Friday, February 24, 2012

Interview with Author Carter Taylor Seaton!

Tell us about yourself: Carter Taylor Seaton is an award-winning author and figurative sculptor. Born and raised in West Virginia, she graduated from Marshall University and lived in Columbus and Atlanta, Georgia from 1985-1995 before returning to her hometown of Huntington where she resides with her husband, Richard Cobb. While living in Georgia, she began running and completed several marathons after she was fifty, including the Atlanta, Marine Corps, and New York City Marathons. For fifteen years, she directed a rural Appalachian craft cooperative to benefit low-income women. Ladies Home Journal nominated her in 1975 for its "Woman of the Year" award.

Her first novel, Father's Troubles, was named as a finalist for the prestigious ForeWord Magazine 2003 Book of the Year award in the Historical Fiction category. She is a regular contributor to several regional magazines and The West Virginia Encyclopedia. In 2007, her article on the impact of the back-to-the-land movement on West Virginia was featured in Appalachian Heritage literary journal and won the Denny C. Plattner Award for its Best Work of Non-Fiction.

Genre: Throughout my career as a marketing professional, I'd written brochures, press releases, and ad copy and never considered writing as a career. But I had a story I wanted to tell, so I began. While it was based on a real historical event, it became my first novel, Father's Troubles. Now I'm a free-lance writer for several magazines, have just published my second novel, and am currently completing a non-fiction work.

About the book: At thirty-three, Mary Cate Randolph still believes in fairy tales. She’s been searching for Prince Charming all her life, but after she was date-raped by her last boyfriend, she is understandably cautious. When she meets tennis pro, Nick Hamilton, at her Asheville country club, she thinks she’s found the perfect man. He’s charming and intelligent, but not sexually aggressive. No wonder. It’s 1983 and unbeknownst to Mary Cate, a na├»ve homophobic, Nick is a closeted homosexual. Thus begins a tangled web of love, deception, and discovery that ultimately leads to Mary Cate’s transformation and realization that true love is far different from the fairy tale version.
Inspiration: When I lived in Georgia from 1985-1995, my best friend was a lesbian. She and I were kindred spirits, except that I am straight. That never mattered to either of us or her partner of nearly thirty years. Shortly after I returned to West Virginia, I overheard someone making a pejorative remark about gay people and it upset me. Not being confrontational, I let it pass, but it simmered. Writing a novel about a woman's change of heart journey, I decided would be my soapbox.

Favorite character: By far, my favorite character is Cassie, Mary Cate's next door neighbor. She's funny, slightly irreverent, honest, and accepting. We should all aspire to be like her.

Difficulty in writing the book? I think all of have trouble sometimes, keeping our butts in the chair. Life tends to interfere, doesn't it? It's easy to get distracted, but staying on task is crucial. They say most books don't get published because they don't get finished. Aside from that, this particular novel posed the problem of developing the characters of Nick and Mary Cate so they are seen as likable and yet culpable for the arc their relationship takes.

Current project: In the middle of writing "amo, amas, amat..." I received a grant to begin work on the non-fiction work I'm currently wrapping up. It's a study of the impact the back-to-the-land movement had on the state of WV, particularly as it relates to the heritage arts and crafts. I've interviewed forty-five artisans and performers who came in the late 1960s or early 1970s and made WV their home and I'm telling their stories.

Writing quirks: I write fiction with a pencil and legal pad, but I write all my magazine articles and non-fiction stuff on the computer. I think it's because the research for the latter is on a the computer, so it's easier to refer back to it. But, for fiction, all I need is a quiet room, and the paper and pencil. The mechanics of using a computer somehow stops the flow of words, conversation, and emotion. One other quirk, when I am intensely involved with a work of fiction, I often dream about the characters and see them in a scene, talking. When I awake, I feel like I'm merely recording what they said.

Advice for writers: If you don't journal, start. And, write in it first thing in the morning, even if you have to set the alarm half an hour early. The gems that come out in your journal writing will be valuable insights for your writing projects later.
Where can we find you? Follow me on Facebook where I've also got an author page. I'm on Twitter but confess I don't check it as often as I should. And I have a website: http://www.carterseaton.com/.
Where can we find the book? Both "amo, amas, amat...an unconventional love story" and "Father's Troubles" are available in print on Amazon, and my website. And you can download either or both for Kindle/Nook/ iPad.

Thank you so much for chatting with us Ms. Seaton!

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