How long have you been a member of SCBWI?
I’ve been a member since August 2019. That’s 5 years this month. Wow, it went by fast.
What’s the most impactful thing you have learned from being in SCBWI?
As a result of SCBWI I have learned how to become a better writer and I have gained more opportunities in my career because of my involvement.
What genres do you write in?
I write PB to YA, including Short Stories and plays.
What is your writing process like?
I write daily and usually between 10-4 p.m. when the kids are gone for school. But when I’m inspired or have a deadline, I can write all day if I’m not pulled away for something.
How long have you been writing? How did you first get into writing for children?
I started writing in elementary school when I wanted my friends to perform for the local PTA talent show. My first play was THE CASE OF THE MISSING CABBAGE PATCH DOLL. At fourteen, a young women's leader of mine gave me a journal, and wrote every day for years, some poetry, but mostly it helped me develop my prose. And then later, when I taught acting in 2005, I’d write plays for the kids to perform. But it wasn’t until 2014 that I started really thinking of writing seriously.
Did you go to school for writing or take classes?
I’m mostly self-taught by reading books on writing. But I also took a correspondence course from the Institute of Children’s Literature before there were online courses.
Do you have a dedicated writing space?
Yes, I have a home office where I do all my writing. It’s too messy for a photo. Lol
What would be your dream book to write and get published?
Currently, it is my mythology YA book, called BEYOND STYX, that I’ve just finished. I’d love to see it on the shelves next to Rick Riordan.
Are you working on any fun projects now?
Like I said, I just finished BEYOND STYX and am working on plays for my acting classes and the 3rd book for my Rose Maidelaiden series, which I self-published.
Do you illustrate as well or have any plans to do so?
Not at the moment. But I could learn. I’m not bad at drawing, it’s just not something I excel at.
Any tips for writers that are starting out?
Don’t take rejections personally or let them stop you from writing. They’re so subjective and you don’t know all the reasons for why they said no. It just is. Just keep moving forward and improving yourself and try someone else. Also, try not to compare your success to someone else’s. You may be on the same path, but that doesn’t mean you need to go any faster than you’re capable of. Just keep trying to better yourself with each book you write and eventually, you’ll get where you want to go. Comparing yourself to others only discourages you and that is non-productive.
Do you currently have an agent?
Not yet, but hopefully, one of these days, I will.
List 3 to 5 interesting things about yourself.
I am the 3rd Carlene out of 4 in my family.
I am the 14th great-granddaughter of Pocahontas.
I started dancing and performing at four years of age. I danced for 14 years until acting took over.
14) Where can people find you?