Carol White, a Delray Beach resident, is an award-winning novelist, playwright and free-lance writer. Her essays, stories and columns have been published by The Sun Sentinel, Writers Journal, Insight for Playwrights, Working Writers, Woman’s World, The Florida Writer, and Senior Scene. She is a frequent fiction contributor to the East Hampton Star Newspaper.
She is a published poet and her plays have been produced and staged in over 20 theatres around the country, including two off-Broadway productions. She is an officer for the National League of American Pen Women. Her novels, “Hidden Choices” and IPPY 2013 Bronze Award Winner and an International Book Awards 2013 Finalist “From One Place to Another” are on sale at Amazon.com, etc., and at Delray Beach’s local Mystery Bookstore, “Murder on the Beach Bookstore.”
As the former Executive Producer for the Boca Raton Theatre Guild, Carol has worked in every facet of the theatre – from backstage dresser to producing full-scale musicals, and moderated a playwright critique workshop during that time. She has mentored high school and college students advising them on theatre production, and has given many young actors their start in community theatre. She recently won second and third place for full length plays in the Royal Palm Literary Awards sponsored by The Florida Writer, and her latest short story is a finalist in their 2013 contest.
Carol presents book talks and workshops in local libraries, women’s clubs, colleges and other venues. Workshops include jump-starting your creativity, memoir/essay writing, and short play writing. She has spoken at Murder on the Beach Bookstore several times.
What inspires you to write?
I began to write about 15 years ago after attending a 12-week workshop based on Julia Cameron’s book “The Artists’s Way.” Through the exercises in that book, I found out that I was a better writer than an artist, which had been my focus before the workshop.Since that time I’ve written many short stories, plays, and novels mostly based on a life experience, but sometimes it can just be from something someone said 20 years ago! The positive feedback I’ve received for my work gives me the incentive to continue writing. Most of my speaking engagements are brought about by word of mouth, and people enjoy my presentations.
Tell us about your writing process.
I don’t have a strict regime for writing…I wish I did. However, when I’m working on a project as I am now (my third novel) I will often work for 6-8 hours a day only stopping for coffee and a quick bite. It’s a great diet. I don’t use an outline although for my present project (a book of short stories plus a bonus novella) I used a series of index cards to keep straight my characters names, professions, where they live, etc. They’re lined up on my dining room table and I refer to the cards when I need to check the above. I’m going to use this system for my fourth book, a mystery with romance because different chapters are written with different points of view. Each card for that book will include name, age, profession, married or single, location, etc.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I actuallly talk for my characters, meaning I speak aloud as I type. Having spent ten years in community theatre, I’m able to develop the voices for my “cast” and if they are arguing, so am I. I become my characters and feel all their emotions. In “From One Place to Another” there is a big party planning scene in which I got up from my desk many times to race around the kitchen, like Dina does in the book, to make sure my timing was right. As the tension builds, I was typing about a million words a minute to make the scene as realistic as possible. Many reviews point out that this was their favorite part of the book.
What advice would you give other writers?
You have to do a lot of homework. There is so much research available to beginners, either on line or in the library or book stores. New writers can make use of free workshops, critique groups, and READ as much as you can in your genre. Start small with your writing – perhaps try your hand at an essay or short story. Submit a piece to your local paper or to a magazine…or to your college or high school publication. Facebook has many author pages that you can connect with and where you’ll pick up a lot of information.If you are at the point of publishing, please use a professional editor.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My first book, “Hidden Choices” was published by Xlibris, a very large print-on-demand publisher. They were quick to get the book done, and their technical editing was good although they didn’t guide me on margins, paragraph length, etc., and as a result, I asked them to reprint the book once I “fixed” it for a nominal fee. I used Trimark Press (a hybrid publisher) for “From One Place to Another” and had a marvelous editor, Penelope Love. Penelope also designed the front and back cover, and the interiors. Because Trimark is local (Deerfield Beach), I received a lot of personal attention.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
If you are in your twenties or thirties I would suggest trying to find an agent or a publisher who will accept unagented material (very difficult to find). If you’ve gotten 20-30 rejections, then you might consider self publishing. If you’re older, you may not want to spend a lot of time with queries. If you’re technically gifted (I am not) you have an advantage because social networking is so important these days with getting your work out. I do my best at it using Facebook and Twitter. I’m fortunate because as Letters Chair for the National League of American Pen Women, I set up 8-12 book events a year and along with other authors, have sold many books. I always mention that my books are available as e-books, which many people prefer. As for the future of publishing? There will always be print books, but e-books definitely have their share of the market.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Contemporary fiction, romance, mystery
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Both eBook and Print