Thursday, August 12, 2010

Author Interview: Carolyn G. Hart

I recently had the distinct pleasure of interviewing one of our generation's greatest mystery writers. She has received multiple awards including the Agatha Award, the Anthony Award and the Macavity Award and has been invited to speak at the Library of Congress. Yet with over 45 published books under her belt, Carolyn G. Hart happens to be one of the nicest writers I've ever run across.

Ghost in Trouble: A MysteryIn fact, about a week after interviewing her I was pleased to find a package from her in my mail box that included one of my all time favorite books 'A Dangerous Summer.'

Carolyn has been writing novels for nearly fifty years now and admitted to me during our interview that she "always struggle[s]. I cannot outline, so I have to write in faith that if I keep looking I will find the story. Every book is hard."

I loved this interview. It was a real treat being able to pick the brain of the author who so strongly impacted my love of the written word.

Here are some more highlights from our correspondence:

What is your favorite quote?
Carolyn: From a hymn: "Work for the night is coming when man shall work no more."

Growing up as you did, during WW2, I’’m sure you were able to see first hand the power and influence words have upon a society at large, as well as on the smaller scales of community and family. I read in one article that this had a great affect on your education path. As a comparison, do you feel that our lives today are more or less influenced by the written word than they were in the ‘‘40’’s?
Carolyn: I think we continue to be influenced by the written word though the medium of delivery - ebooks and the iPad - changes every day. However, there is also great impact from movies, films, TV and the Internet.

Did music play as much of a role during WW2 as words?
Carolyn: Music was very important during WWII. Music spoke of parting, danger, sadness, love of country.

Does music play a role in your writing process?
Carolyn: Occasionally. A particular scene will bring to mind a certain song. This is especially true in the ghost books because Bailey Ruth lived in the 20th century.

What types of music do you prefer?
Carolyn: Latin music. Rock and roll. Cole Porter.

Have you ever had a book remind you of a song?  
Carolyn: A certain passage in Ghost in Trouble (out this fall) brought to mind Clair de Lune.

Is there anything that you would like to add or that you feel I didn’t touch enough upon?
Carolyn: I am very grateful to the wonderful readers who share their lives with me by reading my books. They have made it possible for me to be a writer and that has brought me great happiness.

Author: Carolyn G. Hart
Books: Death on Demand, Ghost in Trouble, Dangerous Summer
Music: Cole Porter, Claire de Lune


Jaleh D said...

How wonderful that you were able to interview someone who influenced you. Reassuring to know that despite the number of books she's written, they are still hard to write. That you can be successful despite doing something that doesn't come easily. Some of my friends write loads of wonderful stuff, while I peck at my keyboard trying to figure out the words to capture the ideas floating in my head. I am reasonably good at sewing, enough that I could make a living from it, but though writing is so tedious, I don't think I could make much of a living from it with as long as it takes to express myself, I'd rather do it anyway.

Jennifer said...

There is something about writing that is rather compulsive, isn't there? I write because I just do - whether I put the words on paper or not, they are running through my head. I am a writer because I can't help but be a writer. :)

Cannwin said...

You know, the actress Emma Thompson writes screenplays and I remember watching an interview with her where she described how incredibly hard it is for her to write. She says it's about a 4 year turnover from beginning to end and yet she continues to do it! I find that comforting.

Cari Hislop said...

I don't think I've ever read this author...I'll have to look her up. I know what excellent taste you have!!! :)

I don't think it matters how long it takes to write something as long as you enjoy the process and the end result feels whole and complete.
Several of my books have taken four years, which some might think excessive for my genre, but each story deserves to be right. I think of my stories as already written in some other dimension...I the writer have to possess my characters in this other world to learn what happens. When I think I know what happens and try to write without the character's help, I end up using the delete key.

For anyone struggling with their creativity I recommend The Artist Way. It's a 12 week self-help course that helped me (saved my sanity). The author, Julia Cameron, was totally inspired. She's a writer, so she focuses on writers, but it can help anyone be more creative.


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