Monday 29 April 2013

Writer - Caroline Carruthers

I'd like to welcome you to my interview with writer, Caroline Carruthers.  Enjoy.

Caroline Carruthers

Hello Caroline, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm Caroline Carruthers, from Melbourne, Australia.
How long have you been writing?
All my life but seriously for about 15 years.
What first got you interested in writing?
I don’t know, reading?
That's a good enough reason as any!  Do you attend a writing group?
I attend Boroondara Writers’ Group, and started going about 10 years ago.
Why do you attend a writing group?
Sharing, feedback, mutual support and help.
What is the most valuable thing you have taken away from your writing group?
Friendship and new insights into my own work in equal measure. 
What genre(s) do you write? 
Fiction, historical fiction, essays, humour, memoir
Are there any genres that you don’t enjoy writing?  Why?
Horror, because I don’t enjoy it myself. 
Have you ever had anything published? 
Short stories, memoir, poetry, non-fiction. In magazines and collections.
Have you sent your writing to agents/publishers?  Have you received any rejections?
Yes. Yes. 
Would you consider self-publishing/e-publishing? 
Yes. Because writing should be read. If the only available book was on a Kindle I’d read it but I prefer paper.
Who/what influences your writing?  Where do you get your inspiration from?
My life experience, things I read or see, anything.
How do you come up with your characters’ names and personalities?
The characters personalities come out of the story, choosing their names is an art form of its own, a very important one. If you get the names wrong they don’t live.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
To write.
What advice could you give to a new writer?
Get into the habit of writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, you are not a writer until you actually write.
Do you have a writing routine?
I’d love a routine but all I have is I write whenever the deadline is looming. No specially creative time.
Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
Longer fiction I have a plan though it usually evolves away from my plan.  Short fiction I usually begin with a setting  or an incident and see where it takes me.
Do you have an editing process?  Do you have someone else read over your work?  Do you read your work aloud to yourself in front of the mirror?
I reread as I go partly to make sure I am in the right voice when I begin the new material. I usually get a fresh eye to look at my work. Nowadays a closed group of readers on Facebook is a good way to go.

Reading your work aloud is the best way to see for yourself what is working and what isn’t. 
Have you ever attended an open mic night for spoken word performers, and either an observer or a performer?
Yes. I enjoy reading aloud.
Have you ever entered any writing competitions?  Have you ever won?
Yes. No.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
Writing can be cathartic and therefore useful even if only done for oneself, but I think that like creative activities generally you need a creator and a receiver for the creation to truly exist.
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
Finding the exact words to express something.
Finding the exact words to express something.
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
Cinema, theatre, providing family stay opportunities for foreign students.
I am a professional artist.
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. 
What types of things do you read?  Do you think your writing reflects your book tastes?
Science fiction, fantasy, detective fiction, mainstream novels, biographies, essays, critiques. I’d read almost anything provided it was well written and had some substance.
Do you have any favourite lines from novels/plays/poetry/songs, or any favourite literary quotes?

What are you working on at the moment?
Historical novel.
Do you have a website/blog/twitter/facebook dedicated to your writing?  
No, no time to maintain one. 
They can be quite time consuming!  Would you be able to provide a short piece of your work? 
Extract from ‘Appearances’ – short story in progress
[Jean and Belle have attended an artists’s talk at a gallery given by someone they used to know.]

‘Are you free tomorrow?’ Belle asked as they got back into the car. ‘Even if you don’t want to come I’ll need a lift.’
‘What is it?’
‘He invited us to a private viewing of his new retrospective at the McClelland Gallery. Say you’ll come?’
Jean did not know how she felt. She was always eager to be in the presence of his work, to experience it. It challenged her and provoked her as the artist himself had done. In his classes she had created work far above her usual standard in painting and sculpture. Through some artistic alchemy he had opened her up to possibilities until she had found her vision, her way to be an artist. A very seductive brew, self awareness, it had set her on a satisfying and fulfilling path. She had learned how to let go of the constraints she had placed on herself, how to become self-centred in order to create. It wasn’t till much later that she understood the pitfalls of this way of life.
When Allan had first accepted that he was sick he had become selfish as the terminally ill often need to be. The loss of his quiet support had left Jean floundering. She had not admitted to herself before how much she had relied on it, on him. She had taken so much for granted.  He was passionate about his work, she was passionate about hers. A difficult childhood had left him undemonstrative and undemanding, independent – things that had appealed to Jean when they met, when she was in emotional freefall. It had taken her till now to recognise the importance of dependability. It was like gravity, such a weak force compared to anger, lust or even compassion, yet in the end holding everything in its all-pervading web.
© Caroline Carruthers
Thank you Caroline. 

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