Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s start the new year out right by discovering a new author. Meet Carol Balawyder, author of women’s contemporary fiction, crime fiction, and short stories. Now, guys, don’t run off now! Carol’s insights and advice are gender neutral and universal.
Carol Balawyder: was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, but currently resides in Montreal. During her college years, she left home to study Early Childhood Education at McGill, but found out, after spending time in the classroom, that teaching kindergarten wasn’t what she wanted to do with her life. So she went on to get a B.A. in Education so she could teach high school. As many of us discover going into the field (myself included), teaching high school wasn’t an inspiring job. Then she got a job teaching English as a second language; a position far more rewarding.
Fast forward. She went back to university and earned a degree in criminology and then went on to teach Police Technology and Corrections for eighteen years in a college in the north end of Montreal. In the meantime, her own divorce inspired her to write about dating.
And now, years later (and too many dates to keep track of) Carol has a collection of dating stories and a novel. But this is only the beginning . . .
Her writing: Carol is probably best known for her women’s contemporary fiction, which shed light and humor on the frustrations of dating and trying to find a suitable man. Her stories are also about finding self-fulfillment and hope. Check out Getting to Mr. Right or Missi’s Dating Adventures.
She’s also in the process of writing two crime novels: A Simple Act of Love and Cora’s Cry For Help.
She’s also written a memoir on grief, Mourning Has Broken.
On with the interview!
Lit Chic: Tell me about your novel, Getting to Mr. Right. What was the inspiration behind it?
Carol Balawyder: The novel began as a series of posts on a blog called Brenda’s Disastrous Dates. It was based on my, as well as my girlfriends’, own disastrous dates. As time went on, this morphed into more characters and I integrated into the book my experience working as a facilitator for women going through divorce. The disastrous dates part of the book became Missi’s Dating Adventures while Getting to Mr. Right goes beyond dating and deals with more serious issues such as the pain of abandonment and its heartbreaking effects on a woman’s adults relationships with men.
Lit Chic: Your book explores the father/daughter relationship and how the myth of prince charming impacts women growing up. Can you tell me more about your research and the impact this is having on your readers?
Carol Balawyder: I did a lot of scholarly research on the subject. I drew my research from Monique Robinson’s Longing for Daddy, Beth M. Erikson’s Longing for Dad: Father loss and its Impact, Susan Anderson’s The Journey from Abandonment to Healing among many other books, journals and articles on the absent father and its traumatic effect on women’s adult relationships with men. It became clear to me that an absent father (whether physically or emotionally) had profound impact on a woman’s sense of self. Through the four women in my novel I explore this theme. Although each women has different issues regarding the absent father, (fear of commitment, overachieving, addiction, neediness or eating disorders…) they all have in common difficulties in their relationship with men. As for what impact this has on my readers I can only hope that if they too have been wounded by the agony of abandonment they will find comfort, hope and the courage to become whole again.
Lit Chic: You write crime novels and women’s fiction. Which is your favorite genre?
Carol Balawyder: Right now I prefer women’s contemporary fiction. I find myself pulling away from crime and violence although I just finished reading Lisa Scottoline’s Keep Quiet. She’s known as a mystery writer but this book, although it has a crime in it, dwells more on the effect the crime has on the perpetrator and is more involved in family dynamics. Also, I have two crime novels in the works which I think, after putting so much effort into, would be a shame not to finish. Anyway, who knows what the future holds. I try to go with the flow rather than against the current.
Lit Chic: What inspired you to become a writer?
Carol Balawyder: I’ve always loved to read. As a child my brother would tease me because I’d always ask for a book either for Christmas or my birthday and at the end of the school year I could hardly wait for my stack of Scholastic books to arrive. So, I suppose the next step to reading so much was trying to write.
Lit Chic: Please describe your writing process:
Carol Balawyder: I always begin my writing process in bed with a cup of tea and reading something that will inspire me for what I am currently working on. (OMG! I do that too!) These days I am trying to finish my crime novel Cora’s Cry for Help and have been reading Graham Green’s The End of The Affair as literary inspiration. He is a brilliant writer. I then go to my desk where I work on my writing, trying not to be tempted to answer my e-mails or go on my blog. I usually work until 11or so and then I’ll get back to my desk around 4 where I’ll work mostly on marketing and blogging.
Lit Chic: What is your opinion of the editing process? How important is it in the writing process?
Carol Balawyder: First off I hate editing. (LOL! Who doesn’t) I find it boring and tedious. If I was able to, I would hire both a full time editor and a secretary. How cool would that be! Instead, I try to do as much editing on my own before I send it off to be professionally edited. Both content and copy editing is extremely important. As indie writers we must wear many hats, some which we are more comfortable and skilled at than others. I tend to focus mostly on the story. If the story grabs my attention then I am quite forgiving regarding the copy errors that may appear here and there throughout the book.
Lit Chic: What are your current projects?
Carol Balawyder: Gruesomely editing a crime novel that I’ve been working on for the past year and a half. I also have ideas for another novel although it is only at the germination stage as is a novella I’m thinking of writing from a dog’s perspective.
Lit Chic: What is one thing you can’t live without?
Carol Balawyder: My dog, Mr. Baudelaire –Bau for short. He is my first dog and I’ve only had him for five months but I never thought I could love a dog as much as I love him.
Lit Chic: What is the craziest, most random thing you’ve ever done?
Carol Balawyder: Worked my way to Europe on a Norwegian cargo ship. I was in my early twenties at the time and got into Rotterdam not knowing where I would stay or for how long. I was playing everything by ear. I ended up spending the summer in London where I stayed in Bloomsbury and found myself doing research in the British Museum Library.
Lit Chic: Besides writing, what are your passions in life?
Carol Balawyder: My dog. I love going for walks with him and teaching him tricks. I adore when he cuddles up to me. I am. Of course passionate about reading great books and discovering new writers.
Lit Chic: What is your best advice for writers staring out?
Carol Balawyder: I think that it’s important to be on social media and to build a community because writing can be a very lonely career, especially at the beginning. Also, I really believe that you have to write what’s in your heart and what you believe and what nobody else but you can write.
And that concludes the interview. Don’t forget to stop by Carol’s website and blog wherein she writes about justice, mid-life dating, grief, and shares blogs that inspire her both as a writer and a person.
Thanks again for stopping by. Come back and visit me next month to find out who the next featured author will be!
Could it be you? If you are interested in being featured on Lit Chic, or if you know someone who should be, please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on twitter @kbbetzner. There are still a few openings left in 2015!