FRIDAY AUTHOR FOCUS: Coffee & Conversation with Carol Larese Millward!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Today we’re starting a new feature, Coffee & Conversations, starting with the lovely Carol Larese Millward, author of STAR IN THE MIDDLE

and our April ABC presenter!  My intentions were to post her interview before her event, but SOMEBODY took her sweet ole’ time coming up with the questions.  (Yes, I’m looking at you, Laura Bowers!)  But they are now done, and there’s a fabulous line-up of author interviews coming your way!

So let’s start this week’s C & C with Carol, who is getting cozy in our cyberspace chair with her favorite coffeehouse beverage, black tea with sugar…

and carrot cake!

Nice.  🙂  

Okay, first question, Carol.  When did you decide to be a writer?

Writing was definitely a survival tool for me when I was a child. I was really shy and used writing as a way to process things – as well as express myself. Both my love of working with children and my admiration for writers and their work inspired me to write for children and young adults. I took a creative writing course when I was in my twenties, and was completely hooked.

How long did your path to publication take, and what were your biggest hurdles?

In high school I wrote a story about twin teen girls. The manuscript was entitled Lorrie verses Lindy. I think I had just completed the third full notebook when one of many friends who had been reading and circulating the notebooks lost them! I don’t remember much about the story, but I do remember how much I loved writing it.

I graduated from high school over forty years ago, so that’s how long I’ve been writing!  I’ve had an essay and some poetry published over the years, but Star in the Middle was my first published book. 

I think my biggest hurdle was not taking the time to understand how to polish, present and market my work. It is still a learning process for me.

Seeing how hindsight is 20/20, what advice for beginners do you wish you would have followed?

Wow, good question—and there are so many things I wish I had done. First, the SCBWI is a wonderful organization, so I’d advise any serious writer to take advantage of all they have to offer. I signed up for a manuscript critique at a SCBWI conference, and the author I met that day passed along information about the publisher who published my book! Too often over the years I didn’t make enough time to attend conferences.

Second, I wish I had taken more writing courses. I find that just being in a learning environment with other writers is not only inspirational but motivational as well. There’s so much to learn, and I feel like I’m always playing “catch up”!

Third, believe in yourself and work hard to make it happen.

Where’s your favorite place to work? 

My office space is in a corner of our basement family room. I work there only because it’s where my computer is located. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I will return to the screened porch with my laptop!

Okay, tell us the truth.  If the paparazzi were taking pictures of odd things authors do while writing, what would be in yours, hmm? 

The paparazzi would likely find my cat, J Bird, amusing. He’s absolutely wild and can’t be trusted on my desk, but when I try to scoot him away, he hides behind the computer screen (all twenty pounds of him). Sometimes he forgets he’s hiding and this paw will reach around and swat me!

Awesome, an extra slice of carrot cake to Carol for sending pictures!  Now, how were you inspired to write your current or upcoming release?

Although writing a book about teen parents was never on my radar as a writer, I believe it was the book I was supposed to write. The young families I worked with through Maryland Family Support Centers, and my desire to support teen pregnancy prevention programs compelled me to write Star in the Middle. I truly wanted teens to understand what kind of an impact an unplanned pregnancy can have on young lives.

I want to continue to explore issues facing young adults through my fictional characters.

What is your favorite line from this book?

 The opening sentence in Star in the Middle, “Grandma was really mad about the baby.”

Teen readers so often quote that line to me. I think it speaks volumes about how not only teen parents but other family members as well are impacted by children having children.

Are there any other genres that you’d like to tackle some day?

I have several picture book manuscripts that I would love to find homes for with publishers! I am revising one YA manuscript and working to complete another. So, I guess that I would really like to tackle a middle grade manuscript in the future.

What’s next on your agenda, any juicy projects you’d like to tell us about?

My two YA manuscripts! I’m revising THE WINGED MOON, and working to complete CHANGING COLORS.  My POV in Changing Colors is Carrington Moore. Carrie moves to a new town right before starting her senior year of high school. The move was necessitated by her father’s affair with someone that Carrie trusted—and she not only feels betrayed by her father but also feels like she betrayed her mother by bringing this person into her father’s life.

Carrie leaves her boyfriend, her friends, soccer teammates and school behind. As she tries to carve out a place for herself in her new surroundings, she finds it difficult to trust again, especially when it comes to trusting herself.

Okay, Carol, time for the lightning round—no more than four words per answer!

Do you . . .

Outline or wing it?   Wing it!

Talk about works-in-progress, or keep it zipped?   Talk about!

Sell by proposal or completed draft?   Completed draft, (Star!)

Prefer writing rough drafts or editing?   Writing drafts.

Dread marketing/blogging or love it?   Love marketing/Learning to blog!

Read Kindle or traditional books?    Traditional!

And finally, what’s your favorite:

Time to work?  When my characters cooperate! It’s amazing how driven I am by my characters and their voices. Early morning hours are good for writing – and evening hours are better for revising.

Music to listen to while writing?   Music doesn’t work for me…

Writing tool?   Voices in my head…

Pair of shoes?   Ever? My silver, sparkly heels!

Guiltiest pleasure?   Moscato

(I posted this for those who, like me, didn’t know what moscato is! :))

Line from a movie?  “I see dead people.” The Sixth Sense

Thanks so much, Carol, for doing our first interview, and we wish you the best of luck with THE WINGED MOON and CHANGING COLORS!  They sound fabulous. 🙂

And coming up next week is Pam Smallcomb, another 2011 ABC presenter who has another picture book coming out next week, EARTH TO CLUNK, woo-HOO!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and happy writing!

Laura Bowers

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About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two college boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She clearly likes run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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8 Responses to FRIDAY AUTHOR FOCUS: Coffee & Conversation with Carol Larese Millward!

  1. Wonderful interview. Lots of fun, loved the pictures. A great way to end a Friday afternoon.

    • Dottie Michael says:

      Loved STAR IN THE MIDDLE and this interview. Met Carol at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine last month. Could tell instantly that she really cares about all the “STARS” in the world. Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of them (and the rest of us too)! Waiting for your next book, Carol. Keep up the good work.

  2. Laura–

    You’re a terrific interviewer. Thanks so much for introducing such a delightful writer.

    Teresa

  3. ediehemingway says:

    I love this interview format! Thank you to both Carol and Laura.

  4. This was sure fun to read… and worth waiting for! The photos are a nice touch. I am looking forward to reading Star In The Middle and to the next interview.

  5. What a great interview! I just bought Carol’s book and can’t wait to read it. She’s a super nice person, too! Looking forward to reading Pam’s interview next week.
    :>)
    Lois

  6. Thanks so much for having me over, Laura. It was great fun! And thanks to all for the comments and support!

  7. Pingback: Writing Advice for Beginners: Coffee and Conversation Flashback Friday Round One | As the Eraser Burns

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