Author Interview with Caroline Walken!
Hi, Caroline Walken, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website! Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what you enjoy doing, your hobbies and interests.
Thank you for interviewing me; I am Caroline Walken I am an author of romance novels. These are not your typical Girl-Meets-Boy stories as I like to mix it up with mystery and drama. My soul-mate and I have been together over thirty years (yes you read that right!), explaining why I am a hopeless romantic. I am a horse lover and have two dogs who boss me around on a daily basis!
When did you start writing and why?
I came from an artistic family, our walls were adorned with artwork from my mother, brothers or from myself. I loved writing but never seriously tried to write anything more than a short story. It was my husband who encouraged me. I had read a book everyone raved about, and frankly I wasn’t a fan. He of all people suggested that I try to write a story. It sounded fun so I did a little researched and gave it a try. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed creating characters; it was like painting with words! When I was half-way through the first draft; I found myself plotting a sequel. I was hooked. It was then that I fell in love with being a story-teller.
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
I have to say that Behind the Fan has been my favorite book to write. The story is based on an elderly woman that suffers from dementia. As her family descend on her to ‘take care of her’, and move her to a home. Discovering a box of photos open a door to her past they never knew existed. They learn more about who she is as a woman than they ever expected. They learn much more about themselves than they thought possible. To make it interesting; the bouts of dementia allow her to connect with the love of her life; her late husband Nicky.
Behind the Fan lived in my heart for a very long time, the love story was inspired by a chance meeting when I was in my mid-twenties. I worked as an aide for a short time in a nursing facility; it was there that I met Cookie. She was over ninety years old and the last surviving member in her family. Now, Cookie was very sweet the majority of the time, she had dementia and suffered the emotional upheaval that accompanies this disease. On occasion, she just wasn’t cooperative; wouldn’t get dressed, join the others for meals or take her medication. My fellow aides taught me the key to success with Cookie. You simply tell her that her husband Buddy was coming to see her.
Before long I found myself facing off with Cookie, her arms crossed and head turned in defiance! I took a deep breath and sweetly ‘reminded’ her we were dressing to have dinner with Buddy. She slowly turned, smiled then pointed to the closet with detailed instructions as to what she would wear. I witnessed a miracle as she fell back in time, returning to a period of her life where happiness waited for her.
I expected this to be the only transformation, but I was proven wrong. The remainder of the day Cookie smiled and nodded to someone that only she saw. The nurses would chastise us for allowing Cookie to lapse into these moments. We however didn’t see the harm, why not help her to connect to happier days. Back to when she and Buddy danced to their favorite band, enjoyed quiet dinners; help her feel the warmth of his hand in hers again.
Cookie passed quietly in the night. I prefer to believe that Buddy was there waiting for her. Taking her hand as their favorite song played in the background, he led her away from us. Their love was strong, finding its way across the plane of life or death. Believing this gives me a feeling of peace and hope.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
There are times when the books suffer though several titles before one sticks! For my first two; Ell’s Double Down and Reggie’s no Limit, I incorporate betting terms. The two books are based in the Roaring Twenties and deal with the age of prohibition and gangsters. For Nowhere on the Map, the phrase kept coming to mind while I wrote. The book is set in a small rural town; the title also describes the emotional stage the characters were in. They are lost and have isolated themselves for various reasons. Behind the Fan is a bit of a tease; in the first part of the book you learn that Dottie has kept a secret from her family.
No…I’m not telling; you will have to read this for yourself!
Who helped you with the cover? Or did you design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
While writing, I might look up images that are inspiring. Having the visuals help me connect the words to the emotion. Later I will use them for Instagram or Facebook advertisements since they have become part of the story.
In my first two books; Ell’s Double Down and Reggie’s No Limit; the cover was designed by me…and I need to change these! Then I found Talia’s Book Covers, she is amazing. The third book; Nowhere on the Map, was the first cover she designed for me. I had found an image that seemed perfect. Talia did her magic and turned it into an amazing cover. With Behind the Fan, I allowed her free rein. I gave her an overview of the story and some images I used as inspiration. The cover that she created mirrored the story perfectly. It blew me away!
What are some of the themes of your story?
My format remains the same although as a writer I continue to evolve. I am a hopeless romantic and I like the idea that true love works out in the end. These however are not your typical boy meets girl stories. I also have a passion for mystery and crime shows; this means the middle of the story might be a roller coaster!
One thing that is consistent; I create strong female characters. Growing up my Mom taught me one lesson to take forward in life. Life is a gift, I own my mistakes, and no one has rights to my life or my body. Those words kept me strong during difficult times, helped me stand up for myself and made me appreciate the small miracles that happen every day. My MC’s get themselves into trouble but they also find their own way out. Adversity should never be thought of as the road’s end, rather it is the side street you transverse to avoid a dead end.
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book and do you have a system?
I begin with just an idea for a story. I have a folder where I store outlines for stories or I might have a few chapters saved. I will capture anything that inspires me, since I never know where it will end up!
Once I decide on a project; I will work out my characters and create an outline. This helps keep a story flowing. It sounds rather organized doesn’t it? Yeah once all that is meticulously created; it is reference only a few times while I am writing! When I begin, I just let the words take me. I don’t title the chapters and have been known to move them around in the book! While writing, the characters are the ones that are in charge.
I imagine the story and the scenes. It could be while driving or watching television, but my mind is engulfed in another world. I am working on creating bridges that link events and individuals. I keep a folder for the WIP; there I throw up scenes and dialog to be incorporated at a later date. It is quite a mess until I finish the final edits and hit ‘save!’
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
My first love will remain Ell; my first character. She is independent, stubborn and passionate. Becoming of age during Prohibition in Newport Kentucky introduces her to a cast of amazing characters. These people are pluck from the stories of my childhood that my Grandfather told me. They are the neighbors from the street I grew up on in Northern Kentucky. I will return to continue her story and have more adventures with her!
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I like a mix of writers ranging from Nora Roberts to Patricia Cornwell. I am also a fan of indie authors such as Stephen Bentley, Jessica Lucci, and Jackie Williams. I read more in the winter, but I love getting lost in a book. You can find some of my favorites on my Goodreads page.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
In 2017, my short story In Hiding won the Writers Assembled short story competition. It has since been included in the 2017 Closed Doors: Best of Writers Assembled Collection. I have worked on expanding this to a full-length novel. I am in the editing stage now and hope to announce the release soon!
If you could have any superpowers what would they be?
I want to be able to eat cake without gaining weight and drink wine without getting drunk!
If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?
There is so much of America I have not seen. I would love to be in Times Square as we ring in a new year. To see the sunrise over the Colorado Rockies or sip wine while watching the sun dip into the Pacific from Hawaii. I love small towns and historic sites; you won’t find me in a nightclub. I will be the nerd in an art museum!
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
In five years I want to be working on a novel, creating more tales for people to relate to and cherish. I hope someone has quoted something from one of my books, and that when I walk in a local retailer I see one of my covers on their rack.
I don’t care about being rich; I want my words to be enjoyed.
Thanks, so much for taking the time to do an author interview, Caroline Walken! Take a minute and check Caroline Walken out on the links below! If you would like to do an author interview, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
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