Editor Marie Valentine discusses books with self-publishers in this series. Here she talks to Caroline Robinson, blogger and author of a ghost story who is navigating the publishing world on her own terms.
Book Editing Associates editors frequently work with self-published authors. Writers have myriad reasons as diverse as their books for self-publishing. Caroline Robinson self-published her first book and got to enjoy the satisfaction of “finishing” the book, which allows a writer to move on to the next work.
In Caroline’s book, House of Mourning, House of Mirth, Cortez, Rita, and Gem experience a tale of retribution as a result of incest and murder. The son and mother take care of each other, but they come from a long line of nasty people. Cortez falls for Gem (Genevieve) who seems to be a lovely girl out of his league. It includes a few ghosts as well.
How did you come to be a fiction writer?
I have always written something. I remember being in my closet in my bedroom, pretending it was my editorial office. I sent my two best friends out on stories. We drew pictures to illustrate the stories. I think it lasted for one day. Today I am overrun with my own journals.
What was the inspiration for HMHM?
My hometown. I grew up in a ship-building city, with enormous one-hundred-year-old and older mansions that I know are haunted. Thanks to the candy shop that posed as the Red Mill, where the chute was located that welcomed people to their watery graves.
Tell us a little about your self-publishing experience.
The reason I went with self-publishing was because I felt very intimidated by the huge publishing houses; that no one at a publishing house would take the time to read it. Also the fact that I have to concoct some kind of query letter in order to get someone to to read my manuscript … that is too much.
My son-in-law does recording for Audible, too.
Who are some of your favorite writers?
Jane Austen, The Brontes, Philip K. Dick (and everyone in between).
Describe your writing practice.
I get up in the morning and sit at the computer and type, for as long as I can. Or I try to figure out how a character can do ‘A’ and still do ‘B’. I talk it over with my family and then proceed. Actually when I am in the midst of a project, I am always thinking about the story arc and the characters. I also keep my audience in mind. I want to write an exciting story for everyone who takes time out of their life to read something I wrote.
Any new projects coming up?
Yes! I have almost completed my second book. And I have a third on which I have done preliminary sketching in outline.
How has blogging influenced your writing career?
The blog is a great way for me to vent my frustrations about having Parkinson’s Disease (and some other stuff too—as in the recent unpleasantness of the election). It has freed me from the conventional niceties I feel compelled to hold to in the world outside of my head. It is also a great way to be creative within the mechanics of writing by simply using fonts, underlining, italicizing, etc. to make a point.
I began the blog in April of 2013, during PD Awareness Month. I challenged myself to write a piece everyday for a month to complain that I hated this disease and wouldn’t someone find a cure soon so I can simply continue in nursing, which I had been doing for about ten years or so. I still am heartbroken that I had to quit doing the only thing I was good at and loved (and hated) so much! But I did write a piece every day for the month. I have tried to write one every day since then, but I am afraid I haven’t, mainly because I don’t think it gets read everyday.
I have been involved with the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) as an advocate for research. I have recently found a PD support group that I attend once a month. And I have a chance to get involved in the grant writing process by using my nursing skills and my understanding of the research process to assist researchers to receive grants by correctly writing a grant.
Also my husband, daughter, granddaughter and I were asked to do a video (with Michael J. Fox) on how to deal with a new diagnosis of PD. This was through Rush University in Chicago for the MJ Fox Foundation for PD research. It was a ton of fun.