I have met some very interesting people since I began blogging and writing but last year I met someone who has absolutely fascinated me. This is a lady that I admire hugely. Born and bred in London, Carolyn Steele has already been a psychologist, paramedic, a proof reader and other things not beginning with the letter p. She left the UK with her son Ben, and moved to Ontario, Canada where they both became Canadian citizens. However, when Ben left for University, Carolyn trained, wait for it, to drive 18 wheelers and became a lady truck driver. She is Indies Unlimited very own personal Ice Road Trucker and I am horribly excited to chat to her today.
Hubby is even more excited and has been buying Yorkie bars all week for her. Carolyn a massive welcome. I’m glad you could park the truck on the front drive okay. Hubby will make sure no one pinches the hub caps off it while we chat.
So, here’s a large mug of tea and let’s start with the rapid fire round:
Chips or Little House on the Prairie?
Got to be the Prairie, you have to smile to say it.
Jelly beans every time, see above, I defy anyone to say Jelly Belly beans out loud without cheering up.
Mousetrap or Monopoly?
“Boo!” to your Mum. Actually, Boo!” to mine too. She insisted I had Scrabble. Said it was better for my brain!
American Graffiti or Sleeper ?
Is it ok to say neither? I don’t have the attention span for films.
That’s fine. Hubby hasn’t either.
Can you tell us a short joke?
How many psychotherapists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Just the one, but the lightbulb has to really want to change.
How many martyrs does it take to change a lightbulb?
None, don’t mind me, I’m perfectly happy sitting in the dark.
(Facing 50 is now chortling merrily.)
What was the worst item of fashion you wore?
A pair of shocking pink flared jeans, but it was the 70s.
What one mad thing would you like to do before you are too old to do it?
Drive a snowplough.
A bright red Alfa Romeo, Alfasud. Loved that car.
What great answers. Onto questions about your writing now:
What genre do you write?
So far, narrative, non-fiction. I aspire to be the love-child of Bill Bryson and Bridget Jones, whimsical travelogues with added stupidity and disaster. I do have a novel brewing though, a sort of political satire called ‘Queenie’s Teapot’ which will be the first piece of fiction. And I plan some more serious books on loss, grief and trauma, which is actually my field.
What one piece of advice would you give to new authors that you have found useful in your journey to getting published?
Find your voice, and by that I mean ask people what your writing means to them and what they hear when they read you, it’s usually surprising. Once you know who others hear, you can refine or change as you wish but it’s a bit like hearing yourself on a recording, never what you think you sound like.
What genre of books do you usually read?
Mostly fiction, satirical stuff, humour, novels of manners and psychology. The occasional whodunit.
What do you do to help you concentrate on writing?
Shut the cats out of the room and turn off Facebook. Also, I write little and often, small bursts, articles and blog type posts, which I keep and edit together later on. It keeps the details fresh and it means that I never sit down in front of that blank piece of paper and ‘start’. I believe in creeping up on writing sideways.
Onto more personal matters. Could you please reveal something that doesn’t show up on Indies Unlimited or your website. Surprise us!
I found the love of my life at the stupid age of 54, which means there’s hope for everyone. I once tried to be a stand-up comic and failed miserably but it’s what pitched me into writing. Roomfuls of people smiling inwardly and tittering occasionally was pretty poor for a comic but I reckoned it would be relative success for a humorous book.
Carolyn, it has been such a pleasure to have you here today. Sorry, but Hubby seems to be sitting in your cab. You can take him back to Canada with you if you’d like. He’d enjoy the trip.
Carolyn’s book Trucking in English published Nov 2012 is the tale of what happens when a middle-aged mum from England decides to actually drive 18-wheelers across North America instead of just dreaming about it.
From early training (when it becomes apparent that negotiating 18 wheels and 13 gears involves slightly more than just learning how to climb in) this rookie overcomes self-doubt, infuriating companions and inconsiderate weather to become a real trucker. She learns how to hit a moose correctly and how to be hijacked.
She is almost arrested in Baltimore Docks and survives a terrifying winter tour of The Rockies. Nothing goes well, but that’s why there’s a book.
Get a copy of this superb novel from the following:
Find out more about Carolyn by clicking on any of the links below.