarkStar song lyrics:

My darling star, I’ll hold you within my arms,

When worlds apart, I’m with you, you’re safe from harm.


Most would fall and fallen they have, the might ones, but they’re not us

My perfect star, my brilliant angel, suspended there, I pull you in


DarkStar quotes that inspired the duet, It’s in the Way We Are:

 “Why do you do that to me, Alec?” I asked quivering.

                “Do what?”

                “Look at me like that. You captivate me with your eyes to the point that I can’t even breathe or think. Do you do that on purpose?”

                “I don’t know what you are talking about. You think my eyes captivate you? Why, I think that is absolutely absurd,” he grinned.

                “Well they do and I can’t believe you don’t know it.”

                “Actually, I do,” he confessed. “Sometimes I feel that way when I look into my mother’s eyes. They seem to hold me as if in a trance. Often I feel like that is how she gets me to do some of the things she wants me to do —enthralls me with her eyes.”

                “Is that what you are doing to me?” I asked suspiciously.

                “I didn’t think I was,” Alec said shrugging his shoulders. “But could I?”

                “Could you what? Get me to do what you want me to just by looking into your eyes?”

                He stepped closer to me and the longer our eyes locked the more mesmerized I became. I almost felt as if I was in another world, watching the iridescent colors flicker as I gleamed into crystal glass swirling with delicate color.


 I noticed that Alec’s eyes were a deep, dark blue, darker than I had ever seen them. “Please, Alec,” I sobbed. “You can help him. I know you can. I know what you can do…please.”

 My pleading drew me into his space, his mystical eyes and their undeniable power. His pupils gripped me as emotion swelled in his chest, heavily breathing, nostril’s flaring.

“Please.” I whispered.

                Staring with rapt attention, the intensity of his eyes began changing, motion swirling intricate patterns, power emerging.


It’s in the Way We are Lyrics:

It’s in the way you rescue me

You are the current pulling me

It’s with the pause in time we make

Say it’s alright here

It’s alright


When the world slows down

And our hearts race

I can feel the sound

I can feel you breathing

When I drink you in

It’s in the way we are


The third song is a short acoustic song, Amrie.

 At this point, Matt has already recorded our three DarkStar songs, as well as ten songs for his acoustic album, “Welcome Home the Child,” (which, can I just tell you how amazing they are!) The first part of our project is getting all of these songs into the studio to have the DarkStar songs made into a 3 song EP– that will be marketed with my novel, and his ten songs made into an album. The rest of the project will involve going to Logan, Utah, the location of DarkStar, where we will be doing music videos for two of the three songs and printing DarkStar novels.

Our goal is to do combined DarkStar/Welcome Home the Child concerts and book signings. AND…the coolest thing ever…Matt has agreed to do a full DarkStar album!! Sweet!! We already have ideas for more songs, so if we can get the funding for this project, we will be in a good position to work on the full album.

 ANTHONY: Matt, what was it about Carol’s story that inspired you to create music based on it?

 MATT: I wasn’t sure what to expect when taking on the job to write music for DarkStar. I also couldn’t fathom reading an entire novel cover to cover. lol! Turns out that I became inspired more than ever and instead of only writing one song for the book as Carol asked, I ended up writing three. I think my inspiration was the mix of getting to know Carol as a person, what the book means to her and then the story of love and fantasy that DarkStar portrays. It kept me wanting to read more…that’s saying a lot because my attention span is such as a goldfish.

 ANTHONY:  Carol, what is it about Matt’s music that drew you to him as a source for creating music inspired by your characters?

 CAROL: The first time I heard Matt’s voice was when I followed his links and he was singing, “Walking with Ghosts,” on his You Tube video. I was instantly intrigued because he had this magical, mystical sound and it’s exactly what I wanted for my song. Matt has a very unique voice and when you combine it with his amazing talent for writing and playing guitar; you can’t help but be captivated.

