Name Carmina Edwards.
Age Ouch…..getting old. I’m 54 years old.
Where are you from
I’m from a town in Hertfordshire, UK.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I wouldn’t know where to start…I’m a mother of two amazing children. I taught for twenty-five years, though I never trained or qualified to teach….A shortage of French teachers meant that I was fortunate enough to be taken on in a school and I just kept going. Later I did become part qualified to teach Swedish and French at evening classes for adults. Life went totally upside down though and I was made homeless and still am, though staying with friends who have kindly given me a room. Looking for work, but so far, not been offered anything. I remain hopeful that I soon will.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news. Wow. That would be too long a story. Suffice to say, with help from an extremely kind hearted friend, I will soon be able to get about and able to travel to a job should I be offered one. At the present moment, I am limited. This will open up possibilities for me which didn’t exist before.
Other news…I am now working with my editor on the edits of my second manuscript, which I am hoping will be published this summer. (2016).
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always been a writer of sorts ever since I was a young girl. I never pursued my writing career though due to being convinced I’d never be able to. Constantly put down and told I couldn’t, I allowed myself to believe it and so much of my writing only happened in school essays and stories.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Um, I have now gotten one book published, but I’m still not convinced that I’m a writer. Haha. Truth.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had many stories to tell, much to the chagrin of my long suffering friends…. (I talk a lot)! Some of them told me I should write a book. I dismissed the idea for many years, despite really wanting to.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Some who have read my first book told me they love my writing style. It’s a strange thing because I don’t actually see what style that is! I thought it was a lot of rambling, but apparently not!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Now the title thing…..tricky one that. The title popped into my head and I just knew I had to use it. Same for the second book, it only popped into my head a week before I finished writing my manuscript. So I think that’s how it works with me. The title presents itself when it feels like it and not before!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Absolutely. Now at first glance, my first book, “A Door Cracked Open” may look like an “Oh poor me story.” It really isn’t. I hope that through the events in the tale, (a true story, a biography), that maybe some readers will be able to relate and hope that in some small way, it might lend a little hope to some. For others, it will just be a story and nothing more.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It’s all completely true.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Oh tricky one. I read most genres and while I love a variety of authors, I can’t say that any of them acted as a mentor through reading their books. My editor for sure, has been an amazing mentor though. One book has influenced my life … the story “A London Sparrow.” Apart from this one, as an influence in my life, it’s The Bible.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I always loved Maeve Binchy, an Irish author. Her easy to read books pulled me totally away from “reality” as I joined her wonderful characters in a number of places and situations. More recent authors, a number I have met through Christian writing groups, but one book I read by Laurie Penner… “Secrets of Gwenla” I absolutely loved. An excellent Christian Allegory, this book still has me in other places most days!
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My two amazing children. Friends. Most definitely my friends and amazing cousins-in-law in Sweden and a handful of good friends there too. (Family….I don’t really have any apart from my children). My writing came at the most horrendous point in my life. With the angst and turmoil, I saw “friends” disappear. The ones I talk about now are the ones, many of whom I’d never even met, only knew them on Facebook, (they’re in America), yet those friends stood by me, no matter what. I never dreamed I would ever meet any of them, though I longed to. Funny how through all the turmoil and stress and everything looking impossible, I suddenly found myself out there in USA (that’s another long story) and met 13 of those wonderful friends, including my editor and her family. These and a few in UK and Sweden supported me all the way and still do in a huge way. Ooops, there I go, rambling on again, but without my children and Swedish cousins, or the friends I mentioned, I honestly don’t know where I would have been today.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I don’t know that I will ever make a career from writing, but it’s in my blood. I will always write something! Will it bring me in a living? Probably not, but if my stories only ever help one person, then the job is done.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I think honestly, I probably wouldn’t. Given that it’s a true story, there is nothing I can change if I’m to keep it as such.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was very young and an avid reader with an over active imagination. I read my books over and over and because I didn’t have many books, I began to make my own stories up and told them to myself! I was young when I wanted to write my own books, but as I mentioned before, zapped of any confidence, I was too scared to try.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I can’t share that much, even in these questions I need to be careful with how much I share. Too easy to put some spoilers in here! I have to keep a check on myself. My current and second manuscript is the next one in the “World Cracked Open” series. The title popped into my head just a week before I finished writing the manuscript. Haha, kinda in time I guess. “Into A Silent World.” It picks up from where “A Door Cracked Open” leaves off.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Oh yes. It’s those pesky l’il commas! They are my biggest problem. My editor is good with those though, but I do try to put them in the right places. Hahaha.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Oh I travel lots with this series….in my mind. No, for this particular series I haven’t traveled. I did travel to Sweden and it’s there I got my cover, both front and back for “A Door Cracked Open.” I was fortunate enough to be there at the very moment I knew what I wanted my cover to be. I have a story about that on my author page.
