|Author T.N. Carpenter|
TC: During my pre-teen years, I began writing short stories, and I believed that one day, I would
“grow up” and become a writer. However, once I grew up, I foolishly believed that it was unrealistic to think that I ever could be a writer and publish a book. It was not until my husband encouraged me to “just write” that I began to believe again that I could write. And, ironically, recently, one of the best pieces of advice about writing I have ever heard came from another writer, Jeff Goins, who discussed on his blog that essentially, you are a writer when you say you are a writer, and you just have to write. So coming full circle, I discovered I was a writer when I was a pre-teen, but I probably did not believe I was a writer until now.
RAWA: What is your favorite part of writing?
TC: I love it when the ideas start flowing. Whether I am walking, in a meeting, or at the grocery store, when an idea pops in my head, I am trying hard to hold the ideas in my head until I can grab a notepad or a napkin, just something to start scribbling. Putting those ideas into words, typing it on paper, creating a sentence, and then maybe a paragraph, and then maybe a chapter is my favorite part.
RAWA: What do you think is the most challenging aspect of writing?
TC: I have two equally challenging aspects. It is hard for me to overcome what I call “The Perfectionist’s Syndrome” where there are times during the writing process, where I just cannot let go of the words I have on paper and move on. I can’t stop editing, trying to perfect every word and sentence. The other equally challenging aspect for me is finding free time to write despite all the other responsibilities I have in my life. Having little time to write, coupled with the “The Perfectionist’s Syndrome,” can unnecessarily delay the whole writing process.
RAWA: Tell us about your latest release.
TC: My latest book, Along the Way to Happily-Ever-After. . ., is a seriocomic book that is a collection of mostly humorous personal short stories, tall tales, and advice about surviving the newlywed years, overcoming marital challenges, and staying committed to marriage even when happily-ever-after isn’t everything one thought it would be.
RAWA: How did you come up with the title of your book?
TC: Initially, I had another completely different title for the book. However, after reading one of my final drafts, I thought about how my Prologue begins with what one’s idea of happily-ever-after is at the moment they are married, and my final chapter concludes with how my happily-ever-after wasn’t what I initially thought it would be when I first got married, but it is everything I needed it to be (and so much more). And, of course, between the Prologue and my final chapter, there are short stories, tall tales, and advice about married life. So, I realized the book is really about all the things that can occur— good, bad, and funny— “ Along the Way to Happily-Ever-After.” And, that is how I came up with the title.
RAWA: Who are some of your favorite authors?
TC: Judy Blume. Beginning with reading my first Judy Blume book, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, I grew up reading all her books from that moment all the way to reading Summer Sisters and Wifey as an adult. I have lots of favorite authors from so many genres from Judy Blume to John Grisham to Justin Cronin to Jane Austen and so many in between.
RAWA: What do you think has influenced your writing style the most?
TC: My family has always interjected humor even into the most difficult times as a way to cope and keep on moving through life. So, I think in my writing, I try to use that light-heartedness and humor to keep readers entertained and to help them find a way to cope with difficult situations.
RAWA: As a writer what is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
TC: As of right now, I am most proud of finishing and publishing Along the Way to Happily-Ever-After. It took three years, and there were challenges and periods of time where I had to put it down, stop writing, leave it alone, and forget about it for a while. But, I stayed committed, and little by little, I was able to finish the book. However, if my book helps just one married couple, that will make me the proudest.
RAWA: How did you get published?
TC: I self-published my book through CreateSpace because I love the flexibility with that option. I had the freedom to decide who I worked with on creating the book. I found great people who edited the book, and others who did a wonderful job creating a beautiful full-color interior and bringing my words to life. By using CreateSpace, I was able to have the final word on the book design and all the other decisions throughout the process.
RAWA: Do you have any advice for writers looking to get published?
TC: Stay committed to your writing. Believe in yourself, believe in your writing ability, and believe in your books. If you want to try the traditional publishing route, and you face rejection, don’t let it discourage you. There are so many great and beautiful books out there by excellent writers who did not use the traditional publishing route. And, the important thing is that one way or the other, whether it is a traditional publisher or self-publishing, just get your book out there for readers to read your story.