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Posts Tagged ‘Carol Harrison’

JAN: Today, I’m pleased to feature friend and fellow writer, Carol Harrison on my interview blog. I’ve known Carol for many years, but sometimes it takes something like a question/answer platform to learn some of the details.

Carol Harrison

Carol, how long have you been writing and how did you come to it?

CAROL: I started writing again, other than journals and university essays, in 2008. My husband, Brian, had been encouraging me to write a book about our youngest daughter Amee who had a stroke at birth and was not expected to live. It took a number of years to listen to his requests.

JAN: Who are some of the people who most influenced your decision to write?

CAROL: The biggest influence to get me started writing again was my husband, and then Amee also began to beg me to write her story so others would understand. Since then some of the biggest influences have been other writers such as Jan Dick, Marcia Laycock and others I have met. They have shared insights and tips as well as encouragement. Now several of my grandchildren encourage me to continue to write and try new genres such as fiction and poetry.

JAN: Cool! What’s your preferred genre?

CAROL: My preferred is short non-fiction and memoir. I love to preserve and tell family and faith stories.

JAN: Why do you write?

CAROL: I write to encourage others that there is hope in the midst of tough times and that it is important to share our stories of faith with others.

JAN: That’s a great reason. How and where do you write? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

CAROL: I am usually a pantser, although I find I have had to do more plotting when I am working on my first fiction book. I write on the laptop most of the time but always have pen and notebook handy to jot ideas or journal.

JAN: Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?

CAROL: Since I write non-fiction, my inspiration is family stories and adventures. I tell my family they are all fair game for a story to write about or use as an illustration for a devotional or when I speak. I am inspired by things I see and experiences and how scripture has impacted me.

JAN: How do you research and how do you know you can trust your sources?

CAROL: The research I have done is mostly based on family stories or journal entries. When I wrote Amee’s Story, I had years of reports from doctors and other professionals that had worked with her. This made trusting them very easy. For family information, I try and check it with several family members and paperwork that surfaces. I also check the archives at the library for information on certain areas and times. I feel confident that it is as accurate as I need it to be if it all matches up.

JAN: Yes, we do our best. Tell me, what do you like most / least about writing?

CAROL: The thing I love the most about writing is the stories and getting the ideas jotted down to write about later. I even enjoy digging into the details to find out more information. Having the patience to edit multiple times is what I like the least.

JAN: What do you find are some of the best methods of promoting your work?

CAROL: Promoting my work is an ongoing battle for me. I should maybe say that the marketing of my work might be what I like the least. However, my book—and the anthologies that include stories I have written—sell best at speaking engagements. I am still exploring options of how to get them marketed beyond that and to let people know I am available to speak.

JAN: What are your favourite / most effective social media?

CAROL: The only social media I use on a regular basis is Facebook. I do have a website but it needs updating.

JAN: Yes, that’s probably something a lot of us need to do occasionally. How do you balance professional time with personal time?

CAROL: Balancing professional time and personal time takes a lot of work and changes as we enter the retirement season for my husband. I often struggle with setting aside time to write, edit and especially market.

JAN: What are you currently reading? Do you prefer digital or print?

CAROL: I still prefer to read an actual print book but I enjoy the ease of taking many books with me without adding to the weight by having a digital format when I travel. I have been reading through a number of books by authors I know. I have completed a few like Deserts, Dams and Dirt by Dr. Delwyn Fredlund, Mrs. B Has Cancer by Glynis Belec and Life on a Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers. I have a few more on my to-read pile that fit into this category. My daughter lent me The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn as a devotional style book I want to read.

JAN: Thanks for the reading ideas (as if I need more on my to-read pile!). What are some of your favourite things? What makes you unique?

CAROL: Some of my favourite things include reading, collecting things and storytelling. As a writer, I actually enjoy the public speaking more than the writing which is a unique quality about me.

JAN: What keeps you going in your writing career?

CAROL: One of the things that keeps me writing is hearing from readers that something I wrote has encouraged them, helped them or motivated them in some way. The encouragement and push from family to keep writing also helps me keep going. I do not want to disappoint them. But these encouragements help me remember that God has gifted me with the ability to tell stories, write and teach. I want to be faithful even when it is hard to balance the time or market or edit.

JAN: Thanks for that wonderful answer, Carol. Tell me more about how your faith is reflected in your writing.

CAROL: My faith is part of who I am and therefore permeates everything I do or write. It obviously comes out in a prominent manner when I write devotionals. Faith colours how I perceive life and that is reflected in any of my writing.

JAN: What are some things you learned from your own writing?

CAROL: I have learned some things on this writing journey. I found out I can do more than I expected. I can write more than one memoir, including an occasional poem or fiction story. I have met amazing people along the way who have shared parts of their journey, and for a person who loves to hear stories, this is a fabulous learning time. The most important thing I think I learned is that God has given me this ability and uses the words that I write and share with others.

JAN: What is your ultimate writing goal?

CAROL: I think my ultimate writing goal is to preserve the family stories by writing them down for my children and grandchildren. Some of them will be submitted for publication and that will be a wonderful bonus. I do not have a specific number of books or stories I want to write but I want to be faithful to stories God puts on my heart to share in whatever format those might take.

JAN: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

CAROL: My advice for beginning writers is threefold. First connect with other writers who are further along their writing journey and learn from them. Also, be open to feedback, critiques and edits so you can be continually learning. This will help you reach your fullest potential. Finally just keep writing and enjoy the process.

JAN: Thanks, Carol, for this refreshing visit and insight into who you are and what you write. I wish you all the best as you continue on your writing journey.

Readers, you can check Carol’s Facebook page for more insights.

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