Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10 Questions with Literary Fiction Novelist Christina Carson (@CarsonCanada)

This Author Spotlight
novelist Christina Carson.

Christina's work defies common genre classification. She describes her work as thought-provoking commercial fiction, sometimes called Book Club fiction, upscale fiction, or literary commercial fiction.

Christina is the author of DYING TO KNOW and SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN

Christina lives in Huntsville, Alabama with her husband, novelist Bert Carson. Stay tuned for a forthcoming Author Spotlight with Bert!

1.How did you get into writing?

Caution:  Being the queen of the long answer to the short question, I will do my best to resist that temptation.

Been doing it [writing] forever – everything from poetry to writing correspondence courses (Alberta gov’t.) to contributing editor of a Canadian investment magazine (stockbroker days – ugh, I just shivered) to an e-zine Bert and I published for about 6 years entitled “The Daily Inspiration,” which we eventually published as a monthly pocket book until it ate us out of house and home, literally. Then I started into fiction.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?

Best: It’s solitary, quiet and deeply centering. Plus talented writing thrills me. And since one has to read to write, I have a very decent excuse to access that thrill. Least: It’s tough to earn one’s living through it, and all this social networking we need to promote our work is like my worst nightmare. However, I wasn’t nicknamed “Bulldog” without good reason.

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

Outlines – ugh, couldn’t bear them. Schedules and goals – not my strong point. But hell, I love it, so how hard is it to do what you love. As haphazard as I am, I get it done. Besides, I think books, like wine, need to mellow. This speed to get books out doesn’t appear to be offering the best of products. The one I just published, DYING TO KNOW, I worked on for 3 years. Besides, it’s fun when I go slower: I learn a lot.

4.  Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

I love my husband’s books. They bring to life in the story and particularly through the characters what I see daily in him – an honest, unpretentious yet deeply engaged way to live. I am a Linda Hogan fan, John Steinbeck, Margaret Laurence, and Anne Proulx. I like substance in a book as well as excellent delivery.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

I’m no grammatical wonder but I believe it’s inside.

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford comma?

If I have to stand right next to it, I take a firm stance as that little beggar sometimes tries to trip you. If it’s off a distance, I drop back to an at-ease position. …and I leave the last one out even though the proofreaders put it back in.

7. What is your book Dying to Know about and how did it come to fruition?

Summary: Why do some people with a life-threatening illness miraculously heal? Callie Morrow wants to know. Unwilling to undergo traditional medical treatment for cancer, she bets her life on finding another way. Within her eclectic group of friends, three come to her aid and point to possibilities: Dr. Josie Walker, a disenchanted internist; Mary Chang, a restaurateur and longtime student of Taoism; and Joe Kuptana, a world-class Intuit artist. Ancient philosophies mingle with new world science to create a unique vision around health, healing and well-being, one that a struggling, frightened yet determined Callie engages in her attempt to save her life.

The story came about when I too had to save myself.

8. What is your current writing project?

My current project is a novel entitled ACCIDENTS OF BIRTH. It relates the stories of two women, Imogene Ware and Katie Gayle Sutton. The protagonist, Miss Imogene, is an illiterate black housekeeper from a post-Civil War slave community south of the small rural town of Ellensburg, Mississippi where Katie lives. Miss Imogene’s mother, on her death bed, bequeaths to her daughter a legacy the Ware females have accepted for generations. Simply put, Miss Imogene is to love the world. The world into which she is placed to do this is as maid and nanny for the Sutton family through the 50s to modern times. Having giving her word to her mother, she must strive to be a living testament to love, through the horrors of the Sutton household, racism, poverty and the Vietnam War that claims her eldest son.

Katie Gayle Sutton is one of four very talented sisters, three of whom sing while Katie dances out of the womb, as Miss Imogene tells it. Destined to become a renowned ballerina, she is rejected by her fundamental Baptist mother and plagued by a sexually abusive father in a family rife with cruelty and narrow-mindedness. Thinking she has finally escaped with a scholarship to The Julliard School, her past catches up with her with a tragic result.

The two friends struggle with and for each other, as they work through their lives under the shadow of where they were born and who they were born to, in the turbulence and transitions of the last half of the twentieth century.

A quote from Miss Imogene referring to Katie’s abuse: “When you come from a long line of suffering, there be no way to kid youself bout its poison, how it get in the veins of families an from generation to generation be passed on like some dreadful disease. I think white folk oftimes can kid theyselves into thinking that such an act begin an end in juss one place. Or maybe they just be so fraid of what all that mean they can convince theyselves someun be true when they know deep down it ain’t. But when you come from a people who have suffered for generations, such lying to youself juss make things worse. For that poison can reach a point where there be no way to undo it, an then people die; even if they don be a lying down in they graves, they be dead to life, an love, beauty, an God. Yes, surely, they be dead.”

9. What books are you currently reading?

I just finished H.G. Well’s The Research Magnificent (Free!). I’m now reading God’s Secretaries by Adam Nicholson and Mystical Qabalah by Dion Fortune. I have difficulty finding contemporary fiction that interests me. And always, I am re-reading the Carlos Castaneda books and R.L. Wing’s translation of the Tao Te Ching, The Tao of Power.

10. What inspires your writing?

I am rather ignorant when it comes to fiction writers. For 40 years, I read almost exclusively non-fiction. I was in constant study to understand the nature of human existence, what I, in more recent times, have come to call Human Cosmology. So I have not been inspired by fellow fiction writers to much of an extent due to my lack of exposure to them. If any has helped me, it was Nevil Shute as he let me see how simple stories without pounding plots could still hold someone spellbound and engage their sympathies. He inspires simply by telling the truth.

So to answer your question, my life inspires my work for that’s about all I’ve got. But I have lived a very eclectic existence and finally can use all that diversity, that difficulty, that fear, that love, those crazy circumstances and the amazing people I met on the way, to tell my own stories about the mysteries of being human.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

Both SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN and DYING TO KNOW are available on Amazon Kindle books: http://tinyurl.com/83fd9fp

Thank you, Christina.

Be sure to purchase a copy of Christina's books on Amazon.

And follow Christina on Twitter: @CarsonCanada

If you're a writer/author/novelist and would like to be featured in an upcoming Author Spotlight, please contact me at AuthorRyanSchneider@gmail.com.

1 comment:

  1. I've read all of her books and can honestly say, she's the very best. I guarantee it.