For my second book, I can’t get the cover I want. Without work and I get no social welfare benefits, I can’t get to France, which is where I would need to go to get the perfect cover, so am having to come up with something totally different. I don’t have it yet, but God has this knack of showing me things at just the right time, so I’m not panicking. He usually does a last minute thing with me, so it’s all good.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
So, as I possibly implied in the previous question, I did my covers, front and back for the first book. They are photographs I had in my mind and with the help of Swedish cousins-in-law who set the scene for the front cover, I got my photo. The back was also a photograph of a specific place. (No spoilers), but it had to be there if I was to have the copy of the picture in my mind. I got it just 3 days before returning to USA to get the book published. Last minute works fine!
So I got the photographs, but my editor actually did the work of making them into a cover and she formatted the whole thing and put title etc (I wouldn’t have had a clue)! So the cover was a joint effort. Oh! I guess I rambled again look. My editor and myself. That would have actually answered the question in 4 words. Haha. I’ll try harder to ramble less.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Some of the experiences concerning the “undisclosed” person I wrote about……..some were a little hard to work through. Discipline is the other hard thing. Many days I had to literally force myself to continue.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I did learn a lot. I learned far more about people and saw in ways I hadn’t before, just how involved God is in each of our lives. I saw pain in that book, I saw fear, I saw pretty much every emotion going, but I saw more then as I wrote, than I had before, how God has His hand over us all and that carried me through the whole book and then through the second one. I’ve had some inspirational moments too and escaped depression which would certainly have hit, had I not written those books. Sorry, I hope this isn’t too personal, but I wanted to share this.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
Oh boy! Now were either of them to be made into a film. Lovely thought, though I doubt it’ll ever happen, but hey, we can dream huh? Lead role? I would definitely want Julie Andrews in there for one of the main roles. The lead role I don’t know so much. There would need to be three. (starts off as a young girl and growing up….). Let me think a little. I have a friend who’s daughter looks very much like the main character did as a child in real life. Wonder if they’d let her do the younger years! The teenage and into twenties years, I really don’t know. I’ll let my readers have a go at that one. When they’ve read my book, it’ll be interesting to see who they think of.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Okay, this is a tough one. Writing is mostly (or at least, has been for me), an extremely lonely road. I did live practically as a hermit though for 3 years and it was during that time I wrote the first one. So many times, I was convinced I was just writing a load of nothing. I knew I’d feel too nervous to let anyone I know in real life, ever read my manuscript, so it was an incredibly humbling experience when I eventually did let some friends read it. That does put a lot of writers off. I’d say just stay strong and do it. Then there’s still the niggling thought that only the writer will like what they’ve written. What if the friends who read it only said they liked it so as to not hurt the writer’s feelings? Yeah, a lot of that went on in my mind and nearly put me off continuing.
Sometimes, giving up seems the most wonderful option. It’s NOT. It’s a tough job, you put yourself at the mercy of readers. You think you’ll never get it right. Many reasons to give up. Please, the only advice I can give is NEVER give up.
Once you are done, get yourself an editor. This is key to the publishing stage. No editor, then sure, don’t publish. It doesn’t matter how good a writer is, or thinks they are, they ALL need an editor.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Right now, I would like to thank my readers, all of them for reading my first book. I’d like to thank them for their wonderful feedback and many, many kind comments. I’d like to thank those who have left me a review on Amazon. I have mostly 5 star reviews and that really got me excited.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Oh I wish! Since beginning my second book five months ago, I haven’t had a chance to read anything else. I look forward to the day when I can. I miss reading other people’s books!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Apart from my nursery age books, it was the Little Mermaid. I don’t have a clue who wrote it, but it was my favorite. I then lent it to a school friend (I think we were six years old) one day, as she was upset and I never saw it again. My first proper book with a lot more written pages and only a few drawings, a favorite for a long time, was “Charlotte’s Web.”
