My Writer's Journal

On becoming a writer: Part I

November 21, 2011

I knew from the time I was 8 that I wanted to be a writer, but I had no idea how to make it happen. In junior high I thought I might become a journalist and work for a newspaper. My dad insisted that I learn to type--a very good idea. Then, in high school I got a summer job working for the local radio station, typing up the commercials that would be read on the air. Eventually I was allowed to try my hand at writing the commercials myself, and when Miss Rita, who read the birthday news every day at 1 pm, went on vacation, I filled in for her and called on Miss Rita's advertising accounts. I loved it. At school I was named editor of the yearbook and co-editor of the newspaper, and I was writing stories. The term "nerd" had not yet been coined, but I fit the description. Then I left for college.

The next summer a rural radio station opened miles from where we lived. I was hired at 50 cents an hour to write commercials for advertisers, dealers in farm implements: egg-washers and manure-spreaders. I drove my mother's car to work. She complained that I didn't earn enough to pay for the gas.

At college I continued my life as a nerd, getting mostly A's and having my stories torn to pieces in writing classes. When I graduated and it was time to look for a job, I headed for New York City, bound for a career in that new field: television. But it didn't work out at all the way I planned.

(To be continued.)

Fiction for Young Adults

Fiction for Young Adults
Dowdy Peggy White reinvents herself as a glamorous photographer, capturing memorable images during the 1930s Depression and 1940s World War II
Three gutsy girls go looking for adventure in the West in the 1920's
Anastasia and her three sisters are the privileged daughters of the richest man in the world, until their world begins to crumble.
YA Historical Fiction
What's it like to be the daughter of the most beautiful woman in the world? When Helen of Troy elopes with Paris, her daughter, Hermione, stows away on a Greek ship in search of her mother, hoping to bring her home--and perhaps to find a love of her own.
The future queen of England lives a life of privilege, but privilege comes with a steep price of isolation and loneliness--until she meets Albert.
She leaves Scotland as a child, is sent to France to marry the future king, returns to Scotland as a young woman to rule; a wild queen in a wild country.
First published in 1992, my first historical novel, has been reissued with a new cover.
Cleopatra has been chosen to be the next queen of Egypt, but she faces ruthless competition from her sisters. (Watch a video of Carolyn on this page)
The dizzying rise and horrific downfall of the last queen of France. Young Royals series
Who would not fall in love with--or at least have a mad crush on--young Will!
Marie van Goethen was a dancer in 19th century Paris and modeled for Degas's famous sculpture.
A fictionalized account of the early life of Charles Darwin, narrated by Charley himself.
Mozart's talented sister, Nannerl, struggles to achieve life she deserves--in music as well as in love.
Contemporary YA
Four characters, four big issues, four compelling stories: BECAUSE OF LISSA; THE PROBLEM WITH SIDNEY; GILLIAN'S CHOICE; THE TWO FACES OF ADAM

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