DarkStar is about a guy, Alec, from England who finds out he is destined to be a wizard, and he doesn’t want to be. He is tormented because the powers of the wizardry are being forced upon him and when he meets a girl named, Amrie, both of their worlds change. She has mysterious dreams and as his magical world intertwines with hers, they get lost in a plot of mystery, romance, intrigue and a mystical connection. I knew, instantly, that Matt was the one I wanted to write my DarkStar song, but I soon realized that he could also play the part of, Alec. I tease him about it, telling him he will be my, Alec in our DarkStar movie. He definitely could be because he fits Alec’s description to a tee. Coincidence? Personally, I don’t think so:) Everything has just fallen into place for us…like it was meant to be. That’s why we’ve joined forces, because what we have is an amazingly unique opportunity and we are working really hard to make it happen.)

 ANTHONY: Matt, you’re also in the midst of creating your own album. How do you balance the two projects, make sure each gets equal attention, etc.?

 MATT:  How do I balance anything!? I have no idea. I have a dangerous balancing act.  So many things going on. I think I get a mad drive when it comes to music and entertainment. I love the feeling when you pick up the guitar, something comes over you and a song is born. From that point, I’m itching to record and produce it. Once I get rolling, it’s kinda hard to stop me and miraculously, eventually, it all comes together.

 ANTHONY: Carol, has Matt’s music influenced the way you’ve written the characters in the sequels versus the way you wrote them in the original story?

 CAROL:  It’s interesting that you ask that because it definitely has. Having Matt write the songs for DarkStar gave me a different perspective of my story. He took a whole novel and described three different aspects of it in just a few words…a musical synopsis, if you will. When writing, I have this vision in my head of who each character is and it’s quite easy to become repetitive with them. Matt’s words opened up a new picture for me and a different feel for what others are seeing–compared to what I’m writing. I have also learned a lot from Matt. He has a way of putting such deep emotion into his lyrics and it’s made me want to explore more deeply the way my characters, especially, Alec and Amrie, view each other.

 ANTHONY: Matt, I know you’ve done fundraising before, on Indiegogo and other places. What sets the Kickstarter project apart from your other efforts? Why should folks who have donated to you in the past donate again for this project?

 MATT: We thought it would be a good idea to do Kickstarter because we really need to accomplish our goal in a timely manner. Even though we won’t get the funding unless the full $5000 is raised, the site is more well-known than indiegogo, so we are taking the chance. All of the pledges from indiegogo campaigns were used to purchase recording equipment which I’ve used to lay down nearly all the acoustic guitars, lead vocals, and backing vocals for “Welcome Home the Child” as well as for the DarkStar EP. There’s still a ways to go, but if we reach this goal through Kickstarter, we’ll knock everything out of the park. I believe I have some of the best fans and that’s simply why we’ve gotten this far.

 ANTHONY: Okay, let’s talk about the Kickstarter incentives. I know folks can click through on the link and see what you’re offering in return for the donation, but tell me a bit about each incentive and why you chose them.

 CAROL: One thing we like about Kickstarter is that we are able to give something in return to those who support us. We are grateful for every single pledge because each one puts us closer to making our project a reality and without them, it just won’t happen.

 First and foremost, we give, Thank You’s, both privately and publically, because we are so appreciative to our backers and we want them to know it. Along with those, everyone gets a virtual hug. Who wouldn’t want one of those? LolJ


 Our incentives are a reflection of exactly what our project is and everything is personalized and very personal to us:

~Pre-released DarkStar and Welcome Home the Child CD’s and digital downloads

~DarkStar novel pre-released Wizard novel & bookmarks

~A guitar and hand written lyrics

~An original DarkStar manuscript and exclusive DarkStar Jewelry

~Exclusive connections with us through phone and in house concert and book signing

~Contact and knowing just exactly how our project is advancing

~Plus more added, “cool stuff” as Matt says

 ANTHONY: Last but not least, what is the final deadline for the Kickstarter?