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I have the funniest friends in USA. I know they will know who they are without me saying, but honestly, they are hilarious, lovely Christian people and they have gotten me through so much these past two years. A very special Facebook group of Americans. What else makes me laugh? Oh yes, the Gibbs/Dinozzo headslap. That cracks me up every time! (Isn’t it strange what pops into your mind when you have to answer questions)? My children make me laugh, they’re funny. Many things make me laugh I guess, too many to mention here.
What makes me cry? Soppy movies with happy endings. That’ll have me sobbing for ages, every time. I cry easily when I receive kindness from people. I get so moved very easily. I think too, there’s much I am still working through in my personal life which will probably one day make me break down and sob, it has made others cry, but as yet, I’ve been unable to. But hey, I hear the wrinkles in your face look better if you’ve laughed a lot so I’ll stick to that I reckon.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I can’t pick just one, it’s a group. My special group of American friends and my editor, but they live all over the place in USA. I’d love to be able to get the whole group together in one place and meet all of them at once. (I’ve met some of them already last year). Why? Because this group of people has been instrumental in keeping me sane through the worst time of my life. I’d dearly love to meet them all, would be amazing fellowship.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Oh that’s too funny. Okay firstly, I’m likely to pass away a pauper, so a pauper’s funeral at best is what I’ll get and I don’t think that includes a headstone! Haha. Should I get one though, let’s see.
“At least she can’t be late ever again.” Is probably what they’d write. Man, I’m late for everything! I don’t mean to be and it’s honestly, not out of disrespect, it’s just I have a problem timing things right!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love reading, writing, translation work (Swedish and French), abstract painting. Can’t paint for toffee, but it’s so therapeutic, like decorating painting too, you know, the walls and doors and things. I LOVE knitting. Traveling may never again in my lifetime be a possibility, but I have loved traveling. (I didn’t mean tramp type traveler….that’s where I’m kinda nearly at right now…but for some friends so kindly putting me up)! I’ve been most fortunate over the years to travel and live in some amazing places.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
NCIS! (Funny how that one sprang to mind first)! Haha. I actually don’t watch much TV, but I do enjoy a good mystery or crime/detective show. I like some British classics….weird sense of humor but some of them absolutely crack me up.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Oh the food one is easy. I love Swedish food. UK food, my favorite would be a good full roast dinner with all the trimmings, but then last September, something happened. I visited a friend in Louisiana (USA) who made the most amazing Gumbo dish. Well I was hooked. That is now my favorite food. I do love bars of Cadbury’s chocolate and Marabou though. I am a chocoholic though unable to partake in such indulgence for the last few months, but if I ever get work……………..hahahaha.
My favorite color is blue.
My favorite music. I like a mixture, though I usually don’t listen to any. I work in silence but for the tapping sound of the keys on my laptop keyboard! I like country, rock and roll, some classical music, folk music, Swedish dance bands, probably a few others too. Nothing head banging…..that drives me up the wall.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Given that my first book wasn’t published until last November, after I turned 54 years old, I’ve already done many things before. Mainly teaching which as a child, I really wanted to do. But supposing I now had a choice as to what to do, if I didn’t write, it would definitely be acting. I’d have loved to be an actress. Too old now and it’s too late. I don’t sing or dance for a start! I can’t. But acting which involves no song and dance, well, I’d love it.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My website is “under construction” right now. Hey, computers for me are like little aliens, I don’t understand them so this is gonna be a slow process! I do however have a Facebook author page. I’ll share the link right here.
Also, the link for my book “A Door Cracked Open” is:
For other countries, use the relevant Amazon site for each one.
Many thanks Fiona for chatting. Sorry I ramble on so much. It’s just how I am! Haha. Many thanks to anyone who’s read this right down to the bottom.