“Interview and Amazing Facts about Teacher and Author, Carol Baldwin” by Joan Y. Edwards
Hello, Carol. Thank you for being a guest on my blog.
Thanks, Joan, for inviting me. Your questions are just like your blog—thorough to the max! I’ll endeavor to answer them in such a way that your readers and I will learn more about writing. To be honest, that’s how I learn best—through writing.
How sweet of you to say that about my blog! Let’s get started. Everyone’s been waiting to hear all about you.
Question #1: How did you do in English as a kid? Some of my best memories from elementary school were completing the SRA reading comprehension packets. Raise your hand if you can remember wanting to get to the end color? Was it turquoise? I don’t remember which color it was—but I do remember loving reading and doing well on these tests.
My parents encouraged both reading and writing. One of my first published articles was entitled “My Father’s Voice” (ByLine, April, 1994) which paid homage to my father sitting on the sofa with my brother and sister and I, reading fairy tales and Winnie the Pooh. From an early age my mother told me I had a “way with words.” Both of them blessed me with their belief in my abilities.
Grammar, on the other hand, was another matter. My German immigrant mother had better grammar than I did. That is why I was delighted to find this online grammar checker, called Grammarly. When my manuscript is ready—I’ll spin it through this tool and find my mistakes before sending it to an agent.
Question 2 How do you know when your manuscript is ready for submission? This is an important question. I’ve already gone through two major revisions of my work-in-progress and received feedback from fellow authors who I admire and trust. I have loved aspects of each draft and thought it was “the one” until one of my writing friends pointed out weak spots.
I’m fortunate to have author Rebecca Petruck in my corner. I connected with her two years ago at the regional SCBWI conference right after an editor recommended that I tell my story from two points of view. I was overwhelmed with the editor’s advice. Rebecca patted me on the back and said, “You can do it, Carol.”
Since then Rebecca has been invaluable as a sounding board and critiquer on both the big picture (“What really belongs in your plot?”) and little picture (“Is that how Lillie would talk to her employer?”)
I strongly encourage all new novelists to be in a critique group that gives honest feedback as well as enlist the help of a professional such as Rebecca. I wouldn’t be as far along in the process if I hadn’t had her help nudging me in the right direction.
When my close writing buddies, critique groups, and Rebecca, have no more issues with my manuscript—then I know I’ll be ready to submit. And not a moment earlier.
Question 3 When did you decide to become an author? I never made a conscious decision to be an author. But after I read Cynthia Voigt’s book, Dicey’s Song thirty years ago, I knew I wanted to write a book that could hopefully also deeply touch a young person.
Question 4 What are two of your favorite books? Cynthia Voigt’s book, Dicey’s Song and A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh.
Question 5 Do you do a lot of research? I research a lot (particularly because my WIP is historical fiction).
Question 6 Do you outline or do you write free style? I outline a lot because I’m a plotter. I also enjoy discovering new aspects of my characters and plot by just writing–within the context of the outline, of course!
Question 7 Have you ever cried when you were writing a book? I cried while writing Half-Truths, but some of those tear-jerking scenes have been deleted.
Question 8 What are you writing now? The best way to answer this question is to go to my blog and click on Half-Truths. That includes my pitch (which will change as soon as I figure out a better one) and my journey, including the multi-racial books I have read and reviewed.
Questions 9 Is there a question I haven’t asked that you’d like to answer? As my unasked question, I’d like to answer is: What do you when you’re not writing a manuscript?
My favorite 3 G’s are grandchildren, gardening, and golf.
I enjoy reading and listening to books.
Besides that, I co-publish a newsletter, Talking Story with Joyce Hostetter who I respect deeply; it is fun to collaborate with her
I also love teaching writing. Sometimes that means teaching a group of homeschool teens; I also taught several classes at Central Piedmont Community College.
Thank you for hosting me, Joan! I enjoyed musing about the writing life.
You’re very welcome, Carol. Thanks for doing a giveaway: Free First 250 word Critique – Details are below:
Bio: Carol Baldwin is a freelance writer in Charlotte, NC. Her book Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8 (Maupin House, 2008 – Capstone in 2019) is in its second edition. She has coordinated the local critique group for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators for over twenty years and is writing a young adult novel, which takes place in Charlotte in 1950. Besides speaking at library, writing, and reading conferences, she also gives a wide variety of writing workshops for both teens and adults. She also loves all things chocolate.
Giveaway is over. Winner was selected on January 9, 2014.