Pen Friends ~ We are pleased to welcome Young Adult author, Caroline George to talk about her upcoming book, her writing journey, and her writing advice with SP readers and writers!
SP: Welcome Caroline! Can you start out by telling us a bit of who you are and when you started writing?
Overview: I’m the author of “The Prime Way Trilogy” and “The Vestige.” I write for “Pursue Magazine,” lead startup company Local Publishing and work as a part-time publicist for recording artist Autrey. When I’m not attached to my laptop, I’m attending college classes at Belmont University, meeting with friends at Nashville coffeehouses or serving with ministry My Local. All that said, I’m a productivity junkie who believes in making the most of time and living life to the fullest.
Stories have been my passion since I was a toddler. Before I could hold a pencil, I told my mom stories, she’d write them down and let me illustrate the pages. In middle school, I started writing with fervor and made it a goal to be published by my sixteenth birthday.
Writing began as a therapeutic escape from my preteen troubles but morphed into a vision fueled by calling, determination and stubbornness.
SP: Essential info next. Tea or Coffee? And one fact about yourself that we wouldn’t know by looking at you?
Coffee. Always. I’m convinced it’s a food group. Whenever I go out to eat, I usually end up at a coffeehouse.
Fun Fact: Unlike most authors, I’m a total extrovert. I love public speaking, meeting new people and stepping out of my comfort zone.
SP: So, let’s talk about your new book, THE VESTIGE. How did this idea come about?
I was sitting in Starbucks when I realized my life was pretty. The people around me sipping their lattes were pretty. The shopping mall across the highway was filled with pretty things. But when I checked my news feed and saw disturbing headlines, I concluded that my life is nothing more than an illusion: The world isn’t a pretty place, yet it is unbelievably easy for people to go throughout their day without noticing the dirt.
“The Vestige” was born from the questions: What if the end of the world has already occurred? What if our final demise happened slowly, secretly . . . and we’ve been oblivious to it all?
If we live in a pretty bubble of shopping malls and Starbucks, could we miss the truth because we’re too comfortable to see it?
“The Vestige” is a book close to my heart. It began as a mashup of several story ideas but transformed into a call to action, a call to awareness.
SP: Evernight Teen Publishing – How has your experience been with them?
The Evernight Teen staff have been professional, fast and kind. They’ve supported my over-the-top marketing plan and worked to provide the materials needed for a successful release.
SP: Awesome to hear. We are very impressed that you started writing and publishing at such a young age! Can you share your secrets on writing habits, editing and publishing with our teen and adults writers?
Successful writing, in my opinion, is the product of a tenacious attitude and purpose-driven mindset. Habits can help provide the atmosphere needed to write, but they can’t keep someone writing.
1. Write with purpose. If you don’t believe in your work’s message, you won’t be an effective writer and will most likely give up when the process gets tough. However, if you’re certain your words will make a difference, you’ll write with urgency and will remain steadfast in the trials.
2. Write with an audience in mind. Answer the questions: Why am I writing? For who am I writing? What do I want readers to gain from my work?
3. Write to write, not to publish. If your main goal is to get your words on paper, you’ll be satisfied whether or not your work is published.
My habits include a certain layout—coffee mug on the right-hand side of my computer, notebook on the left-hand side, mood-setting music and public environment. I do my best work in coffeehouses or at my dining room table.
Author Isaac Marion said it best: “No, writers don’t write in coffee shops so people will see us writing. What kind of loser would do that? It’s because we’re incredibly lonely.”
Editing and publishing tips:
1. Know the publishing industry. Do your research.
2. Hire an editor or recruit someone with knowledge of current market trends to review your work. Don’t exclusively rely on friends and family to edit your writing.
3. Make sure everything you publish is high quality.
4. Treat your writing as a business.
5. Look for innovative ways to market yourself.
6. Get on social media and build your platform!
SP: Great advice. So, how was your road to finding an agent? Any advice on querying?
There are many ways to find and land an agent. I first went to New York City and pitched to agents at a writing conference. I queried hundreds of literary agencies but ended up signing with the agent of an author friend. She recommended my work to him, he read my proposal and signed me a few days later.
My advice: Do research, write a professional query and send it to agents who represent your genre. But also make connections. Relationships with professionals in the publishing industry will help you more than career opportunities. If you value people and their time, they will value you and your work.
SP: Ok, you are into surfing. Give us the story. How did you learn and what is your favorite surfing story?
A few years ago, my friend invited me to Florida to celebrate her birthday. Surfing was on her bucket list. We went to Daytona Beach as a hurricane swirled in the Atlantic, rented pink soft-tops and surf shirts, and followed our teenage instructor to the beach.
Waves pelted the shore in roaring surges. They towered over my head and smacked me down the moment I stepped foot in the water.
“This seems like a bad idea,” I said as the surfing instructor led my friend and me into the foamy deathtrap.
What most people would consider a dumb decision ended up being one of my favorite memories. I learned to surf before the storm hit. I wiped out, bruised myself on the ocean floor and got slapped several times by my own board. It hurt, but I loved every moment of it.
Surfing is an experience that can’t be effectively described. I often tell people when I first stand on the beach and gaze out at the sea, I’m foreign—I don’t belong in the water. However, when a wave catches me, I melt into it, become a part of the ocean’s heartbeat. It accepts me.
Granted, I’m not the best surfer. I do it whenever I have the chance. Two months ago, I surfed in California for the first time and discovered how much I appreciate wetsuits.
I can’t wait to get out on the waves when I go to Australia in a few weeks.
SP: Ooh, enjoy Oz! And, Vestige is not the only book you have written. Where can we learn more about you and your books?
“The Prime Way Trilogy” is available to purchase from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
If you’d like to learn more about my work, visit my website authorcarolinegeorge.com. I’m also active on all social media platforms.
SP: Thanks Caroline!
Nova, Signing off.