Wednesday, November 6, 2013


How early do you think Carmina gets up in the morning to write? You might be surprised.


How long have you been writing?

Ever since a small child, I have had a vivid imagination and always wanted to write. However, ridiculed for the slightest thing at home and too nervous to give more reason for ridicule, I kept my writing to only that of essays in my English classes at school. I would always write far too much for an essay but one in particular. The assignment had been a two page (four sides) essay. By the time I had completed it, it was 160 pages! An avid reader, I had to content myself with reading all the books I could get my hands on, though I dreamed of writing one day. It was actually only nine years ago, at the age of forty three, that I started my first book. After nearly a year, I felt it was ready and sent it to an agent. I hadn’t done my homework though and it was not the right agent for the genre of my book, it was quickly rejected! I felt too embarrassed afterwards to send it again and it has sat on my shelves and moved house ten times in the last eight years. I decided only less than a year ago, to write another draft. Since then, I have edited it a few times and started the sequel to my first book in the meantime. I am now, after a final edit, ready to submit my manuscript again.

Why did you decide to write?

My first book actually tells a story which my heart has been aching to share. The sequel and a third book, will complete the tale. With the issues I had as a child and which prevented me from writing no longer there, I am now able to press on and write. I can’t say more than that, it is all revealed in the first book.

What makes you keep going?

With my first book and the next two in particular, the conviction that my story should be shared, is the driving factor. My love for writing is what will keep me going with the other books, already in my head, after the first three!
What does your writing day look like?

Ouch…..I was afraid that you might ask that question! Well, with the best of intentions and the desire to write, you know, it never kind of pans out quite how I think it will! I have had some traumatic upheavals the past ten years, the effects of these, seriously compromising my writing time. With working too, my time is more limited so I really have to fit in my writing around everything else. A large notepad and pencils take up permanent residency in my hand bag and whenever I find I have a few minutes or longer, away from the house, I will use that time to jot down anything that springs to mind. So, whilst I am not sitting at my desk for six hours solid every day, my mind is working out detail and ideas as I go about my day’s work. When I am not working, the plan is always to get up in the morning about 3am. This is my favourite time to write and can write then for a good four hours. After a short break, I can continue for another four hours or so. I am a natural “night owl” though and it has been the self discipline to get to sleep at an earlier time, in order to be able to get up at 3am, that has been really hard to find. I usually end up writing whenever I can, no real established routine. On the occasions that I have been able to stick to my plan, that is when I found the writing and my focus, to be easiest.

What do you do to study the craft?

Apart from having read since the age of four, I have to admit, I have done nothing in the way of studying. I have never been able to make it to any writer’s clubs or such like so really, I have only my reading of various genres to learn from.

Do you have a goal when you’d like to be published? What is it?

Now that my first book is ready for a final checking over by another editor, my goal is for my book to be published within two years. This may be an unreasonable goal and will more than likely take much longer but two years, that’s what I am aiming for.

My preferred choice for publication, is via the traditional route.

With my first book and the two which will follow that one, the genre is non fiction. The books are in essence, autobiographical, though I have written the first (the other two will be in the same form), as a novel and written in the third person.

Why is The Inn of the Sixth Happiness your favorite book?

When I was ten years old, I read my favourite book ever. Her story brought me, at the age of ten, to God. Born into an atheist family, Gladys Aylward’s story not only brought me to God but also gave me the determination and confidence to pursue a life walking with God. My life changed dramatically after I had first seen the film of the book… “The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness.”
For my first three books, I have been able to draw on Gladys Aylward. The story was written from the heart and that is the only way that I can write mine. I am  not an academic, I do not know all the grammatical rules necessarily but I write from the heart and the story will hopefully be compelling enough to move others and to see the aim of my books. (I cannot divulge that aim just at this point).

What would you tell a writer like yourself, struggling to get published?

I am really only beginning on the long road of publication myself. I don’t know exactly what advice I could offer at this present time. However, I do know that it can be a long and maybe lonely road, filled with frustration. The obvious pitfalls for me will be believing that after the several, inevitable rejections, my confidence will go out the window, and the belief that my books are rubbish will almost convince me to stop.
But I do not intend to stop, even if it means sending my manuscript to each and every literary agent there is, one by one! I think that we, as writers, have to have the courage of our convictions and believe in our own writing otherwise, who else will? “Never give up,” is what I would say to any author hoping to get their manuscripts published.


Thank you,


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