Carole’s short story New Baby made our shortlist in April 2020 and was included in our first short story print anthology. She describes herself as “a 49 year old want-to-be writer. Married to a long-suffering husband for far longer than she thought she would be.”
In this first of our author profiles she tells us a little bit about herself and her writing process.
Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself, and the kind of stuff you like to write.
I’m complicated I guess; my husband would say I am. I don’t think I fit into any boxes and I wear many labels. I’m stubborn, passionate, loud, contradictory, and probably quite difficult to live with. I like loud music, ghost hunts and the theatre.
I tend to write whatever catches my imagination in the moment. I have written children’s stories, horror fiction, biographies, a little of everything. Jack of all trades and master of none.
How long have you been writing, and what was it that first got you started?
I have been writing on and off for years. As a child it was an escape and allowed me to purge myself onto the page, if I wasn’t reading, I was probably trying to copy what I had just read. I tended to imitate the authors I liked at the time, it was a long time before I found my own voice, if I ever really have, I guess we are all an amalgamation of what we take in, all our influences.
What does your writing day/schedule look like?
My writing schedule is non-existent. I am not disciplined enough to be able to say, ‘ok every day from 3 to 7 pm I will sit down and write’. I just write when I have an idea. I have been known to get up in the middle of the night because I have had an idea. Anything can trigger a sprint of writing, something I hear on the radio, an overheard conversation, even just an interesting looking person at the store. Once I start a story I tend to do it in one sitting, I rarely come back and do a rewrite or change anything, it’s all or nothing for me. Sometimes it takes me less than an hour to write a story, or I may be writing for weeks with just bathroom and food breaks. Hence, I must be a nightmare to live with.
How have you found writing during lockdown times? Has your writing day changed much from how it was pre-lockdown?
I think I was probably more productive before lockdown. I have more time to read now but my writing has slipped away a little.
Tell us about the last thing you were working on. And also, a little about your very next project.
The last story I wrote was about a Nazi doctor looking for forgiveness. I never really know what my next story will be about, but if we ever get out of lockdown, I may find some inspiration. I have had a longer book on the go for a few years now, that I go back to every now and then, but it’s difficult for me to write like this as I normally do it in one sitting.
What successes have you had in the past? How do you feel when you see your work in print?
Not many! It feels wonderful to see my work in print, but it’s a vulnerable feeling too. Many of my stories touch on difficult subjects and that can bring a lot of negative reactions.
Do you have a particular place where you go to write?
I have an office, where I write, out in the garden in a log cabin. It is messy and has taken to being the junk room. I share it with boxes we want to keep and the Christmas decorations. I keep my actual desk tidy and hate it if my husband comes out to use the computer and moves things! In the winter it is freezing and in the summer it is too hot. I must like the challenge.
Do you have any tips or advice for other writers?
Just write, write and write. You’ve got to have something or else you have nothing. Don’t let others discourage you. Opinions are like arseholes; everyone has one, but you don’t have to necessarily listen to everyone else’s.
Finally, some quickfire answers:
Planner or pantser? Pantster
Computer, pen & paper, or typewriter? Computer or pen and paper, depends where I am.
Do you write every day? Not really
Do you have a daily/weekly word count target? NO! After university word counts became a taboo.