Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Carolyn J. Rose

Well, after a brief layoff, The Same Six Questions are back and ready and raring to go. Please give a warm Welcome to author Carolyn J. Rose!

I’ve lived in 6 states and 9 towns or cities, moving steadily west from upstate New York to my present home in Vancouver, Washington. When I’m not writing, I work part-time as a substitute teacher, a job one notch less hazardous than that of crash-test dummy. I’m married to Mike Nettleton, who has also co-authored a number of my books and we live with two small dogs, Bubba and Max, who strive every day to bend us to their will. My hobbies are reading, gardening, and not cooking.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

I recently published my 11th book and second indie, skipping outside the mystery-suspense genre of Hemlock Lake and An Uncertain Refuge to write a “love letter” to my youth and the mountains where I lived. A Place of Forgetting, set in 1966, begins in the Catskill Mountains and concludes in the hills of Arkansas.

The story revolves around 19-year-old Liz Roark whose dreams turn to dust when a girl known only as April arrives carrying a duffel bag of bright clothing and an engagement ring from Liz’s childhood sweetheart Ben Hoyt, a Marine missing in action in Vietnam.

Grieving for Ben and for her loss, Liz flees small-town sympathy and humiliation, heading for Chicago to study journalism. But April hijacks the journey, steering them to a remote Arkansas farm and a psychic she hopes will validate her yearning for fame and fortune.

Ripped off and stranded on the psychic’s mountaintop with only a few dollars and a copy of Walden, Liz learns powerful lessons about trust, betrayal, deception, determination, love, and whether the psychic’s vision of tragedy must come to pass.

A Place of Forgetting is available in Kindle and print formats through Amazon, and also from Barnes & Noble.

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

As a kid, I made up stories for my younger cousins. They were a terrific audience, probably because there were no cell phones, video games, or computers back then. We got only two TV channels and the colors on the screen were black, white, gray, and snow. I, however, was live and in living color. As an added bonus, no one had to climb up on the roof and adjust my antenna.

At the age of 16, I sold a poem to Seventeen. My career was launched! Unfortunately, due to the need to make a living, that career didn’t leave the vicinity of the dock for many years.

Yes, I wrote, but it was for television newscasts and promotional spots—pieces that had to be written well, written fast, and matched with video. I learned to scoff at deadlines, stress, and coffee that wasn’t cold in my cup. Eventually, all of that paid off.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

In the 1990s, I wrote several short stories for Murderous Intent, a magazine now defunct. The first was about a malicious landlady who snooped and meddled and made her tenants so miserable they joined together to kill her. I still have copies of all the stories I published, but my first novel has long since been tossed.

It was dreadful in many ways—the characters spent way too much time thinking and then talking about their thoughts or dreams, the description was mundane and filled with minutiae, and if there was a fresh simile or metaphor in those 300 pages, it would have been lonely. Eventually I recycled the paper and later I recycled facets of the plot. The ideas were good, but the execution, well, did I mention that mundane description?

4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

I guess I always thought I could write, but when Consulted to Death was published by Deadly Alibi Press and I held it in my hands and ran my fingers over the slick cover, I knew that I would write. Each book is another brick in the foundation for the ones to come, and each book is like a plant that grows and seeds more.

I still love and am inspired by the feel of a new cover and the riffle of pages. But now I love my Kindle, too. Seeing where readers have highlighted phrases and sentences makes me want to get back to the computer and create phrases more that they can connect with.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

I would love to have a beer (or several) with Jefferson Longyear from Hemlock Lake and the sequel, Through a Yellow Wood, which I’ll release next year.

Jefferson spent 25 years in the land of the lost, wandering the country, trying to remember who he was. He’s a man burdened both by what he remembers and what he doesn’t. He has a strong sense of honor and justice and he does what needs to be done without spending a lot of time agonizing over the decision or the outcome.

I guess you could say I’m attracted to men of action with a code of honor—guys like Jack Reacher and Bob Lee Swagger and Virgil Flowers.

6. It's a dark and stormy're alone in the house...there's a knock at the open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

It’s that very short string of numbers on the balance line of my checkbook.


Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Carolyn! To find out more about Carolyn and her writing, be sure to check out her Amazon Author Page, Web site, blog.   I hope you'll stop back on Monday, when my guest will be Mike Nettleton. See you then!


  1. Great job on both the Q's and the A's. I love learning more about writers, not only the writing, but as people. Look forward to catching up on Carolyn's writing.

  2. Amanda Capper (ajcap)November 17, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    Wow, Carolyn, we have the same taste in men (I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I am that Tom Cruise will be playing Jack Reacher), and the same fear of the knock at the door.

    Falling behind in reading your books, though. Must remedy that. Good interview!

  3. Thanks, Sean and Amanda. Yeah, the Tom Cruise thing just doesn't work for me, either. No way will I go to that movie.

  4. And what's with Robert Redford? I never did get it.

    I love the male character--drifter handyman--in your novel, "An Uncertain Refuge." He's not what he seems and is what he appears. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

    Another of your characters that won't get out of my head, and this might be dangerous is Elsbeth Hunsacker. Oh my. For blog readers who would like to laugh and read a mystery, I suggest "Sometimes a Great Commotion" by Carolyn and her husband novelist Michael Nettleton.

    I'm a fan.

  5. She loves men of action. That would be why she (ahem) married me, I guess. I spring into action occasionally, like when I need a refill on my evening gin and tonic or I need to comfort a little dog who's run pell-mell into the patio door in pursuit of a taunting squirrel on the glass.

    I'm on of Carolyn's biggest fans, no just because we share a bed (with the aforementioned little dogs)but because she creates memorable characters and brings such a strong sense of place to her work. My favorite is AN UNCERTAIN REFUGE, but A PLACE OF FORGETTING is a close second.

    I'm looking forward to my chance to respond to the same six questions next Monday.

  6. Gosh, and all these years I thought Mike loved me for my skill at proofing his prose. LOL

  7. Love the last line...the numbers on your checkbook balance. LOL

  8. 11 books! I have so much reading to do . . . Thanks for the honesty about your first novel. That makes slowpokes like me feel better about that first one I've stuffed away on the shelf.

  9. Angie, you're not a slowpoke. I'm fortunate now that I'm nearly retired and have more time to write, but there were a lot of years when I was lucky to turn out next to nothing. My mind, however, kept filing things away.