 CAROL: The reason we are on Kickstarter is…the age old problem….MONEY! Matt and I have both had some personal struggles and setbacks the past few years that has made it really tough for us financially, so the fact that we have come this far, by financing our individual projects, is really quite remarkable. We are both working extremely hard to share our talents, but there hits a point where sometimes you have to, in all your humility, ask for help. That’s the point we are at. We are both extremely independent and it is hard for us to have to rely on others.

 We are approaching our deadline quickly. Our project will end on March 29th at 8:36 a.m. so we are beginning to stress a bit. We haven’t even reached half of our financial goal and we’re past the half way point in our time limit, so we feel an urgency to get the word out about our project and hope that everyone will be willing to offer, even just a little bit toward making this a reality for us. We like helping others, also, and welcome the opportunity to return the favor and help any of you when you are in need.

 We are so appreciative to Anthony for helping us out by doing this interview and want to thank him! He really does all of us an unselfish service by doing all the interviews he does to give exposure to so many creative and interesting people.

 THANK YOU, Anthony for all you do! Most sincerely!!

ANTHONY: You’re welcome!

So, folks, here’s the link to  Carol and Matt’s Kickstarter. I hope you’ll consider sending even just a few bucks their way. And remember, with Kickstarter, they don’t get your money if the project isn’t fully-funded, so please consider spreading the word!


CAROL HANSEN, Author - Interview

This week, I chat with author Carol Hansen.

Carol Hansen

Carol Hansen

From her blog: Carol J. Hansen has always had a passion for reading and her intrigue with the mystical aspects of life, whether real or fantasy, are what motivated her to write DarkStar, her first novel. Setting and accomplishing goals are a big part of Carol’s life and DarkStar is the result of her latest goal. The strength in her story comes from her understanding of what the youth like and how they think. Raising three children, being active with and observing the youth for many years gives her an advantage as she has the ability to combine her knowledge with a vivid imagination and come up with a believable fantasy laced with mystery, gripping drama and an unforgettable love story. Carol has worked in the cosmetology industry as a stylist, educator and salon owner for many years and enjoys it immensely. She loves traveling and anything that has to do with the outdoors, especially camping and riding four wheelers. The most important aspect of her life is her family and she resides in Utah with her husband and has three married children and five beautiful grandchildren.

Dark Star by Carol Hansen

Dark Star by Carol Hansen

Darkstar is the story of an ancient obligation, a reluctant wizard who despises having it forced upon him, a mystical romance full of passion, mystery and intrigue and a conflicting power struggle haunting two magical brothers. DarkStar is the first novel of a trilogy and the epic will continue in the much anticipated; Wizard.

ANTHONY: Hi Carol! Thanks for sitting down to chat with me for a little while. Tell me a bit about the process of writing DarkStar. Where did the idea for the book come from?

CAROL: When I was in high school my friends and I had nicknames and a symbol. A special friend gave me the name of DarkStar and my symbol was the moon and star. I have carried the name in my heart and collected moon/star symbols for years. I always thought that it would be an awesome basis for a story or a movie, but little did I know that I would be the one writing the book!

With the title, “DarkStar,” I knew the genre would be fantasy and I chose the storyline to be about a wizard, not because of the popularity of them, but because my friend’s nickname was Wizard. It just felt right.

I’ve always been an avid reader and have written a few things for my family but it’s crazy how DarkStar came about–because I really wasn’t planning on writing this particular book. I actually had another one in my head at the time. I was going through a tough time in my life and one night I couldn’t sleep. While sitting in the dark thinking about everything and what direction I wanted my life to go, for some reason, DarkStar popped into my head and I remember thinking that maybe I should try writing a book. I knew that there was a huge fan base for the fantasy genre (because I was one of them) so I decided, “What do I have to lose?” So, I got a pad of paper, started writing and, well, the rest is history…DarkStar was released on April 1 of this year. (No April fools either)

ANTHONY: How long did it take to go from your original idea to a finished manuscript?

CAROL: The night I began DarkStar was the first of July, 2008. My manuscript was written by October but the editing and re-writing took until spring 2009. Since I was new in this crazy literary world, I had no clue where to even begin and I learned that you can waste a lot of precious time trying to figure everything out. Of course, I’m sure you never figure everything out because things are changing too fast. It’s all part of an ongoing process and I’m learning so much. I know there are a lot of things I will do differently with “Wizard,” the second book in the sequel– because of what I have learned.

