Last updated on May 9th, 2018
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.