It has been a while since I featured an author in the Author Spotlight series of author interviews. Today, it’s the turn of Caroline Walken.
I live on a small farm in Ohio with my husband, horses and dogs. My husband challenged me to write a short story after I had gone off on a rant about not being able to find a likeable female protagonist. What began as a hobby quickly developed into a full-fledged passion. Like many of you, I balance writing with working and other responsibilities and from time to time, the spinning plates fly!
Nevertheless, storytelling is its own reward and I plan to continue this for as long as I can. I write primarily romance but it is not the common boy meets girl happily ever after story. I prefer to promote the confident image for women to identify with when they read my books. A strong woman raised me with the expectation I would carry this message forward.
With an addiction to action movies, I cannot help but follow that track. My female characters possess strong hearts, iron wills and a talent for getting into trouble. My husband claims they seem very familiar to him.
Look for other novels from CAROLINE WALKEN as my imagination continues to run wild!
What book genre do you write?
I write romance/drama novels, I am a hopeless romantic believing that loving is one on the greatest gifts we have.
Why do you write?
This began as a bit of a fluke. I was frustrated when I was dissatisfied with the story line of one of my books. My husband told me I should write a story myself. To be honest, I thought I would have a tale that finished out in 1500 words and no more. However, once I started I couldn’t stop! I transcribed the notebook to our home computer and still, I had more to write! Moreover, I loved it! I loved creating that world that had only been in my mind. The most rewarding part however was the first time someone read it and loved the characters as I did. I knew I had to go on and continue to write; after all, I had a sequel in mind!
What are you currently working on?
My current WIP is inspired from my short career as an aid in a nursing home. It explores an undying love and questions if the bouts of dementia that keep the character locked in the past, could be something else. It also held a bit of a surprise when the main character’s family discovers her past as a burlesque dancer.
From where did you draw your inspiration to write your latest book?
My recent book Nowhere On The Map, explores the age-old question regarding nature v. nurturing. In the book, three characters all experience a life-altering event in childhood. In each the event affects the differently. In some, the event continues to victimize them, while in others they manage to be victorious over their past.
Which writers had the most influence on your decision to write?
I have always loved to read and my interest is far reaching. When I read a book about the history of The Dakota, an apartment building in New York, I fell in love with the building. However, I also have an early copy of Black Beauty, which I love to read from time to time. To answer the question there is really no one author, I simply love words!
What was the last book you read?
It was Patricia Cornwell, she was a favorite of my Dad’s. She has always been one of my favorites and a few months before he passed I introduced him to her writing. She has always has a special place in my heart!
Do you suffer from writers’ block?
I suffer the same issue as any writer. There are times when the story simply runs out of road. When that happens I simply, try to refocus on other writing exercises. Typically, I take a break in the summer, I like to show horses. Normally when I return I am ready to write. I relate writers block to insomnia, stressing about it will only make it worse.
Biggest frustration as a self-published author?
I believe the largest frustration I faced was not having anyone that could lead me through this. I could obtain snippets and small pieces of the puzzle but never the entire picture. I try to lend what I have learned to new writers or those first entering the publishing realm. I am certain I took the long path; hopefully what I have learned helps others shorten their journey.
Reviews for books are vital. Any tips on getting more reviews?
This is still a learning experience; I can only tell you what I have learned. Anyone who cannot post a review on Amazon, I encourage them to do so on FB, Twitter or Instagram. It is important to help people get to know you and your writing style.
Do you use social media? If so, do you like using it?
Initially I only used FB but that pool is very shallow. You have to have the confidence to reach out in new ways. I have a Goodreads page, a WordPress Website, Instagram and now thanks to my friend Stephen Bentley…I TWEET!
Now that I am operating on several platforms, I look at myself as a brand. I want to maintain an expected persona for those getting to know me. I will often post the same or similar post on every page. To do this I use apps like Crowdfire. I have enjoyed learning about promotion!
Who is your biggest fan?
Without a doubt, it is my husband. He unabashedly promotes my work although he seldom reads anything other than a paragraph! He simply has faith in my devotion to my writing. He was the first person to tell our friends about my writing. I love the fact he is my biggest fan!
Many people have a bucket list. What is #1 on yours?
Not to be a Debbie Downer but, I don’t keep a bucket list. I am a breast cancer survivor; through this experience, I learned time is precious but fleeting. Don’t get me wrong, I suffer doubt and weigh my options like everyone does. However if this is something I want or wish to experience I don’t hesitate. You shouldn’t either!
Any special message for your readers?
The greatest compliment that I received was for Nowhere On The Map when the character walks suffers a nightmare. The reader said she could feel the panic the young woman suffered. That is what writers’ yearn for, to share the world we have lived in for months and years. It is a joy to hear how much you have liked it. After all, we created this for you.
Thank you so much, Caroline and I am pleased I helped you find Twitter!
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