We’re so lucky to have the internet and so many channels we can turn to for information and help. It has given me a whole new appreciation for authors from the past. How in the world did they write without all the technological advancements we have today? I bow to them.

ANTHONY: You’ve got quite a bit going on at the center of the novel. A reluctant hero who just wants his life to be normal. Deadly sibling rivalry. Family commitment and honor. Forbidden love. How did you keep all these strands organized as you wrote? Are you a detailed outliner or a “see where the characters take me” kind of writer?

CAROL: It’s interesting how easy it was for me to keep all of the strands in my book organized, especially because this be my first novel. I am, by nature, an organized person, I have to be with everything I’m involved in, but as a writer, I think I’m a little of both. I’m definitely not a detailed outliner, knowing the specifics of everything; I don’t know how you could be with this type of a book. A good analogy; it’s like raising a child, you bring them into the world and give them a direction and a path to follow, but once they leave, even with your guidance, they’re gonna decide what’s going to happen. While writing DarkStar, I knew some of the things that I wanted to happen and some that “needed” to happen but then, (like a child) unexpectedly a character goes and does something that is totally unexpected and you have to stop and re-group. You pretty much have to go back and adjust the story so that everything will fit. It’s really kinda cool when it happens.

I chose the Cache Valley in Utah as one of the settings for DarkStar, knowing I needed somewhere magical and mystical for Alec to experience the events that were going to take place. Since I’m acquainted with that area, I was aware of the locations certain things would happen. In that aspect, I did have an outline but I wasn’t sure of the sequence until the story was being written. I actually visited the sites and wrote while I was there so my characters were familiar with them and so I had an accurate picture in my mind.

ANTHONY: Tell me a bit about writing your two central characters, Alex and Amrie. How did they develop in your mind, and did they change at all once they were on the page?

CAROL: I love Alec and Amrie. It is an amazing experience exploring characters and selecting the distinct qualities and characteristics that make them each unique individuals. I am amazed at how personal it is and how protective you become of them–and I am very protective of Alec and Amrie. I knew that as I developed them, since they were both dealing with their own struggles in two very different parts of the world, they would have to have compatible personalities and something amazing that would bring them together.

DarkStar is written from both Alec and Amrie’s perspective. Alec is being forced into a magical world where he detests becoming a wizard. Amrie is a very strong, independent girl who is mature beyond her years and the caretaker of everyone she cares about. Their worlds intertwine as she curiously witnesses his struggles with peculiar powers and they find comfort and strength in each other as they try to figure out the strange but definite connection that bonds them together.

My favorite subject to write is Alec. I love helping him try to figure everything out and I especially like creating the communication between him and his wizard grandfather.

Alec and Amrie didn’t change once written, they only became stronger.

ANTHONY: You’ve already announced that DarkStar is the first in a trilogy, and that the second book, Wizard, is on its way to completion. Do you have the full details of all three books plotted out, or are you allowing the story to grow and change?

CAROL: The story will definitely grow and change. Once again, I am aware of certain things that I want to happen but nothing is set in stone. As DarkStar developed, I became aware of characters that I will introduce in Wizard and I’m in the process of exploring and developing them now. I’ve been a bit reluctant though, because I have to step into the “dark side” for some of them and it’s not my favorite place to be. I am very happy with the way Wizard is progressing. DarkStar is a “can’t put down” book and leaves you wanting the story to continue so I want to make sure that all my readers will be as intrigued with Wizard. My final book in the sequel, The Mysticryss, is already forming in my mind. With all of the different directions I could take and the individual character stories I could expand on, I could very well write more than three books, but I do believe I will try to keep it as a trilogy. I have other story ideas emerging and I can only keep so many characters in my head at once. Lol

ANTHONY: You self-published DarkStar through CreateSpace. Tell me a bit about that experience and process.

CAROL: Once I had my novel to where I felt comfortable with it, I began researching and querying agents, trying to be patient as I learned the process of attempting to find someone to represent me and my novel. Needless to say, it was very disheartening. I also researched every form of publishing and at one point, considered putting DarkStar out exclusively as an e-book. I connected with an amazing graphic artist, Liviu Peicu, who took the images from my head and designed my beautiful cover. I personally setup the interior of my book in e-book form and was ready to submit–but it just didn’t feel right. I knew I wanted DarkStar as an e-book, but it was important for me to have an actual hard copy in hand also. That’s when I reverted back to researching and querying again. I was accepted by a couple publishers but turned down their offers after reading their contracts and as much as I would have loved to publish the traditional way, I knew the chances were more than slim. Things are changing so fast in the literary world and with the technological advances, even agents and publishers are changing their strategy. E-books and self-publish are the wave of the future so that’s the direction I chose. I decided to sign with CreateSpace because they are an Amazon company. My experience with them has been awesome and because I already had my cover designed and my interior set up–the process was quicker. CreateSpace offers many services, anything from editing to trailers–and everything in between but, of course, it comes with a price. They actually designed a second cover for me because they wanted me to have two to choose from, but I went with my original cover. Once I submitted my manuscript, they put it into the files used to print my book. At that point, they sent me a digital proof on which I could request changes or approve it. Once approved, they printed my first soft cover book, (so cool to receive that first book!) and once I approved the book….it was ready to print!! It took about three weeks beyond that to have the files set up to make DarkStar available as an e-book on Amazon and all the extended distributions channels. I’ve been very happy with my decision to self-publish and would highly recommend CreateSpace. 

ANTHONY: You also connected with singer-songwriter Matt Lande and he’s created special music (three songs so far) for the book. How has that process been, and where and when will people be able to hear the songs Matt created based on the novel?

CAROL: One of my goals when I wrote DarkStar, was to have a song written and hopefully, made into a music video as part of my marketing stradegy. I was so excited when Matt Lande agreed to read DarkStar and write a song for it. What’s cool, though, is that in the process of reading it, he was inspired to write two additional songs! I recently received the lyrics to all three songs and that guy is seriously amazing! He wrote the original “DarkStar” song, an acoustic song called “Amrie” and a beautiful duet, “It’s In the Way We Are.”

Next summer, we will be going to where DarkStar takes place, Logan, Utah and Matt will make the music video in some of the locations in the book….so cool!

Matt is in the process of recording his second album, an acoustic called, “Welcome Home the Child.” I feel so fortunate that he took time out of his busy schedule to read, DarkStar and write three songs or me. He writes, arranges, produces and records all of his own music…so multi-talented!

Joining forces with Matt has been an amazing experience. This joint venture has proven lucrative for both of us as we are promoting each other along with our own projects.

Matt is scheduled to do an acoustic concert on February, 15, 2012 in the Eccles Theatre on the Snow College campus in Ephraim, Utah. He will be promoting his new album, “Welcome Home the Child,” and will debut our “DarkStar” songs! We have our fingers crossed that the recording will be done so the music will all be available at that point. You can follow my blog; for updates and information on my venture with both DarkStar and Matt Lande. I am extremely excited to see what we can do with this!

ANTHONY: And my usual final question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?

CAROL: Other than the scriptures, it’s hard for me to pinpoint a certain book because there are so many that I enjoy, but when I think of a favorite, it’s more an author. When I was in high school, I loved Victoria Holt books because they introduced me to castles on the mysterious moors of England and when I pondered where to begin DarkStar….that’s where it began….in a castle on the moors of England. Her books go back as far as 1960 when she released, “Mistress of Mellyn” and have given readers many years of enjoyable reading. I still love to get lost in one of her books.

ANTHONY: Thanks again, Carol, and good luck with the book and the sequels!

You can follow Carol on Twitter as @DarkStarDreamer, find her on Facebook, visit the book’s website and Carol’s blog, and order the book from CreateSpace or on Amazon.